Typically, the holidays are a time of celebration, socializing and indulgence. Between holiday parties with friends and family, and longstanding traditions at home, it can be easy to fall off the wagon when it comes to living a healthy Ayurvedic lifestyle. So we’ve created this handy guide to help you manage your diet during the holidays, with effective strategies for staying on track and still enjoying the many customs of the season.
This year, it’s especially important to remember why you chose to live an Ayurvedic lifestyle in the first place, as holiday parties and social occasions are replaced with a single holiday tradition that can be safely enjoyed at home: food—and lots of it.
When Possible, Avoid Temptation
The number one thing to do to successfully manage your diet during the holidays is simply avoid temptation when possible. As much as possible, stick to your own Ayurvedic routine, eating foods that are good for your dosha and following your regular exercise routine.
In particular, try to avoid buying or making holiday treats out of a scarcity mindset. This can lead to overindulgence at every opportunity as you think to yourself, “I won’t have this food again until next year, so I need to enjoy it as much as possible right now.” If it’s truly a food you delight in, consider having a reasonable portion once or twice during the holiday period, and remember that if you really love it, you can make it again in a few months as a special treat.
The same can be said for alcohol. If you are following a truly stringent Ayurvedic lifestyle, then generally no alcohol is permitted. If you’re trying to blend in at your socially-distant office party, try adding two parts sparkling water to one part cranberry juice for a healthy, celebratory drink that will blend right in among other holiday cocktails.
Finally, try to keep to your usual exercise routine. Don’t skip out on your morning yoga session or your midafternoon walk. Your daily exercise is time for you to focus on yourself and what you need during the season, and activities like yoga and meditation can help you remain steadfast and focused when faced with temptation during your day.
Aim for Good, Not Perfect
Try as you might, it’s all too easy to give in to temptation. As you work to manage your diet during the holidays, don’t beat yourself up if you make certain allowances for holiday treats or if you find yourself overindulging during a holiday celebration. That kind of negativity only fuels a cycle of defeat, encouraging you to fall off the wagon and stay off since you already “messed up” your diet. Ayurveda is not about being perfect 100 percent of the time, but about creating a healthy lifestyle that works for you.
If you find yourself waking up feeling bloated or sluggish after too much food and drink the night before, here are a few ways you can course-correct and get back to feeling good:
- Start your day with a glass of water. For detoxifying a hangover, try mixing 1 teaspoon of fresh lime juice, ½ teaspoon raw sugar, coconut sugar, or sucanat, a pinch of salt and ½ a teaspoon of baking soda. Drink one or two glasses in the morning to rejuvenate your system and flush out any toxins.
- Sip ginger tea throughout the day to jumpstart your digestion. If you wake up feeling bloated and full, skip breakfast and stick to the tea until your appetite returns.
- Walk for at least 10 minutes after each meal. This will jumpstart your digestion and help the meal settle.
- As much as possible, try to have your largest meal in the middle of the day. If you wind up at a late-night holiday party, either eat beforehand or start with the heaviest food when you arrive, and end with lighter dishes so your body has more time to digest before you go to bed.
Most of All, Enjoy the Holidays
No matter how you choose to navigate the season and manage your diet during the holidays, Ayurveda has plenty of answers for living a healthy lifestyle that leaves you feeling good. Just be sure to take the season in stride, and remember all the benefits a healthy diet and exercise can offer.
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Author: Alexandria baker (YouVeda Wellness Contributor)