Hi everyone! The Lupus Dietitian, Tanya Freirich MS RD CDN CDCES, here to talk about ways to be healthy over the holidays.
You may be already feeling stressed and tired with all the extra tasks and decisions during the holiday season. Make your food work hard for you!!
Fuel your body with nutritious, simple, whole foods to boost your energy to be able to enjoy the holiday season!
*Don’t forget the option to say no, if you are exhausted and the fatigue is relentless, you may have to cut down on some extra responsibilities. Skip the things that don’t bring you joy, keep the things that do!
1. Eat Consistently: For people living with Lupus, we don’t have the luxury of our body bouncing back or weathering inconsistency; our bodies need extra care and consideration. Do not skip meals in anticipation of bigger meals or celebrations later. Without food, you’re setting yourself up for an energy or mood crash. Low blood sugars are associated with fatigue, irritability, anxiety, and dizzy or woozy feelings. Make sure to eat throughout the day!
2. Limit Alcohol: Alcohol, especially in excessive amounts, is inflammatory. If you need it mentally to feel as though you are celebrating, limit to 1 glass of a red wine (the most anti-inflammatory of the alcoholic beverages) for the night. If wine isn’t your favorite, try a non-alcoholic version of your favorite mixed drink.
3. Focus on the foods to include: Fill 50-75% of your plate with vegetables at your “regular meals” to ensure you’re filling up on the antioxidants your body needs. These can be a delicious homemade vegetable soup, roasted vegetables, a salad or a stir-fry. If you feel better avoiding nightshade vegetables, continue to do so. If you tolerate all vegetables – aim for eating the rainbow. Each color of vegetable signifies different vitamins and minerals. For example, include beets (red), broccoli or kale (green), and onions or mushrooms(white) for a more complete nutritional intake without looking up the vitamin content or nutrition facts.
4. Rest and Adequate Sleep: It’s a tough season, and while staying up late may seem like the only way to get everything done, sleep deprivation is only going to make everything worse. Sleep deprivation is associated with the release of more stress hormones in your body. I recommend sticking with your bedtime routine that works for you. General sleep tips include: avoid the blue light from electronics and set your bedroom up for sleeping success – cool, dark and quiet (or with a white noise machine).
5. Focus on the important things: What brings you the most joy? Your aunt’s eggnog, baking Christmas cookies with your kids, your cousin’s famous ribs? Make room and prioritize enjoying a moderate portion of the foods that bring you the most joy – those are the things that holiday memories are made of. If they aren’t the healthiest, a smaller portion should help prevent you not feeling worse later on.
Life is short and life with Lupus is full of uncontrollable variables. Please don’t let your worry about Lupus rob you of joy or your favorite memories. Do the best you can to keep your body happy for the holiday season so you can savor and treasure the most favorite parts and have the energy to do so!