We are entering the holiday season and with it comes family bonding time, delicious foods with seasonal spices, and celebration. But there can also be added stress from traveling, cooking for large parties, as well as intestinal stress from digesting rich holiday foods. I have come up with a simple guide to help you navigate your way through the holiday table.
5 Tips for Keeping Your Hormones Happy this Holiday Season
Fill Your Plate with Vegetables– The mashed potatoes, stuffing, and pumpkin breads may be hard to resist, but if you fill your plate mostly with vegetables, you can still have those foods too, and just eat less of them. This will also help prevent overeating, as when you fill up with foods that are micro-nutrient dense, your body will be nourished at the cellular level, as opposed to eating foods with empty calories. Micronutrients are needed for healthy hormone production.
Support Digestion–know you have a sensitivity to gluten? Many local bakeries now offer gluten free breads, cakes, and pie crusts. If you are not hosting, you can offer to bring some of these food items to reduce the temptation to eating foods that inflame digestion. If you have a history of intestinal stress and leaky gut, the body will overwork to tend to this stress response and this can disrupt normal sex hormone production. Leaky gut occurs when the cells that line the intestines are inflamed and leak undigested food particles and toxins into the blood stream. Other ideas: invite family members to go on a walk around the neighborhood before or after dinner to increase the metabolism. Cook with warming spices such as ginger and cayenne to help improve digestion. Fennel is also great for digestion and can be used in the form of fennel seeds or fresh fennel bulb for salads and veggie roasts.
Balance Blood Sugar- Food cravings are often a sign of a hormonal imbalance. In order to prevent food cravings and overconsumption of sugary foods, do not skip breakfast. Breakfast is the most important meal to balance blood sugar levels, as it sets the tone for the rest of the day. When eating breakfast, think clean protein, healthy fat, and fiber. Eating a breakfast, even if it is light, will help you last until your holiday meal, so you don’t fill up on appetizers in order to balance your low blood sugar crash. Make sure to balance your dinner plate with clean protein (if you are vegan, offer to make a dish with nuts or seeds and dark leafy greens), as well as plenty of vegetables. It can be tempting to pile on extra servings of mashed potatoes and stuffing, however, white potatoes break down as simple carbohydrates in the body, which will raise the blood sugar and make you feel hungry again after a few hours. Imbalanced blood sugar is a stress on the body and can contribute to high estrogen, PCOS, and endometriosis.
Order a Hormone Free Turkey- Conventionally raised meats will have added hormones, which are endocrine disruptors. Local co-ops as well as many other health food stores will offer hormone-free and free-range turkeys that you can pre-order.
Eat Immune Boosting Foods- Adding foods that are anti-inflammatory and full of antioxidants will help the immune system respond to stress from indigestion, traveling, or family disagreements (… you know you have that one family member who completely disagrees with your election vote this year : ) Foods with omega-3 fatty acids like walnuts, dark leafy greens, and salmon are anti-inflammatory, as well as cranberries, which you can eat in your cranberry sauce. Cranberries are also one of the leading berries in antioxidants, which help to reduce free radicles and reduce oxidative stress.
My cranberry sauce recipe is made with all natural sweeteners and flavored with fresh ginger, orange zest, and maple syrup. The fresh ginger root used is great for digestion, and maple syrup (although still sugar), is not processed and is full of minerals if you use grade B. This recipe contains Vitamin C from the orange peel, which can be nourishing for the adrenals, as well as boost the immune system. Watch the easy step by step video below:
I hope you enjoy this nutrient rich sauce this holiday season. If you need any support during or after the holidays on balancing your hormones, you know where to find me! <3
Moon Blessings & Hormone Health,
Immune Boosting Cranberry Sauce
12oz bag of organic cranberries
½ cup orange juice, freshly squeezed if possible
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 teaspoon grated ginger root
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
5 tablespoons grade B maple syrup, add more or less depending on your desired sweetness (you can also use less maple syrup and use sugar-free liquid stevia drops as a substitute)
¼ cup water
Pinch sea salt
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts (optional)
Rinse cranberries and add to a saucepan. Add all other ingredients, stir, and bring to a boil.
At the first sign of boiling, reduce heat to low, and cook, covered, for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. In the last 3-4 minutes, stir every minute so the bottom does not burn.
After 15 minutes, the cranberries should all be “popped,” and you will have a thick sauce. Let cool and then refrigerate to serve cold.