I am so happy to have this special guest blogger! Naomi and I went through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition program together a few years ago. We connected because we were both looking for peer support during school, work and life. We soon discovered that we had a mid-west connection and even though she now lives in sunny California, she used to frequent Duluth and the North Shore on family vacations as a child!
Anyhow Naomi has been a great help to me in getting my act together and motivated with school and business she is a great coach even from afar. I asked her to hop in on the blog and help me spread the cheer with some Healthy/Healthier Holiday Beverages! Yay
Here you go!
Eat, Drink and Be Merry
With the hustle and bustle of the holidays ramping up, it means more invitations, with parties,
events and celebrations around every corner.
Often my clients will ask how to enjoy the festivities and traditional holiday beverages without
overloading their systems with excess sugar and fat or needless calories. And while many of the
gatherings we go to are about family and friends, let’s face it, it’s fun to enjoy treats that only
come around once a year.
Even more fun is turning the calendar over to a new year and being able to leave “lose the weight I gained over the holidays” off the resolution list!
Rather than having to decline everything offered, what if you could create delicious alternatives,
a healthy twist on some traditional drinks? Beverages can be one place where calories hide in
the shadows and sugar is known to lurk. We all know it…but they’re so yummy!
Rather than depriving yourself or walking around in a constant guilt trip, here are some tips on
how to indulge without over-indulging.
A Cuppa Joe
Peppermint mocha. Eggnog latte. Hot cocoa…with marshmallows. When the weather turns cold
and blustery, there’s nothing better than warming up with a delicious hot beverage. And the
Most people know that calorically speaking, these drinks are trouble. And sugar grams? Yeah,
let’s not go there!
So how can you create drinks that are equally yummy but maybe a touch healthier? Here are a
Skip the low fat milk. It might seem like a good idea, but swapping (cow’s) milk with nut milk or
coconut milk vs low fat may be a healthier alternative.
(You can make almond milk easily at home. Check out one recipe here, or simply do a search
for homemade almond milk.)
By using coconut milk or nut milks, spices and a pinch of coconut crystals or honey you can
create many of the traditional flavors…no deprivation and no guilt! Here’s one I love.
Naomi’s Mock Hot Cocoa
When I’m jones-ing for a cup of hot cocoa, I mix up a bit of this. You may have to make
adjustments on the measurements, as I’m an “add until it looks right” kinda girl.
1 c coconut milk (I like Thai Kitchen Organic)
2 tsp cocoa powder
Coconut syrup to taste
(Could use coconut crystals, honey, stevia…your choice)
Heat the coconut milk to desired temp, add other ingredients and blend or whisk together.
Peppermint it up with a drop or two of peppermint extract or essential oil. (If using oils, be sure it
is a brand that is recommended for use internally.)
Top it off with homemade coconut milk whipped cream for an added moment of “aaah”!
Coconut Milk Whipped Cream
1 can full fat coconut milk
1 Tbsp coconut crystals
1 tsp vanilla
Refrigerate the can of coconut milk overnight. Open it up, scoop out the firm coconut “cream” on
the top. Avoid the water at the bottom. (You can use this to make your hot cocoa, or add it to
tomorrow’s green smoothie.)
Put the cream in a bowl and use a hand mixer or beaters on high speed, whipping the coconut
cream for about 3-5 minutes.
Once it becomes fluffy and light, mix in the sugar and/or vanilla if you choose. (I like mine plain)
Raise a Glass
When it comes to alcoholic beverages, the folks over at Greatist.com recommend some tips and
tricks to keep these from being too over the top.
When creating fruity drinks or drinks that call for syrups, substitute fresh squeezed juice or the
full fruit instead. They also recommend sticking with the single shot recipes. For instance, order
a Gin & Tonic vs a Walk Me Down, which has 6 shots plus sweet and sour mix.
While some of these tricks are easier if you’re preparing cocktails at home, many of them are
things to keep in mind when out celebrating.
Much like navigating the food tables, it’s not about depriving yourself by not taking part in the
delicacies, but about making sound choices.
Not to get too much into science lecture mode, avoiding the extra sugars and alcohols in mixed
drinks may help you from a calorie standpoint, but it may be a better support to your liver, too.
(For more info on that, you may want to have a chat with Jodie…she can expand on the topic of
Why not create some fun, fanciful alternatives? There are some great mocktail recipes online,
such as the Ginger Lime Mocktail and a twist on the traditional eggnog with a vegan version
Speaking of eggnog, I love the stuff. I thoroughly enjoy it every year. A few years ago, though, I
was ruined. A friend of mine made the real stuff. And I have to tell you, nothing beats it. Going
back to the packaged, homogenized, super sugary artificial-ingredients-in-a-carton kind really
lost it’s appeal.
I was a little sad. Let’s face it, though. From scratch is almost always better tasting than from a
Luckily I have discovered there are some brands on the market that are more like the real thing.
You’ll pay more, they usually come in glass bottles and are only at the high end markets, but it’s
one alternative to making your own.
Whether it’s steaming mug of cocoa, a frothy glass of egg nog or cocktails and appetizers, you
don’t have to go without. By following a few of the suggestions above you will be doing your
body a favor.
Then when January 1 hits, you can forego the whole “lose the weight I put on at Christmas” and
create a New Year’s Resolution that inspires you!
For more holiday tips throughout the season, follow me on Facebook.
Wishing you a delicious holiday season!
Naomi Calderon, CHHC
As a personal trainer, yoga instructor and holistic health coach, Naomi Calderon has worked worked with hundreds of people across the globe. She has taught at numerous private, public and corporate facilities, including Yahoo!, Google and AOL.
Having experienced her own food-related health issues, body image issues and the obsessive need to pursue an unrealistic state of ‘perfection’, Naomi is no stranger to the struggles and frustration many people face today.
Her feisty and no non-sense approach inspires clients and audiences to get excited about taking on their lives…and their health!
Naomi is a member of AADP (American Association of Drugless Practitioners) and is committed to working with clients through whole food nutrition.