Christmas time is my favorite time of year.
In a non-2020 type year, it’s a month filled with spending time with family and friends, if you’re a college student – being done with the semester, college football bowl games, college basketball, and the NBA.
Besides everything going on in sports (if you had not noticed, I am a huge sports fan), Christmas is a time filled with delicious, sugar-filled foods.
Christmas cookies are delicious. My mom and sister routinely make dozens of batches of Christmas cookies each year that taste amazing – beyond words.
I haven’t been able to enjoy them over the last few years since moving to Southern California. But the tradition remains, whether I am there or not.
In this blog, I would like to outline the specific health benefits of eating Christmas cookies…
… Just kidding. There are no health benefits.
But now that I’ve got you here, let’s dive into what happens each year during the holidays.
The holiday season is a great time to cheat on your peak performance aspirations and goals. So, instead of talking about the non-existent health benefits of eating sugar-filled cookies, I am going to challenge all of you to stay on track through the holidays.
Being a peak performer is not a “sometimes” thing. It requires a daily, consistent effort to achieve your health and performance goals.
Consistency helps you develop routines and build momentum. When you have momentum, making difficult choices and sacrifices becomes easier.
When that plate of Christmas cookies is in front of you, instead of thinking about how delicious they look, think about these things:
- Inflammation is an important aspect of age-related health problems that emerge as the years go by. These health problems include cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, Alzheimer disease and many forms of cancer.
If you want to age better and be more productive in your later years, then you want to work on your inflammation levels. One of the best ways to do it is to make better choices each day when you eat.
- What we eat should be viewed as medicine or as something that is adversely impacting our health.
This idea was motivational for me. I have made poor food choices my entire life and struggled to change old habits. Our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Matt McNamee, Naturopathic MD, shared this idea that food is either medicine or potentially destructive to your health.
Now, with each meal or snack I’m asking myself this question; “is this medicine or is it going to contribute to making me sick?”
One big idea to learn is how food impacts your Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load.
Glycemic index is the propensity of a carbohydrate to increase blood glucose levels. Load is the product of the glycemic index of a carbohydrate and the quantity of it.
- Our Western diet is loaded with fats from oils and inflammatory ingredients, processed foods high in carbohydrates and low in fiber.
This combination produces a high glycemic index diet and glycemic load. Studies show correlations between diets high in glycemic index and load and overall inflammation.
So, how do you change this picture? Let’s keep it simple at first.
Work on eliminating the foods that are high in glycemic index and lowering the load. In other words, take away the problems first.
This was my approach: I cut out the French fries, processed foods in boxes and bags, and 90% of my soft drink consumption.
My initial goal was to eat food that was real food such as meat, vegetables, fruits, nuts and high-quality whole grains.
The key was, I didn’t try to flip a switch. It was gradual. I spent decades getting to where I was. I was not going to change all those habits in a few months.
Our team at Tiger Performance Institute can help you design an eating program that fits your tastes and preferences and do it over a period-of-time.
This year don’t wait until January 1 to resolve lingering bad habits. Take action now.
There are no health benefits to eating Christmas cookies, I’m sorry. But there are so many valuable benefits to sticking to your program for improving your health and performance.