How To Stay Healthy In The Chaos

Christmas is just around the corner and it can be a stressful time for everyone including yourself. A lot of times the stress results from not taking care of yourself or keeping your body and mind healthy. How can you remain healthy and sound-minded amongst the chaos of the holidays? We have come up with some practical ways for you to keep your sanity as well as keep your body fit over the next month!

One of the most important aspects of maintaining a healthy lifestyle over the holidays is obviously exercising. Many people use the “busy” card when it comes to exercising over the holidays because of the excess amount of dinners, Christmas parties, and gift exchanges. There are easy ways to exercise for at least 30 minutes a day without even having to step foot in a gym. Maybe it is going on a walk with your dog or spouse. Or doing a home workout that is free on YouTube in your living room. Another fun way to exercise is going hiking on a trail or exploring a new area of town. If you commit yourself to exercising for a minimum of 30 minutes a day, your body will remain healthy and it will also help you clear the mind of stress.

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Another vital component to remaining sane in the chaos is taking time to breathe. Many times, the stress and anxiety of the holidays can get the best of us and overwhelm our minds. It is crucial that we step away from the chaos and let our thoughts and minds breathe. This looks different for people. Journaling in the morning and spending time in the Word is a great way to set your worries to rest and take a deep breath. Painting is also a wonderful outlet to release stress in a quiet room away from any other distractions. Or maybe even laying down for 15 to 20 minutes a day and listening to calming and peaceful music. 

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One of the best ways to remain mentally healthy over the holidays is to put away social media and mobile devices. Too often we spend our time and energy comparing our lives over the holidays to those around us whether it is our neighbors, friends or family.  Instead of focusing on creating our own family traditions and growing closer to our loved ones, we are constantly sucked into the vacuum of comparison by filing our minds with what others are doing. We compare how many Christmas parties we attend, how cute our homemade wrapping techniques are, how many trips we get to go on, and the list goes on and on. Step away from your phone and social media to truly relax and enjoy your Christmas this year. 

 

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Don’t let the holidays be a time of the year that overwhelms you. This is a time in the year that should be filled with laughter, love, and thankfulness not stress and anxiety. Your physical health as well as your mental health are important in the midst of the chaos so remember to take care of yourself. Exercise, take time to breathe and step away from the comparison game by putting away your phone. 

Healthy Holiday Treats

With Christmas right around the corner we are all starting to dream about gingerbread cookies, eggnog, and peppermint mochas. With all the thoughts of yummy food floating in our heads there is also the dreaded “Christmas 15” that follows. You should never deprive yourself of holiday treats so we have put together a list of five healthy and delicious treats to get you kickstarted on having a fun and healthy holiday Christmas!

Gingerbread Granola

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https://www.wellplated.com/gingerbread-granola/

Ingredients:

  •  1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

  • 1/4 cup uncooked millet — or uncooked quinoa, or substitute additional rolled oats

  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed — or substitute rolled oats

  • 3/4 cup raw nuts — (I used a mix of almonds, pecans, and hazelnuts)

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil — or olive oil

  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup

  • 2 tablespoons molasses

  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 1/4 cup chopped candied ginger

  • 1/4 cup golden raisins — dried cranberries, or diced dried apricots

HOW TO MAKE:

  1.    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F

2.    Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat mat

3.    Stir together the oats, millet, flaxseed, nuts, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. 

4.    Drizzle the coconut oil, maple syrup, molasses, and vanilla over the oat mixture, and stir until well combined and evenly moistened

5.    Spread the granola on baking sheet and press it into a flat, even layer. 

6.    Bake for 20 minutes, remove from oven, stir in the candied ginger and golden raisins, then press back into a flat layer

7.    Bake 10 additional minutes, until golden and fragrant 

Cranberry Quinoa Salad with Orange, Mint, and Kale

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https://familyspice.com/easy-thanksgiving-meals-cranberry-orange-quinoa-salad/

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa

  • 2 cup water

  • 2 large leaves of kale

  • 2 cup fresh cranberries

  • 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 tsp honey

  • 2 TBS grated orange zest

  • 6 small oranges

  • 1/4 cup mixed nuts

  • 1/4 cup pomegranate arils

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

HOW TO MAKE:

1.  Rinse quinoa with water and strain.

2.  In a small pot, add quinoa and 2 cups water to boil.

3.  Once water is boiling, cover pot, reduce heat to low and continue to cook until the water is gone and quinoa is cooked, about 12-15 minutes.

4.  Remove quinoa from heat. Transfer quinoa to a large mixing bowl and allow it to cool.

5.  Wash, remove stems from kale. Finely chop kale and add to the quinoa.

6.  Add cranberries, olive oil and honey in a food processor and pulse to coarsely chop.

7.  When quinoa is cooled completely, gently stir in the oranges and cranberry mixture.

8.  Stir in orange zest in with the quinoa.

9.  Peel and coarsely chop oranges and mix in with the quinoa.

10.Stir in nuts, pomegranate and mint.

11.Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Dark Chocolate Coconut Oil Fudge

 

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https://wholefully.com/dark-chocolate-coconut-oil-fudge/

Ingredients:

  •  1/2 cup melted coconut oil

  • 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Pinch of salt

  • Unsweetened shredded coconut, for garnish

HOW TO MAKE:

1.    Line a small square dish with parchment paper. 

2.   Whisk together the coconut oil, honey or maple syrup, cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt

3.   Pour mixture into the prepared dish. Refrigerate until solid, about an hour

4. Sprinkle the shredded coconut on top.

Vegan Banana Eggnog Pancakes

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Ingredients:

  •    2 very ripe medium bananas 

  •   1¼ cups eggnog

  •   2 tablespoons canola oil.

  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

  •    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 

  •   1 cup all-purpose flour

  •   2¼ teaspoons baking powder

  •   ½ teaspoon grated fresh nutmeg, plus extra for sprinkling

  •    ¼ teaspoon salt

  •    Refined coconut oil

HOW TO MAKE:

1.   Mash the bananas until pureed. 

2.  Add the eggnog, canola oil, vinegar, and vanilla and set aside.

3.  In a separate large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt. 

4.  Make a well in the center and pour in the banana mixture.

5. Use a fork to mix until a thick, lumpy batter forms. Let the batter rest for 10 minutes.

6.  Preheat a large nonstick pan over medium-low heat. Lightly coat the pan with coconut oil.

7. Add ⅓ cup of the batter for each pancake and cook until puffy, about 4 minutes.

8. Flip the pancakes, adding a new coat of oil to the pan, and cook until golden brown

9.  Transfer pancakes to a plate and serve with sliced bananas, cranberries, and maple syrup.

Holiday Stuffed Squash

Ingredients:

  • 1 - 2 medium butternut squash pumpkin

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 brown onion finely chopped

  • 3 garlic cloves finely chopped

  • 3-4 sprigs fresh time leaves removed and chopped

  • 60 grams cooked chestnuts I use the vacuum sealed variety, roughly chopped

  • 120 grams cooked quinoa

  • 1 400 gram can of brown lentils drained and rinsed

  • 20 grams dried cherries or cranberries

  • a pinch of nutmeg to taste

  • 30 grams vegan butter

  • 50 grams baby spinach

  • a good pinch of sea salt

  • black pepper

HOW TO MAKE:
1.    Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F 

2.   To prepare the squash, lay each on its side and carefully cut 1 and 1/2 inch thick slices.

3. Using a small cookie cutter, cut a circle in the centre of each round to create a ring.

4. Place the squash rounds in a roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil.

5. Season with sea salt and place in the oven for 20 minutes.

6. Heat olive oil in large skillet and add garlic, onion and fresh thyme leaves. Sauté for four minutes or until soft. 

7. Add the chestnuts, cherries, squash cubes and the butter and cook until the butter is melted before adding a pinch of nutmeg. Stir well.

8.   Add the cooked quinoa and the drained lentils and continue to cook for another five minutes before stirring in the baby spinach. Season with sea salt to taste and a good crack of black pepper and when the spinach has wilted remove the stuffing from the heat. 

9.   Keeping the oven on, take the partially cooked squash rings from the oven and place them on your kitchen counter. Carefully, fill each ring with a good amount of stuffing, drizzle each with a small amount of olive oil before placing them back in the oven for a further 20 - 30 minutes or until the squash is cooked through.

Hopefully this gives you a little kick start to center your holiday festivities around healthy dishes that your family loves. Get creative and find ways to make your favorite dishes in a different way so that taste good and also make your body feel good!

 

 

How to Get Thanksgiving Ready

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, the smells of sweet potato casserole and warm turkey have undoubtedly filled your mind. Thanksgiving is one of the sweetest times to gather with family and friends to celebrate how thankful we are for this life the Lord has blessed us with.

Often times, the holidays can get pricey and expensive between the food and décor. So, we have come up with some easy and affordable ways to make your home look (and smell) like all of those Southern Living homes we aspire to have.