5 Fast Ways to Pressure-Proof the Holidays

5 Fast Ways to Pressure-Proof the Holidays

Are you feeling it?

The pressure, I mean.

You know what I’m talking about. Yes, it’s an amazing and magical time of year, but it also brings with it a ton of expectations.

There’s time pressure, gift-giving pressure, social pressure, and even pressure to make it through the holidays with a smile and then stay on track with our health pressure when cookies are lurking everywhere you turn.

Plus, some of us feel pressure to make the holidays absolutely perfect for our loved ones, and to recapture the magic we remember from our childhood.

Wow. That’s a lot, right?

A few years ago, Healthline surveyed people about their feelings during the holidays…

and 62% said they felt “very or somewhat” stressed during their holidays.

Only 10% reported no stress.

Researchers found that people reported they were more likely to “behave in sedentary ways like watching TV, sleeping, eating and drinking to manage their stress. Many individuals engage in comfort eating and other unhealthy behaviors to cope with their stress levels.”

Well, I’ve got some other ideas to help turn your mood around – try not to take them as added pressure, but as ways to blow off some steam (or avoid the steam altogether)!

  • Turn on some music and move! A solo dance party will turn cleaning up the kitchen (or cooking, or wrapping gifts, or cleaning the guest room) into less of a chore.
    Plus, getting your heart rate up helps your body release feel-good hormones that’ll boost your mood.
  • Get Outside. Take a quick walk outside and enjoy nature – or your neighbor’s decorations.
    There’s nothing like a change of scenery and fresh air to shift your perspective.
  • Stay away from social media. If there ever was a time to cut back on your scrolling time, it’s now!
    When you’re feeling stressed, it’s easy to compare your situation with that of others. Remember: social media is where people generally show their “perfect” life, not their REAL life.
  • Give someone a compliment. One of my favorite things to do when I go to the post office or grocery store is to give a total stranger a sincere compliment.
    I especially love complimenting seniors, because this can be a lonely time of year for many of them.
  • Distract yourself! Watch a comedy, work out, play a game, or even tackle an unrelated household chore (hello, organized sock drawer).
  • [Bonus Tip] Breathe. Do 5 minutes of breathing exercises – just sit back and focus on your breath.
    Feel your belly and chest rise as you breathe in and sink as you breathe out. This can be an amazing “reset” for your mood because it helps relieve anxiety.

An important note: there’s a difference between stressed and feeling true anxiety and depression.

If you’re feeling truly distressed, be sure to check in with your doc. There’s no need to handle all of that by yourself.

What’s your favorite way to ward off the holiday stress? Is there anything special you do?

If there is, let me know! I read each and every one of your emails, and always love hearing from you!


Chocolate Chip Cookies (Paleo/Vegan)

Makes 20 Cookies


2½ cups (240g) almond meal
3 tbsp (22g) coconut flour
½ tsp (2g) baking soda
⅔ cup (66g) coconut sugar
½ tsp(4g) sea salt
1 cup (175g) dark chocolate chips
6 tbsp (85g) melted butter or coconut oil
¼ cup (60ml) water (or your favorite dairy-free milk)


Preheat oven to 350ºF (175ºC) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place all ingredients into a large mixing bowl, mix well. Scoop the batter out of the bowl by the tablespoon and drop each ball onto the baking sheet. Gently flatten, and then bake for 12-15 minutes until the edges begin to turn golden brown. Let cool on a baking sheet.


For a great gift idea, layer ingredients in a one-quart (one-liter) mason jar and seal the jar. Tie a ribbon around the jar and add a homemade note with these instructions:

Preheat oven to 350ºF (175ºC) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place the jar contents into a large mixing bowl, and add:
6 tbsp (85g) melted butter or coconut oil
¼ cup (60ml) water (or your favorite dairy-free milk)
Mix well. Scoop the batter out of the bowl by the tablespoon and drop each ball onto the baking sheet. Gently flatten, and then bake for 12-15 minutes until the edges begin to turn golden brown. Let cool on a baking sheet.


Recipes like this are proof that it’s totally possible to enjoy an occasional treat while living a healthy lifestyle.

I hope you enjoy this recipe 🙂

To your radiant health, with love

Dr. Ilona

My 3 Second Question to Eliminate Temptation

My 3 Second Question to Eliminate Temptation

Picture this for a second…

You’re at a holiday party. You’re surrounded by your family, friends, or coworkers and are having a great time.

Drinks are flowing and food is everywhere. And it’s delicious. In fact, you’ve already indulged in some of your favorites, in moderation of course.

But then your friend asks you to have another drink, and then someone else asks you to try that amazing casserole they made. Or maybe a plate of cookies has caught your eye.

Even though you’re full, you can feel yourself about to give in to those temptations – and break the commitment you made with yourself not to overdo it.

Ever been there before?

I know I have.

Here’s something that can change EVERYTHING for you:

Take ONE big breath, remind yourself of your goals and your WHY …

And then ask yourself this simple question: How will you feel tomorrow if you break that commitment?

  • Will it be worth it?
  • Will you feel rested, energized, and be able to live your day to the fullest?
  • Will you be happy with where you are on your wellness journey?

I know that when I overindulge, I don’t sleep well. My stomach gets upset, I’m usually a little moody, and I basically feel like I’m dragging my body around for the entire next day.

For me, having those extra drinks or piece of cake isn’t worth the way I feel afterward.

It also sets me up for cravings.

But when I ask myself, “How will I feel tomorrow?” or even more immediately, “How will this affect my sleep tonight?”

It’s 1000x easier to follow through with my commitment to myself.

It also creates a powerful mindset shift because it turns a negative (feeling deprived) into a huge positive (feeling energized, stronger, and empowered).

And check this out…

In a study back in the 1960s, kids were left in a room with one marshmallow on a plate.

They were told they could eat that one marshmallow immediately or wait 15 minutes and get two marshmallows.

Those who waited scored higher on standardized tests, had better health, and were less likely to have behavior problems!

Studies continue to show that people who keep their goals in mind and put off their immediate “wants” in exchange for a more desirable “end result” will generally do better in their relationships, careers, health and even with their money.

Remember- moderation is the KEY to success.

So, while you’re at having fun at your holiday parties this month, give this strategy a try when you’re facing temptation from that extra piece of homemade pie!

If you haven’t joined our sisterhood I would like to personally invite you. We just started our free challenge in the group #healthyforholidays

See you there!!

Just click on the link to join us https://www.facebook.com/groups/403901293592817/

Enjoy this healthy and delicious recipe!!!


Sparkling Pomegranate Limeade

serves 8
5 minutes


4 cups Water
2 1/2 cups Sparkling Water
1/2 cup Lime Juice
3/4 cup Monk Fruit Sweetener
1/2 cup Pomegranate Seeds
1/2 oz Thyme Sprigs (for garnish, optional)


Combine the water, sparkling water, lime juice, monk fruit sweetener and pomegranate seeds in a jug. Serve into glasses and garnish with a sprig of thyme. Enjoy!


Leftovers, Best enjoyed immediately but can be refrigerated for up to four days. For best results, add sparkling water just before serving.
Serving Size, One serving equals approximately one cup.
No Monk Fruit Sweetener, Use maple syrup instead and adjust the amount for sweetness.

To your radiant health, with love

Dr. Ilona

Healthier Thanksgiving

Healthier Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. It’s the sense of community, getting together with family and friends and expressing gratitude for our lives, health, family, good fortune, etc.

I like Thanksgiving meals. I like it when my home smells of pumpkin pie, sweet potato casserole, and turkey.

I know that the conventional Thanksgiving meal is not the best choice for my health. Some people will reason it’s once a year. But the question is, is it worth it? It’s not only the excess calories, but it’s also a truckload of sugar, salt, GMOs, hormones, and other harmful substances.

For example, while I like green bean casserole at the same time, I know the canned mushroom soup is full of additives and MSG. Canned sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce are loaded with sugar and syrup.

Why don’t we compromise? Creating healthy Thanksgiving recipes will help us to enjoy all the good stuff without abusing our body and feeling like we are more stuffed than the turkey on the table.

We can enjoy the holiday menu and feel great at the same time.

How can we do that? Do you want to know the secret?

We can create healthy, delicious meals by home cooking. And choosing healthier recipes. That will allow us to have full control of what is in our meal. To do it less stressful plan ahead, involve your family members, ask for help. It might be more work but so worth it. You may want to prepare some food earlier and freeze it.

I made the job easier for you. I am including a few recipes for you to enjoy so that you don’t have to search for healthy Thanksgiving recipes.

Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes

Pumpkin Muffins

Pumpkin Loaf



Turkey Rolls with Cranberry Sauce

Paleo Stuffing

Green Bean Casserole

Scalloped Sweet Potatoes


Enjoy the holiday and be grateful. Being able to celebrate another Thanksgiving is enough reason to be grateful.

To your radiant health, with love

Dr. Ilona

You think you’re catching a cold. Should you workout?

You think you’re catching a cold. Should you workout?

Have you ever felt a sniffle coming on and wondered whether you should work out?

It can be so confusing to know if you should exercise if you’re feeling a bit under the weather. I’m going to explain a few rules of thumb, plus outline some easy things you can do to avoid spreading or catching any “bugs.”

First of all: If you have a fever, your body is fighting off illness so you definitely DO NOT want to work out … you want your resources to go to battle the virus!

Your body is already getting a workout, so let it do its job.

If you do NOT have a fever, the general rule of thumb is if your symptoms are above your neck (i.e., nasal congestion and a non-productive cough), you are safe to work out.

But if you have symptoms below the neck – productive cough, body aches, upset stomach, etc. – take a day or two off to get better.

Also, no matter where your symptoms are, here’s something to keep in mind: you don’t want to spread your germs with others, so when it doubt, take a day or two off.

If you feel like you absolutely must workout, go for a walk and do some light stretches.

Another important part of this equation has to do with the spread of germs. These tips from the Centers for Disease Control can help you avoid picking up germs as well as not spreading them.

  • Whenever possible, keep your distance from people you know are sick.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Wash/disinfect surfaces and objects that people touch frequently (doorknobs, countertops, water cooler handles, etc.).
  • If you’re sick, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is normal – without using meds to bring it down – unless you have to go to the doctor or the store for supplies.
  • Cover your nose/mouth with a tissue if you cough or sneeze, and throw the tissue in the trash immediately after you use it.

You won’t lose any momentum on your fitness program if you take a day or two off to recover – and you’ll feel that much better in the long-run if you listen to your body!

The best course of action, of course, is to prevent illness as much as possible through healthy lifestyle choices. (And you’re actually a LOT less likely to get sick when you work out regularly :-))


Orange Immunity Booster Smoothie

serves 2
10 minutes


1 cup Pureed Pumpkin
1 Banana (frozen)
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp Ginger
1 tbsp Ground Flax Seed
3/4 cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
2 Navel Orange (peeled and sectioned)
1 tbsp Maple Syrup


Throw all ingredients into your blender and blend very well until creamy. Pour into glasses and enjoy!


No Pureed Pumpkin, Use steamed sweet potato instead.
More Protein, Add protein powder, hemp seeds or nut butter.
No Maple Syrup, Sweeten with raw honey or soaked dates instead.

To your radiant health, with love

Dr. Ilona

How to Reduce Stress Naturally?

How to Reduce Stress Naturally?

I hope you’re having a great week! I’ve got some fitness advice for you this morning when it comes to relieving stress.

If you’re like many people I talk to, you might take this advice as extra stress and added pressure … but NO WORRIES! I have your back, 100%!

One of the very best things you can do to cut stress is to add some aerobic/cardio exercise to your daily routine. It’s been proven in numerous clinical trials to be an effective treatment for depression and anxiety.

That’s because it works on a hormonal level in two different ways…

First, it lowers the level of stress hormones (cortisol and adrenaline, which I’ve talked about a lot lately).

But it also helps your body produce more endorphins, which are your “feel good” hormones that help boost your mood, and also are natural painkillers.

That’s not even talking about all the other health benefits you can get from doing cardio, including lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels and a reduced risk of many chronic diseases.

The reason I said this news stresses some people out is that the American College of Sports Medicine recommends that most of us get 150 minutes of moderate cardio exercise a week.

But don’t let that number scare you.

That’s only 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. And that 30 minutes doesn’t have to be done all at once – you can rack it up in shorter bursts of activity over the course of the day.

I know for some people (especially those who have been inactive or are coming back from illness/injury), even 30 minutes over the course of a day can seem like a lot.

I’ve got a good rule of thumb you can follow so you don’t end up doing too much, too soon and end up feeling overwhelmed and overtired (and overstressed!).

What you want to do is just start doing some form of cardio exercise. Walking is a good bet, but so is biking, dancing, swimming or any other exercise you enjoy.

Depending on your experience and fitness level, you can start out with 5-10 minutes, and not worry too much about how hard you are working – although if you’re new to working out you definitely do NOT want to be pushing so hard you get winded to the point you can’t hold a conversation.

You can start out with just a few sessions of cardio a week, and then build up over time.

The 10% Rule

The 10% rule that has been used for decades to help people improve their cardio fitness.

Here’s how it works: if you’re working out for a total of 60 minutes a week (15 minutes, 4 times a week), you would add 10 percent to that (6 minutes), so you are spending a total of 66 minutes working out the next week. You can break that up however you want: you could do 3 x 15-minute sessions and 1 x 21-minute session, or whatever works for your schedule and how you feel.

Once you get to the point where you are able to go for 20-30 minutes at least 3 days a week without getting too tired, you can start adding little intensity boosts to your routine.

Basically, you just start walking/cycling a little faster for a set period of time and then slow back down so you can recover.

One of my favorite ways to add intensity bursts to my cardio is to load up a music playlist with some of my favorite “pump me up” songs, and every time the songs get to the chorus, that’s when I pick up my pace!

It makes it fun – and that’s always a hallmark of a good workout!

Depending on your history with exercise and current level of fitness, you might notice in a few weeks, you will notice you’re able to ramp up your time a little faster than you could the first week or so.

To your radiant health, with love


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