The Loop Newspaper - Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

Healthy never tasted so good – Part 5


Why stress levels rise with the start of the Holiday Season

Several things contribute to the rise in stress levels during the holiday season. The number of hours we experience daylight shortens and it gets dark earlier. In general, earing habits worsen with less fresh fruits and vegetables being consumed resulting in hormonal changes. We are also sleeping less and drinking more which also adversely changes the chemicals in your body. These unbalancing hormonal and chemical changes shortens your patience and increases your stress levels in general.

Combine all the above and then add a little bit of crazy relatives (or what you perceive to be crazy) and the perfect holiday stress at family events is ready to erupt. Emotions rise, and clarity of thinking is impaired while chemicals released in the body are bouncing around like balls in a ping pong machine.

Another contributing factor to increased stress is a feeling of lack. Many experience stresses because they may not have the money they would like to have to buy things for others. People often put higher expectations on themselves at this time of the year more than they would at any other time.

Reduce the emotional levels

The American Psychiatric Association has a few tips for coping with the emotional stresses of the approaching holiday season. A few of their recommendations are: take time for yourself, remember what is important, make realistic expectations, focus on, and have healthy positive conversations, avoid engaging in negative interactions and volunteer to help others.

Yoga which combines physical poses, controlled breathing, and meditation or relaxation may help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and lower your heart rate. In addition to stress reduction, yoga has been proven to also assist with losing weight. Incorporating yoga at this time of the year when over eating is so prevalent, can have an overwhelming positive impact on health that continues after the holiday season is over.

Spending time in nature and taking walks while listening to easy listening music reduces stress and depression as well. Take a little time to be creative with art, sewing or various types of crafts have been known to reduce stress also.

Now, chew on this – stress reducing foods!

There are several mood-enhancing, stress and depression reducing foods. Some of these foods are: avocado, asparagus, dark chocolate, pistachios, blueberries, spinach, curry, oranges, almond, oatmeal, cashews, sweet potato, organic turkey, walnuts, yogurt, eggs, salmon, lavender, lemonade, hibiscus, turmeric, brown rice and seeds.

Stress reducing recipe suggestions:

Cashew coated salmon, nut and seed loaf, oatmeal with blueberries, sweet potato with coconut butter and walnuts, spinach and asparagus quiche, lavender lemonade, hibiscus lemonade, turmeric tea, coconut curry brown rice with walnuts, spinach salad with blueberries and oranges, grilled salmon burger with avocado salsa, mushroom chicken and quinoa, black bean meatless meatballs, pear balsamic salad with dried cherries and walnuts, savory oatmeal with garlic kale, and dark chocolate chia pudding.

About Dr. Charmène Mama Vega

 Dr. Charmene "Mama" Vega is Founder, President and CEO of Mama Vega Enterprises (  She is also a philanthropist, published author, Medical Nutrition Therapist, holder of a Master of Science degree in Special Education and an Honorary Doctor of Humanities.

 Dr. Vega believes in giving back to the communities where Mama Vega products are sold. For every Mama Vega product purchased, a percentage of each sale is donated to those communities' non-profits.

You can find Mama Vega's products at


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