This article originally appeared in the December 2018 editions of the New Era and the Lebanon Local
NOTE: Those of you receiving this blog post by email you will quickly recognize that I am posting this a little late. The Christmas and New Year holidays area over. The holiday indulgences have "happened" and there is no undoing what has been done. While the original intent of the article was to help prevent some of the food-related issues that occur during the holidays, they still work ANY time of the year!
Navigating the holidays healthfully can be tricky. Many challenges present themselves, over eating, food cravings, belly bloat, constipation etc. One particular issue that often gets overlooked is yeast infection and urinary tract infections (UTIs). During the holidays it is easy for these issues to become a problem, in people who are prone to them. With the increase in intake of sugar, alcohol and caffeine, combined with the decrease of water intake, If you are especially prone to UTIs, you may want to take note of these tips.
Really focus on drinking more water. Dehydration is very common in the winter when you stack up the crazy schedules, dry heat from the fire place and the diuretic effect from alcohol and caffeine. At parties, drink water first before any other beverage (better yet, drink 16oz on your way there). Keep a cup of water or hot herbal tea in your hand while you socialize. That way you absently-mindedly sip water instead of beverages that dehydrate (and add pointless calories). It might not look at sophisticated to tote water but your body will thank you later.
Include cranberries. Those sour, marble-like berries aren’t just for Thanksgiving or Christmas decorations. They are powerhouses of antioxidants that help the urinary track, oral cavity, and stomach. It was previously thought that cranberries changed the pH of the urinary track and killed the bacteria-causing UTIs. Now however, research confirms that cranberries don’t kill disease-causing bacteria but rather keep it from adhering to urinary tract walls. Other fruit juices, such as apple or grape do not have this effect. A daily dose of either ¼ cup whole cranberries (fresh or frozen, preferred), ¼ cup (2oz) 100% cranberry juice or 1/3 cup dried cranberries can be used to prevent reoccurrence of a UTI. (Do watch out for overdosing on the sugary dried cranberries. They contain a lot sugar!) Unless you like sour foods, cranberries might not be up your ally but treat it like that cough medicine might be worth treating it like that nasty cough medicine when you were a kid….”plug the nose and down it goes!”
Try specific Probiotics. The probiotic, Fem Dophilus ® by Jarrow is a fantastic brand that OBGYNs have recommended to their female patients of all ages. After looking into it I have recommended these to some friends with chronic UTIs and whenever they take them daily, they don’t get a UTI. (It is a different story when they go off of them.) This probiotic is particularly good for prevention of a UTI.
(note: I receive no compensation for my recommendation of this brand. I just recommend what works.)
Stay sensible on the sugar. Simply put, refined sugar feeds disease-causing bacteria and yeasts. The less you eat of it the better off you are in your fight against an active UTI / yeast infection. During the holidays I won’t necessarily tell to know eat sugar at all if you have a UTI or yeast infection (because you do need to live a little right?) but be very choosy about what sweets you decided to enjoy. Less is always more in this case.
Opt for the only "natural" appetite suppressant with NO side affects. Many people complain of food cravings and food temptations during the holidays. Well, say hello to vegetables (you knew I was going to say that didn’t you?). It is true though. Salty, fatty, sweet and high calorie foods leave you wanting more while tastily prepared veggies (and even fruits) fill your belly and tell your taste buds and brain they are satisfied. A great rule of thumb is to fill 50%-75% of your lunch and dinner plates with veggies. You will be surprised at how much food you can eat while still staying healthy. So you suppress your appetite for the not-so-good stuff while still remaining satisfied. It's a win-win!
Below are two recipes to try this holiday depending on if you want to include those good-for-you cranberries or to use up your winter squash in a sweet dish, Enjoy! And happy 2018!
Maple Cranberry Brussels Sprouts Recipe
Original recipe by Pure & Simple Nourishment.
1 1/2 lbs brussels sprouts
3 tbsp avocado oil
2 tbsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper omit for AIP
227 g fresh cranberries
3 tbsp maple syrup use Grade C
Preheat your oven to 400F
Trim the stems off of the Brussels sprouts and cut them in half
Add the cut Brussels sprouts to a bowl and add all the ingredients (except the maple syrup) and stir well to combine
Spread the Brussel sprouts and cranberry mix onto a baking sheet, in a single layer
Bake for 15 minutes
Remove from oven and add the maple syrup, and stir well to combine
Return the pan to the oven and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes (until as crisp as you like)
Remove from the oven
Serve and enjoy!
Simple Butternut Squash Souffle
Original recipe by Heather Reslinger from Create Delicious
While this recipe doesn’t have cranberries originally in it. It still is a seasonal recipe that is perfect for using up that winter squash you may be wondering what you are going to find uses for. (Dried cranberries would add eye-catching color on the top as a garnish. )
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease and flour ( try arrowroot starch if gluten free) a casserole or souffle dish.
Poke the squash all over and microwave for 15-20 minutes, or until tender. (or cu tin half and cook for 6 on Manual, High heat in the Instant Pot)
Let cool a bit, cut in half, scoop out seeds, and scoop flesh into a food processor.
Add the egg yolks, milk, salt, and pepper to the food processor.
Process until smooth. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
Whip the egg whites until stiff.
Fold the egg whites into the squash.
Transfer to the soufflé dish.
Bake for 40-50 minutes
Other Healthy Holiday Nutrition Tips:
Drink more water. I said it above but it is important! Drinking more water not only helps with UTIS but also in fighting food cravings, flushing out toxins, thinking clearly, and sustain energy energy and keep your skin from drying out.
Many people complain of food cravings and food temptations during the holidays. Want and natural appetite suppressant and still feel full? Say hello to vegetables (you knew I was going to say that didn’t you?). It is true though. Salty, fatty, sweet and high calorie foods leave you wanting more while tastily prepared veggies (and even fruits) fill your belly and tell your taste buds and brain they are satisfied. A great rule of thumb is to fill 50%-75% of your lunch and dinner plates with veggies. You will be surprised at how much food you can eat while still staying healthy