Eat, drink & stay merry... whether it is putting too much rum sauce on your figgy pudding, hoisting several glasses of holiday cheer, eating till you have to undo your belt, or simply being stressed out about family events...holiday indulgences and pressures can leave you physically uncomfortable and emotionally exhausted.
Here are a few simple steps you can take over the holidays to minimize the blood sugar shock, the waist expansion, the liver challenges, and/or the emotional stress that can come with season.
1.) Support Winter Immunity
There are few things more disappointing then reaching the holiday break, only to get sick. Beyond the basics, like vitamin D, to reduce the chances of succumbing to a cold or flu keep a bottle of oregano oil on hand to take at the first tickle in your throat, nausea, or when a co-worker has the sniffles. Personally, I have found our Opti-Oregano Max to be incredibly effective...but the "gachh" factor after you swallow can be pretty intense! Inexperienced users are advised to have a glass of water handy!
If a bug keeps coming, resorting to immune-support formulas like our Bee Immune that contains propolis, echinacea, goldenseal, elderberry, garlic, vitamin C, and zinc among others, can also helpful to "nip it in the bud." Experience has shown that it can be especially useful when others around you in your household are getting sick, and you want to avoid the same fate and remain well.
Also, don't forget your probiotics! Whether in foods like ferments, or in a supplement, probiotics not only support digestive comfort and nutrient assimilation, but boost and balance overall immunity. By calming your gut they also help keep inflammation in check.
Since the 1990's I have recommended the DDS strain of probiotics found in our Opti-Elite Probiotics, simply because I have found them to be the most effective for promoting gut health and reducing food sensitivities/allergies...issues which can definitely come into play as people give into temptations over the holidays that they would normally resist. (You know...the ones where you hear yourself saying "Well I'll probably pay for it, but what the heck!")
2.) Keep Calm and Holiday On
For some, Christmas is a time of comfort and joy. For others, busy schedules, travel plans, and family gatherings can place strain on our emotional well being. The three ingredients in our Opti-Calm product, i.e. Theanine, Rhodiola, and Relora, can be invaluable to calm you down without slowing you down. They help keep your mind clear under pressure, without going into overwhelm. Those who have a tendency to get stressed will likely find that Opti-Calm simply helps them take things in stride, preventing them from ‘needing a holiday from their holidays’ when it's all over.
For best results Opti-Calm should be taken away from food.
3.) Balance your Blood Sugar
Chocolate, cookies, and candy-canes signal the season and… insulin production.
The high levels of insulin that come with elevated caloric intake over the holidays can result in extra (belly) weight, increased blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, and can be very inflammatory. Hence, the goal is to have “a little insulin go a long way” by making sure you are sensitive to its message. For enhancing insulin sensitivity, the combination of herbs and chromium in Opti-Gluco Balance can be invaluable. Improved insulin efficiency results in more balanced blood sugar, as well as an increased tendency to burn calories, instead of storing them. In turn, this yields better energy levels, less cravings, and a feeling of being more satiated with less food. My experience has been that this formula can be very hepful for those that experience blood sugar highs and lows throughout the day.
4.) Minimize Carb Cravings!
If you still find yourself overwhelmed by cravings that you can't seem to control, the Garcinia cambogia in our Opti-Slim Garcinia is another tool for helping quell them. By diverting glucose from being stored as fat, and converting it to glycogen instead, not only does Garcinia help keep our blood sugar balanced, it also raises serotonin. This increases feelings of being satisfied, and reduces cravings, particularly for carbohydrates. Overall, Garcinia taken prior to meals decreases appetite, which you may or may not want over the holidays!
5.) Cheers to a Healthy Liver
For those of you who celebrate the season with a cocktail, you may want to consider trying our very popular Opti-Liv Extra formula. This combination has the primary goal of supporting liver detoxification by increasing a critical substance called glutathione. Our glutathione stores get used up quickly when our liver detoxifies alcohol.
In addition to maintaining glutathione levels, an ingredient in Opti-Liv Extra called alpha-lipoic acid also supports your mitochondria and energy production, as well as blood sugar balance by helping to keep your insulin receptors sensitive, as discussed above. So if you figure you've had too many sweet holiday beverages and will pay for it tomorrow, taking Opti-Liv Extra with plenty of water goes a long way towards helping your liver detoxify, and clear the unhappy by-products that can cause hangovers.
6.) Support Digestion
From Christmas cake, shortbread cookies and Turtles, to eggnog, champagne, spirits, stuffing, nuts, turkey, cranberries, potatoes, bacon bits, cheese sauce, gravy, pies and desserts… OMG! My digestion is grimacing just thinking about it! For those of you who like to sample a little of everything, you may want to remember to take some of our Opti-Digestaway to aid your digestion before embarking on your holiday feast! It can definitely help lighten the burden on an overworked stomach and intestines.
So from all of us, to all of you, here's to a healthy and happy holiday… albeit with a little help from Optimum Health!