It’s Olive Oil Season!
December marks the beginning of the olive oil season when fresh pressing begins and the festivals start in Sonoma.
Olive oil is at its peak of flavor when freshly pressed. Most people think they need to purchase olive oil from Italy, but Sonoma County is the largest producer of olive oil in California.
Extra virgin olive oil is the highest quality and most expensive, made exclusively from expressing the oil mechanically without the use of solvents. Extra virgin olive oil has the best flavor and should be used without heat. If you plan to cook with your olive oil opt for the virgin olive oil, which is more economical.
Nutritionally, olive oil is a great way to increase your heart health. Olives are packed full of monounsaturated fat. Tip number 2 is to replace some of the fat in your diet with olive oil, which can help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of certain cancers.
The 13th annual olive festival will begin this January in Sonoma. There are tons of activities in Sonoma including, art festivals, hiking trails, cooking demonstrations, and well as olive tastings, don’t miss out.
Maintain your weight this holiday season.
Trying to lose weight over this time can lead to added stress and anxiety.
There are 34 days between Thanksgiving and New Year’s this year, that’s just a fraction of the entire year. Yet many people gain 2-3 pounds in this short window of time, thinking that they will just resolve to lose the weight next year. Have fun, enjoy, and even indulge a little this season, but try not to go overboard all the time. The key is to balance out your holiday indulgences right. Say you have 7 holiday parties over the season, pick your 3-4 favorite parties and indulge. Stay more focused on keeping within a reasonable calorie goal the remaining 3 parties. A good rule of thumb is to limit sugar during the day to no more than one 150-calorie treat or you can save up those sweets for the holiday party!
Having a few planned snacks during the day is a great way to keep energized all day long. Snacking may help prevent that embarrassing stomach grumble in your afternoon meeting. Studies show that people who snack are less prone to overeating in the evenings or at that nighttime holiday event. A good trick is to make sure your snacks contain some healthy fat or a protein source. Some of my personal favorites for the holiday times are trail mixes with nuts, dried fruit and seeds or roasted beans! All these contain healthy fats and protein to help you feel satisfied longer. With trail mixes you can be super creative, take your favorite, dried fruit, nuts and seeds and mix in just a little chocolate or even butterscotch, (butterscotch chip trail mix recipe). Chickpeas are fabulous roasted, plus you can make them salty or sweet (cinnamon sugar chickpeas)
Drinking enough water this time of year can keep your brain sharp, body balanced, skin soft and mood in good spirits. Your body is made up of over 70% water, you’ll need to drink water daily to replenish loses from sweat, urine, and breathing. A good rule of thumb is to drink at least ½ oz. water per pound body weight. For a 150-pound person that’s 75 oz. or just over 2 liters per day, more if you exercise. Choose drinks that contain little to no sugar. Teas, fruit infused waters, sparkling waters are all refreshing. My personal favorite this time of year is holiday spiced teas.
Turn the Heat up!
Dance at the party this weekend. Instead of hanging out by the dessert table spend more time near the dance floor. Whether you are that person that jumps into the middle of the dance circle or hangs out on the sidelines, let loose a little. Make sure those holiday shoes will let you dance, you don’t want to be sidelined because of achy feet. 2 hours of dancing does count as your cardio for 2 days, just like that Zumba class.
With only 9 days left until Christmas you may be feeling it’s crunch time to get last minute work projects done, Christmas shopping completed, decorations up, holiday meals ready, Christmas cookies baked… Take a moment and put things in perspective, write out your to do list and stop worrying. Take some time, even just 10 minutes, to relax and think about ALL the joy the holiday season brings.
My favorite activities to decompress in 10 minutes or less are:
Again take time out for yourself this season reduced stress levels can only make your holiday brighter for everyone.
Indulge in desserts with dark chocolate or fresh seasonal fruit.
Enjoy desserts that give your body a boost of nutrients. Avoiding desserts over the holiday season would be tough to do. A more realistic approach is to choose desserts that provide heart healthy dark chocolate or are brimming with seasonal fruits. The holidays are a time to enjoy family, friends, traditions, and food. Keep in mind the old 80/20 rule, keeping your overall food choices in perspective. Limiting sweet treats to healthier versions and to only a portion of your overall calories can lead to a happy, healthy, AND satisfied holiday season.
Share the gift of healthy nutrition with others
Need a few last minute gift ideas, head to the farmers market instead of the mall. Why not create a gift basket of fresh fruits, maybe an assortment of crisp crunchy apples, sweet and zesty oranges and juicy pears. Include some dried fruit and nuts to round out the look. Or… think olive oil infused with fresh herbs. These gifts will be sure to inspire a healthful attitude for the New Year.
Enjoy your time off with family and friends this holiday
Get back to the real reasons why you want to stay healthy: a quality, energy-giving and long-lasting life. Remember how fortunate you are to have way beyond the basics in life: good food, water, a home and love. This holiday season eat real food, cook, take walks, drink lots of water, rest and most of all have a fabulous holiday!
I love holidays. I love all the preparation and enjoyment that goes into planning for them. This year will be especially fun because I have 2 daughters and I am so excited to show them how fun celebrating the simple things in life can be; love, affection, friendship, flowers, sweet smelling candles, pretty decorations and …