But what does a back have to do with a mouth? If you’ve ever felt
pain in your back, well, it has a lot to do with it.
You probably never think about your spine when you’re cramming junk
food in your pie hole. But just because you can’t see your spine
doesn’t mean it isn’t affected by your nutrition. Eating to
keep your spine healthy then becomes a motivation to keep eating healthy—even
over the holidays, even at a Chattanooga holiday party.
But I Want Some Eggnog
Let’s say you’re visiting relatives in Chattanooga this week
so you decide to stay at the
Mayor’s Mansion Inn bed and breakfast. Sounds lovely—until you hear that cookies and
eggnog are part of the welcome party. Cookies and eggnog will be fun going
down, of course, but the high sugar content in both will lead to
stress on the heart. This creates a domino effect, eventually affecting blood flow to the
spine. If you have a history of pain in your back, you do not want to
mess with blood flow to it. Reduced oxygen and minerals to the spine
can lead to degeneration of the spinal discs, spelling pain for you.
So while some eggnog and cookies consumed before bed at the Inn aren’t
immediately going to make you double over in pain, the sugar and fat they
supply to your body takes away from the nutrients and oxygen that need
to be delivered to the spinal discs.
What to do?
The obvious answer is to just say no. No thank you, because we can’t
be rude to our hosts in Chattanooga, the Scenic City of the South. Sure,
we can say “no” all day long. But realistically, all the rich,
welcoming food of the holidays is going to get to you, and you’re
going to cave. So you need a plan.
One idea is to make your own alternatives. This Chattanooga TV station,
published an eggnog recipeon the lighter side. It recommends “sweetener to taste” rather
than a bucket of sugar. So maybe you call ahead and offer this light eggnog
recipe to your hosts at the Inn, or maybe you just be “that guest”
who brings their own eggnog to the party. Maybe you just eat your own
baked goods at home, go have fun without eating any sweets, and chow down
when you get home again as a reward. Either way, you’ll need
this very helpful list of alternate sweeteners to get you started in the right direction with your own holiday baking.
Are you motivated yet?
Most people have very tangible reasons for sticking to a diet plan long
term. They have a disease, like diabetes or heart problems. They are overweight
and have found a way to keep losing weight. That’s why it’s
a little harder to stick to a healthy lifestyle when your motivation is
your spine—you can’t see it, and unless you suffer from chronic
pain, you can’t feel it.
But this doesn’t mean your spine isn’t worth eating for, even
when you’re faced with piles of luscious pies and ladyfingers. We’ve
already read with that link up there about spinal disc degeneration that
unless your spine gets enough oxygen and nutrients from blood supply,
the casings on your discs will fail, causing excruciating pain. So while
your back doesn’t hurt now, it may a few years from now—which
is reason enough for most people to stay on a healthy track.
What’s your healthy strategy?
If you’re serious about staying healthy over the holidays, then you’ll
be interested in creating alternatives to stick to a plan. In the Chattanooga
area, stores like
Earth Fare and
Whole Foods exist to help you stay on track with products that are hard to find in
general grocery stores. You
can stay healthy this holiday season!
What are your food strategies? Do you nibble at forbidden foods so you
don’t crave them later? Do you bring your own snacks to parties?
Let us know in a comment below!