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Healthy Holiday Treats (including recipes below!)

With the holidays approaching we still have to be mindful of our gut health, despite delicious treats that may tempt you. Having said that, it doesn’t mean we can’t find healthy ways to enjoy some delicious treats.

By incorporating the ideas of the flavour, we can still keep our mind and mouth happy, while still taking care of our gut health. In fact, the two are very much connected: keeping the mind and the gut healthy, especially in the winter.

 

Winter Emotions and Gut Health

The gut is basically the entire digestive system, as such helps to keep the immune system healthy. It is also considered to be part of brain health, as it’s tied to mental health improvement. Why? The gut is also involved in regulating hormones, hormones that are involved with eliminating toxins and also a positive state of mind.

Something that is often associated with winter weather is the onset of many emotions. The thing that most people may not know is that bad gut health and emotions are closely associated as well.

When people become stressed, fatigued, ill and anxious, it impacts our gut more than we realize.

So the emotions that often come up in winter and gut health actually go hand in hand. 

 

Serotonin and the Gut

There was a study done in Cell Journal, and it found that 90% of the body’s serotonin was made in the digestive tract (the gut). Serotonin is a powerful brain neurotransmitter, a chemical that sends messages between various nerve cells. It is believed to be responsible for many things including regulating mood and social behaviour, appetite and digestion, sleep, memory, and more. It is also thought to be a link between low serotonin and depression (although it’s unclear what causes what).

Overall, a lack of serotonin (which is cultivated by gut bacteria—microbes) has been linked to leaky gut.

So if the chemical that is tied to emotion well-being is primarily made in the gut, it would be beneficial to take care of our gut. 

Right?

 

Take Care of Your Gut

Unfortunately, it’s been found that many of us lack motivation or the will to make “healthy” choices during the winter. Often you hear about people putting on “holiday weight” or eating comfort foods that are often not very nutritious overall, or contain sugars and fats that are not helping our gut.

Things such as the over-craving of bread, pasta, chocolate, and refined sugars and flours can aggravate the gut/digestive system, causing inflammation, bloating and severe pains. On top of that, many lack the motivation to exercise when it’s getting darker outside.

Despite these trends, it’s important to find ways to stay healthy. Eat nutrition-dense foods and stay active.

There are a number of nutrients that you may want to consider including: probiotics, protein, zinc, vitamin A, C and E.

This is why Holy Crap can make nutrition easy. Finding inventive ways to increase your fibre, probiotics and beneficial nutrients can make eating for your gut enjoyable.

 

Holiday Treats That Will Make Your Gut Happy

We have rounded up some ideas that would go great with the cold winter weather. Each of these make for great treats to warm your body, have with some warmed milk by the fire, or even package and provide as a gift to a family member!

🍪 Chocolate Chip Coconut Bliss Balls

These energy bites can be described as “small balls of joy.” They taste delicious, which is what holiday treats are all about, but also provide a spike in protein and energy on the days you feel drained or tired.

Tip: To add an additional hint of holiday flavour try adding a drop of peppermint extract if you wish.

 

🥜 Fruit and Nut Bars

Fruits and nuts seem to go hand in hand over the holidays, and the combination is a nutritious and energy-fuelling. This recipe combines the need to gain some energy, while also hitting notes to warm you up on the inside.

 

🍫 Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake

Chocolate cake and the holidays, it’s a must. Now there is no need to think that cake should be something that compromises your health, as traditionally thought. This recipe uses the superseed blend mixed with a couple of more high-fibre ingredients to create a chocolate cake that is delicious and perfect for a night in, watching Christmas movies.

 

🎄 Holy Crap Holiday Cookies

Cranberries and chocolate go hand-in-hand as a holiday treat. These cookies are perfect to package and give as a gift, and of course, enjoy as a gut healthy holiday treat. You may even forget that they are “good” for you. 


Ingredients:

1½ cups almond flour

1 tsp cinnamon

1 cup of  Holy Crap Maple + Gluten-Free Oats cereal

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup of coconut sugar

¼ cup cranberries

¼ cup chocolate chips or vegan chocolate chips

1 egg

½ cup butter or margarine, or vegan butter

1 tbsp almond milk


Directions:

▶︎ Mix together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and gluten-free oats. Set aside.

▶︎ In a bowl, mix together, the sugar and the butter until fluffy.

▶︎ Add the milk, egg, and vanilla into the sugar and butter and mix until cream.

▶︎ Slowly add all the dry ingredients until combined well. Don’t over mix.

▶︎ Fold in the cranberries and chocolate chips.

▶︎ Drop spoonful amounts of the batter on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

▶︎ Bake at 350℉ for about 15-20 minutes, until golden.

▶︎ Let cool for 5 minutes on a cooling rack. 


Tip: serve with steamed oat milk for extra decadence. 



References

Canadian Society of Intestinal Research. Retrieved from: https://badgut.org/?gclid=CjwKCAiA-_L9BRBQEiwA-bm5ftNb3OMO3ppbcIs1WSIz1n3KPbBp9VL5KRxLZ2VN6Tpf-tjm9TOYMBoC1UEQAvD_BwE 

MDLinx. Retrieved from: https://www.mdlinx.com/article/fight-the-cold-and-flu-with-these-6-key-nutrients/fbsqk39D5NwXckpTfSV82 

HealthPatch. Retrieved from: https://healthpath.com/gut-health/gut-health-immunity-coronavirus/ 

Medical News Today. Retrieved from: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/232248#:~:text=Serotonin%20is%20a%20chemical%20that,%2C%20bowels%2C%20and%20blood%20platelets.