Guilty Pleasures in the Midst of the Holidays

Friday, December 29, 2017

We all need a day off every once in a while. In fact, in the midst of the hustle and bustle of life, surrounded by stress and long hours, we really need to take a day off from time to time. Down time is key to our health.

There are actually many benefits to having a day off. Research shows time off can boost our immune system, add years to our lives, increases our capacity to cope, and even improves our short-term memory.  We all know, when we take the time, that we feel better when we nourish our soul.

When I have been putting in long hours I start craving a “lounge around day.” It is a way to reboot.  You can let go of all the thoughts, concerns and worries looping in your brain, let your body luxuriate in a day of rest and allow your stomach a day off too.

This is particularly true during the holidays. After all the work, partying, planning, shopping, cooking, feeding, decorating, wrapping, delivering and clean up I long for a day to just curl up in my pajamas with a dog on either side of me while I sip tea, read a new book, and watch my favorite classic movies. No cooking is allowed, only easy reheating of leftovers, hopefully in healthy portions. The week between Christmas and New Years is ideal. Most of the world is quiet then so you can squeeze in some “me time.” Not only do we need it, we deserve it!

I call this kind of lounge around day one of my Guilty Pleasures. It truly is a guilt-free day, we’ve earned it, but somehow by framing it as a day of indulgence, we can enjoy it that much more. It frees us up to do the activities we like to do—no need to negotiate the movie you are going to watch, no need to fix an extra cup of tea or plate of food, this day and all you do is just for you.

You may not end up with an entire day off if you have family with you but you can organize activities for them while you hang out at home. Plan now so you can have a morning or afternoon off. And then, at the end of the day, fix your favorite night cap, fill your bath tub with steaming hot water with bath salts, light a candle or two by your tub, turn on some relaxing music, close the bathroom door and ease into a long soak. You can’t beat the feeling of this guilty pleasure!

Enjoy! And Live Wise!

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Sign of a Healthy Lifestyle--Healthy Gifts for the Holidays

Monday, December 25, 2017

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How to have a Bari-friendly Holiday

Friday, December 22, 2017

Having a happy and memorable holiday should be something we look forward to every year. Unfortunately, the holidays also bring added stress and many more expectations than we would like. Some of those expectations can influence not only how we feel about the holidays but they can also have negative consequences to our health. When our health is closely tied to what we eat and how much we eat, when we find it difficult to follow our usual routine we can really get into trouble. It is not as much about weight gain but the impact eating the wrong foods in the wrong quantities can have on our mental and physical health.

Before we get sucked into the “same ol’ same ol’” of negative patterns, it is important to realize we have support. It is amazing how our Facebook friends and those we chat with on twitter can be a great resource for us….and then there are also the blogs we follow! We are not alone in our struggles! And sometimes we just need to refresh our bandwidth and get reminded of the power we have to make choices and avoid downward spirals that will take a lot of effort to get out of.

I recently reached out to Livliga’s Facebook followers and asked this question: The holidays are upon us and it is always a challenging time to stay on track. I am wondering, especially from our bariatric post-op friends, what tips you have and tricks you use to help manage all the hoopla and food choices...share your good advice please!

Yvonne Burns McCarthy (bariatricgirl) was nice enough to respond and gave this great advice:

  1. Eat before you go to any place you will be tempted to do damage to yourself. 
  2. Don’t bring things you don’t want to eat home. 
  3. Last, if you fall off the wagon...drop the shame, hold your head high, and get back on the horse.

In a recent email to her followers Liz Bull offered her advice for Holiday Survival:

  1. Plan your meals to include the special holiday items.... but, first, analyze them. Do you really enjoy them? Or is it just tradition? Could you adapt the recipe? Take those sweet potato dishes with the gooey marshmallows on top, for example. Personally, I prefer mashed sweet potatoes with smoked paprika sprinkled on top. You could try having only one kind of stuffing instead of three. If the Holiday just isn't the Holiday without Aunt Mollie's Super Fluffy Coconut Dream Cake, by all means, enjoy the treat... especially if she only makes it for this Holiday. On the other hand, she might be tired of making it and thrilled to make something sweet potato pie... or something with fruit. 
  2. Avoid drinking your calories. Remember that the buzz can also lead to poor eating choices. A glass of wine - 80-150 calories; beer - 140-200 calories; shots - 150-200 calories; mixed drinks... ooh-la-la. 300 - 800 calories.... and eggnog 440-540 calories. 
  3. Bring a healthy dish to parties. That way, you KNOW that there will be something you can eat without derailing. And, you will be amazed at how popular healthier options are. If bringing something is not appropriate, consider eating before the party. Then you can spend the party socializing instead of balancing your drink and plate. 
  4. Learn the art of the gentle decline. It's inevitable. You will be encouraged to eat things that are not on your eating plan, to eat more than you want, to eat things you just don't like under any circumstances. Here are some handy phrases: " Oh, thank you. Those look so good... and I'm saving room for some (fill in the blank)." or "Thanks so much. I am just stuffed! May I take some to-go?" or "Thanks. I just can't eat another bite right now.... perhaps later." or "Thanks for offering. I don't want to hurt your feelings. Truthfully, I've never cared for (fill in the blank) and they don't seem to like me much either." Remember, it is NOT your job or obligation to make anyone happy at your expense. 
  5. Have a plan for leftovers! For many of us, just being around food makes us run the risk of overeating. It is best to deal with leftovers right away. Wrap them up and freeze them for use in future meals (like ham cubes for quiche or soup). Make up to-go boxes for your guests. Dollar stores have those boxes; keep them on hand. If Aunt Mollie's Super Fluffy Coconut Dream Cake is your undoing, be sure to use this strategy. Ditto for any other food that "calls" to you.
  6. Help spread the holiday cheer. Have a plan for those huge cookie-platters and gift boxes of candy that guests will bring. Re-gift gift baskets, cookies and candies. Check with your local senior center, homeless shelter, food bank. Holiday treats may not be within their budget.  
  7. Make some new traditions! Consider that holidays are about reconnecting with people you love. Meet family/friends for something active... like sledding, skating, snowball battles... or walking the neighborhood enjoying holiday lights. Watch holiday movies. Play board games. Take the focus off the food. 
  8. And finally, I believe that special treats are for special days. Plum Pudding is for Christmas, right? Latkes are for Hannukah, right? So keep them special. And, remember that a holiday is a holy-DAY, not a holy-MONTH. Even those ancient revelers stopped after 12 days!

Another favorite resource is the BariatricFoodie (aka Nikki Massie). She has written a book called The Bariatric Foodie Holiday Survival Guide. You can’t beat the good advice you’ll find and can refer back to when you need it most. Like other experts who face the holidays and know that we all need help to navigate, Nikki believes first and foremost, you need a plan! Nikki walks us through the issues, how to confront them head on and then how to make a plan to embrace the way you want to be during the holidays.

On Twitter there are monthly and/or weekly chats with groups that really help us focus on what is important to us and our health…all year long. Right now those talks focus on the tips and tricks of thriving healthfully during the holidays. Here are two great monthly chats focusing on health, nutrition and healthy tools:

#obsm chat
Obesity Social Media Chat #obsm Second Sunday of every month at 9 pm EST All who are passionate about #EndingObesity are welcome! Tweets ≠ medical advice

All things food and nutrition on Sundays at 9 pm EST

And make sure to check out the ideas, tips and tricks offered on the Livliga Live Vibrant blog! Here is an example we hope will support you in having a bari-friendly holiday:

Making Happy and Healthy Memories for the Holidays

Happy Healthy Holidays to You!

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Sign of a Healthy Lifestyle--Health Magazine Subscriptions

Monday, December 18, 2017

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Sign of a Healthy Lifestyle--Cut Up Veggies in the Fridge

Monday, December 11, 2017

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2017 Christmas Health-Minded Gift Ideas

Friday, December 8, 2017

Having a healthy lifestyle company and being a devoted foodie, I enjoy checking out products that help enhance our health, ease our lives in the kitchen, and make our eating experience even better. I also think the greatest gift we can give the ones we love is the gift of health. Giving that gift in the form of a fun new kitchen gadget, health focused foods, neat new cookbooks and healthy lifestyle products is a great way to do it. Here are some ideas to consider for great health-minded gifts this year:

Nifty Kitchen Gadget

The Negg—finally a gadget that actually makes peeling eggs easy!

Wine with Your Health in Mind

FitVine—who knew there was a way to make wine healthy for you (and with less calories) …and tasty!

Classy Cookbook to Start the New Year

Whole30—is a cookbook providing a great way to jumpstart your health in the New Year.

Gorgeous Dishes that are a Just Right Set™

JustRight Set™ bariatric—was designed with the bariatric community in mind. About time dishes were designed with specific people and their needs in mind!

Still looking for some gift giving inspiration? Check out the Livliga Holiday Gift Guide!

Psst...Rumor has it there will be a Livliga Flash Sale next week with FREE SHIPPING and SPECIAL PRICING on our 16 piece dinnerware sets! Just in time to order your healthy lifestyle gifts AND get them delivered in time for Christmas! 

Sign of a Healthy Lifestyle--Printouts of Healthy Recipes

Monday, December 4, 2017

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Diabetes-Friendly Turkey and Sweet Potato Hash with Fried Egg

Friday, December 1, 2017

There is nothing better than leftovers to inspire creativity. Before I discovered roast turkey as a great year-round food, I relished the leftovers in order to make my favorite comfort foods like turkey tetrazzini and of course, turkey hash.

Turkey hash is easy to prepare and is perfect for breakfast, brunch or a Sunday supper. My version is packed full of healthy ingredients that not only include high quality protein but also vitamins, especially vitamin C; minerals, like potassium; and antioxidants found in foods like garlic, onions and cauliflower used in this recipe. Providing comfort food that is also health promoting is particularly welcome during the colder months when we are combatting flu and colds. It nourishes our soul and our bodies. Below is my favorite hash recipe that is perfect for using up leftover turkey.

Diabetes-Friendly Turkey and Sweet Potato Hash with Fried Egg 


  • 1 medium sweet potato, cubed and roasted
  • 1 ½ cups cauliflower, chunked and roasted
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 cups cooked turkey, diced
  • 4 large eggs
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • Cooking Spray, olive oil flavored


  1. Prepare the cauliflower and sweet potato, placing them on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Roast for 15 minutes at 375°. 
  2. Next, spray a cast-iron skillet with cooking spray and add olive oil at medium heat. Add onions, peppers and salt. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes. 
  3. Add garlic, paprika and cumin. Cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute. 
  4. Add the roasted vegetables and turkey, stirring occasionally until the turkey is heated thoroughly, about 3 minutes. 
  5. Meanwhile, heat a skillet sprayed with cooking spray over medium heat. Add eggs and fry for 3 – 5 minutes, or until they are cooked as you like to serve them. 
  6. Divide the turkey hash to serve 4. Top each serving with an egg. Sprinkle evenly with pepper and serve immediately. 
Serves: 6
Calories per serving: 221
Total Fat: 9g
Carbohydrates: 13g
Sugars: 5g
Sodium: 430mg
Fiber: 3g
Protein: 21g

Enjoy! And Live Vibrant!

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