How To Avoid Gluttony & Excess This Holiday Season

How To Avoid Gluttony & Excess This Holiday Season

Okay let’s face it, the holidays are ALL about celebration. And with that usually comes a lot of excess and gluttony. That is part of the fun!

The problem occurs when we begin acting unconsciously and in turn consume too much food, alcohol, and sugar without really taking time to enjoy and savor it. Often when we start on this slippery slope, we don’t know when or how to stop. In our minds, we think “oh hey, it’s the holidays, why not?” But what usually ends up happening is one massive holiday hangover afterwards.

So, this year why not indulge and celebrate with awareness?

Here are some tips on how you might do that:

WATER – For each alcoholic beverage, drink one sparkling or still water in between. This not only helps to properly hydrate your body but it also reminds you to slow down. You’ll end up consuming less alcohol while still enjoying the social aspect of having a drink in hand.

LESS IS MORE – Put less food on your plate than you normally would. Often our eyes are bigger than our stomachs. You can always go up for seconds or thirds if you are still craving more.

SLOW DOWN – Eat more slowly and chew your food completely. The very act of slowing down and savoring each bite will not only make you feel more nourished, it will prevent you from over-stuffing yourself and feeling bloated later on.

MOVE YOUR BODY – Do your best to fit exercise in. Instead of deciding to take the week off, why not go for a family hike or continue your gym regimen in between the festivities. You’ll burn much of what you’ve consumed and you will also avoid that sluggish and unmotivated feeling that often accompanies too much partying.

LESS IMPULSIVE – Be more conscious. Ask yourself “do I really want this extra cookie or am I just acting out of impulse?” Then if the answer is yes, take it and enjoy every delicious bite. Otherwise, step away and get back to the socializing and festivities.

GE GENTLE – Stop judging yourself. If you decide that this is your week to break your healthy eating and exercise routine then at least do it fully and completely. Avoid beating yourself up and be totally in the moment. We get nowhere when we condemn ourselves so whatever you do, do it with love and self-acceptance and leave your critic behind.

You got this! Now go have a wonderful time during the holidays and enjoy yourself abundantly. Just do it in a new way, one that is more mindful and aware, and one that leaves you feeling empowered, satisfied and fulfilled when January rolls around.

 

Jay Bradley is a Youthful Aging, Wellness, Lifestyle Expert Living in Los Angeles. http://www.JayBradleyLifestyle.com

He is the Best-Selling Author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!

What We Can Learn From Denmark, The Happiest Place on Earth

What We Can Learn From Denmark, The Happiest Place on Earth

My parents recently visited me in Los Angeles. They gave me a book called “The Little Book of Hygge” by Meik Wiking which goes into great detail about how the Danish people find happiness through simple life pleasures. Hygge, pronounced HOO-GUH can be translated in different ways but one that resonates most for me is “taking pleasure from the presence of soothing things.” Being Danish myself, I began to contemplate how all of us can bring in more simple pleasures and soothing things into our day to day life in order to get back to basics.

We live busy lives. Los Angeles, although less hectic than New York city for example, holds a fast-paced energy that can often leave us feeling depleted and isolated. I believe there are things we can do to help us slow down and enjoy the simple things in life. Here are some important areas to focus on in order to experience increased happiness, pleasure, and simplicity.

Atmosphere – Our home and our work space is our haven. De-clutter regularly. Light a fragrance free, natural candle, curl up with your cozy, hand-knit blanket, put on your favorite relaxing music, turn down the lights, fill your home with photos and crystals, and freshly cut flowers in unique vases. Take a break from all electronic devices. Use an aromatherapy diffuser and create an atmosphere that feels serene, one that you look forward to spending time in daily.

Pleasure – What brings you pleasure? Perhaps it is freshly ground coffee, dark chocolate, home-baked cookies, steaming cocoa, a soothing bath with herbal oils, petting your dog or cat, taking an evening walk with your loved one, or reading a novel with a cup of tea. Paint, play an instrument, write a poem, or dance around your living room with the kids. Life is meant to be pleasurable. Stop postponing those things that make your heart sing.

Presence – Be here now. Being present is the key to strong and lasting relationships with yourself and others. Turn off your cell phone, remove distractions, listen more carefully, be the kind of friend for others that you want for yourself. Stop and smell the roses. Don’t worry about the future. Stop focusing on the past. Create a spiritual practice of yoga, meditation, chanting, or deep breathing that helps you to get more centered.

Gratitude – What if this is as good as it gets? Take it all in. Give thanks for what is. Make a daily list of what you have to be grateful for. Even the smallest of life’s pleasures can imbue a sense of deep gratitude if you allow them into your heart. It is okay to want more but never take for granted what you already have no matter how trivial it may seem. Sometimes the littlest gifts create the most lasting joy.

Comfort – Relaxation is key. Stop. Get cozy. Stay warm and comfortable. Dress in loose, soft, natural fabrics when you’re lounging at home. Wear handmade wool socks. Take time to curl up and read or watch your favorite romantic movie. Invest in plush pillows. Create your favorite go-to spot in your home to snuggle and hibernate.

Togetherness – While being alone has its benefits, building relationships is equally important. Creating a history with friends and family members and taking time to reflect on fond memories and adventures is the key to lasting fulfillment. Intimacy on all levels helps us to open our hearts and feel connected. Make an effort to book outings with friends and know that there is always room for more cherished, deep connections.

Harmony – Finding harmony and balance is important. Life isn’t a competition. You don’t need to try harder in order for people to like you. There is no need to boast or brag about your accomplishments. You are enough just the way you are. Work to create more balance and ensure that all areas of your life get equal attention.

Truce – Avoid drama. Find relationships that are easy. Don’t get into political debates or stressful conversations but instead take the time to nurture yourself and others. Be gentle, thoughtful, and sensitive to others needs as well as to your own. Remember that you aren’t always right even though your ego would have you believe otherwise.

 

Jay Bradley is a Youthful Aging, Wellness & Lifestyle Expert Living in Los Angeles. http://www.JayBradleyLifestyle.com

He is the Best-Selling Author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, the 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!

 

 

 

 

Fall Foods to Promote Better Health

Fall Foods to Promote Better Health

Most of us enjoy the festivities of the autumn season. It’s a reminder of the upcoming holidays, family celebrations, and comfort foods. Even though Los Angeles remains warm, hints of crispness begin to fill the air.

I am a big believer in eating seasonally whenever possible meaning that we consume foods which are grown in the particular season of year that we are in.

This fall, why not try some of nature’s amazing autumnal superfoods which are packed with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and other health-promoting gifts.

Pumpkin – Pumpkins are packed with Vitamin A from Beta Carotene which helps to promote better vision. Pumpkin seeds are high in tryptophan which support healthy serotonin levels and assist in balancing our mood and sleep. Pumpkin seeds or pumpkin seed oil have been shown to strengthen the prostate and may lower the risk of prostate cancer.

Squash – There are so many varieties of squash and all have enormous health benefits. They are one of the oldest groups of vegetables on earth and they help to boost overall immunity, reduce inflammation, improve vision and blood circulation, and regulate blood sugar. They also improve lung function and have antifungal properties.

Zucchini – Zucchini is high in B Vitamins which improves overall energy. It may also help to control Diabetes, and improve digestion along with being high in antioxidants including Vitamins A and C, and Super Oxide Dismutase. Zucchini also helps to support proper thyroid and adrenal function.

Brussel Sprout – This cruciferous superfood is more popular than ever and for very good reason. They are excellent sources of Vitamin C and Vitamin K. They assist your body in detoxing because of the sulfur-containing compounds and they may lower your risk of cancer and estrogen levels because of their high levels of indole-3-carbinol.

Cauliflower – Another vegetable from the cruciferous family, it is particularly potent at fighting prostate cancer when combined with turmeric. It is also very high in antioxidant vitamins and minerals.

Pomegranate – This beautiful fruit is high in a unique antioxidant called punicalagin. Research indicates it may be effective in reducing the risk of heart disease due to aggressive free radical-scavenging activities in the body. The high polyphenol level in pomegranate has also been linked to a reduction in cancer cell activity.

Apple –  Apples are high in vitamins and minerals along with both soluble and insoluble fiber. The fiber content is effective at slowing or preventing the absorption of bad cholesterol into the arteries along with assisting proper elimination and detox. An apple a day really does keep the doctor away provided it’s organic since apples are one of the most highly pesticide sprayed fruit on earth.

Celery – Celery contains luteolin a nutrient which may slow memory loss and inflammation in our brain. It is also low in calories and high in vitamin and mineral content. It has been linked with an ability to slow cancer cell growth, especially in breast tissue for women on synthetic hormones.

Carrot – Carrots are extremely high in Beta Carotene which converts to Vitamin A in our liver and is known to support proper eye health. The minerals in carrots work to promote strong bones and a healthy nervous system along with maintaining healthy and young skin, hair, and teeth.

Beet –Beets contain nitric oxide which help to open blood vessels providing the body with more energy and feeding the cells with extra oxygen. Beet juice extract is wonderful as a pre-workout for this reason. Beets also assist the body in proper liver detox.

Cranberries – The juice of cranberries are most known for their positive effects on the kidneys and the urinary tract also in aiding urinary tract infections. They also have powerful immune-boosting properties and work to fight most types of cancer cells.

Turnip – Turnip greens are even more vitamin enriched than the root although both have amazing healing benefits. The sulfur-containing compounds have powerful anti-cancer effects along with a great deal of antioxidants and minerals.

Sweet Potato – Like other orange fruits and vegetables, sweet potato contains high levels of the powerhouse antioxidant Beta Carotene. Sweet potatoes have less calories per serving than white potatoes and a lower glycemic index rating too. This high fiber vegetable is especially great as a pre-workout food.

Whenever possible, buy organic produce in order to avoid toxins and chemicals. Experiment over the next few months and try some new recipes. You may just discover a new-found love for the most exciting fruits and vegetables of the year.

 

Jay Bradley is a Youthful Aging, Wellness & Lifestyle Expert Living in Los Angeles. http://www.JayBradleyLIfestyle.com

He is the Best-Selling Author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!

 

 

 

The Holidays – Refrain, Re-Hydrate, Routine, Rest, Re-Ignite!

The Holidays – Refrain, Re-Hydrate, Routine, Rest, Re-Ignite!

If you’re like the majority of North Americans, you most likely gain weight during the holidays. Not everybody packs on the pounds during this time but it certainly isn’t uncommon for your weight to increase or for your favorite pair of jeans to feel just a bit tighter. Many people also notice less energy and vitality during this time mainly due to overindulging.

Too much celebrating and not enough discipline can definitely take its toll. While I am ALL for having a good time, especially during the holidays, there are some things to be more conscious of in order to lessen the negative effects of the season and to feel “merry and bright.”

  • Refrain – I am certainly not here to lecture and trust me, I allow myself plenty of indulgences during the holidays. But this year why not pay closer attention to how much you’re eating and more importantly, why? Often we gorge ourselves without much thought because that is just what we do this time of year. We are bombarded with awesome desserts and goodies that we don’t normally see and so we feel somehow obliged to get our fill before they’re no longer around. Prior to taking that next bite of Nanaimo bar, buttery shortbread or Christmas cake, take a breath. Ask yourself do I really want this? Am I truly craving more? If the answer is yes then by all means, ENJOY! If you answer no, put it down. It’s really simple. Most of us tend to eat out of habit and not with our intuitive senses. By becoming more conscious, you’ll find yourself eating less and in turn, feeling better.
  • Re-Hydrate – Most of us will drink more alcohol during the holidays but one of the best ways to slow things down is to make a decision to sip a soda or water between alcoholic beverages. This simple rule will give your system a break, fight dehydration, and will work on cleansing some of the alcohol from your system. You will probably also become aware that you don’t desire as much alcohol as you may have in the past. Also, try drinking more slowly and take time to thoroughly enjoy each sip.
  • Routine – A lot of people tend to neglect their exercise routine during the holidays. This is actually the worst time of year to do that. Our bodies desperately need physical activity to offset holiday stress and to assist our bodies in detoxing from the extra sugar and alcohol. It’s okay to workout less and socialize more but don’t skip it completely or it will be that much harder to get back into it in the new year.
  • Rest – Because most of us are consuming more sugar and alcohol it’s vital that we get more rest. The holidays are meant for you to relax and take a break from routine. So although you’ll still be doing regular workouts, make sure to allow extra nap-time as well, and give yourself permission to fully rest. The stress of the holidays can cause our cortisol to rise and in turn, may cause weight gain. Naps are similar to meditation in a way that they allow our body and mind to shut off leaving us feeling more centered.
  • Re-Ignite – The end of the year offers you a wonderful opportunity to go inward and contemplate your next steps. A new year always represents fresh new dreams, ideas, and goals that we would like to accomplish in the next 12 months. When we overdo our eating, drinking, and stress levels, we diminish this amazing time to look deeper and to re-ignite our spirits. After a year of running around and busyness, you owe it to yourself to use the holidays for greater good and to ensure that the year ahead is your BEST YEAR EVER!

 

Jay Bradley is a Youthful Aging, Wellness & Lifestyle Coach living in Los Angeles. http://www.jaybradleylifestyle.com

He is the Best-Selling Author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!

Are you Depressed or is it Just the Holidays?

Are you Depressed or is it Just the Holidays?

We’ve all felt down from time to time. Emotions are an integral part of what makes us human. Sometimes the low times can magnify the ups, so they’re not always that bad.

I have struggled with bouts of depression throughout my life. It began from a young age and has carried into my adult years. However, I have learned how to cope by taking great care of my physical health, doing the inner spiritual work and by being innately aware of what is going on with my thought process. But depression is a disease and sometimes it’s difficult to figure out when we are truly and chemically depressed versus feeling down because of outside circumstances or events.

This happens a lot during holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. Holidays, while supposedly fun and social, can also bring out deep-routed sadness. There are a multitude of reasons we get down with too much spending, family dynamics, and overall fatigue from lack of sleep or overeating topping the list.

Of course, always seek professional help if your depression lasts for extended periods or if you are unable to cope with day-to-day activities.

If you suspect your low mood is due to an external source such as the holidays, here are some useful tips to get you through it while minimizing possible depression and feelings of being overwhelmed:

  • Reduce Sugar
    This is a tough one especially during the holidays but sugar is a known depressant. Desserts and alcohol while initially causing a high, will lead to an ultimate crash in blood sugar, insulin levels, and overall energy. Allow yourself to binge a little bit during the holidays but know when to say enough is enough. Don’t feel the pressure to eat everything on your plate and drink one glass of water or soda between every alcoholic beverage to offset its effects. If something doesn’t tantalize your taste buds, don’t finish it.
  • Find a Friend
    Being around family for extended periods can bring out a lot of stuff from our past. Emotions can run high and toxic memories that we hold deep seem to surface quickly during the holidays. If you’re feeling emotional or drained, find a good friend to talk to. Decompress with somebody who knows you well and can remind you that you are in fact, sane, wonderful, and balanced and that family can bring out our worst. Friends can act as a therapist when we need them the most.
  • Take a Time Out
    Creating a morning practice is something that I recommend to all of my clients and friends. Journaling, prayer, meditation, and reading uplifting material every day, WILL change your life and your mood. It’s more important than ever to continue carving out this time during the holidays. Even if you have to get up 15 minutes early, it’s worth the commitment. This solo time will create a haven for you where you can get centered before the craziness begins.
  • Watch Your Wallet
    If you’re a giver, then this definitely applies to you. Many of us feel pressured to buy extravagant gifts during the holidays especially if others have done the same for us. Take the time to write down how much money you have for gifts (if any at all) and then create a budget for yourself. Carry it with you while you’re shopping and take notes in order to stay on track. Remember, the size or price of our gift in NO WAY reflects our love for somebody. A beautiful card with sincere words goes a long way, often meaning much more to others then a present. Don’t feel the pressure to give back. If you don’t have the money for gifts, learn to receive without the stress of having to return the favor. Those who truly matter will understand.
  • Keep Up with Exercise
    It’s totally fine to take a short break from your exercise routine during the holidays but don’t go too long. The longer you’re away, the more difficult it is to return. Also, exercise creates endorphins, which are the “feel good” hormone. They are more important than ever for those who are prone to depression. Push yourself to do short, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) which takes less time but with better results. HIIT also acts as a wonderful detox from sugar and alcohol.
  • Learn to say NO
    So many parties, so little time! It’s easy to get caught up wanting to be social and to visit with all of your favorite people. You must learn that it is okay to say no. If you’re not a “hell yes” to an event, party, or get together, consider turning it down with a polite response. People who love you will not take it personally. It is always best to put yourself first because if we are drained and feeling down, we have nothing left to offer others.