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10 Healthier Ways to Spend Black Friday by Mark Sisson

Published on November 23, 2012,

For all our American readers today is Black Friday – the day after Thanksgiving which is the traditional start of the Christmas shopping season with many retailers opening as early as 4am and offering promotional deals. Over at his Mark’s Daily Apple blog, Mark Sisson, the author of the Primal Blueprint,  gives some suggestions for a healthier way of spending the day (or any other day off)…

  1. Sleep in. Seriously. You know you want to. Imagine how much better you’ll feel than the folks who dragged themselves out of bed at 4:00 am.
  2. Volunteer your time and resources. Research demonstrates a physiological benefit to our altruistic ventures (e.g. lower stress, better sleep, enhanced immune function, and reduced pain). The key is to feel genuinely emotionally invested in our volunteer endeavors. (Actually interacting with other people increases benefits as well.) Deliver charitable contributions to a local organization or volunteer to help distribute them to those in need. Bring groceries and good old fashioned funds to a local food shelf. Donate clothes and housewares to nonprofit stores that benefit area organizations. Volunteer for the day at a homeless shelter, community program, or animal rescue organization. Adopt a family for the holiday season and shop for them instead.
  3. Devote the day to making homemade cards and gifts. If you have off work, put on a totally different hat and indulge your innate creativity. Expand yourself *and* do something a loved one will appreciate. Send humorous postcards to friends. Knit or carve a gift for someone special. Make wreaths or decorative winter planters for neighbors. Whip up some Primal jerkygorptapenadesauces, or infused vodka for friends.
  4. Take in a cultural event. Skip the throngs at the mall and head for the concert hall, local theater, or community center. Expand your horizons, and enjoy a communal atmosphere – without the stampede.
  5. Make a day for reminiscing and record the occasion for future enjoyment. Gather around to watch old family movies or slide shows on the computer. Tell your favorite stories of past holidays. Get a family photo taken or videotape some play time in the backyard. It will be a more meaningful keepsake for this year’s holiday season that whatever you could’ve bought.
  6. Invite the neighbors for a casual open house. Sure, many of them will be chasing sales in the wee hours of the morning. No matter. Throw together an informal, “post-sale” brunch or a cocktail hour spread. They’ll appreciate the hospitality – and the return to a saner way of celebrating the holiday weekend.
  7. Go in search of an exercise adventure. Hitting the gym is admirable. You definitely won’t be alone, but why not do something different? Think more play. How about a little intermittent euphoria? Try your hand at parkour. Catch some waves. Take a polar dip (with a buddy safe on shore, please). Go trail running. Grab some family and friends for a wild game of rugby or Ultimate. You know how good activity is for that Grok body of yours. Treat it to some thrills as well.
  8. Seek out the light-hearted. Hit a comedy club, or curl up with some loved ones and your favorite funny movies. Research shows that laughter reduces stress (unlike lines at the mall), boosts our immune function, relaxes our muscles, enhances circulation, relieves tensions, and decreases pain. Devote an entire day to humor? How old are we? Exactly.
  9. While others are hitting overrun food courts, make truly healthy meals that will keep you happily fed for a couple weeks. Mine the leftovers and fill your freezer. Make a steaming pot of turkey soup, extra containers of bone broth, a pan of spaghetti squash tetrazzini, a spicy Turkey stew, or whatever else makes good use of Thanksgiving’s delectable residuals. Making everything the next day ensures the ingredients will still be fresh. (Face it – three days from now the turkey carcass won’t inspire as much enthusiasm). You’ll appreciate having the meals on hand for hearty lunches or quick dinners.
  10. Go on an outdoor pilgrimage. Climb a certain mountain in your area. Hit a challenging trail. Walk the full distance of a local urban trail. Be in the moment, in that place. Allow the experience to dismiss all the buzz and distractions. Use the time to center yourself on what matters to you this holiday season. Make it the beginning of an annual tradition.

More at: 10 Healthier Ways to Spend Black Friday

Happy Thanksgiving and Some Low Carb Holiday Eating Tips

Published on November 22, 2012,

Happy Thanksgiving to all readers whether in the US or anywhere else in the world! For those worried about holiday food, family gatherings and how to survive the peer pressure to eat things you would normally  avoid, here are some great tips from Amy Cubal at Robb Wolf’s blog…

English: Photo showing some of the aspects of ...

A traditional US Thanksgiving day dinner. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s the holidays – enjoy them! It’s totally okay to indulge in some of your favorite holiday foods. This doesn’t mean partaking in copious amounts of things you could really care less about. (READ: dinner rolls, Stove-Top stuffing, that damn jello salad…) Choose the foods that only make appearances during the holidays, and pick only the ones that result in ‘a party for your taste buds.’ Really ENJOY your choices, and when you’re satisfied – stop eating. If it doesn’t taste absolutely awesome, then it’s not worth it anymore.

Don’t get ‘wasted’ or liquid sugar-logged. This is a big one! Many times we mindlessly sip ourselves into trouble – alcohol, egg nog, seasonal lattes, cider, or soda… Is a ‘cup of good cheer’ really where you want to spend your ‘indulgence’? If the answer is yes – then make sure you TASTE and really ENJOY the drink. Mindless sipping, warm beer, and fizzless soda should not be making the cut!!

Uh-oh! Grandma and the rest of the family have you on ‘dinner table defense’. This is when it starts getting tricky… Let’s say you cleverly avoided the unnaturally green, whip cream, jello, pineapple concoction that is known as “Aunt Susie’s Special Salad”, on the its first pass around the table – but unfortunately, it didn’t go unnoticed. Someone ‘helpfully’ points out to you (and everyone else at the table), that you didn’t have any and they pass it on over again. All eyes are on you; watching and waiting for your hand to grab the spoon and dish up a big scoop of ‘green goodness’. Think fast! It’s time to run interference!! If you find yourself in this situation try this – “Oh goodness, I can’t believe I missed it but I’m SO full from all this other delicious food. Would it be okay if I take some home to enjoy later when my stomach has room for it?” How’s that for some wicked trickery?? The maker of the dish will be flattered that you want to take some home and no one will be able to fault you. In the end you walk away food dye and cool whip free, smelling like roses.

If the above interference play doesn’t fit your game plan, or ends up in a fumble, here’s a surefire way to recover. Dessert is yet to come, so pull the old “I would love some but I’m saving room for (insert worthy food item of choice).” card. Yep, dessert always wins – no one is going to argue that.

Just shoot it straight. Be honest about why you are or aren’t eating/drinking certain things. Feel free to throw in words like ‘health’ and ‘diabetes’. Tell them (READ: briefly) about how eating the way you do makes you feel. Sell them on the high points of ‘your way’ – but don’t be overbearing or pushy. Let them ask questions if they want to know more.

Host the party or meal. I know, it’s a lot of work – but it puts you in control of the food that’s served. If that just seems like a bad idea, or if the tradition is ‘we always go to grandmas on the holidays’, then bring a paleo friendly dish for everyone to share. This way you’ll definitely have something other than turkey to eat… Alternately, see if you can help prepare the meal. Come bearing the needed ingredients and go to town!

There’s one in every crowd… It’s highly likely that we all have to deal with at least one of those people that just can’t let it go. You know the type. It’s not so much a genuine interest or question, but more of a way to see if they can make you squirm. If you get attacked by one of these smart alecks here’s a surefire way to shut them up and hopefully ward off further confrontation. Sample conversation: Smart Aleck asks, “Why aren’t you having any (insert food/drink item here)?” Instead of going into a lengthy explanation (also known as ‘wasting your breath’), turn the question around and ask them, “Why are you eating/drinking (insert chosen food/drink item)?” While saying this inconspicuously raise your eyebrow – this will confuse them and if nothing else, it will make them pause and wonder what the hell just happened there. This should give you adequate time to head over to Cousin Tom and start a chat about the weather. Best case scenario, you make them think about that fourth glass of egg nog or third piece of fudge. Yeah, they’ll leave you alone…

More at: Holiday Help: Dealing With Non-Paleo Peer Pressure…

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