Happy Healthy Holiday Tips!

Happy Healthy Holiday Tips!

Downtown Toronto Naturopath

Happy Healthy Holiday Tips shared by Dr. Mary MacDonald on enjoying the Holidays and Happy Healthy Holidayssome recipes for holiday cheer!

Hello Balanced Bodies!  Let’s enjoy the holidays by following a few simple guidelines:



A few minutes each day of relaxed breathing, learning to breathe with the diaphragm and relaxing the muscles of the chest and shoulders, can be very effective at building the power of the Lung and it will engage your relaxation response.

  • If you feel the holiday stress taking hold, stop and take a deep breath: breathe in through your nose, and think of breathing in all the way to your belly, taking is as much air as possible. Once the lungs are completely full, hold the lungs full for a count of five. Once you have counted to five, exhale through your mouth from the very bottom of your Lungs until they are completely empty.


Eat Well:

  • Eat regular meals during the season – do not starve yourself during the day to be able to indulge in a larger meal later. This causes your body to go into “starvation mode” – when you eat properly during the day you are less likely to overeat later.
  • Do not go shopping or to a party on an empty stomach – fill up on healthy foods at home before you go out since you are more likely to eat non nutritious food at your favourite holiday get together.
  • Choose what you love – when you are at a holiday get together snack on the treats that you really love and leave the stuff you don’t. Don’t feel bad if you choose not to eat Aunt Jane’s pie, she’ll forgive you!
  • Drink water – do not become dehydrated during the day. Dehydration is commonly misdiagnosed as hunger; if you think you are hungry, try drinking a glass of water to see if that does the trick!
  • Moderate your alcohol intake – When you arrive at a party, grab a sparkling water with a twist, and wait at least 30 minutes before having a cocktail. This will give you time to relax, get comfortable in your surroundings, and survey your choices before starting to indulge. Be sure to have 2 glasses of water for every glass of alcoholic beverage you consume; this will minimize the dehydrating effects.
  • Do not drink alcohol on an empty stomach – doing so will cause you to feel the effects of the alcohol sooner and will cause you to snack on more high-calorie treats.


If you are hosting:

  • Have a variety of yummy non-alcoholic beverages available.
  • Serve vegetables and (homemade) dip, fruit platters, & nuts (almonds, cashews & walnuts).
  • Use Greek yogurt instead of regular sour cream for creamy dips
  • Serve a fruit pie or crisp (apple, blueberry, etc.) rather than a nut pie (pecan).
  • Chocolate: serve the darkest chocolate possible. Dark chocolate actually has antioxidant properties, meaning it is good for you.
  • If you are serving a traditional holiday feast, serve sweet potatoes instead of white. These are high in beta carotene, Vitamin C, potassium, and iron. Don’t store sweet potatoes in the fridge: they will lose their flavor!
  • Supply lots of vegetable side dishes and vegetarian options.
  • Use vinegar based dressings for vegetables and salads instead of creamy options.


Write a list: include what you want to do and what you feel pulled to do.

  • The things on the list that do not match should be taken away – only do what you want to do! When you know what is important to you it becomes easier to set boundaries.
  • Sit down with a calendar and give yourself target dates for getting things done.
  • This will help you to practice saying no, a skill we all need to practice regularly!


Give in a way that gives you joy vs. out of obligation

When you give in a way that comes naturally to you, you stay in integrity with who you are. Here are a few places I like to support – what are yours?

Toronto Humane Society – www.torontohumanesociety.com

World Wildlife Fund – www.wwf.ca

Ten Thousand Villages – www.tenthousandvillages.com

Grassroots – www.grassrootsstore.com

Stephen Lewis Foundation – www.stephenlewisfoundation.org

Me to We – http://www.metowe.com/

Unicef – www.unicef.org

Save the Children – www.savethechildren.ca

Amnesty International – www.amnesty.org


Recipes – courtesy of www.ohsheglows.com: a fabulous place to find healthy recipes for the whole year!

Chia FrescaHappy Healthy Holiday Recipes

Yield: 2 cups – multiply as needed!

2 cups water or coconut water

1.5 tbsp chia seeds

1/2 tbsp fresh lemon or lime juice, or to taste

Sweetener, to taste (I like 1/2 tbsp maple syrup)


  • Add chia and water into a jar or glass and stir very well to combine. Let sit for 10 minutes to allow the chia seeds to swell up. Use a jar with a lid to shake it up really well and break up the clumps of chia.
  • Add lime or lemon juice and sweetener to taste. Stir (or shake) well to combine and enjoy!

Note: Chia seeds will sink and collect at the bottom of the glass quickly. Give it a good stir as needed.


Healthy Happy Holiday Recipes    Peanut Butter Balls


1 c 100% natural peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)

4 tbsp pure maple syrup, to taste

2 tbsp coconut flour

¼ tsp fine grain sea salt

6 tbsp gluten-free rice crisp cereal

¾ c dark chocolate chips

½ tbsp coconut oil


  • Stir the jar of peanut butter well before using. In a large bowl, mix together peanut butter & maple syrup vigorously, for 30-60 seconds, until it thickens up.
  • Stir in the coconut flour until combined. Let it sit for a couple minutes to firm up as the coconut flour will continue to absorb moisture with time. Add a touch more coconut flour if necessary. Or if it’s too dry, add a touch more syrup.
  • Add salt and stir in the cereal.
  • Shape into small balls
  • In a small pot, add the chocolate chips and coconut oil and heat over low heat, stirring frequently. Once half the chips have melted, remove from heat and stir until completely smooth.
  • With a fork, dip the balls into the melted chocolate. Tap off excess chocolate on the side of the pot and place the ball on a plate or cutting board lined with parchment. Repeat for the rest. Save any leftover melted chocolate for later.
  • Place balls in the freezer for around 6-8 minutes until mostly firm.
  • Dip a fork into the leftover melted chocolate and drizzle it on top of the balls to create a “sophisticated” design like the baking diva you are.

Freeze the balls for another 10-15 minutes, until the chocolate is completely set.



Downtown Toronto Naturopath

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