Happy New Year, friends! This is often a time of goal setting and holiday recovery. I would love to share a few thoughts to make this a successful and sustainable journey.
“It Takes a Village” – We have all heard this when it comes to parenting, but it is true for adults making health changes too. Dan Buettner, of the famed “Blue Zones” research, found that a key factor in longevity is community, not individual behavior change. So, whether it is “January Whole 30,” or “Dry January,” you have plenty of company in making the changes you wish. Do not do it alone! Talk with friends, family, or colleagues to create your own group, or join an online resource. For instance, you can join the Carpathia Collaborative group Gut Repair Plan offered February 6-27, 2023!
“Out of Sight, out of Mind” – When our children attended the Jewish Community Center preschool, we learned of the Jewish tradition of removing all leavened bread from the home prior to Passover. We found this practice so impactful! Some of you may do the same after a few days (weeks?) of Halloween candy lingering. So, whether you make it a sweeping ceremonial removal of all things (Fill-in-the-blank): “sweet, made of grains, containing alcohol,” or just set them out of immediate sight, this will support your choices when you open that refrigerator or pantry door.
“Super Bowl soup” – In years past, we hosted a Super Bowl party. I found a recipe in Real Simple magazine one year that became a Super Bowl tradition containing leeks, sweet potatoes, and lentils. Winter is a great time for stews and soups, which are also a great way to batch cook/weekday prep. Find a few recipes that your family loves and enjoy the rainbow of winter vegetables and their benefits! For instance, adding cilantro and or parsley supports detoxification. And squashes/ root vegetables are full of flavor, color, and powerful phytonutrients.
“Winter Blues” – January and February are the coldest months typically in Dallas which is hard for those of us who like to get movement outside. Finding a few go-to indoor options ahead of time can keep you on track. Whether it is YouTube videos or online classes, there are plenty of options to keep you moving during the colder days.
“Do not recreate the Wheel” – Many of you have purchased Carpathia’s online gut repair class, or online Detox course. If you have not, they are still on the website and available! And if you have taken the course before, you still have access and can revisit it anytime. It is a great time to refresh information you have already heard but might have forgotten or just need the structure of the course. Reach out to a practitioner if you need one-on-one support!
“Be Gentle with yourself” – After a particularly difficult holiday, a family member sent this phrase to me. Holidays are not always easy, and we may not feel like we have the energy to make big, sweeping changes in the new year. Giving yourself grace is so important. If you are feeling overwhelmed, depressed, or too fatigued to do a full reset, try picking one practice that is doable. Setting a timer for a 10-minute walk or 5-minute meditation, taking an Epsom salt bath, or selecting healthy already prepared foods (from a clean restaurant or natural grocery) can be your journey and put you on track for easier days come spring.
Recently I read a great book called “How to Keep House While Drowning” which aims to take the shame away from this burdensome task. The tips are helpful but the most encouraging was the entire attitude of “morally neutral” choices. I feel the same way about health choices. There is no good or bad, it is all a part of a journey and there will be ebbs and flows. No matter where you are on your journey, you can take small gentle steps toward change. And we are here to support you along the way!
Take good care, friends!
Susan Attel, APRN, FNP-BC, IFMCP