6 Step Prep to Make It Through the Holidays With Less Stress and Belly Fat and Improved Immunity (as seen on The Marilyn Denis Show)


6 Step Prep to Make It Through the Holidays With Less Stress and Belly Fat and Improved Immunity (as seen on The Marilyn Denis Show)

As seen on The Marilyn Denis Show December 9, 2020 Click to Watch it now.

By Dr. Natasha Turner ND


  1. Record your diet – at the end of the day add up your protein intake from each meal and or snack. If you are less than 120 grams, consume a scoop of protein in water at bedtime or in the evening.
  • Consuming enough protein helps to negate the fat-boosting harmful effects of eating too much carb, fat or alcohol. So even if you have overdone it – still get all of your needed protein daily.
  • Post-workout protein supplementation has been considered the best method to refuel and optimize muscle growth. However, current research indicates drinking a protein shake before bed may provide additional health benefits.It’s one of the best ways to slow age-related muscle loss and Research published in the Journal of Nutrition assessed the impact of dietary protein supplementation before sleep on muscle mass and strength gains during resistance training. Participants included 44 young, healthy men who exercised three times per week for 12 weeks and those who drank the protein had greater muscle gains. Other research showed protein consumption before bed may improve skeletal muscle following resistance-type exercise. The study suggested that consuming 30 to 40 grams of dietary protein prior to sleep could stimulate muscle protein synthesis, making pre-sleep protein supplementation an excellent nutritional strategy to increase muscle mass and strength.
  • Having a protein shake before bed could promote weight loss since protein boosts your metabolism and stimulate muscle growth. Increasing your metabolism speeds up the rate you burn calories.
  • Protein sources differ in how they stimulate muscle protein synthesis. This means the type of protein consumed before bed is important can affect results. Most of the research has used casein protein for participants. Casein is a slowly digested protein source allowing for a slow release and increase of amino acids throughout the night.  Post workout, whey is the best.
  • Can help you sleep better as well because it regulates cortisol and assists with the production of melatonin from tryptophan.

2. Do a “green workout” and complement this with a few essential supplements for stress control.

  • There’s no doubt the Holidays can be a stressful time. If you walk in a green environment, like a forest, fields or a park, its proven to reduce cortisol. Next best option for cortisol balance, compared to walking around traffic, is walking on a treadmill. Aim for 60 minutes at least three times a week.
  • There are also so many stressors that are out of our control at this time of year, I think it makes adaptogens an essential part of your daily supplement regime. I recommend taking a blend of rhodiola, tyrosine and phenylalanine in the morning (2 to 4 capsules). Rhodiola balances cortisol, improves endurance and focus and helps serotonin and dopamine work better in the brain, which helps mood. Tyrosine and phenylalanine are building blocks of thyroid hormone, dopamine and adrenalin so they help to sharpen your focus and improve motivation and metabolism.
  • At night take 2000mg of Taurine, a new favorite supplement of mine as it has a wonderful protective effect on the brain (increases the production of a brain regenerating compound call BDNF, and may protect against neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.  It helps protect against neurotoxicity and aids nervous system health, aids detoxification of the lungs, and assists in healthy liver and heart function. Taurine plays an essential role in metabolism and digestion, as it helps the liver to create bile salts. Bile salts help break down fatty acids in the intestines. As adults we convert cholesterol to bile salts daily and we need taurine to do it. According to a 2014 Review (in Progress in Retinal and Eye Research) taurine is the most plentiful amino acid in the retina of the eye and helps protect against retinal degeneration. If you are vegetarian, you definitely should take the taurine as you will be deficient in this essential amino acid.
  • Don’t forget about vitamin c – your body uses it up within 20 mins of being under stress, which leaves you are increased risk for infection. Keep chewable vitamin C in your car, on your desk, and anywhere else you see them to take. In addition, take a high-quality capsule 1000 – 1200 mg in the morning and at night. The one I take has black pepper extract added to increase the bioavailability of the vitamin C. I have yet to see one patient with sufficient vitamin c levels in their blood.

3. Having a dinner party or a Zoom gathering and don’t want to overeat?

Here are a couple of tricks:

  • All the experts say eat something before you go to a party but what you eat is important too for the most benefit on your waistline. Have a whey protein-based drink in the afternoon or even just before you leave. Whey is proven to cause you to eat less in the following meal, it aids cortisol balance, and you will help you to sleep better at night. A simple option is a tablespoon of almond butter, a soluble fiber supplement, water or almond or coconut milk, and a scoop of whey protein (vanilla or chocolate) in a shaker cup or blended. Alternatively, have a whey – based meal replacement that has 15 or more grams of protein, is low in carbs and fat, and rich in fiber supplement of at least 6 grams per serving and a multivitamin. Simply add water to your shaker cup when you are ready to have it. One ore trick, stick a pack of regular girl fiber on-the-go in your purse, add it to your water after the meal. The fiber helps to bind the carbs and the fats from the meal, keeping it in the digestive system, which reduces their absorption and helps to prevent weight gain. The prebiotic and probiotic fiber blend also reduces inflammation in the gut and basically aids belly fat loss from the inside out.

4. Consult your MD or ND to request blood tests to assess your vitamin D3 and zinc.

  • Optimal vitamin D3 levels are 125 to 200 – I say 200 for immune protection and blood sugar and insulin sensitivity effects. Optimal zinc level is at the top of the labs reference range. These are three ways you can get a needed boost, as low vitamin D and low zinc increases your risk for infection, the severity of infection should you get one, fuels weight gain and slows weight loss. I think knowing your vitamin D and zinc status is more important now than ever during the pandemic.

5. Self-care and good night routine looks something like a shower, some gratitude and getting between the sheets early.

  • Shower at bedtime. It is proven by dermatologists to be the best for your skin. I have a sauna in the evening and then shower.  Before I go to bed, I write in my Gratitude Journal – Journal Five Minutes a Day (available on Amazon I buy three for a year). Gratitude is one of the most important ways to increase your happiness and positivity if your life overall. Also, writing down things before bed helps to clear your mind and conscious.  Next step prep tip – go to bed earlier! Don’t nap, and if you are tired go to bed as early as 7pm if needed. Don’t resist the fatigue and force yourself to stay up. When you sleep is very important for stress recuperation and being asleep before 10 pm until 2 am are the most recuperative hours for you physiologically from stress and this is when cortisol balance should be at it’s lowest.

More benefits of going to bed early:

  • Early to bed people are naturally thinner than those that are night owls for two reasons – the hormonal impact of getting to bed on melatonin, growth hormone and cortisol, which impact glucose regulation and muscle mass. Plus if you are overtired, we make the wrong food choices and over-eat comfort foods.
  • Sufficient sleep puts our bodies at ease and lowers blood pressure, which reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke
  • piece of research from WHO (World Health Organization) showed that people who have night shifts face the risk of having their body’s clock interfered and exposed to carcinogens. Nurses for instance, have the highest incidence of breast cancer because they don’t get the melatonin – so two things if you work shift work = take melatonin always, no matter what time you go to bed and use Relora when you wake and when you go to bed for cortisol control. Melatonin is so immune enhancing as well, you never want to be low in it. That is why sleep deprived people get sick more often,
  • Those who sleep too late at night also have higher chances of suffering from chronic diseases like Alzheimer’s, sleep actually repairs the brain cells much like a nighttime work crew would repair the potholes in the road.
  • Sleep truly is beauty rest. Poor sleep speeds up the aging process as you get less skin cell repair. And of course, the bags under your eyes.
  • Think of “hungry, angry, lonely, tired” as the four of the worst things to fuel bad habits! Get your rest you will be less angry and tired.

6. Drink a Lemon Ginger Carb Zinger

This is a great drink to make over the holidays to help cut your carb intake. I spoke about this on The Marilyn Denis Show. Read more about it and get the recipe here.

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