I’ve been feeling rather slow these days. It seems to happen every year around this time. I generally dismiss it as a mild case of the “winter blues”, as I’m more of a summer person. But I’ve noticed my energy level is not as high as usual and I’ve been feeling hungrier than I normally do.
Rather than trying to fight it and plod on, however, I’ve decided to “go with the slow”. Because that is exactly what we are intended to do as we transition through fall and winter. And it has to do with our circadian and seasonal rhythms.
Are you sliding down a sugary, slippery slope? You know the one I mean. The one that begins innocently enough in the fall with a slice (or two) of Thanksgiving pecan or pumpkin pie and then a wee bit of Hallowe’en candy a few weeks later. You gain momentum with heaping helpings of holiday treats followed by boxes of Valentine’s chocolate. Before you know it, you’re gathering and gobbling the Easter bunny’s chocolate eggs (not to mention, if you love them as much as I do, hot cross buns). Suddenly, you find yourself awash in sugar. You have more of a sweet tooth than you used to and sugary treats have become a daily ritual, not just a holiday indulgence.
Does this sound familiar? If so, you’ve just slid down a sugary, slippery slope. I know I have. Read on for more about how easy it is to do this and why you really, really want to climb back up.
And I hope you’ll join me for my I’m Sweet Enough 7-day No Sugar Added Challenge (more on this at the end of this post).
You may be wondering why I chose to focus on fermented foods to kick off my 2021 menus and for the January page of my 12 Healthy Habits Calendar. Well, there are two reasons:
- First, we tend to do a number on our gut bugs (aka gut flora or microbiota) in December. This is because our traditional holiday diet shifts markedly to more refined carbs, added sugars and alcohol. And the holidays can be psychologically stressful, which may also have a detrimental impact. Fermented foods add beneficial live bacteria (probiotics) to our diets and give our gut microbiota a helping hand.
- Second, it’s a pretty simple healthy habit to adopt. And when we succeed at an initial change, it encourages and empowers us to take on another.
So why is feeding on fermented foods so easy to do? Because this is one of the few “prepared food” groups I’d recommend. While we certainly can ferment our own foods (and some do), it is not always practical. As a result, there are a number of high quality producers out there to meet demand.