Burrrrrrr, chilly burr!!  Now at first glance, this may seem like it's going to be me talking about how to workout in layers, new winter fitness gear trends, blah, blah.  Nope!  I'm still talking bout food friends! 24/7, it's what's at the root of all of it. Plus, I'm a big baby when the temperature drops below 65 degrees. I'm an unapologetic Cali girl, don't hate. No surfing for me when the water is freezing,/and my ears are throbbing so hard it's wetsuit worthy.  I'd rather be bundled up in a blanket by a fireplace sipping hot chocolate than on the slopes. I love warm, comforting food and old movies when the rain is tapping on my window. I'm certainly not ashamed to slip on my Ugg boots and wear them out of the house because my tootsies are needing some toasting.  I just don't want to run to the fridge, and I'm not craving my breakfast like I usually do. I can hear myself giving the very same coaching tips I would give a client, "Jessi, eat breakfast, even if you aren't hungry, it's important to rev up your day, fuel your system for action." That kind of stuff. So weather (see what I did there) you live in cold climate or the sunny states like myself, your body becomes accustomed to the temp outside and when it drops what happens?

During colder months my appetite changes. Scientifically the theory is that in warm weather we lose cravings and in the cold, we want more calories. I'd like to call it "cozy" food instead of "comfort." Warm, gooey, caloric food hugs our insides and high carbs bring out those feel good feelings, no doubt. However, maintaining a level of self-control so that we don't tip the scale becomes increasingly difficult as the temperature declines. Another study shows that SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) can mess around with your appestat receptors.  You don't have to live in Duluth to experience the cold weather blues. The fact of the matter is when the days get shorter we are exposed to less sunlight, fewer rays mean we produce less serotonin, and we love this stuff, it's the happy chemical that our bodies can make on its own. And it's also found in foods we consume, that's what I've been preaching about, eat more stuff that makes the feel good feelings rather then the, "bummer, why did I do that," feeling. Deal? I got your back, trust, it's hard for me too. Team work!
 So, you worked so hard all year long to get that Summer bod, do you want to give all your efforts the middle finger, so-to-speak? It all boils down to this, choices. You can succumb to temptation, perhaps mild depression and that gold leafed chocolate tart, or you can see it for what it is, a temporary change. So don't be scrrrrrd. Throw on a fuzzy sweater. Grab a cup-o-joe, and  head off to your local farmers market and pick out some foods of the season

SAD Remedies:

                         - Boost your omega intake. Eggs and salmon. Toast up some walnuts and throw them on everything, salads, smoothies, oatmeal. Trade out the red meats for turkey. It's high in tryptophan a chemical that will increase serotonin levels.

                        - Exercise!!  More activity and yes, more outdoor time, sunshine baby!  Even if it's chilly, throw on your cutest sweater, hat, and scarf, bundle up enough but let those rays shine on your face and warm your soul. 10 minutes a day of that Vitamin D will make you happier. 

                         -Cut back on the sugar. Specifically on processed and simple carbs. It's a temporary euphoria, usually followed by guilt and shame. No need for that people, it's the holidays!

                       - Don't skimp on snacks. Even though you may feel like your eating more, because the weather outside is frightful, it's important to keep up energy. Reach for healthy nibbles, full of fiber, fresh veggies, make dips from beans and yogurt with those good probiotics to keep your gut healthy. 

                       -Lastly, spread joy and love to everyone! Have you ever tried just smiling at a stranger as your walking down the street? DO IT! It's amazing how one random happy moment brightens up your day!

 

OK, Food Athletes, I've got a recipe brewing for a holiday treat, so that's coming in the next few days, in the meantime here are some inspiration: 

Caloric-Friendly  Cozy "Comfort" Food-  Guilty!!  I ate stuffing and mac in cheese at Thanksgiving. But days later I still wanted more. I mean days after the leftovers were gone. O.k. so I've got options, right? That means, so do you!

Try these:

-Sweet Potato Fries: Sweet or savory who doesn't love fries? O.k. So these are baked but if you're dying to get the crunchy chip flavor and you have a fryer, try coconut or grape seed oil and then let them drain the excess on a paper towel. Ahh, the magic of self-control and smart choices.

-Mac n' Cheese: I love Chickpea Pasta Shells, high in protein and nutritionally friendly with more vitamins and minerals than a traditional flour pasta. Again, this is where you can pick and choose your ingredients. Cheese has enough sodium already so try some other spices to liven' it up. Slice fresh jalapeno', red pepper flakes, fresh cracked black pepper, nutmeg, and fresh herbs like basil. Use hard cheese vs. soft; it's called MAC n' cheese so make sure not to drown the noodles but coat them just enough to get that cheesy flavor. 

-Deconstructed Pizza, love the flavor but not all the calories? It's the taste we crave, so make it in a bowl, tomato sauce, basil, sliced chicken sausage, top with cheese. Done and done.

-Pumpkin and apple pie? Yep, my favorite too. Baked apples, sliced and sprinkled with an oatmeal crumble. Pumpkin puree on top of crunchy granola topped with yogurt. Pumpkin Parfait? Perhaps.

 

Here's the deal, winter, spring, summer, fall. Wear the seasons don't let them wear you. Embrace each one for what they represent, and with each one comes a new crop of fresh foods, spices, holiday treats and traditions. Cheers to you Food Athletes, and in the words of my beloved Gammy, "let us practice loving kindness."

Happy December, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year, Love Your Body,

xo Jessi (Your Food Athlete) xo

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