How To Powerfully Manage The Holidays

Hi, I'm Dr. Marie Starling.

At The Healing Center, we help people like you reach their full potential.

I specialize in adjunctive care for internal disorders, autoimmune conditions, IBS, thyroid symptoms, diabetes, and other complex health issues.


How To Powerfully Manage The Holidays

By: Mary Beth Gudewicz, RMT, CNTP, MNT

It’s that time of the year with family gatherings and holiday meals that, while exciting, can also be nerve-racking.  Questions arise on how to eat on your lifestyle plan and how to manage holiday parties when the people around you eat anything under the sun.  We explored these ideas and more during my presentation on October 26.  Below are some of the key points that were addressed.

Friends and family come out of the woodwork this time of the year, wanting to get together because they haven’t seen you in an age.  They suggest getting together at a restaurant and catch up up over a nice meal.  Those of us with food restrictions probably feel that knot start to swell in our gut at the thought of what am I going to eat at the restaurant?  An easy technique to avoid this kind of stress is to suggest meeting for coffee instead.  There is always something on that menu you can enjoy, whether coffee or tea.  If dinner is the only option because it is a company dinner, family gathering, etc. choose to eat before you go to the restaurant.  Then while there you can have a salad or an appetizer such as hummus and veggies.

Unwinding is key during the hectic pace of the holidays.  Taking time for you is extra important.  Some ways to relax are:

  • Meditation
  • Walk in nature – believe it or not this can be like a moving meditation and a daily dose of fresh air will help you sleep better at night
  • Focusing on getting 8-9 hours of sleep a night.  If that is not possible, a 20 minute cat nap is a great supplement.
  • Deep breathing. Taking a deep belly breath at stop lights, each time you touch a door knob, etc. can take you from fight or flight (sympathetic mode) to rest and digest (parasympathetic mode).
  • A hug. A simple 20 second hug can bring you into that rest and digest mode simultaneously releasing endorphins.[1]

It is easy to take an old family recipe and modify it into a gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free option that tastes just as good as the original recipe.  There are some great ways to substitute gluten, dairy and eggs in any recipe and modify to meet your dietary needs.  For example, a great egg binding substitute is to take one tablespoon of flaxseed and mix with 3 tablespoons of water.  It is the equivalent of one egg.[2] One of the guests tried it the next day with her favorite paleo pancakes and found it tasted just as delicious.

Managing alcohol choices during the holidays can be difficult.  We explored all of the gluten-free alcohol choices and what to avoid.  An example is wine, which is considered gluten-free; however, you need to check with the brands to see if flour or wheat paste is used to seal the barrels during the aging process.[3]

Other areas covered were recipe options and how to powerfully communicate with friends and family. Afterwards it opened up some sharing and deeper discussion about the holidays and food.  Remember the holidays can be a great time with family and friends, it is up to you to make good choices and remember the moments.

My next presentation is on the science behind gluten and is scheduled for Monday, January 25 at 6:30p.m.  Please join us and feel free to bring friends and family members.  Contact Danielle at office@thehealingcenterdenver.comto reserve your spot.


“Hugs for Health – Healthsmart Exercise Physiology.” Healthsmart Exercise Physiology. N.p., 03 Feb. 2014. Web. 24 Jan. 2015. <>.

Simply Gluten Free RSS. Simply Gluten Free Magazine, 14 Jan. 2010. Web. 24 Oct. 2015. “Gluten-Free Alcohol & Beer Guide.” GlutenFree Survival Guide. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2015.

Caroline. “Sincerely Caroline, Recipes. Lifestyle. Fitness. Fun.” Sincerely Caroline RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2015.

[1] “Hugs for Health – Healthsmart Exercise Physiology.” Healthsmart Exercise Physiology. N.p., 03 Feb. 2014. Web. 24 Jan. 2015. <>.

[2] Caroline. “Sincerely Caroline, Recipes. Lifestyle. Fitness. Fun.” Sincerely Caroline RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2015.

[3] Simply Gluten Free RSS. Simply Gluten Free Magazine, 14 Jan. 2010. Web. 24 Oct. 2015.

“Gluten-Free Alcohol & Beer Guide.” GlutenFree Survival Guide. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2015.

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