Every year during the holiday season I get the itch to make a naughty holiday treat. Yes, I too use to love a nice pumpkin roll with ice cream, some pumpkin pie with whip topping and anything else with pumpkin has been my go-to holiday sugar fix, but these days I cannot eat like I use too. Just like I cannot drink like I use too. In my twenties and even into my early thirties I could indulge without the sugar hangover. A sugar hangover will leave you with a muffin top waistline the next morning, along with, a puffy face, enhanced with extreme sleepiness and even mood swings. The day’s of sugar overload are over! Just like the late nights of bar hoping and drinking too much had to come to an end... so do our days of sweet treats at every meal and sugary snacks. It is time to recognize sugar overload is the new hangover!
In college a night of drinking too much turned into a headache, brain fog, dehydration, sore joints and exhaustion the next day. Let's fast forward to life after 35! The new hangover comes after too much sugar which also causes brain fog, loss of energy, stiff joints, loss of skin elasticity (looks like dehydration) and muffin top with a side of puffy face due to the increase in inflammation! It is time to kick the extreme sugar intake even if it is the holiday season and we need to sober up.
It is time to apply all my tricks to keep the holiday weight off, skip the sugar hangover and still enjoy the pumpkin pie. So, here are some of my holiday tweaks to bake a little healthier and indulge a little wiser without a side of muffin top!
Skip the refined sugar and add in dates for sweetness or check out monkfruit sweetener. This sweetener doesn’t impact your insulin levels and allows you to still enjoy a sweet treat without the hangover. Its heat stable so you can bake with it, too! A ¼ teaspoon of monkfruit = 1 teaspoon of sugar. Check out monk fruit products at https://www.lakanto.com/ Right now you can get 50% off some of their products.
Prep your body 30 minutes before if you know you are going to eat something with high sugar. First drink 8 oz of water, eat some protein and fiber 30 minutes before and then have another 8 oz of water before you have that dessert. You are prepping the body by increasing hydration and adding protein and fiber will help slow down the absorption of sugar and can help you eat less since you will already be feeling full. My go-to quick protein and fiber rich foods are broccoli stalks, a piece of chicken (I cook a few pieces of chicken breast each week and chop them up to keep in the fridge is I need a quick protein boost). I also have some collagen protein mix that I put into a water bottle and shake up with some Vega Hydration. Find what works for you!
Enjoy ½ the serving by sharing the dessert with someone.
Take a 10-15 minute power walk after eating. Moving the body helps your cells open up to receive insulin. Even 15-30 minutes of break walking has been shown to help insulin levels hours after your walk. So, keep moving!
Add-in spices for added flavor without the added sugar. Fresh spices are amazing. Be sure to check your spice drawer and throw out any expired spices. Fresh is always better!
Try using coconut flour instead of white flour. Coconut flour has healthy fats and a generous amount of fiber in it. Remember, white flour acts like sugar in the body so your insulin levels rise quickly when eating refined flour.
Bake with a light spray of coconut oil or use grassfed organic butter or ghee to coat your pan. These are two healthier options for fats and remember you only need a light coat. Also, using high quality nonstick pans is a healthy option.
Re-check all your labels for sugar content. It’s hidden in so many names on your ingredients list. Every little bit adds-up during day. Items such as peanut butter, ketchup, kombucha, etc. all have brands with low sugar. You just need to be on the lookout!
Instead of soda or sugary mixers, try this tip: Fill your glass with Perrier sparkling mineral water, add a squeeze of lemon or lime, and finish with a few drops of liquid Stevia. Are you craving a quick fix of bubbles and not at home? Grab a six pack of Zevia soda or tonic water. Its zero calorie formulated with Stevia, monk fruit and eryithritol for a no-aftertaste flavor.
Check milk and yogurt labels. Both have naturally occurring lactose sugars and you may want to opt for a whole milk or full-fat yogurt to satisfy and fill you up or choose an unsweetened milk alternative such as cashew, almond or coconut milk.
Beware of hidden sugars at your favorite coffee house. Even your soy, almond or coconut milk lattes are usually filled with added sugar before you put anything else in there! Ask to see the box these products come in before you order!
Have a healthy - happy holiday season and please share with us what healthy tips you have for a healthy holiday!