So, it's time for the holidays. Traditionally there is a smorgasbord of festive treats this time of year. Holiday parties can be challenging when you are undergoing cancer treatment or if you have Lymphedema, as it’s advised for you to eat an anti-inflammatory healthy diet that includes whole grains, healthy fats, fruits, vegetables and fish to promote optimal weight. This diet helps to boost the body's immune system, which will help prevent and treat infections, but it does not include many of the favorite “holiday foods.”
How will you enjoy yourself and maintain your healthy lifestyle in the midst of all these holiday temptations? Here are some tips to help you to "pass" on the alcohol, sweet food, roasted potatoes, stuffing, gravy and latkes and stay on track with your eating plan. With a few simple adjustments, you can still eat a delicious meal during the holidays.
- I eat a healthy snack with fiber and protein, prior to going to a party where I know there may not be healthy choices. That way I am not tempted by starchy or sugary foods which will contribute to inflammation.
- You can also offer to bring a side dish that is healthy. Then, you’ll know that there will be at least one healthy option for you to eat.
- Add a good probiotic powder (beneficial ingestible microbes) to your diet during this season. Research shows that prebiotics and probiotics may enhance favotable eating and decrease food intake. Some Lactobacillus probiotics have been reported to reduce fat mass and improve insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance in addition to reducing cravings (read more in this article).
- When you are in the buffet line, take more greens and healthy veggies first and then add the side dishes. You'll have less room on your plate for the high-calorie carbohydrate dishes
- Skip the creamy dips and processed meats and look for alternatives like hummus, avocadoes, mixed nuts or fruit.
- Leave out the gravy and the stuffing. If you are making the meal consider making a gluten free version of stuffing with cornbread. Corn has insoluble fiber that feeds the healthy bacteria in your gut, which helps to reduce inflammation.
- Eat fiber rich foods, such as green vegetables, whole grains, nuts, fruit and beans. These are excellent choices of prebiotics to heal your gut lining.
- Avoid high sodium foods as they create stress on your immune system and create inflammation in the body.
- If you are receiving chemotherapy and bone-marrow transplants, your immune system may be weakened and it is vital that you do not eat foods that are high in sugar, which would increase inflammation and further reduce immunity.
- Sip your wine and make it last the whole evening to reduce your intake of alcohol.
Wishing you all a happy healthy holiday season!
Linda Anne is an internationally trained Lymphedema Therapist, Clinical Aromatherapist, Integrative Nutritional Health Coach and Board Certified massage therapist with more than 30 years of experience.
She is nationally certified by the Lymphology Association of North America and internationally certified by the Dr. Vodder School, Austria and the Foeldi School, Germany. She specializes in treating Dercum's Disease and Lipedema. She is the founder of Lymphatic Therapy Services of San Diego, Beauty Kliniek Aromatherapy Day Spa and Varenya Essentials in San Diego. She is a stage 1 Lipedema patient and is co-author of Lymphedema and Lipedema Nutrition Guide.