By Hilary Sheinbaum
When the ball drops in Times Square on New Year’s Eve, it’s go-time. That means it’s not only a new month and a new year, but the holiday season is officially over. For many, January 1 signifies the date that it’s time to kick one’s health into high gear and cleanse the body of holiday indulgences.
While this isn’t a surprise (after all, health-related new year’s resolutions are as old as time…), there is still a lot to learn about how to mitigate any less-than-ideal diet decisions that happened between Thanksgiving and December 31.
With that said, we tapped Alisa Vitti to figure out how to reset. As a functional nutrition and women’s hormone expert, and the founder and CEO of FLO Living, she knows what she’s talking about. Read on for her advice.
Vitti is OK with sugar, meaning she believes in the occasional sugary indulgence, but she notes that the holidays often come with more sweet treats than other seasons.
“Extra sugar is one of the biggest reasons our hormones go off the rails,” she says.
Allowing yourself some sweet treats during the season is alright but she suggests that people stay mindful of the kind of sweetener and the amount they are consuming.
Her hot tip? Eat a healthy breakfast within 90 minutes of waking up in order to safeguard your blood sugar (more on breakfast, later on). “If you can, make lunch your biggest meal of the day and include complex carbs like black beans and good fats like avocado,” she says.
Translation: White bread, mashed potatoes and pastry-heavy desserts are off the table. “Sometimes it seems like carbs make the world go ‘round from November through January,” says Vitti who advises that having just one “carb-free day” each week can help with carb control.
One glass of red wine now and then won’t hurt you, says Vitti. More than the occasional glass? That can start to mess with your hormones. “Sugary cocktails can make matters even worse,” says Vitti. “Alcohol raises your estrogen levels and slows liver function, once again fueling estrogen dominance. Concentrate on detoxing your liver so it can go back to processing your hormones and moving them through your body efficiently.”
Vitti even has a special liver detox juice: combine a handful of spinach, 4 stalks of cucumber, half a bunch of cilantro, one-third a bunch of parsley, half a lemon with rind, half a green apple, and a small carrot in a blender or juicer. (Yum!)
The most important meal of the day! “This will help ease your hypothalamus and prevent it from sending out the stress signals!,” says Vitti. A combination of protein and complex carbohydrates is usually the best way to do this, says Vitti. Her recommendation is a veggie egg scramble with sprouted grain toast or steel cut oats with nuts or seeds.
“Accompany it with a fiber supplement like ground flax seeds for an extra satiating boost!” she says.
Knowing there are specific micronutrients women need to optimize hormone health — and that holiday stress and high doses of sugar and alcohol during November and December can deplete these nutrients — Vitti recommends taking magnesium, vitamin D3, B vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids. She also adds that since your liver will be doing a lot of extra work this holiday season, Milk Thistle is a great addition. “You can take it in capsule form once a day for extra detoxifying power,” she says.
“Get 8 glasses in if you can, but also think about electrolytes for deeper hydration,” Vitti says. “The salt/sugar/alcohol/caffeine combo of the holidays can leave us really dehydrated. Magnesium and potassium are essential to add in to help rebalance your electrolytes.”
Hitting the gym may already be on your agenda, but it’s important to make it a priority. “Make your post-holiday party workout a hatha yoga class to calm your adrenals,” she says. “The twists involved will help detoxify your internal organs and prevent a backup of estrogen.”
These tips will go a long way in helping you feel your best after the holidays. Cheers to that and 2022!