Helping you look & Feel 10 years younger

Smart Nutrition Notes – December 2020

Inflammation and the Holidays

Be sure to checkout the Holiday Anti-Inflammatory Meal below.

5 Tips to Curb Inflammation over the Holidays

1.  Don’t over-commit yourself. The bottom line is that stress causes inflammation. One thing about this year is that our schedules are unlikely to be overly hectic. But if you are an over-doer you might find a way. It takes one to know one. I will never forget the year my goal was to make 15 different kinds of complicated beautiful cookies to give away as gifts. That’s like over 400 cookies, none of which were drop cookies. Fortunately, I was young, and I survived.

But seriously, you want to make yourself a priority. It will to be easy this year to overcompensate to try make this holiday season “normal,” but you could end up drained, exhausted, and cranky. The truth is that if you are not good to yourself, you are no good to anyone else. This is a great year to establish customs and traditions that are healthier and involve more self-care.

2.  Keep a lid on sugar and baked goods. Sugar is one of the most inflammatory foods that we eat. But you have most likely already figured that out based on how your body feels after you have taken a deep dive into the holiday cookies and desserts. So, what can you do? Plan to focus on making the mainstay of your diet healthy foods over the next few weeks. This is your best strategy for appetite and craving control.

You can review the Naughty and Nice lists below for inflammatory and anti-inflammatory foods. And check out the recipes which will be released on Friday for some easy ideas. Keep it simple. Soups are a great option!
3.  Avoid depriving yourself. This tends to backfire. Eat what you love and let go of the rest. Food cues are everywhere during the holidays. It’s easy to get sucked in to eating something that really isn’t all that great tasting such as store-bought baked goods, or fast food, in general. Be discriminating and just make sure you do it mindfully.
Indulge in quality food and beverages instead of processed food. Your grandmother’s recipe for cookies made with sugar, butter and frosting are much better for you than store bought cookies out of a box. If you can’t pronounce an ingredient on the product label your body won’t recognize it either. This causes inflammation.
4.  Avoid excessive use of alcohol. Excess alcohol is another cause of inflammation and we tend to over-imbibe during the holidays. I get it! It’s fun to have a festive cocktail with friends even if it needs to be on Zoom this year. But it’s not pleasant if you have several and feel as though you got run over by a reindeer the next day. It helps to stay well hydrated with lemon water, sparkling water, or get more adventurous with mocktails. Check out the recipes in the upcoming Friday mailing.

5.  Move your body. Yup — You knew I was going to say this! But it is so true. I know when we feel achy, tired, and overwhelmed that going to the gym is the last thing on your list. That’s ok. Just move your body more. If it’s not too icy, bundle up and go for a brisk walk. Make a commitment to go for 5 minutes and see what happens. If it is icy, you might give yourself an early holiday gift of ice traction cleats, aka microspikes. These are amazing and opened a new world for me a couple of years ago when a friend shared the idea.

Regular exercise can make a big difference when it comes to inflammation. For this reason, I have teamed up with Dr. Deb Arthur who is a mindful mobility coach. Deb is all about helping people to move better in their bodies and will be a guest speaker in my private Facebook group on December 22. (Join Eating For Balance FB Group HERE)


  • Sugar (soft drinks, baked goods, candy)
  • Refined starches (white bread, white pasta, starchy potatoes)
  • Saturated fats (pizza, chips, fried foods, red meat, processed meat)
  • Corn fed conventionally farmed animals
  • Highly refined oils such as soybean, vegetable, corn
  • Hydrogenated oils (fried foods, non-dairy coffee creamers)
  • Trans fats (baked goods, margarine, mayonnaise)
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Alcohol (more than one serving)


  • Olive oil and avocado oil
  • Olives
  • Ginger
  • Turmeric
  • Beets
  • Celery
  • Whole grains (gluten free if you are sensitive)
  • Leafy greens including broccoli and broccoli sprouts, spinach, kale, bok choy, arugula, collard greens, etc.
  • Blueberries and other dark berries
  • Dark chocolate
  • Chia and flax seeds
  • Apples
  • Salmon, herring, mackerel, and sardines
  • Bone broth
  • Spinach
  • Nuts
  • Spices: Turmeric, Mustard, Curry, Cinnamon, and many more
A Holiday Anti-Inflammatory Meal

One of the things I love most about the holidays is the chance to spend some time in the kitchen at a leisurely pace. I also know if I am mindful about what I eat during the holidays with an eye to anti-inflammatory foods that I feel better as we bring in the New Year.

This is what inspired me to share these recipes (click the image to download) that are right out of my book Cool the Fire: Curb Inflammation and Balance Hormones to help you be creative about your holiday meals.


Ruth’s New Book
COOL THE FIRE: Curb Inflammation
and Balance Hormones
is now available online or local bookstores

Signed copies are available for purchase

Get a FREE copy of
Reboot Your Hormones
to Increase Energy and Burn Fat

How we can Help

Healthy Adrenals

Healthy Heart
Gut Health
Thyroid Disease

Hormone Imbalance
Food Sensitivities
Weight Loss Resistance

Ruth Clark, RD, MPH
Smart Nutrition LLC
Peterborough, NH 03458