LiveWell®

Wellness and prevention information from the experts at the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing

A time for gratitude

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by Courtney Jordan Baechler, MD, MS

As I write this blog post, it’s nearly Thanksgiving and the beginning of this year’s holiday season.  Unfortunately for some, holidays can be a time of increased stress.  I thought I would relay some thoughts about how you can bring integrative health into your home for the holidays.

At Thanksgiving, many of us spend time bustling from place to place, visiting family and stuffing ourselves.  Do you know that the average person consumes 4,200 calories during the Thanksgiving meal alone?

It’s a great time of year to think about mindful eating.  That doesn’t mean that you can’t have your favorite foods, but perhaps take time to enjoy each bite.  See what happens if you stop to enjoy the food’s texture, how it smells and how you feel. Rather than racing to see who finishes dinner first, take a moment to see if you are really still hungry before you go for seconds.

Our stomachs reach satiety in part from volume.  It takes some time for the brain to receive the signal from your stomach nerves that you are in fact full or “satiated.”  Include in your Thanksgiving meal lots of vegetables and broth-based soups, which both have a tendency to fill your stomach with fewer calories.  Also remember, you can always have leftovers the next day, so there is no need to eat as if this is your last meal.

Thanksgiving is truly is a time for us to consciously think of all the wonderful things in our life that we are thankful for.  Take an opportunity to share with those you love what is “filling your tank” this year.  The top of my list will include the opportunity to do summersaults in the park with my kids on a 60-degree, fall Sunday in Minnesota, the friends that keep me laughing when life gets too serious, and the embrace of so many loved ones.  I’m also so thankful for the opportunity to work with the amazing team I have at the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing.  I feel truly grateful to work with people who are so passionate about improving the health of those we serve and transforming health care.

Finally, when I think of the holidays, I enjoy continuing old traditions and starting some new ones.  Last year, we started a tradition of going for a walk as an extended family after our Thanksgiving dinner and before dessert.  It’s a great way to enjoy each other’s company a little bit longer before folks start doing dishes or watching football.  We have made a deal that whether it’s warm or cold, rain or snow, we will take the opportunity to enjoy the change of seasons that we have in Minnesota ― the crunch of leaves underfoot, the smell of fall fires and that crisp fall air. Wishing you a peaceful holiday season,

Courtney Jordan Baechler, MD, MS

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