Now I’m going to be really boring and ask you to remember something…..
Disease doesn’t have a day off!
With that in mind, I thought I’d bring you some of my best tips to help prevent inflammation over the holiday season.
Here they are…
Don’t let your best health principles slip!!
Good habits and healthy practices are the cornerstone of a disease free life, so let’s not catch you slippin!
The Turkey will look tasty, and you’ll eat too much, but that doesn’t mean every day of the holidays has to be “eat till you spew day.”
That kind of thinking can lead to painful food addictions that are difficult to control.
The only way I have found to beat RA is to take responsibility for every food decision I make. If you can master this dark art your body might just give you the best Christmas present you could ever wish for….. Pain free living!
Prevent inflammation with mindful eating
If you’re going to be a P-I-G and overeat, try to do it early in the day!
At least this way you’ll be full for the evening, and your poor stomach lining will get some rest during the night.
Inflammatory conditions often respond badly to excessive late night eating.
Eating any food after 6 pm is not advised, and if you must partake, then be careful with your portion size. Of course that is less important if the food is anti inflammatory, but your gut lining will not thank you for this abuse. The quality of your sleep may also suffer and result in raised inflammation levels the following day.
It is often better to eat highly nutritious foods first thing in the morning. This way we are less likely to stuff our faces during the rest of the day.
Will I have to give up foods?
What about the foods I might have to give up, I hear you cry!
Ask yourself…..Have you ever missed eating a food you didn’t feel like eating?
Simple fact is people usually only get upset about missing out on bad foods when they crave them or are hungry.
This can be avoided If you have already eaten something highly nutritious in the hours before the temptation appears. You simply don’t have the desire to eat and are much more likely to walk away and not give the food a second thought.
Sometimes we all have to give up foods that we can’t tolerate any longer. The good news is that I have been able to add many of these foods back into my diet without problems. I just don’t want to eat them anymore.
When we feed ourselves correctly our bodies are flooded with vital nutrients, this makes hunger impossible and allows us to make the right choices even under severe tests of our will.
Trying to avoid eating foods that contain gluten is always a good idea for anyone with an auto immune condition. Foods that contain gluten are just about any food made from flour.
Seek out the gluten free option if possible.
Don’t over do it!
The age old advice of “eat little and often” is key here because our hunger is only satiated once the digestive system has released the vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients it needs to run the processes of the body.
Eating huge plate fulls of hard to digest meat isn’t going to be very good for anyone with leaky gut issues. However, It can be fine now and then.
My own experience shows that in my case it was valuable for me to have a period of drinking smoothies and juices until my gut lining was back in good working order.
We must also understand the tricky issue of gut bacteria and find the right combinations of enzymes and probiotics for us.
Everyone is different in this regard and it can be a process of trial and error. However, once things start to settle down our gut bacteria can remain stable for long periods with no further interventions needed.
Proper digestion of food and the release of usable nutrients can take up to 20 minutes in some cases.
It is valuable to remember this fact if you are prone to overeating. Our brains can report the hunger response despite the fact our bellies are full and we need to be aware that this feeling is temporary and will pass once our food has had sufficient time to break down. Chewing our food properly can help reduce this response time.
So if you feel hungry after eating it might be a good idea to go and do something else to take your mind off the craving and you’ll find that after 20 minutes the urge will be gone.
Furthermore, we should be aware that our foods actually need to contain sufficient nutrients for this process to work. Some “foods” contain no nutrients at all! These absurd substances masquerading as foods often use more nutrients in their assimilation than they provide the body.
This is why you can eat junk food all day long and still be hungry.
If you know you are going to have a bad food day coming up, always try to eat nutrient rich food in the morning and try to get some exercise before things get messy.
Keep moving and exercising.
Arthur will be looking for every opportunity to cause mischief over the festive period so keep that synovial fluid, blood, lymphatic fluid, and nutrient rich extracellular milieu pumped and flowing.
Pumping the body
We all know that the heart pumps the blood, but did you know that physical movement pumps the other systems of the body?
Sitting for too long lets inflammation get a foothold because we’re not moving our bodily fluids in the way they are designed to be moved.
Pumping the immune system
When we move we pump the immune system around the body and this can in some cases help us avoid stiffening up, but the immune system doesn’t have a heart so it relies on us to be provide the action.
Pumping the joints
Moving our joints pumps synovial fluid inside the joint capsule in the same way and helps us to maintain good range of motion. Movement of the joints is a vital process which nourishes the joint and helps blood get to the cartilage.
Without it we feel more pain and stiffness and suffer decreased range of motion and increased potential for deformity.
ATP the energy currency of the cell
Exercise is in many ways vital to metabolism and life. When we move our bodies produce a molecule called ATP. This is the cellular energy currency of our metabolism. Without it we have little energy or power to move and the cell cannot carry out basic functions.
If we fail to move we can become trapped in is a vicious circle where we have no energy to move but must move to produce ATP.
Exercise gives us an energy boost at the cellular level and this is the very reason why exercise makes us feel energised and alive.
I’ll be making sure I’m charged with ATP and ready to go over Christmas by working out for at least an hour on Christmas day.
How will I exercise on Christmas day
My exercise regime will consist of at least 30 minutes of intense cardio and then a good session in the gym. Yes it’s going to be tough to fit in, but I hope you’ll join me in this vital endeavour.
After dinner Christmas walks are also something we should all be enjoying and I’m sure I’ll be outside walking my dinner off if the weather allows.
If you can’t get out for a walk try and do some sit ups, lie on your bed with your legs over the bottom of the bed and feet on the floor and pull your body upright from the flat position. The gut is like the rest of the body. It relies on movement to pump the food through your digestive system. Sit ups massage the gut wonderfully and promote healthy digestion and elimination.
Walking, rebounding, sit ups, running on the spot, dancing, playing with the kids, all help to relieve the pressure on the gut and help with elimination.
So be a good house keeper this Christmas! Sweat, and move, and dump the internal wastes quickly. All of these things will help with the elimination of waste and toxins that cause inflammation.
Be mindful of drinking alcohol
Drink alcohol in moderation, and take plenty of water or juices between drinks.
Drinking fresh pressed juices will help you replenish some of the nutrients your body uses to assimilate these substances.
Healthy fruit juices also help to flush and support the liver.
The link below will provide you with lots of healthy fruity smoothie ideas that mix effortlessly with your fave poison….
Try to vary your drinks and opt for wine rather than endless pints of body dehydrating lager.
Paersonally, I will be juicing the veggie greens hard over the Christmas period, and I would advise you to do the same. Nothing quite gives you the same therapeutic level of nutrients when you’re trying to prevent inflammation.
Get plenty of sleep!
Sleep works best when we are in bed before 10pm. 😉
Melatonin (the powerful antioxidant sleep chemical) is produced by the pineal gland in the brain and can help prevent inflammation. The production and release of melatonin occurs with our circadian rhythms, with peak levels produced between 10pm and 2 am. Do not miss those hours of sleep or you will miss out on the sleep chemical!
Many people have difficulty sleeping, and I was no different until I found meditation.
Meditation is the practice of clearing the mind of stray thoughts and sending the brain into a trance like state, without going to sleep.
Scientifically speaking, the aim is to slow our brain wave patterns down from Beta brainwaves down to low Alpha patterns and beyond.
Meditation as a powerful sleep aid
Now that’s all good, but what does this have to do with sleep? Well, we can play a little trick on ourselves here and induce sleep by messing up our meditation.
Anyone who has laid in bed and tried to meditate will tell you that it is almost impossible to meditate like that without falling sleep.
Once I realised this I knew I could use meditation in reverse and actually send myself to sleep by trying to do the very thing that quiets my mind, brings health, and induces sleep.
Meditation is the practice of falling asleep with your eyes open, but it takes incredible self control to master and to stay awake at the same time.
Using meditation when we can’t sleep changes our focus away from not being able to sleep and allows us to try and achieve a meditative state. This is helpful because there is nothing worse than trying to will yourself to sleep. That just frustrates us and turns the mind into a whirring mess.
The good thing is that 20 minutes of meditation are said to be as beneficial as 4 hours of sleep!
So either way we win!
Meditate and fall asleep and we achieve our goal.
Meditate and don’t fall asleep and we get some rest attributed to meditation, but we also quiet the mind, learn how to control our thoughts, and send the body directly into its most valuable healing state.
Turning down the volume on the part of the autonomic nervous system called the parasympathetic nervous system, Often referred to as the “fight or flight” system, sends us into deep repair mode and helps us to prevent inflammation.
We should aim to be in this mode at all times of day and night!
Learning to meditate whilst trying to sleep is a good way to then introduce meditation into your waking hours and allows us to live stress free and highly restorative lives.
More great relaxing sleep aids to prevent inflammation
Before all this sleeping can take place there are other sleep inducing healing practices we can try.
Such as enjoying a nice long relaxing bath containing essential oils and magnesium sulfate, sometimes called Epsom salts.
These two healthy bath buddies soothe and relax your muscles and prevent inflammation. The good stuff doesn’t stop there because magnesium sulfate detoxes the body and increases our bodies levels of magnesium. Ideal for bone building and relaxing muscles.
There is nothing better for sleep than having a good long soak in a magnesium sulfate bath whilst we enjoy soothing essential oils. Double down on the pure heaven by sliding into a freshly made bed to meditate and you’ll soon be waking from a beautiful restorative sleep.
Perfect preparation for attacking Christmas or repairing the damage it might cause. Sweet dreams.
Families can be a pain in the back of the hip joint, but you don’t have to react like a flaming Arthro flare to every situation.
Chill out and know that you’re better to respond to bad situations (if at all) rather than react.
Smile sweetly, make jokes, and don’t take it too personally. People can be dicks and they do a great job of maximising that capability at Christmas…Especially if they’ve had a drink.
Some of these people will only see you once a year and may stare or make inappropriate comments, but that’s ok. Folks don’t always recognise magnificence, so just move through these passing episodes and be safe in the knowledge that the uneducated will figure it out for themselves one day.
Show them love for their lack of understanding and move on gracefully.
The good part is some folks can be helpful, appreciative, kind, loving, and freaking amazing! Spend lots of your time around those people, and try not to stay too long in negative conversation or gossip.
No one will thank you for being involved in that stuff, and it’s not valuable or healthy anyway.
Stay where the love is if you want to prevent inflammation.
DO NOT LINGER IN A MOOD!
No one likes a Grinch.
It’s Christmas! So smile. 🙂 Show love, give without needing to receive, and always forgive easily.
Epi genetics tell us we need to be aware of every action, thought, word, deed, food choice, mood, and environment we place ourselves in.
Sulking and lingering in moods is not a productive, or healthy, state to be in so move on quickly from your troubles.
If you need motivation to achieve this, just reflect on the fact that our genes are upregulated by all of the good things we do and downregulated by doing negative stuff like nursing foul moods.
Putting yourself in the best mood, healthiest environments, and being around the most loving people will maximise your healthiest genetic expression, make everyone smile, and prevent inflammation.
Sounds simple. 🙂
Don’t compound bad lifestyle choices!
Any insult to the system is better tolerated if it’s balanced out with good practices.
For example. Eating good foods in combination with bad foods gives us a greater better chance to avoid, or get over flares quickly.
If I eat a bad food (which is very rare) I’ll always follow it directly with some good food, or a helpful dose of something highly nutritious to help the body avoid getting into nutrient deficits.
Be mindful of sugar, gluten, alcohol, salt, and cake.
Eat good foods
You can still have a great Christmas and lots of fun without having to give everything up.
There are now untold healthy alternative Christmas options that don’t taste like sawdust. Vegan nut loaf, over night oats, juices/smoothies, no bake cakes, and all manner of gluten free goodies are available at the touch of a button.
The ingredients are readily available in most good stores too, and can be easily purchased online.
There really isn’t any excuse for lacking inspiration or not going the extra yard to help your body overcome disease. If you haven’t encountered the food revolution on the net you’re in for a treat because eating this way is a beautiful journey of food, and self, discovery.
I find it so exciting and really enjoy making and researching these beautiful creations that prevent inflammation.
Here’s some healthy option festive Faves to get you through the good times safely
Good quality supplementation is vital at all times.
We simply cannot get all of the vital nutrients we need from our food. Even when we juice or blend we still have holes in our nutrition.
At this time of year when many of us are suffering from Vitamin D3 depletion and other deficiencies. This means it’s important to take a good quality multi Vit, and do our research on which supplements are right for us.
Here’s a list of supplements I’ll be using this season to prevent inflammation, but please bare in mind that I take no drugs so don’t need to look out for negative interactions.
Evening Primrose Oil
Cod liver Oil
I will also be using some of my favourite remedies and foods
Apple cider vinegar
Chaga mushroom tea
A good probiotic
If you want a happy and healthy festive season, PLAN!
Know your limitations and which foods set you off on a flare. Do not get drunk and think it’s going to be ok to be naughty and “just have a bite” of that food that hates you.
Figure out the stressful points in your day.
For example, will you have to walk long distances or stand for extended periods?
If so, can you make that transition easier?
Could you wear more comfortable shoes?
When and where will your meals be, and can you choose an healthy option?
If you like the after dinner cheese and biscuits….Take the cheese, but avoid the biscuits. Unless they’re gluten free!
Do you have your medication/Nsaid’s, and do you need to pre load before going out?
I don’t use medication now, but I have no problem with stopping inflammation with medication before it gets started.
Nothing does more damage than rampant inflammation, and using these substances mindfully, and combining them with a healthy diet will protect you the best during your worst hours.
So please take good care and have as much fun as possible because that’s healthy too!
And if you find yourself going crazy over the festive season, don’t forget to get plenty of your favourite anti-inflammatories (including foods) and painkiller in before the shops shut down. :/
One final thing.
Try to eat as cleanly as you can between bad food days. It will really help prevent inflammation. And if you can juice, all the better!
Merry Christmas and good health!!