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December 22, 2012
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Take care during the holidays

Dear Editor:

I would like to offer some ideas for how people can enjoy the holidays and reduce some stress which people can experience during the holidays.

Stress is the No. 1 factor. It can challenge even the best of intentions. The adrenal glands also are referred to as "the stress glands." Adrenal stress can lead to cravings and overeating. The hormones and substances from the adrenal glands that help us fight stress can get depleted. It is important to support the adrenal glands.

During the holidays, temptation is higher. There is an abundance of sugar and fats. One of the ways to deal with this is to make sure that you have plenty of good foods around. Eating plenty of healthy fiber does not leave as much room to fill up with junk food.

Low blood sugar can occur. When this happens, the body will crave sugar and glucose to meet its needs. The brain sends messages to the rest of the body, and cravings will get ramped up. Balancing meals and snacks with protein and good snacks will help to balance blood sugar. It is also helpful to spread caloric intake throughout the day to prevent fat storage. It is good to support the liver and pancreas during these times.

Toxins can contribute to fatigue, discomfort and imbalance. A key to coping with this is to detoxify whenever possible (yes, even during the holidays). Toxic feelings can contribute to overeating because the body can crave to have comfort foods in an attempt to improve a sense of well-being.

The body can perceive a lack of nutrients, which can trigger weight gain. You can reduce your appetite by eating complete whole foods, which tend to satisfy the body. Soups can be a great food to help balance weight. Soups provide a fuller feeling, reduce appetite and prevent hunger more than the same food in solid form with the same amount of calories. Protein shakes also can be helpful to round out a meal or snack.

It is also important to make sure that you are taking vitamin D. With the days being so short, we do not get nearly enough sunshine to make vitamin D. This can be very helpful for those suffering from seasonal affective disorder.

Cutting down on wheat and dairy also can help with reducing food allergies.

Good fats also are important to eat as they will help maintain a balanced weight. Good fats include coconut oil, olive oil, omega-3 oils and black-currant-seed oil. Almonds and walnuts have good fat and are great snacks when eaten in moderation.

It also is important to exercise to increase fat oxidation. It helps the body use glucose and decreases the amount of insulin that the body needs. It is well-known that there are many benefits to exercise.

Above all, avoid soda pop and other high-sugar drinks. Stay away from artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, because these are known to actually add in weight gain. Soda also can leach calcium from the bones and creates further imbalances in the body.

If you do happen to eat a lot of sugar, make sure that you brush your teeth with a nonfluoridated toothpaste. If you add fluoride to your body, you are just adding an additional toxin to your body.

Dr. Tom Lankering

Basalt


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The Aspen Times Updated Dec 22, 2012 08:50AM Published Dec 22, 2012 01:41AM Copyright 2012 The Aspen Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.