It 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 she is passionate about helping women fuel their bodies 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!
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Here in the Midwest winter is definitely upon us, and the cold weather will not be going away any time soon. Many people do not enjoy this weather and prefer to hibernate inside during the colder months sipping on a warm drink by the fire or taking a hot bath. The last thing they want to do is to take a cold shower or embrace the cold in other ways!
Today I want to talk to you about the benefits of embracing the cold weather and engaging in extreme temperature exposures. You may be surprised to learn that practices like taking a cold shower have many health benefits.
I invite you to come into this discussion with an open mind, no matter how much you would prefer to live in a sunny, warm climate year-round!
If you have been following me for a while, you may know that I often look at how our ancestors lived as a guide. There is a huge discrepancy between how our ancestors experienced the weather and how we experience it. Our current society does not have the exposure to the elements that people did in our ancestors' time.
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There are many things that make Thanksgiving so special. For many the time spent with family or friends gives the day special significance, while others particularly enjoy the traditional tasty dishes of the holiday. I enjoy both these aspects of the holidays as well, but the thing that sets this holiday apart from the others is the focus on gratitude!
It is the one day of the year that our culture encourages us to pause and be grateful for what we have. I hope that you were able to spend some time enjoying the many things you have to be grateful for yesterday. And I want to encourage you not to stop the gratitude there.
'Twas the Day After Thanksgiving
Our culture makes a huge shift from encouraging gratefulness, and the contentment that comes with gratitude, right after the holiday as we are thrown into the busy shopping season.
This year, consider how you can intentionally keep gratitude alive in your heart by establishing a gratitude practice. When you develop a simple gratitude practice you open yourself up to all kinds of health benefits.
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As 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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Many people believe that it is the beginning of the dreaded flu season! It is true that there are more cases of the flu diagnosed this time of year, but germs for the flu are around all year. So, if these germs are always around, why do we see an increase in the number of flu cases during the fall and winter months?
I really like the way that Dr. Angie Elliot explains this phenomenon in her article “There’s No Such Thing As ‘Flu Season’.”
“Think for a moment about what would happen if you planted a seed in the ground. You covered it with soil, didn’t water it, offer it sun, or supply it with air. Would the seed grow? NO! Why not?
The answer is that the condition of the soil was not ideal for the seed to take root and for the plant to flourish. Now, consider your body equivalent to soil and a virus or bacteria as the seed. If you planted that seed in your body right now, could it grow?
Many people get sick with colds or the flu this time of year because the condition of their body is primed for pathogens to thrive and grow.” - Dr. Angie Elliot
Tis the Season
When you look at it this way, it is easy to see some of the factors that impact our bodies immune system and create an environment where germs can thrive. Some of the things that cause us stress are obvious, while other things are more subtle. Often we are so used to these things that we don’t even realize that they are causing stress on our bodies.
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