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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Stressful Foods & The Grumpy Elf

The holidays; they are wonderful and all, but all the elfin around  can make me a little elfed off. The tinsel and glitter that nicely lights up the tree; are nothing but are a nasty elf in the ass to clean. The holidays are wonderful, with their sinister cheer and guilt laden pleasures. Over the holidays, my to do list morphs into a never ending list complete with impossible feats. Seasonal stress is high, and unfortunately some of the holiday pleasures can trigger stress attacks.

I've highlighted 4 stress trigger foods that are the makings of a grumpy elf.

1. Caffeine:

 I love coffee, especially first thing in the morning. My morning coffee kick starts my day and is what I look forward to each and every night as I drift into slumber. Over the holidays caffein consumption skyrockets with coffee hang-outs, friendly brunches, and just having constant access to caffein. The social norm of "get-togethers" is based around consumption. Drinking more caffein in a day than your body is used to can over stimulate the nervous system, which in turn morphs your stress level into a STRESS-a-sourus rex. To much caffiene dehydrates the body, zaps energy, and leads to brutal head aches. Try to limit your caffiene to 2 cups a day max.

2. Alcohol:

Celebrations are always a little more joyus with a celebratory glass of wine or a cocktail. The first few sips fool your body into a state of relaxation. Alcohol stimulates the same hormone that the body naturally produces when in situations of stress, cortisol. Alcohol can prolong feelings of tension brought on by stress, (sloppy drunk anyone?), which erases the pleasant effects of alcohol and replaces them with a craving for more. 

3. Refined Sugar:

If there ever were a time of the year to pig out sweets its Christmas, with all the baking and party platters. Sugary foods have no nutritional value and spike blood sugar levels and insulin levels, which much like alcohol stimulates the body to produce cortisol to counter balance the high sugar flood in the blood stream. Sugar highs, and their crashes are an unpleasant ride which can taint the body with uncomfortability for weeks to come (yeast infections).

4. High Sodium Foods: 

I have low blood pressure, and am encouraged to add a little more salt in my diet than needed. However the norm sodium content in packaged and restaurant prepared food still surpasses my recommended intake. You know when you are chowing down on a tasty bag of popcorn and all off a sudden you get a mad attack of the thirst, well sodium is a super groupy of fluids. The more salt you eat, the more fluid your body will retain. The excess body fluid creates more stress for your heart, and leads to massive bloating which doesn't dress to well. Next time you wake up feeling bloated; drink some water and blame the puffiness on your consumption of too much salt. 

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