The Holiday Season is upon us and many of us are now wondering about the scrumptious food that will be served at our tables during Noche Buena or Media Noche. The holiday season is a season of celebration and it is during this season that people will likely eat everything that they want, setting aside their preferences in diet and health eating. The food served during the festivities is often laden with calories, high in carbohydrates and saturated fat, all of which contribute to a life of obesity, hypertension, cardiac disease and diabetes. Add to that, vices like smoking and huge amounts of unlimited alcoholic drinks for all are available to all. What makes this worse is the fact that people do not regularly exercise during this time as people are busy enjoying reunions and celebrations with friends, families, and loved ones. It is not wrong to celebrate December and January this way. I, for one, am guilty of these indulgences; then again, who isn’t?
The holiday season is a season of celebration. Though there are virtually very little ways to evade the delicious food during this time of year, we can do something to still safeguard our health as we enjoy the holiday season. Here are some of my tips:
You ate lechon (roast pig), rice, lengua, roast beef, seafood cocktail, chicken teriyaki, baked ham for your main course, followed by leche flan, ube halaya, fruit salad, ice cream for dessert. Count the calories. Remember that the recommended daily allowance for calories is 2,000 for females and 2,500 for males. If possible, try to limit yourself. All the sugar and fat you ate greatly raises your blood sugar, cholesterol, and lipid profile values. Yes, the food may be tempting, but that does not mean that you have to eat everything. This is especially true for people with diabetes and heart disease. You can eat everything by eating smaller portions anyway. You control yourself. Be wary, your noche buena meal might be your last.
After eating everything stated above, drinks are now ready to be served as people chat and bond over Christmas music, or pop songs. You have already bombarded your bloodstream with high sugar, fat, and cholesterol, and now you are going to bombard it again with more sugar and more calories, plus alcohol. It is not wrong to drink a glass or two, but know your limit. Your body can only take so much before defensive mechanisms fail. You would not want to end up in the hospital on Christmas ever do you?
This comes with the alcohol. 5,000 calories + alcohol + smoking= high blood sugar, fat-clogged arteries, vasoconstriction, decreased oxygen in the blood. This spells D.E.A.T.H. for people who are obese, have diabetes, or cardiac disease. Watch out, and observe them.
Who said that people cannot exercise during the holiday season? People sometimes say that gaining weight during the festivities is okay. Is it really? Take control of your body. If you want to eat everything you want, at least burn it off by exercising thoroughly. Your body has already enjoyed the festivities, so it’s time for you to take care of it. Your body will thank you.
If someone in the family has heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, or any medical condition that may be affected by the festivities, always make sure to have medicines available in case of an emergency. Also, know the nearest hospital and have a vehicle ready for transport. We will never know when a myocardial infarction could begin.
If you are someone in the family who is in the medical field, you can do your part by “checking” on your loved ones as the festivities go on. This does not mean that you will have to sacrifice your own happiness. Just try and keep a sharp eye out for signs like grabbing of the chest, difficulty of breathing, and other adverse signs and symptoms. Your keen eye could save a life.
Educate people about proper diet and exercise. Everything is difficult to resist during the holidays but that does not mean that we should stop educating others. Education is the start. People will always have a choice; but it is good to know that no matter what happens, we did our part as health advocates.
Enjoy the holidays. We are all entitled to the joy and festivities the season has to offer. Set aside worries and just relax from it all.
The holiday season is a season of temptation and caloric indulgences. Amidst the festivities, let us not forget to put our health first. There is always something we can do as we enjoy our time with our families. Remember, if you take care of yourself today, that is already a step to another celebration next year. Who wouldn’t want that?
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