5 Tips For A Healthy Holiday

by Dana on November 26, 2014

The holidays are upon us, and since health is the greatest gift, a healthy holiday is the happiest kind. Why not focus on your own health during this typically overindulgent season? You can still enjoy so much of the festivities, including the occasional dessert – but you’ll also provide balance, prevent weight game and possibly even drop a few pounds. Ready to get started?

From November 1 through January 2, just apply these 5 healthy holiday tips:

1. Stay Physical

Schedule one additional 30-40 minute aerobic session per week in addition to your current workout regimen. This can be walking, running, swimming, biking, elliptical, treadmill, rowing machine, a fitness class… The choice is yours, just schedule it.

2. Sip it Green

Incorporate a Green Juice or Green Smoothie three times per week as a replacement for either breakfast or lunch. There are tons of recipes on-line to choose from; here’s a link to one of my favorites that captures seasonal flavor, Vegan Pumpkin Green Smoothie. If you do powerful workouts, add a boost of protein powder to your drink. You can always juice your three-day supply on Sundays and freeze in Mason Jars, so you can just grab and go throughout the week.

3. Chew Your Food

It should take at least 20-30 minutes to consume a meal – otherwise you’re basically swallowing your food in large chunks. Not only is this hard on your digestion (think gas and bloating), but it also results in overeating. Slow it down by chewing each bite completely (chew to “mush” consistency) and put that fork down at least twice during the meal and count to 30 before taking that next bite.

4. Snack’n For Real

Plan and shop for your snacks in advance with your regular grocery shopping – and shoot for a one week supply. Concentrate on as many whole foods as possible (fruits, veges, and small amounts of nuts and seeds). When purchasing packaged snacks, only choose those that are completely preservative-free, are nutrient dense, and don’t contain any added sugar (that includes no agave). Take a look at the ingredients in my Blueberry-Orange Coconut Crackers as an example.

5. Holiday Health Rewards

This last tip is all about that extra motivation to keep you thinking healthy during the holidays! Write down four gifts you really want – things that fit your budget –and reward yourself every two weeks from November 1 – January 2, as long as you’ve diligently followed tips one through 4. Now that helps make the holidays even happier, doesn’t it?

Following these 5 tips will help keep you healthier and happier during the holiday season – and you’ll start off the new year way ahead of where you would have been!

This was a guest post by Dena Mangiamele, CEO, Dena’s Fuel for Fitness (denasfuelforfitness.com

Dena is a vegan health and fitness enthusiast whose company – Dena’s Fuel for Fitness – creates raw & vegan snack foods designed for maximum nutrition and taste.

Read Words to Sweat by’s review here: It’s Hip To Be Square With Dena’s Fuel For Fitness



U•Konserve’s Message In A Glass Bottle

by Dana on November 25, 2014

My move away from single-use plastic in 2007 has been a continued work in progress. I started with the most-used items like straws and bottles – opting for a stainless steel canteen because portable glass bottle options (for adults, at least) weren’t easily available.

For at-home drinking I started recycling large glass jars, using them for drinking water and smoothies. I also changed out my food storage containers to oven safe glass with airtight tops. I was pleased with my progress and felt like we were consistently doing our best when we were able to make environment-conscious choices.

And then last year I was given a popular glass water bottle with a straw top for the holidays. And it appeared things had come full circle because this bottle should have been the answer to what started the whole effort.

But it wasn’t.

So when I was pulling together the FitGift Holiday Guide and connected with the team at U•Konserve, I was curious to learn if their take on a daily-use glass bottle would be the final answer. But first, a short break to share some of their back story…

U•Konserve’s Message In A Glass Bottle

U•Konserve was created a little over six years ago by two moms who were fed up with the waste they saw in their kids’ school lunchroom. (Believe it or not a child produces 67 lbs of lunch trash/year!)

They wanted to set an example of conservation not only for their families, but also to provide all families with easy ways to cut down on their personal waste.  Today the line includes food-grade stainless steel, bamboo, reusable plastic bags and wraps and the new glass/silicone collection.  All products are PVC, Lead, Phthalates and BPA free.

How Does U•Konserve Stack Up To Competitors?

And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming: How does the U•Konserve glass bottle compare to the incumbent glass bottle? Like any head-to-head comparison, the claims were the same.

“The new U•Konserve Glass Bottle with Silicone Sleeve is a leak-proof bottle with silicone sleeve for comfortable gripping and cushion from breakage.  Smaller opening is perfect for drinking on the go.”

And having already been taken in by the incumbent’s claims when the U•Konserve bottle arrived, I was a little apprehensive.

When I opened the box, I noticed that glass appeared thinner than the incumbent’s bottle and I wasn’t sure that the food-grade silicone top would be secure enough. So I did what any good “quality analyst” would do and I tested everything in an attempt to make it fail.

My test scripts was as follows:

  • I filled the bottle with water, turned it completely upside down. Then, I watched to see how much it leaked (none) and if the stopper would come out completely (it didn’t).
  • I put the bottle on the carpet and knocked it on its side to see if it leaked. (Nope.)
  • I took it in the car, on a walk, and to the gym to see how difficult it was to drink from in a variety of situations.
  • I filled and refilled it (using our filtered water from the fridge) to see how easy it was to hold in one hand.
  • I ran it through the dishwasher.

The only thing I didn’t do was purposely knock it off the counter to see if it would break because, well, that’s just plain mean. Not to mention, I had already fallen slightly in love with the bottle. The tapered mouth makes it very easy to drink from and I found I was putting away the 20 oz of water very quickly so it helps maintain good hydration as we move into a very dry Fall/Winter here in California.

I carry it with me everywhere – throughout the house, in the car, to the park – you name it. It’s very easy to hold because of the bottle’s diameter so you can even go for a longer walk with it if you’d like.

Within several days, all of my concerns were forgotten. I replaced my old stainless steel canteen with the U•Konserve bottle and I haven’t looked back. The U•Konserve bottle will hold the place of hydration honor in my house for a long time!


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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