By Lucette Moramarco
Associate Editor 

How to stay healthy during the holidays


Last updated 11/25/2018 at 7:07pm

Lucette Moramarco photo

Certified nutritionist Michelle Verdugo answers questions from the ladies at the Nov. 1 Woman of Wellness presentation.

The topic for the Nov. 1 Woman of Wellness program was "Staying Healthy During the Holidays" presented by certified nutrition consultant Michelle Verdugo at the Fallbrook Wellness Center.

Verdugo encourages her clients to make eating healthy a part of their daily life for a healthy life. "With high health, we are available for high life and for healthy holidays," she said.

As a certified personal trainer, 15 years ago, she coached people with diabetes who wanted to do a fundraising marathon walk/run. In the process, she learned about whole food nutrition and discovered that the healthy choices she thought she was making were not very healthy.

She then went back to school to study nutrition. "Now, my goal is to be in my healthiest body possible; I live for prevention of dis-ease; I want to have energy and feel fantastic 150 percent of the time," Verdugo said.

That goal involves intention, inspiration, focus, motivation and daily exercise. It is also important to nourish the body and build the immune system to sustain healthy living, she added.

Furthermore, to be healthy through the holidays, it is important to assess one's health and then set goals to stay on track through the holiday time, right into the new year. For motivation, one should decide what and who is the reason for the season, and the reason for staying or getting healthy.

Verdugo said a healthy lifestyle is not a diet; healing is connected to aromatherapy, yoga, and exercise as well as nutrition. She hoped each woman attending the program would learn one piece of information that will become a life-changer as just one small change, one step at a time, can make a difference in one's health.

She had a busy last year being Honorary Mayor of Fallbrook, going to events all over town, and is now taking time to reset her life and her health.

Planning ahead is important. She asked those in attendance if they had any routines planned in their daily life.

A lady named Syd said she designates one day a week as a "no should day" meaning if she feels she should do something, she doesn't do it that day. This practice helps relieve the stress in the other six days.

Sandra Buckingham said she has a proper breakfast every morning, at home, to get ready for the day; this makes her feel grounded and settled.

Besides having goals, Verdugo continued, it is good to minimize stress and put a healthier plate on the table.

Making changes for a healthier life means that "each time you get to a new level, keep on climbing," she said. One motivation is that "when you are healthy, you are more available to your family," she added. She also reminded everyone that "if you get sick, stay home and get healthy, don't spread it."

"Every bite you take is either fighting disease or feeding it, [so] eat for fighting disease and think before you eat." Dis-ease leads to disease she explained.

When asked if she has a cheat day, Verdugo said, "If you eat 90 percent right food, then there is a time and a place for non-nourishing food." (She likes to have a donut once in awhile.)

She advised everyone to "stop eating CRAP – carbonated drinks, refined sugars, artificial foods and processed foods." There are healthy substitutes like organic candy, she added.

She also explained that "what is going on in your gut is going to affect your mood, anxiety, depression and focus" as 70 percent of one's serotonin is produced in the gut.

Signs of chronic toxicity also include lack of energy, muscle spasms, fatigue, stiffness, IBS, sleep disorders, numbness, allergies and headaches. Solutions include exercising regularly, eating healthy, reducing stress and drinking plenty of water. These solutions will also build the immune system for better health and energy long term she said.

Furthermore, "we live in a toxic environment with electromagnetic fields [over which we have no control] and the water quality is not good." She recommended keeping one's cell phone away from one's bed at night, using a water filtration system and minimizing use of bottled waters.

In this noisy world she also suggested keeping phones on vibrate to limit stressors. "Having quiet time goes a long way to heal your body," she said.

"Every day is a fresh start," she advised, so it is a good idea to detox one's body by drinking lots of water. "Hydration is super important; for optimal health everyone should drink at least 64 ounces of water, or half of your body weight in water," she said.

"Live in an organized environment that gives comfort, not stress," Verdugo said, adding that eliminating stress makes the body more efficient. Rest is also essential in reducing stress. She said she makes sure to get seven to eight hours of sleep every night, adjusting her bedtime when she has to get up earlier than usual.

Other suggestions she made for better health are growing and using herbs and greens as part of whole food nutrition and cut down on supplements which may build up in one's system and become toxic. "We can control the food we put in our bodies," she pointed out.

She said an apple has over 10,000 identifiable phytonutrients; other foods high in vitamins and minerals are blueberries, sweet potatoes, herbs and lettuce.

According to Verdugo, nourishing one's body is a form of health insurance. She said, "I know how I feel in my clean body; the key is being aware of how it feels. Keep your focus/vision on where you want to be."

She said, "Health is our greatest asset; to be available in life, take control of your life."

Her tips for a healthy holiday time are: "plan ahead, commit to your health goals, eat before you attend events, take a healthy dish, decide not to eat if it's not a healthy option for you, drink lots of water, have water between alcoholic beverages, make exercise a must, be ahead of your stress, and get your rest!"

The next Woman of Wellness program will be held on Jan. 3 at the Fallbrook Wellness Center, 1636 E. Mission Road. Topic to be determined.


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