Interview: How to Stay on Track for the Holidays according to Nutritionist McKenna Wheeler


Interview Highlights

  • Neuropeptide Y, a simulator of appetite, is increased when eating lots of sugar and experiencing repeated high stress. Eating protein helps decrease Neuropeptide Y.
  • High fiber blunts the blood sugar response. High blood sugar leads to more insulin, the fat storage hormone, and insulin can increase feelings of hunger.
  • Fiber with a meal can make a gel like substance in the stomach that slows down the rate of sugar absorption and help you feel fuller.
  • Improves digestion -lots of pie and white flour treats =constipation. Fiber keeps things moving along.
  • Greens help with reducing blood pressure by dilating blood vessels, improves skin health, and the polyphenols and antioxidants helps with heart health.
  • Constant snacking and treats are in the house, but feeling full can help you say no. When I am starving it is easy to reach for the desserts, I would normally be able to turn down.
  • Thanksgiving is one of the healthiest meals because of all the different food and nutrients available. However, starving yourself all day leads to overeating later. It is better to have a good breakfast, lunch, green drink snack, so you can eat a nice meal without feeling overly stuffed.
  • Remember that there will be leftovers. It is common to have FOMO -fear of missing out on food- so remember that there is always tomorrow to try a leftover.
  • Experts recommend we eat 2.5 to 3 cups of vegetables per day, however the Wahls protocol recommends 9cups -3 cups leafy greens, 3 cups of sulfur rich vegetables, and 3 cups of color rich fruits and veggies.
  • The darker the vegetable the more nutrients it has.
  • Sulfur rich veggies are the allium vegetables: garlic, leeks, onions, scallions and the cruciferous vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, arugula, kale, and radishes.
Gut and Immune health:
  • Fiber is digested by the gut microbiome and digesting fiber helps your gut to produce butyrate a healthy fat energy source that helps you feel satiated and improves cognitive function.
  • Greens for immune health!!! Winter is flu season mostly because people shock their systems with Halloween candy, thanksgiving pies, fudge, Christmas desserts, holiday treats, New Years alcohol -all these foods increase inflammation and decrease immunity. Greens boost immunity and decrease inflammation.
Liver Detox Pathways:
  • Veggies highest in glutathione for the phase 1 detoxification of the liver: Spinach, avocados, asparagus
  • Veggies that help the phase 2 pathway are your sulfur rich veggies.
  • Beets for nitric oxide help heart health and dilate blood vessels reducing high blood pressure and improving blood flow.