5 Healthy Holiday Habits

We can all get a little caught up in the festivities of the season. So much delicious food, good company and many of us are on vacation!

Why not make the best choices over this holiday vacation to get you revved up for the new year? Here are 5 tips to keep in mind!


  1. Survey the whole buffet or table of food before picking up a plate.
    • More than 50% of people fill their plates with the first 3 items at a buffet (1). When these are healthy items, that’s great! When they’re unhealthy items, that’s not so great. People also tend to eat more when there are enjoyable items at the end of the buffet they didn’t get onto their plate the first round. We tend to go back for 2nds, 3rds or 4ths and over-eat until our bellies are painfully full. This can add to that ‘holiday weight gain’, change healthy bowel habits, and overall make us feel less than optimal.
    • Tip: Take your time and check out all the items that are available to eat. Choose those you would like to try and take a conscious note to leave room on your plate if you intend to go back for more.
  2. Eat veggies daily!
    • Holiday treats and eating out or with friends can often throw our healthy eating habits for a loop. This changes what our bodies are used to and can make us more fatigued over the holidays – a time when we’d like to have more energy.
    • Tip: Eat a healthy portion of veggies (steamed, stir-fry or a salad) before going out for the day. Better yet, change it up and have these for breakfast, this will ensure you’re getting a healthy start to the day!
  3. Drink water!
    • Alcohol and party drinks often replace our water and herbal teas.
    • Tip: Bring a  filled water bottle with you in the car when traveling and be sure to drink it. When at a party, alternate water with other beverages of choice. If you’re hosting, put a pitcher of water out for the guests and lead by example. Add berries and fresh mint to the water for a little flavour and festive colour!
  4. Walkie – talkie
    • It’s a wonderful time to meet with friends and catch up on old times. I find myself going from one place to the next all involving sitting and chatting. Especially with kids, it’s a great idea to get out and about!
    • Tip: Suggest to meet friends at a local park or trail and chat while enjoying the fresh air.
  5. Save time for yourselfstock-photo-74732261-environmentally-friendly-christmas-gift-wrapped-in-moss
    • The holidays can be very hectic and we get caught up in shopping, visiting, eating, cooking, baking…and many more yearly obligations. Make sure to take time this season to do something you enjoy. Allow the holidays to be a time where you can de-stress and engage in activities that rejuvenate yourself.
    • Tip: Start a daily habit of taking a few minutes for yourself. Engage in an activity that brings back your youthful holiday spirit!


(1) Wansink, B. & Hanks, A. (2013) . Slim by Design: Serving healthy foods first in buffet lines improve overall meal selection. PLOS One 8(10), 1-5.

Dirty dozen…A place to start.

Have your heard of the ‘dirty dozen list’? Well..there are many!

I had the privilege of hearing Dr. Walter Crinnon speak today, an expert in the world of toxicology and ‘detoxing’.

I have heard questions like “Why buy organic?”, “Is it just a scam?”. There are important reasons as to why we should buy certain organic foods, others it makes less of a difference. This has to do with the way the produce absorbs toxins from the environment and how they will then be transferred into your body.

The list of the “dirty dozen” that are best to buy organic include:

  • Apples, Celery, Sweet bell peppers, Peaches, Strawberries, Nectarines, Grapes, Spinach, Lettuce, Cucumbers, Blueberries, and Potatoes.

The “clean fifteen” that are less likely to cause symptoms if they are not organic include:

  • Onions, Sweet corn, Pineapples, Avocado, Cabbage, Sweet peas, Asparagus, Mangoes, Eggplant, Kiwi, Cantaloupe, Sweet potatoes, Grapefruit, Watermelon, Mushrooms.

Still not convinced? Check out these resources for a detailed explanation on why you might care.

Check out:

  • EWG.org
  • davidsuzuki.org

These are also great resources for all those other dirty dozen lists (e.g., what to watch out for when buying cleaning products, or make-up).

Aspartame may trigger migraines

If you’re searching for solutions to migraines, talk to your ND. To get you through here’s a bit of information I found in my research.

According to a well respected M.D.  Dr. Alan Gaby, aspartame may be trigger migraines in some people. After more than 2 months of storage aspartame undergoes chemical changes as the product degrades.

Studies have been done by marketing companies to show aspartame doesn’t induce headaches but there were many limitations to this research. It is important that research reflects real life. In this particular study, the participants were give doses of aspartame 3 times a day, however it was not give in the same way and the same dose amount as would usually be found in foods.  It is thus not appropriate to take these findings as advice when determining potential treatments of migraines. It is still expected that aspartame may be a migraine trigger.



Gaby, A. (2011) Nutritional Medicine.  Concord, NH: Fritz Pearlberg Publishing.