With the busy holiday season in full swing there can be additional stress around this time of year, such as organizing a get together, traveling to see family and friends or preparing for a big feast. Can you relate?
But don’t fret, stress can be a good thing! Let me explain.
Stress has been defined as: They body’s nonspecific response to a demand placed on it. Such nonspecific responses can be physiological, psychological, emotional or a combination of all of the above.
In proper proportions, stress can improve the bodies overall strength and brain function.
Indeed stress can be a big motivator, helping you to move toward your goals – such as finding the time to incorporate your daily workout into an already busy day, preparing new daily healthy habits, confronting a challenging situation with a friend or loved one, or taking on a hefty task. Each step can encompass a certain amount of stress.
Though, there are negative impacts to these stressors as they contain short-term fight of flight stress response that cause the adrenal glands to release cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, to temporarily increase energy production. I imagine you are probably thinking that you would love to have more energy – sign me up! Though this might sounds wonderful in theory there is a downside to this type of continuous energy production.
Let’s dive a little deeper…By having chronic stress responses throughout daily life, it causes an imbalance in your intercellular communication agents resulting in an improper balance of hormones which impacts numerous areas within your body, from brain and organ function to proper digestion. If your chronic stress responses are continued over a long period of time, this has been shown to cause a wide range of age-related diseases, such as increased risk of dementia.
So how do we limit the negative impacts chronic stress can have on the body?
We need recovery to balance out our stressful loads.
Indeed you can become stronger due to certain exposures to stress, however you can only due this if you have enough recovery to balance the load.
Take for example when you exercise. The physical stress of working out places a stressful load on your body that must be balanced with proper recovery. Whether you are increasing your dumbbell weight when lifting, adding more miles to your run or starting a new exercise routine, each of these situations puts an added stress on your body. Though, it is when you stop working out and recover that enables your body to become stronger, faster and more capable of handling an exercise routine.
Therefore, the balance of placing a certain amount of stress on the body, whether it is mentally or physically, and giving the body the proper steps needed to recover allows the body to become stronger and more able to handle another stressor.
So, how much time to you allow your body to recovery daily?
What are the practices you partake in to build your resilience?
Proper food and lifestyle factors can support either an increased stress or a increased recovery response. Which support do you choose?
This week, take the time to give your body nourishing foods. Start by offering a Thanksgiving meal for you and your loved ones that will empower your bodies to be able to better handle stress, aid in recovery and live more balanced.
For delicious Thanksgiving recipes checkout my pinterest page.
PS - Wanting new recipe ideas? Follow me on Pinterest for some yummy and creative ideas.
Sweet Potato Casserole
½ cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts
½ cup oatmeal
2 tbsp coconut sugar, maple syrup or honey
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp cold butter (grated so you only need to use 1 tbsp)
Place ingredients in a mixing bowl, mix with your fingers, mashing butter into ingredients. The longer you mix, the better the butter mixes in.
2 large sweet potatoes, cubed (about 3 cups total)
Enough filtered water to cover potatoes by 2 inches
½ cup organic unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp cinnamon
Place cubed potatoes in water, bring to a boil. Cover then reduce heat to medium and cook until potatoes are soft (about 20 minutes). Drain well and place in mixer bowl. Add applesauce and cinnamon. Using mixer on medium speed, mash potatoes, applesauce and cinnamon. Once soft and well combined, place in a greased medium baking dish (butter works well!) and cover with aluminum foil. Place topping evenly over potatoes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake 15 minutes with aluminum foil on (or lid if the dish has one). Then remove the cover and place back into oven for an additional 15 minutes.
Serve and enjoy!
Have a health challenge? Did you know that I offer individualized nutrition and exercise training sessions that are run not only in person, but via Skype too? In personalized 50-minute nutrition sessions we’ll dive into your health concerns helping you to piece together the puzzles, solve the riddle and come out the other end armed with a fresh perspective! Click here to find out more and schedule yourself on my calendar before the end of the year.
Hello, my name is Stacy Peterson, Functional Nutritionist and Holistic Health, Wellness and Strength & Conditioning Coach with a MS in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine practicing whole-foods nutrition and physical training to individuals around the globe.
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