By Dr. Mercola
Merry Christmas! As you celebrate today with family and friends, healthy eating may take a backseat to sharing memories, laughter, opening presents, and maybe even a few indulgent treats here and there. And that's as it should be.
Eating real food is important, but it needn't be the focus of your life. You have other things to do – like spending time with your loved ones and pursuing your passions.
But, that's the great thing about healthy eating – once you give your pantry a real-food makeover, it becomes second nature to eat healthy food.
You won't have to put much thought into it at all, and you certainly won't need to count calories (one of the most misguided "rules" of healthy eating there is). Instead, healthy eating becomes a lifestyle.
You can let your body guide you, selecting the fresh fruits and vegetables, grass-fed meats, and raw milk cheeses that appeal to you most. If you have a moment today, browse through my nutrition plan. It's the place to start if you're new to this and your diet needs a change.
If you don't have time today, bookmark it for later, because I can assure you that, out of all the pages of information on Mercola.com, this is the one that can most quickly and dramatically change your life.
You might be surprised at how easy and fast it is to prepare a phenomenally healthy meal. If you want to know what my "real food" breakfast looks like, you can find my recipe here – you'll see it takes me all of about 10 minutes to prepare (and even less when I'm not being video recorded).
You may also be surprised to learn that you can dramatically alter your health just by changing the timing of your meals. The goal is to condense your eating into a shorter period of time, which leaves your body time for fasting each day.
By eating breakfast and a late lunch, then skipping dinner, you can easily fast for 15 hours a day or so. Depending on your schedule, you may prefer to skip breakfast and eat lunch and dinner instead.
The benefits are the same, as either gives your body that valuable intermittent fasting time. If you want to know more about why fasting is so beneficial, in this case for your brain, check out the TED video below.
Holiday Healthy Eating Tips You Can Use All Year Long
Getting back to Christmas, if you want some tips on getting through the diet minefield that is the holidays, here's a list to consider. Try one or try them all, but if you feeling yourself getting overwhelmed, slow down. Master one tip at a time and only then move on to the next.
Soon your healthier eating habits will leave you feeling more energized and, likely, more upbeat. Harness those feelings as motivation to keep making positive changes. As Laozi said, "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."
Swap out soda and other sweetened beverages for primarily water and occasionally unsweetened tea and/or organic black coffee Skip unhealthy fats (synthetic trans fats, vegetable oils) and indulge in healthy fats like those from butter, coconut oil, avocado, olive oil, and nuts Choose meat that's pastured (grass-fed) and organic; avoid processed or CAFO meats When eating dairy, choose organic, pastured raw versions Make your own fermented vegetables and enjoy them regularly Upgrade your baking by replacing wheat flour with coconut flour, margarine with butter, sugar with pureed fruits and veggies, and vegetable oil with coconut oil Eliminate processed foods from your meals (the less processed foods, the better) Cook your own meals at home, ideally from scratch (including growing as much of your own food as possible) Eat slowly and mindfully, and be sure to chew each bite thoroughly Avoid artificial additives; if a food contains artificial sweeteners, artificial colors, or artificial flavors, skip it
Wishing You and Yours a Happy and Healthy Holiday!