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The Greatest Gift

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail The Greatest GiftWe’re in the bell lap of 2022 and the holiday season is officially in top gear. A few years ago I offered up some timeless tips on how to Feast Festively Without Piling on the Pounds, which you may wish to revisit. This year, however, I thought I’d do something different and jumpstart the season with some holiday wisdom by way of analogy. During the gift-giving season, I think this analogy really drives home the point that a healthy body is truly the greatest gift of all.

I hope the perspective it offers will help you navigate the holidays as you make choices about what you eat and how you spend your time. Staying healthy has a lot to do with eating nutritiously, yes. But it also involves prioritizing exercise, rest/recovery and mental health. And if there is one thing I’m discovering as the years tick by, it’s that my body is less forgiving than it used to be. It is far better to avoid the “potholes” in the first place! Because, truly, the gift of a healthy body is the greatest gift you can give yourself this holiday season! And be sure to read to the end of the post for my personal gift to you – my collection of Healthy Holiday Recipes.

A re-gift

I came across this analogy in an e-book about running by Dr. Eoin Everard (PhD, Chartered Physiotherapist, 5 Time National Running Champion in Ireland). As we had just bought a new car to replace our aged Subaru, it really spoke to me. So I thought it would be fun to “re-gift” it here (I trust Dr. Everard won’t mind me reproducing it exactly as he wrote it). My wish is that it turbocharges your motivation and gives your willpower enough traction to keep you on the healthy high road over the holidays.

You only get one car

Imagine you’re 17 years old and your parents give you your first car. They also give you simple instructions. There is one small hitch: You only get one car—you can never get another. Never. No trade- ins, no trade-ups. Nothing. Ask yourself, how would you maintain that car? My guess is you would be meticulous. Frequent oil changes, proper fuel and maintenance.

Now imagine if your parents also told you none of the replacement parts for this car would ever work as well as the original parts. Not only that, the replacement parts would be expensive to install and cause you to have decreased use of your car for the rest of the car’s useful life. In other words, the car would continue to run, but not at the same speed and with the efficiency you were used to. Would we put a lot of time and effort into maintenance if that were the case?

After reading the above example, ask yourself another question. Why is the human body different? Why do we act as if we don’t care about the one body we were given? Same deal. You only get one body. No returns or trade-ins. Sure, we can replace parts, but it’s a lot of work and it hurts. Besides, the stuff they put in never works as well as the original ‘factory’ parts. The replacement knee or hip doesn’t give the same feel and performance as the original. Think about it. One body. You determine the mileage? You set the maintenance plan? No refunds, no warranties, no do-overs?

How about this perspective? One of my clients is a very successful businessman. He often is asked to speak to groups. One thing he tells every group is you’re going to spend time and money on your health. The truth is the process can be a proactive one or a reactive one. Money spent on your health can take the form of Sports Pilates to keep you injury free and healthy. It can be spent going to physiotherapists to make sure you keep yourself healthy and fix your niggles before they become a problem. It can be spent working out and keeping fit. Or it can be money spent on cardiologists, anesthesiologists and orthopedic surgeons replacing hips, knees or whatever else goes wrong. Either way, you will spend money.

The same goes for time. You can go to the gym or to the doctor’s office. It’s up to you. Either way, you will spend time. Some people say they hate to exercise. Try sitting in the emergency room for a few hours and then get back to me. Working out may not seem so bad. Much like a car, a little preventative maintenance can go a long way. However, in so many ways, the body is better than a car. With some hard work you can turn back the odometer on the body. Do yourself a favor—spend some time on preventative maintenance, it beats the heck out of the alternative.

I thought this was a fantastic analogy because just about everyone can identify with it. So this holiday season, as you make choices about what to eat and how to spend your time, ask yourself this simple question: are you babying your ride or are you driving it into the ground?

A tasty gift

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Healthy Holiday Recipes GiftEveryone likes gifts in good taste and especially gifts that taste good! So, as my gift to you, here is my collection of a dozen Healthy Holiday Recipes. Just click on the link. You will be asked to enter your email address (just once) to access the collection. This is so you will be able to export any recipes that strike your fancy (as my system will create a PDF and email it to you). Here’s a handy tip: you can scale any of the recipes up or down using the green slider to the right under the recipe photo.

I’ve included some breakfast and appetizer selections, a mulled cider, a couple of non-trad takes on turkey (one for dark meat lovers and one for those who like the breast), a delicious slow roasted citrus salmon as well as some sides and sweet treats. I hope you enjoy the recipes. And remember, noshing on nutritious, home-cooked food is formula one when it comes to keeping you well fueled, revved up and firing on all cylinders!

Happy holidays to you all and see you in 2023!

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