20 Ways to Love Yourself (and Animals) Through the Holidays and beyond

It can take a little work to eat healthy every single day; everyone slips ups here and there, can’t resist or over indulges in their favorite treat. Eating occasional treats and small indulgences aren’t the end of the world, but getting stuck in an unhealthy eating pattern and eating meals you know aren’t good for you for long, can damage to your health in many ways. I’ve struggled with staying on track, especially around the holidays, when we’re so busy and have endless obligations. I thought now would be the perfect time to write this post; to give both you and me a gentle reminder! The following are some of my favorite ways to stay healthy and help animals during the holiday season and beyond.

That's me!

This is me staying healthy year round with my rescued pup!

 

  1. Keep an abundant supply of healthy snacks available to help avoid temptations to indulge in sugary and other unhealthy snacks. Nuts and seeds in moderation, raw vegetables and fresh fruits are good snack choices.
  2. If you attend a holiday potluck, take a healthy dish to eat and share with others. If you are going to a restaurant or attending a holiday function where you know your options will be limited, eat something before you go to satisfy your appetite.

    IMAGE 2- A healthy vegan plate

    A healthy vegan holiday dinner

  3. Take time to research and select healthy vegan recipes to prepare over the holidays. Try to focus the bulk of meals on vegetables, fruits and legumes. A great source for tested holiday recipes is the Vegan’s Eat What Blog. 
  4. Get creative with raw recipes. One of my favorite sources for raw holiday recipes is Fully Raw Kristina

    IMAGE 1- Cranberry Relish from Fully Raw Kristina

    Delicious Cranberry Sauce from Fully Raw Kristina

  5. Eat raw garlic to prevent getting sick. It may seem strange, but raw garlic is one of my best home remedies for staying cold free. I’ve heard that we should eat at least 1 raw clove of garlic a day to prevent illness!
  6. Take it easy on the alcohol. Instead of selecting alcoholic beverages at parties and office functions, opt for mocktails, apple cider, kombucha, herbal teas, or fruit/herb infused water. Try this Sparkling Cranberry Kombucha Mocktail for a fun, tasty drink, minus the hangover.

    IMAGE 3- Sparkling Cranberry Kombucha Mocktail

    Sparkling Cranberry Kombucha Mocktail

  7. Walk as much as you can to ensure 30 minutes of exercise per day. Walking with family, a friend, or the family dog is a fun way to meet daily exercise goals.
  8. Don’t forget the importance of deep breathing and practicing yoga or some sort of daily stretching. Practicing deep breathing techniques helps strengthen our respiratory system which is especially important as we age.
  9. Implement your favorite self-care strategies. Meditate, use aromatherapy, or indulge in a massage or other special spa treatment.
  10. Get lots of rest. Good sleep is essential to long term good health.
  11. Plan your holiday shopping to make it as stress free as possible. Online shopping is a huge timesaver and can help alleviate a great deal of the stress associated with traditional holiday shopping
  12. Be social. Spending time with good friends and loved ones is a great way to boost your immune system.
  13. Learn to say “No.” Holidays can seem overwhelming so focus on activities and events that make the best use of your time and bring the most joy to your life.
  14. Give the gift of homemade vegan foods. Homemade granola, spiced nuts, prepackaged soup mixes and spice blends are always appreciated and easy on almost any budget.
  15. Ask for and give gifts such as healthy cooking classes, vegan cookbooks, or a session with a Vegan Lifestyle Coach. Coaches help many people get healthy and stay healthy and could be just what you need to help you get through something you may be struggling with. In fact, this is a great time to pre-order the delightful Main Street Vegan Cookbook written by my Vegan Lifestyle Coach colleagues to share with your loved ones!
  16. Instead of buying or making gifts, donate to vegan advocacy and animal welfare organizations.

    IMAGE 5- My family of rescued pets

    My family and our rescued pups

  17. Save a life by serving a vegan turkey or ham alternative at your holiday meal celebrations. There are several good commercial brands currently available, or make your own animal-free holiday roast. One of the best main dishes I’ve made and served at holiday events is Lynn’s Meatloaf from the Engine 2 Diet.

    Barley, a calf discarded by the dairy industry rescued by Broken Shovels

    Barley, a calf discarded by the dairy industry rescued by Broken Shovels

  18. Adopt an animal in need and encourage others to do the same. Animal are great for improving your overall mood and well-being, and please remember always adopt and never shop for a companion or other animal.
  19. Sponsor a farm animal at a local farm sanctuary. One of my favorite new sanctuaries is the Broken Shovels Farm Sanctuary in Colorado where the amazing Andrea Davis rescues and cares for numerous neglected and abandoned animals. You can sponsor a farm animal at Broken Shovels and at most farm sanctuaries throughout the United States and abroad.
  20. And above all; stay positive, happy, and have fun at all your events. As happy, healthy, vegans we must lead by example and show people the great things being a vegan can do for them too!
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