Take Care of Yourself Between the Holidays

You made it through Thanksgiving! Good job! Yes, I know I’m talking about a holiday to celebrate all we are thankful for as if it’s a chore to get through. Well, from some of the recaps I’ve heard, it was a bit rough this year. Life in general may be feeling a little more exposed and vulnerable right now.  There’s a lot of fear and uncertainty in the world, and a lot of families have more topics to avoid than engage in right now. So let’s look at a few ways you can care for yourself these next few weeks at work and at home.

1 – Get yourself moving! Exercise lowers blood pressure, improves quality of sleep and is a great stress reliever. Whether your movement of choice is running, lifting weights or sweating through a spinning class – schedule your workouts and stick to them these next few weeks. If some days all you can manage is a walk outside at lunch, do it!

2 – Eat healthy food. With the overindulgence of Thanksgiving behind us, this is your opportunity to eat well before the next holiday sugar-fest begins. Make your meals count with good nutrients, healthy fats and lots of vegetables. Try this delicious and healthy soup. You’ll have plenty of leftovers to pack for lunch too!

Creamy Roasted Sweet Potato and Apple Soup
Adapted from WellnessToday.com

Serves: 6 to 8                     Prep Time: 15 minutes                         Cooking Time: 40 minutes

4 TB coconut oil, divided
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 large leek, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 large celery stalks, diced
2 honey crisp apples, peeled and chopped
2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp pepper
4 cups vegetable broth

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. In a bowl, toss the sweet potatoes with 2 TB of coconut oil and a dash of salt and pepper.
  3. Arrange them on a foil lined baking dish, then bake for 20 minutes or until outsides start to get dark and crispy.
  4. While the potatoes bake, add the remaining coconut oil to a large pot over medium heat.
  5. Add the leek, onion, carrots, and celery. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent, then add the apples, turmeric, paprika, salt and pepper.
  6. Stir the pot to make sure everything is coated evenly with the spices, and then cook for another 2 or 3 minutes to soften the apples.
  7. Add the roasted sweet potatoes, then the vegetable broth. Let the mixture come to a boil, and continue to cook for about 10 minutes. Taste the soup and add more spices as you see fit.
  8. Remove the soup from the heat and using an immersion blender, puree the mixture until it is smooth. You can also do this by carefully transferring the soup to a blender.

creamy-roasted-sweet-potato-and-apple-soup

Autumn Greens Salad with Sunflower Seeds
Source: Whole Living

Serves: 4                              Prep Time: 10 minutes                            Cooking Time: 10 minutes

1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 TB whole-grain mustard
3 TB fresh lemon juice (1 large lemon)
3/4 tsp sea salt
1 TB plus 1 tsp pure maple syrup
2 TB extra-virgin olive oil
½ pound Brussels sprouts, very thinly sliced (3 cups)
4 to 6 leaves of leafy greens such as Swiss chard and kale, stemmed and thinly sliced (3 cups)

  1. Preheat oven to 375° F. Toast sunflower seeds on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer until golden, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, stir mustard, lemon juice, salt, and maple syrup together in a small bowl; whisk in oil until emulsified.
  3. Toss Brussels sprouts, chard, and kale together.
  4. Stir in sunflower seeds and pour in dressing; toss to coat.
  5. Serve immediately.

3 – December is a magical time if you pause and take a look around. Yes, the roads are more crowded with shoppers as you drive home each evening and yes, the stress of finding the perfect gifts for your loved ones is “just one more thing” this month, but don’t forget to look up at the holiday lights and decorations and smile at the photos of kids with Santa streaming through your Facebook feed. There is magic in the air. Let it in.

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