Five Ways to Approach the Holidays with Intention

We are in the season of ” Vata” in Ayurveda. A time when warm, cooked foods feel nourishing and comforting. It makes sense and feels good. Warming spices such as ginger, black pepper, cinnamon, and cumin stoke the digestive fire and support our digestive juices. However, as the pre-holiday mode is here the increase of sweets and rich foods can cause imbalances such as weight gain, sluggish digestion,  and swelling ( water retention).
What are some practical ways to approach the holidays with intention and still enjoy the fun?
1. Be consistent about your daily mealtimes. Skipping meals to only eat more at another meal doesn’t exactly work well for weight loss. Keeping your blood sugar sustained by eating three meals and avoid snacking helps to burn fat as fuel while keeping your energy sustainable. Read more here about sustaining your blood sugar levels
If you opt for a snack try orange or gluten-free crackers with a dab of almond butter. A cup of delicious hot green tea in the afternoon holds many health benefits including increasing energy and supporting weight loss. Its astringent quality can reduce puffiness.

2. Instead of eating the whole slice of cake or pie approach it with a “tasting” mentality. Rather than thinking you’re going to overeat and lose control enjoy the party with a ” taste” of a few of your favorite things. 
3. Keep moving with a brisk walk, a spin class or if you can handle the heat, hot yoga. Twisting poses in yoga massage the internal organs of digestion and help squeeze out toxins. You can do this in your own home if you lack the time to get to a class. An opportune time for me to stretch is late in the afternoon before dinner. See what works best for you.
4. Try “Triphala”.  Triphala has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years as a digestive aid and in helping the body eliminate toxins gently. However, in some, it can cause diarrhea or bowel discomfort. If you’ve had a rich meal and feel full and bloated you may drink some “Triphala” tea or take two tablets with warm water. A reputable source for Triphala is here

5. Sip warm or hot water along with cooked apples.

Upon waking aim to drink a cup of warm or hot water with lemon. This will help to rehydrate the body after sleep. Carrying a thermos with ginger tea or hot water will keep you hydrated and might eliminate the need for snacking.  I continue to promote eating warm cooked apples in the morning with ghee ( recipe below)  alongside having warm water not just because my grandmother made it but it’s so delicious and healthy. Read more about the health benefits of stewed apples.
In the book ” The Answer to Cancer- Is Never Giving it a Chance to Start” by Hari Sharma, and Rama Mishra an entire section is dedicated to the benefits of eating stewed apples particularly in the morning. Not only are cooked apples filled with fiber, which can take out the inner garbage, but they are good for preventing cancer.
a. Fiber helps sustain blood sugar.
b. Fiber helps to keep your appetite satisfied.
c. Fiber helps to lower cholesterol.

As the American Institute for Cancer Research says in a summary, ” Fiber dilutes harmful substances, speeds their elimination- and prevents constipation in the process.”
Adding some cooked raisins or Medjool dates to the cooking apples makes it even more delicious and nutritious. Who doesn’t like applesauce?