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3 Simple Tips for a Healthy Holiday

Alasen ZarndtIt can be extremely hard to make healthy choices throughout the Holidays! In this week’s guest blog The Nutrition Doula will share some simple tips to help you stay on track AND enjoy this holiday season. Alasen Zarndt is not just the Nutrition Doula, she is also my friend. I can tell you that she is passionate about helping women fuel their body so they can feel their best.

As a health, wellness, and nutrition coach, Alasen specializes in coming alongside new mothers during their pregnancy and postpartum years. However, the philosophy of using real, everyday foods to care for yourself and your family is applicable throughout every stage of life!


jamie and alasen









3 Simple Tips for a Healthy Holiday

The Holiday Season is in full swing, and with all the craziness we often find that healthy eating is the last thing on our mind. It may have started around Halloween when the candy appears and you found that “just a couple of pieces” turned into a couple of bags. Then, as the days begin to get busier and Thanksgiving rolls around, we find that our green smoothies or lunch salads feel like a thing of the past. By the time we hit December, we find ourselves running on sugary lattes and holiday party leftovers.

Every year, we seem to go through a cycle where healthy eating slips a little, then slips a little more, until January where we find ourselves up 15 to 20 pounds and feeling awful. But what’s the alternative? Avoiding every holiday treat and favorite? Being the Debbie downer who sits there sadly eating a salad while everyone else enjoys grandma’s pumpkin pie? Can you even get into the holiday spirit if you’re on some diet?

Here’s the thing: it doesn’t have to be some all-or-nothing deal. There are a few simple tricks that you can use to keep yourself on-track, full of good energy to get through all the holiday stress, and still allow you to enjoy the season. 


Tip 1: Pregame with Veggies

Remember pregaming when you were in college? This is the healthy version.

When you know you have a hectic day ahead of you or a holiday event later in the day, you want to front-load as many veggies as you can into your diet. This means eat as many veggies as you can for breakfast (yes, veggies are a breakfast food), snacks, lunch, or whatever meals you have before you have to get out the door. Remember we need to eat 6-11 servings of veggies per day! So be generous with your portions and get as many in as you possibly can. 

When you get most of your servings in early in the day, you will balance out any more decadent choices you make later. You’ll also feel better overall as you go through the day since you’ll be operating on essential vitamins and nutrients that your body needs, especially when it is stressed out.


Tip 2: Choose Your Treats Consciously

What are your absolute favorite things about the holiday season? If you made a list, you may have some seasonal treats on there (Caramel Brulee Latte anyone?). Your favorite dessert, amazing cocktails, incredible appetizers; they all seem to be everywhere during the holidays. The key to conquering all of these “favorites” is to be a little more choosey.

Are you going to a party or event where you know there will be all sorts of temptations? This is when planning ahead is key. If you know you will be at an event where your favorite treats will be, think about which one is your absolute favorite. You want to decide this when you are full, so that it will be easier to decide (when you’re hungry everything sounds good).

Once you’ve decided, plan on having that treat at the event. When you have decided in advance on something that is truly special to you, it will be a more satisfying treat and it will be easier to ignore all the other options around you.


Tip 3: Bring a Healthy Option Along

Sometimes, we can’t make healthy food choices during the holidays because the choices are few and far between. This is where bringing a healthy option along with you makes a huge difference. Whether it is an apple in your purse while you’re running errands or a salad for the company pot-luck, having a great choice with you can add up to a big difference over the season.

So for any event or party where it is possible, offer to help out the host by bringing a dish. Make this dish a healthy option, preferably loaded with veggies.

This helps in two ways. First, it guarantees that you will have something healthy to eat while you are there. Second, the other guests often really appreciate having a healthier option too! We aren’t alone in wanting to make healthy decisions for ourselves over the holiday season and you’ll be surprised at how quickly it is gobbled up. Not sure what to make? Check out ttps:// for some of my favorite recipes!


alasen1Alasen Zarndt

Alasen is a fun-loving mom of two amazing girls. She’s been navigating the crazy world of starting a family, pregnancy, and new-mommy-hood for about 5 years now with plenty of successes and failures along the way.

During the third trimester of her last pregnancy, she was introduced to an amazing nutrition program and discovered just how powerful food can be. She became passionate about sharing this information with other new mothers and their families and enrolled in the Institute of Integrative Nutrition

She became a Health, Wellness, and Nutrition Coach specializing in coming alongside new mothers during their pregnancy and postpartum years. She recognizes the enormous need for better postpartum support and her work as a Nutrition Doula helps fill this gap one family at a time.

The Nutrition Doula philosophy is about using real, everyday foods to care for yourself and your family. She does not endorse quick-fixes, diets, meal replacements, or the like. She focuses on stress-free changes that can be small, but amount to big results for your overall health and wellness.


Drink to Your Health

nettleAs the weather gets colder, many of us turn to a warm cup of tea for a bit of comfort. This can become a lovely ritual at the beginning or end of the day. It can provide a moment of solitude when paired with reading a book, watching a show, or writing in a gratitude journal. For others it may be an opportunity for connection by enjoying it in person (or even over the phone) with a friend or loved-one.

But the benefits of good quality tea can go beyond that of simple comfort. Many herbs have incredible healing properties that can support many systems in the body. Let’s take a look at one of these herbs today and learn how stinging nettles can improve your health.

What are Stinging Nettles?

Urtica dioica is known as common or stinging nettle. It is a perennial flowering plant native to Europe, as well as parts of Asia and North Africa. Not all of the plants are stinging, but those that do have trichomes on the leaves and stems. These hollow stinging hairs act like hypodermic needles, and inject histamine and other chemicals upon contact. When this happens it produces a stinging sensation. As unpleasant as that sounds, when harvested and prepared properly stinging nettle has many health benefits.

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Top 8 Nutrition Blog Articles

nutrition basicsFall is upon us, and the holidays will be here before we know it. Approaching the season with a solid nutritional base, will enable us to enjoy the holidays without letting them derail us!

Let’s take a look at some of the top nutrition blog articles, and use them as a checkpoint to make sure we are on track.

quality protein








Quality Protein

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The Truth About Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent Fasting

“Intermittent fasting (or time-restricted feeding) is a method of limiting the time window you eat each day to a consistent number of hours and a consistent time each day. Between 8-10 hours of (an) eating window is considered optimal in humans, which leaves 14-16 hours for your body to fast. This period allows your organs a break from digesting so they can heal.” -Dr. Satchin Panda


What Is Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent Fasting (IF) is an approach where individuals intentionally limit the time window in which they eat and keep those hours consistent. Done properly research has found many benefits to allowing the body time to rest from digesting food in this way. 


Benefits of IF

  • Blood Sugar Regulation
  • Weight Loss
  • Better Sleep
  • Reduce Leaky Gut
  • More Energy
  • Increased Nutrition
  • Improvement in Blood Pressure


A Look At The Science

In 2012, a study came out that would expand our knowledge of how our eating patterns affect the body. Until this point most professionals believed that the quality and quantity of food were the main issues surrounding nutrition. This new knowledge would show us that when we eat impacts our health as much as what we eat and how much we eat.  

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Something Fishy

omega 3 fishyOmega 3 and Omega 6 are essential fatty acids that the body can not make on its own. Omega 3 is thought to have many health benefits, while omega 6 is known to cause inflammation. 

It is very important for your health to have the right balance of these acids. People who are deficient in omega 3 may notice dry patches or bumps on their skin, brittle hair, dandruff, or nails that break easily. Inadequate levels can also negatively affect concentration, mood, energy, and sleep.

While it is possible to achieve this through diet, many professionals recommend getting a good quality supplement. Let’s take a look at the dietary impact of fatty acids and the benefits of getting the balance right to discover if a supplement could be a good choice for you!



Research suggests that our hunter-gatherer ancestors consumed around a 1:1 ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 fats. It also indicates that these hunter-gatherers did not struggle with many of the inflammatory diseases that our culture does (heart disease, cancer, diabetes, etc.).

Modern culture’s push for convenience foods, as well as the food industry’s attempt to lower cost has had a significant impact on these ratios. Today, the average ratio of omega 6 and omega 3 is between 10:1 and 20:1, with some individuals as high as 25:1. 

If you eat out or consume processed foods it is likely that you are exceeding the amount of omega 6 that your body can handle!

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The Hydration Trick You've Never Heard Of

Gel WaterGina Bria was an anthropologist studying how desert cultures survived with very little water when she got a call from her mother’s care facility. She was dismayed to hear that her mother was suffering from chronic dehydration. Bria decided to delve into her research to see if there was anything that she could learn from the desert cultures to help her mom. 

Bria learned from her research that the Tarahumara people of Mexico used chia seeds to aid in hydration. Deciding to adapt this practice for her mother, she used her coffee grinder to turn some chia seeds into powder and instructed the caregiver to add it to her mom’s orange juice each morning. That did the trick and her mom did not have any more issues with chronic dehydration!

What Is Gel Water?

In their book Quench, authors Cohen and Bria describe gel water, or living water, as a “newly identified phase of water that’s not quite liquid, vapor, or ice. (It is) identified by an extra hydrogen and oxygen atom, so the molecular structure is H3O2.” Gel water exists in plants and can be found in fruits, vegetables, & seeds. 

The Aztecs and Incas are thought to have often subsisted on only chia and cacti, actually going weeks without water. The fact that these plants products are full of gel water is probably the reason they could survive in this way! 

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