Nourishment during the holidays – Monterey Herald

I will not do this. The day after I submitted the last column in which I confessed my penchant for mint during the holidays, I received a package from my favorite boss of days past.

Along with a red personally woven wool scarf and mohair scarf that would serve me well on a cold winter morning on our farm, the package included a piece of mint bark. As the label states, it was truly “a blissful bite of holiday bliss!” Thank you Janice.

So here we are in the midst of a busy holiday season. Personally, I get easily distracted at this time of year. And that sometimes means I don’t practice what I preach nutritionally.

Like eating breakfast. Studies continue to show that we lose important nutrients when we skip that first meal of the day. Researchers report that – when we skip breakfast – we tend to compensate by consuming more fat, sugar and total calories at lunch, dinner and snacks. Yes.

What if you practice intermittent fasting, which could mean you delay eating until noon or so? Although these diets can be beneficial in weight loss, remind yourself – when you eat your first meal of the day – that mint bark is not the best choice.

Here’s another reason to seek out a high-quality diet even when you’re wandering around like a crazy elf. A recent study in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition confirms once again that a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and legumes can promote healthy aging and extend life. These researchers found that the nutrients and antioxidants in these foods could prove harmful effects of everyday life right down to our genes. People in this study who ate a high-quality diet showed fewer signs of aging, lower weights, and higher amounts of good HDL cholesterol in their blood than those who skipped these foods.

It’s also important – and I say this to myself – that you don’t get so distracted by what you need to do that you forget to drink enough fluids during the day. Sorry, the champagne you shared with your daughter for her birthday isn’t a reliable source of fluids.

What fluids are keeping us hydrated and popping up all over our cylinders? Water, milk, juice, tea, coffee or any other unsweetened beverage counts. What is the price? Unless it’s advised to limit fluid intake for medical reasons, the old rule of eight servings (8 ounces) a day is a good place to start.

Finally, it’s great to see all the delicious sights, sounds, and tastes this holiday season. Let’s try to boost our endurance and enjoy it all by remembering to nourish ourselves from the inside out.

Barbara Intermel is a registered dietitian, registered dietitian, and diabetes care specialist affiliated with the Monterey Peninsula Community Hospital. She is the author of Quinn-Essential Nutrition: The Uncomplicated Science of Eating. Email her at

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