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Staying Healthy During the Holidays, Without Feeling Deprived!

Christmas Cookie Garland


Staying Healthy During the Holidays

You want to join in all of the Christmas festivities, food, desserts and wine, but you want to stay healthy during the holidays too! After all, you’ll be dressing up and seeing people you may not have seen all year.

It’s true, the holidays are not always conducive to staying fit and healthy. With a little bit of planning and some tried and true mindset tools, you can have your Buche de Noel and eat it too. Here is what I’ve learned through many years of holiday parties and self-care.

In order to reach and maintain a certain level of health and wellness, you must generally do some advance planning and scheduling. Master your mind and calendar right now, before the parties begin, so they don’t master you.




Schedule Exercise Now

Split your workout into two times of the day, one in the morning and one in the late afternoon/early evening. Decide right now on a specific time or times for your morning and late afternoon workouts. Keep in mind, completing both workouts in the morning will give you greater flexibility in the evening should an impromptu invitation appear.

At the very least, do that morning workout.

Beginning the morning of December 1, drop into your digital calendar, all your workouts for the month of December. For convenience, I do aerobics in the morning such as the stationary bike or the rebounder, and body work such as weights, Pilates or yoga in the late afternoon or early evening. Note, if you accept any invitations during the week, and if you can fit it in, do your body work in the morning, after your aerobics.

I love rebounding. Rebounding is basically dance bouncing on a mini trampoline. It elevates your mood, moves lymph fluid, gets blood to your face, burns calories, feels great on your feet and calves and only takes 15 to 20 minutes a day to be effective.


Holiday yoga clothes


Turn on some great tunes or a book on Audible and have fun with it! I researched them and decided on the Urban Rebounder, available on Amazon for $130. Rebounders come with stability bars so you have something to hold on to if needed.

This plan includes structured workouts Monday through Friday, with a non-structured workout on Saturday and a day of rest on Sunday.

Monday through Friday

A.M. workout – Stationary bike or rebounder 20 minutes, or fast walk one hour.

P.M. workout – Alternate each day between two body work exercises of your choice, such as Yoga or weights.


Any fun based, non-structured activity such as ninety minutes of hiking; pickle ball; tennis or outdoor cycling.


Take a day of rest, you’ve earned it!

It’s so easy to get side tracked and lose impetus to work out but exercise is a must. Look at movement as a joy and mindfully associate it with feeling and looking better for all your holiday get togethers through the new year.


Big raw salad


Planning Meals Around the Holidays

Weight gain, water retention, pain and lethargy doesn’t have to be part and parcel to Christmas. In order to manage your fitness levels, however, you must do a little planning. In addition to exercise your basic Holiday health tools are water, intermittent fasting, a daily green juice and a big raw salad at lunch.

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting has been a real game changer in helping me manage my weight, arthritis and general feelings of health and wellness. It works because it gives your digestive system an optimal period of rest; allows your body to cleanse itself, which the body only does during periods when it’s not digesting food; gives your taste buds the opportunity to reset and fully appreciate healthful food; and prohibits energy depletion which occurs during the digesting of a large breakfast. In other words, a big breakfast depletes your energy when you need energy the most. Save your big meal for late afternoon/early evening, after your body work. Lastly, it helps you get in touch with the real sensation that is ‘hunger’.


Water and fasting



Water is imperative year- round but if you’re consuming alcohol during the holidays, it becomes even more important. General rule of thumb is 64 ounces but a better guideline is to take your weight in pounds, divide it in half, and drink that number of ounces of water every day. For example, if you are a 150 lb. woman, you need 75 ounces of water a day. Even more when you consume alcohol.

Never drink tap water. I use a Brita filter and change it every month. Spring water is best but reverse osmosis is purportedly an excellent choice too.

Green Juicing

Green juicing is a life changing experience because it allows you to consume so much produce in one single setting. I use the Breville Compact Juice Fountain for easy use and clean up. It’s $99 on Amazon.

In order to make your green juicing sustainable, you want to make it taste super good. If it tastes yucky, you won’t want to do the work of juicing. I do this by including apple and lime in my morning juice. It’s hard to share exact quantities because produce comes in all shapes and sizes but here is a general guideline to my own morning green juice.


Green juicing


Makes 2 large glasses of green juice, one to drink and one to freeze for the following day. Green juice does not keep in the freezer. Only green smoothies can be refrigerated without freezing.

I do two juices at a time to save time, and freeze the other. With some practice you can make and clean up in 15 minutes. Otherwise, allow 25 minutes. Using organic produce, each green juice costs about $3.25 per 20-ounce glass. That’s about $23 a week.

Romaine lettuce, about 2 heads

2.5 red apples

1 large lime

1 large cucumber

1/3 bundle cilantro, optional

5 stalks lacinto kale, bitter stems removed!

I actually love to drink/eat my green juice slightly frozen. It’s like the best slushie you’ve ever had!

The big, raw salad is something I came up with in order to consume most of my daily, plant-based foods in raw form. To stay healthy during the holidays, get a big, raw salad daily. Granted, not all the ingredients must be completely raw, but I try to get all of my daily raw produce requirements in my green juice and big, raw salad. I know myself and I won’t eat raw veggies if they aren’t dressed like a salad and tasting really delicious. The big, raw salad at lunch solves that issue. Then at dinner, I really don’t stress. I eat a cooked, plant-based meal of my choice.

Salads I Love

I don’t eat at any restaurant that doesn’t have a big salad, unless I’m specifically going for pasta and/or seafood. I do eat fish occasionally.

When going to a party, I always offer to bring the salad. That way, I know I’ll be able to eat at least one healthy meal while there. I never deprive myself of treats at parties and I can do this because I eat so healthy during the rest of the week.


Big raw salad



My Greek salad with romaine, cucumber, chevre, kalamata olives, pepperoncini, onion, tomatoes, yellow or red bell pepper, dried basil, dried thyme, lemon juice, red wine vinegar and cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil is a favorite. Bay shrimp is optional. Try and find wild caught.

My strawberry salad on romaine, with yellow bell pepper, avocado, onion, cilantro, lime juice, honey, jalapeno and cold pressed extra virgin olive oil.

Caroline Vassar’s kale Cesar is amazing with lacinto kale, high quality parmesan or Violife vegan parmesan, pine nuts, garlic, lemon juice, anchovy paste and cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil. Caroline is a friend from high school.


Shiree's Pillars to Optimal Wellness


To get more goodness on staying healthy during the holidays, check out my free download Five Pillars to Optimal Wellness where I go into more detail on juicing, vegetarian meals, salads, exercise and the detox methods mentioned in today’s blog!

That’s it for today. Here’s that link again, Five Pillars to Optimal Wellness!

Bye for now.



MIndset Tricks for Healthy Eating and Scheduling Joyful Exercise

Well, hi there! I have some great mindset tricks for healthy eating and scheduling hacks for joyful exercise. You have some crazy food cravings, right? Ice cream. Cheese. Bread and butter. And I’ll bet you lack sustained energy throughout the day too. You want to make yourself healthy salads and daily green juices, but they take too much time and then end up not tasting as good as processed foods, so you make them only occasionally. 

When you have free time, you spend it distracting yourself with things like social media instead of utilizing that time to exercise, prepare healthy meals or get a healthier variety of down time. You want more energy. You would like to use your extra time to take better care of yourself but it’s just easier to turn on the television or scroll Facebook. 





There are a few things you do need in order for to move the needle on your wellness endeavors. You need more nutrients than you’re used to. You need a more efficient kind of down time and a consistent, better quality exercise routine. And you need to make it doable and attractive in order to be consistent.

I’m going to show you how to break those cycles by adopting some new mindset shifts that will give you better results and new frameworks because without the right frame of mind you’ll stay in your old patterns and continue doing things that don’t work.

Follow me? Let me give you some examples.






Mindset 1

Rethink Your Budget for Healthy, Organic Foods

Paying for organics is a big hurdle for most of us. It sure was for me. Why is that? 

Most people spend a large part of their monthly budgets on prescription drugs, top dollar wine labels, designer brand alcohol and select cuts of meat yet balk at the extra cost of healthier, more flavorful, pesticide-free produce. 

Money is a highly charged topic, I get that. It has taken me over seven years to get used to paying more for my organic food. I initially resisted paying for anything organic and eventually I overcame that to the point where now, I very seldom buy anything that’s not organic, all natural and plant based. 

Think of it this way. It’s human nature as consumers to want to upgrade, not downgrade right? With that in mind you’ll find that once you commit to buying the highest quality food, you’ll instinctively want them more often to the point you won’t want to settle for less. It’s just like when you get spoiled by name brand purses or a luxury car.

Do Your Best, Until You Can do Better

Consistently stay the course and allow yourself to keep gravitating to better and better food. I’m to the point where instead of feeling pampered by a fine bottle of wine or imported cheese (no no’s for health conscious and challenged women), I feel pampered when I treat myself to a special food item or two each week. Like this week it will be giant California artichokes with a dipping sauce of lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, cumin, fresh chopped garlic, hot chili pepper flakes and olive oil. I might even add a big dollop of Best Foods mayonnaise for the artichoke heart. This type of treat is a weekly occurrence for me and signals rewards to the brain. Reward yourself in this way at least twice a week if not more. 

So how do you overcome these mental hurdles to get where you want to be. Let’s find some ways to expand your organic-shopping-comfort-zones.





Don’t Change It…Ex-Change It! 

In addition to rewarding yourself every week in order to not feel deprived, you will also adopt a new mindset not to ‘change’ your priorities, but to ‘ex-change’ them. By that I mean instead of buying wine, cows’ milk cheese, cows’ milk, beef, lamb and pork which are highly acidifying and no longer part of your new, healthy lifestyle you are going to replace them with some ah-mazing foods and treats! Again, you will do this in such a way that promotes enjoyment, so you won’t feel like you’re giving up anything. 

Instead of unhealthy, pasteurized cow’s milk you’ll have delicious, organic, all-natural almond milk. I buy two bottles of vanilla MALK brand raw sprouted almond milk at Whole Foods weekly. There is nothing artificial in it. It’s real food. You can also make your own at home with a Vitamix and nut filtering bags which is more affordable than buying it. I have a glass of Malk in the afternoon, often with organic, real maple syrup on ice and it has replaced my iced latte habit very nicely. It’s absolutely delicious and much more affordable than Starbuck’s! 

Instead of beef, pork and lamb you’ll eat anti-inflammatory wild salmon. Instead of cow’s milk ice cream, you will love Van Leeuwen’s delicious, oat milk ice cream. You can also make homemade coconut milk ice cream and top it with macerated blackberries or cherries in season. Mash the berries up to release their juices, add lots of lemon juice, plenty of pure organic maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon and a tiny pinch of sea salt. You won’t believe the flavors! These are non-addictive treats but limit sweet treats to a few times a month. 

You are also going to do away with all the expensive skin care products you’ve been splurging on. No more fancy cleansers, toners, night creams or day creams. Surprise! You don’t need them.




Read the Labels

Unpronounceable ingredients are invariably chemicals and exposure to chemicals should be limited. Everything you do going forward is to increase your nutrient intake and clear out toxins on a daily basis. 

Skin care products that you buy, by their very nature must contain at least some chemicals like preservatives and binders. They have to have chemicals, or they won’t last on the store shelf. They would separate and become unstable. So, to avoid chemicals you’ll use natural items like pure castile soap, unrefined coconut oil, raw unfiltered honey (for patting facial massages) and cold pressed olive oil right out of your kitchen. I’ve been using them successfully for years. And this is definitely a mindset trick: with the money you save on expensive skin care products, wine, meat etc. you will now redirect yourself to healthier foods which are part of the best skin care program albeit internal, in the world. 

You’ll also justify the additional costs of organic foods by the fact that you don’t have expensive hospital, doctor and prescription bills. But in the long run the real justification isn’t cost, it’s how good you will look and feel. I see so many women with chronic illnesses swollen and toxic from prescription drugs, losing their mojo and my heart goes out to them. I want so badly to tell them what a joy this lifestyle is.





Mindset 2

Scheduling for Joyful Exercise

You won’t just have issues about the expense of organic foods. You will also most likely have to overcome mental blocks about the time it takes for daily juicing, salads and exercise. The truth? Making yourself green juices every other day takes less time than making a daily breakfast. And making a big raw salad takes about the same time as making a sandwich and side snack.

Food prep is a time trade off, so don’t expect to be spending more time preparing food unless you’re currently reliant on pizzas and fast food in which case just know in advance you’ll have to make gradual, sustained changes in your life. 

I’ll be brutally honest though, the time that’s required to maintain a healthy fitness level, meaning aerobic exercise and muscle and bone building exercises takes a commitment and mindset shift. I charted my own plan below with some exercise specialists’ input: 

Here’s what my own fitness practice looks like: 

Biking or rebounding- 20 minutes daily. Walking- 15 minutes daily (with my cocker spaniel companion, Riley). Weights and Abs- 45 minutes Monday, Wednesday and Friday (I don’t go to gym currently due to COVID). Yoga- 90 minutes Tuesday and Thursday. Optional tennis, hiking, kayaking on Saturday (totally joyful, fun, non-structured activities!) Rest on Sunday/ plus David, Riley and I take a 30 min. walk. 

So that’s a total of 1 ½ to 2 hours a day five days a week plus an extra credit, optional sixth day for unstructured activities. You’ll notice I only do Yoga twice a week. It is the most demanding time wise, as well as the most demanding physically and mentally. What type of Yoga you decide on is a personal choice, but I’ve been doing Bikram Yoga at home for about 25 years. I do the Bikram postures but opt out of the extreme heat because I don’t feel it’s healthy. Also, I have low blood pressure and it makes me faint.

We All Have the Same 24 Hours in a Day 

Remember at the beginning of the book when I talked to you about doing enough of the right things? Let’s explore that for just a minute. You and I and your cousin and your dog all have the same number of hours in every day. What sets us apart is how we choose to allocate those hours. You can choose to be a television watcher; or to travel extensively, providing it’s in your budget. You could also choose to watch three hours of television and scroll social media every day. Will you have the same wellness results as someone who chooses to use their three free hours caring for their mental and physical health? Of course not. No matter how busy you are, I know you can free up the time it takes to take care of your health. Your life literally depends on it.

How to Make the Most of Your Time 

What are the most typical time wasters? You probably know the answer to this. Here they are again: scrolling social media, watching television, binging on Netflix and puttering around the home or office without clear objectives. There’s more but you get my drift. 

How can you make the most of your time? This is my favorite scheduling trick from my business coach Tobi Fairly call Zero Time Balancing which she modified from Dave Ramsey’s financial budgeting concept. This tool and concept changed my life. I can honestly say without Zero Time Balance there is no way I could do what I do in a day. 

My Own Way to Schedule Exercise

I prefer to use my iCalendar, but you can use Google Calendar too. Google has more gadgets like highlighting and color sorting for types of tasks. The concept is that you block out every wakeful hour of your day. For instance, I rise at 6:00 and I go to bed at 10:00 so I chart everything in between in increments of .50; 1; 2 and 3 hours. I have a feature on my calendar that allows me to repeat the calendar every day, so I only have to adjust my calendar on days when I’ll be veering from the schedule. For instance, today I have a 7:00 pm meeting. Normally 6:00 to 10:00 on my calendar is for reading and down time but I had to alter it for the 7:00 meeting. 

My day is constructed in such a way that the transitions from activity to activity are as smooth and efficient as possible. For instance, I group chores, bike time, walking Riley and making my green juicing all between 8:00-10:00 am. Then 10:00 to 1:00 is content writing time for my business, like I’m doing right now. I work a solid three hours on content writing blogs, articles for other online publications, and posts of Facebook and Instagram. From 1:00-2:00 I have lunch and do a few little chores. From 2:00 to 4:00 is more office time, and at 4:00 every day I stop work and either head to the fitness center or to the upstairs loft to do my Yoga.

So, my calendar says that—Weights or Yoga. See how you can work with your calendar to keep you on track for your fitness and wellness goals. It takes some practice, but I promise you will love it once you see how great keeping agreements with yourself feels. It is the biggest self-confidence booster there is. Also, you don’t even have to think about what you need to be doing. Just check your calendar for instruction. And actually, your cell phone where your calendar lives dings when it’s time to begin a new activity.





Mindset 3

Utilizing Your Medical Practitioner to Get them on Your Team

I get it. We’ve deemed doctors as deities. And they are pretty awesome people. Is there a more noble profession than helping people with their health? Not in my book! But let’s look at your relationship with your doctor another way. They are an expert who you’ve paid to be on your team. Your team, not theirs. Not the hospitals. Yours. The sad truth is unless they specialize in it many doctors don’t have a clue about maintaining your health and even then, they may be woefully behind current science. I know! Hard to believe right? Diagnose and prescribe is great for acute illness or accidents but getting and staying “healthy”? That’s a different subject. 


Integrative and Holistic Doctors

Most small towns have at least one integrative or holistic doctor, maybe two. Most cities have a small handful. They are popping up everywhere, but they are still woefully in the minority. Finding yourself an integrative doctor doesn’t mean your old doctor is bad. It means that he or she is human. Likely they will catch up with these advances later, when they realize their practice is declining due to patients looking for more progressive care. Further, they are busy and often don’t have time to study new ways of treating patients. 

About Prescription Drugs

Most illness is chronic illness, not acute and medications do not “cure” them, only mask the symptoms and create more problems. Medications for chronic illnesses are a risk filled band aid with many potential side effects. But there is so much stigma attached to even questioning the effectiveness of doctors or prescriptions. And so many people look at medication as the Gold Seal answer to every health problem. Do you understand the difference between acute and chronic illness? You need familiarize yourself with those terms.

Some people with acute illnesses are actually kept alive by medications for years. And where would we be without pharmaceutical drugs for surgeries. These are valid uses, and I am so thankful for doctors, surgeons and prescriptions in those instances. They literally saved my life years ago. But believing or suggesting that medications are meant for a long-term wellness practice is ludicrous. Make sure you understand the difference.

Please don’t misunderstand. I’m not suggesting you go off any medications such as antidepressants, statins or insulin, cold turkey. That would be dangerous! What I strongly suggest you do is find not only a nutritionist for an hour or two consultation, but also a highly reputable integrative doctor. An integrative doctor is one who mixes holistic medicine with conventional medicine. Tell them you have been reading and doing research and you are interested in making lifestyle changes with diet and exercise: that you would like his or her help in decreasing and eventually eliminating altogether your prescription drug intake. If they are informed and progressive in how they treat their patients, they will support you in this goal. If not, keep looking till you find one who will.

Be Your Own Advocate

So, from now on, please let me encourage you to be your own advocate. Read the books, not internet news which is filled with contradictions and conflicts of interest. Doctors get paid by pharmaceutical companies to promote their drugs. Do you really want to fall prey to whatever Pfizer is promoting this month? Only to find out in two years it deteriorates your jawbone or causes suicidal thoughts or oopsy, this prescription doesn’t mix with that other one and you’ve been taking them together for six months. 

When you look healthy on the outside, it’s because you are healthy on the inside. Mother Nature is no dummy. You can’t take short cuts with your health by taking pills. They backfire eventually. You gotta’ walk the walk Mama. You will get back what you put in in spades, I promise! 

There you have it! These mindset tools will get you some real results. Just remember, only you can apply them to your life. Get started today, okay? 


Shiree's Pillars to Optimal Wellness


If you found this article helpful, please share it with someone who needs this support! I love helping my readers weed through the most efficient, joyful health routines available today. And hey, if you would more mindset tricks for healthy eating and scheduling hacks joyful exercise, then you will love my free download, 5 Pillars to Optimal Wellness.

In it you’ll get …


  • Effective principles and practices to look your best, feel great and enjoy vibrant, flavorful, healthy foods!
  • Fun and easy ‘detox’ methods, to elevate your mood and energy, and fend off disease.
  • Enjoyable exercise options with the flexibility and convenience you help you with follow-through! And more…


That’s it for today! Bye for now, Shiree’

Need a few tips on making your weekly grocery list a health filled powerhouse? Get my best salads; tips for making healthy food taste super good; food shopping tricks; my favorite plant-based meals; and more in my post, My Excellent Weekly Grocery List!