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Be Merry and Mindful

I need to clarify that I started bartending in my family restaurant at 19 years old. My father bought a liquor license and put me in charge of his restaurant and banquet bar. In my day, I have seen many intoxicated people partying it up at the holidays. Some very sad displays of people when drinking. Others seemingly in control and not overdoing it. It also seems to me I'm hearing from friends, family and some clients they are pressured into drinking too much at this time of year. This should not be.

Please don't get this post wrong as I do like a holiday cocktail too. I do pair wines with food as well. As a former restaurant owner and bartender, I enjoyed creating fun cocktails during the season for my clients. It is fun to create recipes for cocktails with others too! I get it, liquor does seem to have a part in the festivities of holidays for many, but it can be overdone or for some people not done at all. This blog is about not letting commercialization of Christmas take over through drinks either!

Think of marathon runners. Do they carbo load with Fettuccine Alfredo? Not really. In my experience, and over the years at my family's Italian restaurant, they had light pastas. Oil & garlic for some, but mostly marinara (fresh tomato based sauces).

During this holiday season think of how you can eat healthy while knowing you will have more food and drink. The holidays do not need to be like the "Freshman Ten" of college days. Overindulging in food and drink might not be in your best interest of feeling your personal best. I like to think of what Pauline Lauteri used to always tell me about health. She was a regular at my family restaurant and nurse at Long Beach Community Hospital. She had a genius mind. She used to say to me, "Carina, everything can done in moderation. Don't eat too much. Don't drink too much." I was blessed to have Pauline in my life well into her mid 90's. Thanks to Pauline I have this mindset and I demonstrate it through practice. Along with all the other helpful information and teachings she shared with me throughout my life.

An example of not overindulging all my meals during the holidays, I try to work out at least 20 to 30 minutes, if a full workout is not going to fit in my schedule. Plus before going out with my mom to a holiday party dinner or cookie share, I try to eat extra vegetables throughout the day, salads included, plus protein shakes or protein bars. I also drink extra water throughout the day sometimes adding electrolytes or lemon too.

If I have something to drink, I limit myself to one drink. If driving, I Uber to have two. With two, which I seldom do anymore, I will drink one to two glasses of water in between my alcoholic beverage. I just don't like how overeating or drinking makes me feel. I never have. It is a good rule of thumb to be mindful of energy, moods, and general feelings based on how you feel after you eat and drink too. Self-monitor yourself and then take action on what you can do to make yourself feel better.

Plus don't forget to get plenty of sleep. Flu season is not the time of year to be sleep deprived if you can help it. Hope this is a helpful reminder to be Merry and Bright! Not "lite up" bright, but cheerful bright by remembering the "reason for the season."

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