Tuesday, 15 October 2013 23:33

Stay Healthy This Holiday Season

Written by  Chef Brian David Robinson
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Every year, the holidays get more and more hectic; we rush to get to work, to eat, to get home, to take the kids to school, help with their homework, then we rush to bed.  Then we worry:  Do we have enough to pay the bills?  How can we afford to buy all the gifts?  How can we make enough time to attend all the family events?  While we are going through all of that and much more we don't eat right because we are running everywhere.  The next thing you know…WE GET SICK!

Like most people, I use to think that it was because the weather has gotten colder, but in reality, it is from all that we are putting our minds and our bodies through during that time of the year. We already have a hectic life throughout the rest of the year, then we add in the holidays with more demands and less restful sleep--all for on average of about 3 months (not to mention higher risks for cross-contamination as we all try to cook like a chef in our homes for our families).  We do all this while allowing ourselves to be rushed; therefore increasing our chances for cross-contamination.  It is no wonder that we get sick!!! 

It does not have to be this way!  Here are some very simple tips to staying healthy and lessening the blows of the holiday season to our health by boosting our immune systems.  As adults, we need to share our wisdom for our kids to follow, now and in their future as adults, and we can only do that by our actions.  It is our actions that our children pay way more attention to than what we say.  

So take "Moments of Health" for you and your children.  For me, I schedule it on my phone to take moments of health for myself.  The alarm is one of the best features my smart phone has, reminding me to stop for a moment for my health.  If you do not schedule the time, then at some point your body will get sick and force you to take time to slow down, which will be a lot less fun.

First, we will not live long if we do not breathe, so take time to breathe properly by taking long, slow, deep breaths.  When we stress we tend to breathe shallower and sometimes even hold our breath.  There are so many health benefits to breathing properly; taking full, deep breaths reduces stress, thereby creating less free radicals in our cells, less cell damage, and increases healthy blood flow, which oxygenates our cells more efficiently, while replenishing nutrients more effectively.  It also increases waste removal from cells, blood, and organs, and moves the lymph (cleansing system for veins and arteries).

Try these simple breathing steps: (2-5 minutes, twice a day):

  1. Set phone alarm for wake up time and bed time.
  2. Wake up, then stand (lie down at night).
  3. Place both hands, one on top of the other, below the belly button (on the pant or belt line).
  4. Take a long, slow breath; pushing out the hands with your stomach muscles (this will engage our diaphragm properly).
  5. Exhale slowly, gently pressing your stomach in with your hands for a full exhale.
  6. Repeat steps 4 & 5 for 2-5 minutes (the longer the time the better the results). 

(Note: While breathing, focus on the breath and nothing else.  This is your time.  After about 2 weeks, your breathing will become relaxed throughout the day, and you will continue to feel even more of the benefits throughout the day.)

Second, a few simple food substitutions and improving hydration will make your body work more efficiently and keep your immune system strong. 

Simple hydration tips:

  1. Drink 1 gallon of distilled water a day.  Keep bottle in the refrigerator.
  2. Before drinking coffee, drink a glass of water to hydrate as coffee dehydrates

Simple Food Substitution tips:

  1. Use coconut oil instead of vegetable cooking oil.  Coconut oil helps metabolize fats stored in the body.
  2. Substitute some of your butter with cold-pressed virgin coconut oil (organic is better).  I eat it on toast daily, and have gotten good results
  3. Food Combining:  The process of eating slow-digesting foods with fast-digesting in alternation bites; this causes the quick starches and sugars to be converted into energy in order to digest the slower digesting foods which, in return, raises our metabolism.  A simple example of this would be taking a bite of a donut then a bite of a banana (bananas have more starch than 3 baked potatoes!).  Take a bite of the donut, then the banana again. Instead of the donut turning to fat, the quick sugars are used up in the blood steam quickly by the body needing the energy to digest the banana.  In small bites there is not enough of the donut in the blood stream at once to be stored as fat, but instead is used by the body all at once.  Then this process is repeated—the body thinks it is getting a workout and starts raising the metabolism to keep the process going.

Third, here are a few simple exercises to help promote blood and fluid movement into areas of the body that do not get a lot of use in today’s sedentary world:

Simple daily stretches

  1. Touch the sky:  With your right hand, reach towards the sky and stretch up with the right side of the body, then repeat with the left side.  This will help with balance as well.
  2. Neck circles:  Gently allow the weight of the head to hang down, and then carefully and slowly move the head in a circle to the right all the way around and back to the starting point.  Repeat, moving in the other direction and using just the weight of the head.  Remember to breathe.
  3. Arm circles:  Reach out with the arms to the sides.  Using large circular motions rotate in small circles forward, then backward.  Repeat several times.
  4. Toe touches:  Allow your body to bend over naturally while touching your toes.  Take long deep breaths, relaxing while bending over.

How do you stay healthy during the holidays?  Feel free to share your own tips for enjoying this wonderful time of year with your family by posting in the comments section below.  I'd love to hear from you!  Thanks so much!

Until next time...stay healthy!

Chef Brian

Read 5509 times Last modified on Wednesday, 16 October 2013 16:06
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