12 Ways to Eat Healthy During The Holidays

People eating roasted chicken and drinking red wine at Christmas dinner
You can enjoy the time spent with loved ones without sabotaging your health goals.

The Christmas season often involves reconnecting with family and friends over high-fat, high-calorie goodies, leaving you feeling guilty once the season ends.

You can enjoy the time spent with loved ones without sabotaging your health goals. It takes conscious effort and some self-control, but you’ll be glad when the holidays are over that you got through the festivities without kicking your diet to the curb.


  1. Don’t think that you are saving calories when you skip breakfast. It helps to keep hunger at bay and reduces the chance of over indulging in high-calorie snacks between meals.


  1. Don’t skip meals to compensate for over indulgence the night before. Getting back on track with your healthy eating plans is vital to ensure you get the nutrients your body needs throughout the


  1. Offer to bring a scrumptious salad or vegetable side dish to the festivities. That way, you know there will be something healthy and diet friendly on the table.


  1. Take along a healthy, easy-to-carry snack to munch on between the main meals. (An orange, a banana or a bag of nuts will do).


  1. Join in the conversation and socialize as you eat – it will slow down your consumption and give your body enough time to signal when it is full.


  1. Choose lean meat (turkey or ham) and vegetables before the fatty and sugary options. Leave those for seconds when you’re already partially full and less likely to overdo it.


  1. Prevent spikes in your blood sugar level by having a healthy snack or small meal every three to four hours, instead of eating a single large meal.


  1. Have antioxidant rich green tea with your dessert (or in place of it). It’s good for you and fills you up so you are less likely to take that second slice of pie.


  1. Choose red wine for the great phytochemicals they contain or carbonated water with a slice of lime and a few mint leaves, instead of sugary cocktails loaded with calories.


  1. If you consume alcohol, ensure you eat regular meals to help your body better cope with its effects. Also, alternate your alcoholic beverage with a non-alcoholic one to lessen your intake.


  1. Socialize away from the buffet table, so you are less likely to become a victim of recreational eating.


  1. Fit physical activity into your days to use up some of the extra calories you’re consuming. This can be an exercise routine, a leisurely walk or playing with the children.



Moderation is the key to enjoying the happy holidays – so go ahead and try the not-so-healthy stuff on the table– just don’t get stuffed.

Achieving Success

Apple Founder Steve Jobs Quotes

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” –Steve Jobs

In this article we will apply the Apple founder’s words, to the thing we each desire most in life – success.

 “… don’t waste (time) living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.”

Do not try to copy someone else’s success story, since what they have achieved or hope to achieve defines them not you. The best approach for you to take is finding motivation in the philosophies, behaviors and attitudes of people you think of as successful. Identifying your personal success goal is crucial to achieving it, realizing you have attained it, and enjoying it.

Take an honest look at your life and where you want it to go. Determine what ultimate success means to you and how you can go about reaching it. You may need to break it down into smaller achievements to help you envision its attainment. Write it down!  Seeing your desired success goal on paper makes it more tangible, taking the idea out of your head and setting its actualization into motion. But, it is not cast in stone. Expect and accept that you will need to tweak it here and there as time and experiences pass by. Many successful people note that when they review their successes, it is the journey to success that they treasure most.

 “Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

This is not suggesting that you should shut out the world and ignore the input of others. On the contrary, you must share your desired success goal with those around as they can provide valuable encouragement and help you to remain focused. You must have the presence of mind to weigh their suggestions and discard those that do not mesh with what you are hoping to achieve and how you wish to achieve it. Do not ignore your inner voice reminding you of what you have set out to achieve. Ultimately, your success depends on how strongly you believe in it.


You cannot follow someone else to your success, but at the same time the road to success is best traveled in the company of a strong supportive group of family and friends. Welcome the support they offer but be confident in the choices you have made.

The Benefits Of Sleep

Sleeping Girl on the bed
The Benefits Of Sleep – 6 Good Reasons To Catch Those ZZZ’s

6 Good Reasons To Catch Those ZZZ’s

Sleep is vital to the overall well–being of all aspects of our bodies (both mental and physical). But as we try to balance commitments to family, friends, and work we often end up sacrificing rest and necessary sleep. Lack of sleep, whether for just one night or on a recurring basis can have detrimental effects on our health and ability to effectively cope with everyday situations.

As we sleep we cycle through periods of deep sleep and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep (or dreaming), with the REM portion increasing as we sleep longer. Enjoying the maximum restorative benefits of sleep requires getting 4 -5 sets of these sleep cycles per night.

Benefits Of Sleep

  1. Adequate sleep makes vaccines work more efficiently. Studies show that a person who gets sufficient sleep and receives the flu vaccine develop better resilience to the illness than those who are sleep deprived.
  1. Sleep affects the general quality of life, helping to ward off various adverse conditions. It reduces stress levels and fosters better control of blood pressure, boosting cardiovascular health. A good night’s sleep decreases anxiety since it provides more emotional stability. Conversely, a consistent lack of sufficient sleep can contribute to depression.
  1. Sleep helps to limit inflammation linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, and premature aging. Higher levels of inflammatory proteins are registered in the blood of persons who get less than six hours of sleep a night.
  1. As you sleep you strengthen memories and “practice” skills (both physical and mental) learnt while you were awake. Studies show college students who didn’t get enough sleep had worse grades than those who did. In similar studies, athletes who get sufficient sleep displayed increased stamina and less daytime fatigue.
  1. Avoid accidents. Sleeplessness affects reaction time and decision making, and insufficient sleep for just one night can be as detrimental to your driving ability as having an alcoholic drink. Records show that in crashes due to the driver’s performance, being tired accounts for the highest number of fatal single-car run-off-the-road accidents.
  1. Sleep and metabolism are controlled by the same areas of the brain and the hormones in the blood that drive appetite increase with sleepiness. Therefore, dieters who are sleep deprived feel hungrier than those who are well rested, and they tend to lose less fat.

Sufficient (good) sleep directly correlates with improved health. A good night’s sleep on a regular basis can help to ensure that you get the most out of every day.

Related Article: Acupuncture for Restful Sleep

Wonderful Water – 6 Great Reasons to Drink Up

Water Health Benefits
6 Benefits Of Drinking Water

What’s odorless, tasteless, colorless and an essential part of any diet? Water, of course! Processes such as digestion, creation of saliva and the regulation of body temperature require that our bodies maintain the correct balance of water.

We naturally lose water when we breathe, perspire, or pass urine and stool. We run the risk of dehydration when water lost is not replaced at a reasonable rate. We can get the water our body needs from plain water, liquids and food (trying to ensure that our sources are as healthful as possible). Here are 6 great reasons to ensure that your body gets the water it deserves.


6 Benefits Of Drinking Water

  1. Body fluids are kept in balance as your brain regulates how much water is excreted in urine and how much is retained in the blood. Don’t ignore the thirst cues your brain sends. Grab a glass of water, juice, coffee, or milk. Just about anything will do (except alcohol which can lead to dehydration through excess of water loss).


  1. Your kidneys need an adequate supply of water to effectively rid the body of wastes and toxins. Your chances of developing kidney stones are greatly reduced if you drink enough water. Urine that is light-colored, odorless and flows freely is an indication that you are getting enough water.


  1. Normal bowel function relies on you taking in sufficient water. You keep constipation at bay and your colon does not need to reabsorb water from your stools to maintain your body’s hydration level.


  1. Water plays a vital role in weight loss and maintenance. Use it to quench your thirst or to replace a sugary high-calorie beverage to go with you meal. Opt for healthy foods with a high water content that will lessen your calories while giving you beneficial nutrients. Some good sources are fruits, vegetables, oatmeal, broth-based soups, and beans.


  1. Muscle fatigue, from dehydrated muscles, occurs when cells do not maintain the right balance of electrolytes and water. This means you need to regularly replace water lost during exercise or other strenuous activity. Drink approximately 17 ounces of water 2 hours prior to exercise and keep up regular replacement of water lost due to sweating.


  1. Your skin actually contains a high percentage of water and has the function of preventing excess water loss from the body. Drinking sufficient water is a smart way to keep your skin looking and feeling good. It won’t erase wrinkles, but it can combat the drying, withered effect of dehydration.


The amount of water we consume directly impacts our state of health. So fill your glass or grab a wedge of juicy melon and let’s toast to your health!

Five Fabulous Fiber Facts

Woman holding an apple with a hand on her abdomen.
Five Fabulous Dietary Fiber Facts

Whatever you call it, fiber, roughage or bulk, is often touted for its usefulness in helping to maintain bowel regularity. While this is undoubtedly true, there are other great benefits to ensuring that your diet contains sufficient fiber.

Fiber is the indigestible part of plant food (fruits and vegetables), that passes relatively intact through the digestive system and out of the body. It comes in two forms – soluble (dissolves in water) and insoluble (does not dissolve in water). Both types are beneficial to the body and found in most foods. Some good sources are apples, corn, potatoes, avocados, oats, peas, beans, almonds and citrus fruits.

So, you might be wondering how something that your body cannot breakdown could be good for you. Here are five reasons for adding that lovely bulk to your diet that can aid in maintaining your overall health.


Five Benefits Of Dietary Fiber

by Naturopathic Doctor Toronto

  1. Fiber regularizes bowel movements by adding weight and volume to stool while softening it. This makes it easier for stool to pass out of the body, decreasing the risk of constipation. On the flip side, watery stools are solidified by fiber, since it absorbs excess water as it bulks up the stool.
  1. Fiber has been shown useful in helping to maintain good bowel health by lowering the risk of you developing hemorrhoids and diverticular disease (small pouches in the colon). It is also felt that colon health is aided by fermentation of fiber in the colon.
  1. Soluble fiber, of which fruits (especially oranges), oats and beans are excellent sources, lowers “bad” cholesterol levels, leading to a reduction in total blood cholesterol. Fiber also reduces blood pressure, and that’s a very heart-healthy fact.
  1. Soluble fiber slows the absorption of sugar, helping to improve blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. The insoluble variety (high in brown rice, whole-wheat bread and the seeds and skins of fruit) reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  1. High fiber foods work in several ways to help you to reach and maintain a healthy weight. Firstly, since these foods are bulkier, they increase the volume of food you consume without adding to your calorie intake. Additionally, a high-fiber meal leaves you feeling fuller for longer, since it takes more time for your body to digest fiber-rich foods. High-fiber foods also increase the amount of time you spend chewing. Your body is then better able to register that you are full before you actually end up overeating.

Far from bland, fiber comes in great tasting whole foods that are nutrient rich and low in calories. It benefits so many aspects of your health, while encouraging you to add important variety to your meals.

8 Key Steps to Staying Healthy

Young healthy woman exercising in the gym
8 Key Steps to Staying Healthy

Getting healthy is a long-term commitment that can help you thriving throughout life. With motivation and determination, you can make and stick to healthy lifestyle choices. You will reap benefits well into the future from the changes you make today.

Here are 8 tips on getting healthy in all areas of your life.

1. Be Physically Active

You can go walking, running, or dancing, take part in a sport activity, do some yoga or just about anything that keeps you active. Aim for 30 minutes of physical activity on most days. This may be broken into three 10-minute sessions for the day.

2. Eat a Well-Balanced Diet

Variety and moderation are important to remember. Eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains and include healthy fats. Drink sufficient water throughout the day and watch your sugar and salt intake.

3. Check Your Weight but Don’t Obsess

Being fit does not mean you are setting out to win any competitions! Check your weight and BMI and discuss these with your doctor if you feel you may be over or underweight. Being healthy is more about your overall condition and less about a number on a scale.

4. Brush Your Teeth

A healthy mouth is the start of good nutrition. It also promotes self-esteem, and enhances social interaction. Brush your teeth after meals, after drinking and before going to bed. And don’t forget to floss daily!

5. Get Enough Sleep and Rest

Restorative sleep is vital to optimizing your daily activities. Your relationships, work and overall health benefit from a good night’s sleep. Sleep also boosts your memory power, increases longevity, and eases inflammation in the body.

6. Exercise Your Brain

Your brain is activated by your senses, so try mixing things up a bit to keep your brain active and engaged. Allow your brain to flex its muscles – attempt everyday tasks with your other hand, get hooked on brainteaser puzzles, and try a new route to work.

7. Maintain a Healthy Outlook

Indulge in some ‘me time’ doing things that make you happy. Keeping in touch with family and friends, and community involvement also go a long way towards improved overall health. Lifelong learning also helps, so sign up for a new course, or learn a new language or skill.

8. Cut Yourself Some Slack

Remember you are only human so don’t beat up yourself for missing a health and fitness target here and there. The best trick is to start small, making simple changes daily. The changes are more likely to stick if you make them gradually and give yourself time to adjust. After all it’s a healthy lifestyle you are hoping to develop – give it some time.

External Chinese Medical Therapies

Applications of Chinese medicines are very wide.  They have been used not only internally, but also externally since the Stone Age. Ancients attempted to stop bleeding by applying mud or plant ashes to the affected body parts to relieve pain, swelling or itchiness.  Medicinal herb bath was used to induce perspiration and increase the blood circulation.

China is a large country, so the traditional application methods of external Chinese medicines vary from region to region.  Some of these traditional therapeutic methods are still used today in modern medical facilities in China.

Bathing in Warm Herbal Decoction

Medicinal Hot Bath
From “A Collection of Essential Materia Medica”, Ming Dynasty. Hu Qing Yu Tang Museum of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Hangzhou, China

An illustration describing external therapies such as hot compress, wet compress, medicinal bathing, ointment, and medicinal puncture used by Tibetan surgeons.  

External Medicinal Therapies
Hu Qing Yu Tang Museum of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Hangzhou, China