Tips for navigating
the holidays without adding on the pounds
By SHANE DOLL
Special to CharlestonCurrents.com
10, 2009 -- With the holidays upon us, it's that time of year when
unwanted weight gain can put a real damper on an otherwise festive
and joyous season. Here are my top 10 tips on how to survive the
holidays without packing on pounds and inches.
Always travel with snacks. It can be difficult finding healthy
food choices when traveling on the interstate or through airports.
Instead of opting for high-calorie fast-food choices, carry some
healthy snack options, such as zip-top bags with fresh fruit, veggies,
nuts, trail mix or a few protein bars. You'll have more energy and
feel better when you arrive at your destination.
2) Don't show up at parties hungry. Eat a healthy snack before
attending a holiday party, or munch on the veggie tray before sitting
down for the main meal. Low blood sugar only increases the cravings
for "trigger foods," which tend to promote overeating.
Also avoid alcohol and sweets before the main course, as these are
both potent appetite enhancers.
Drink plenty of water. If you drink a couple of glasses of water
both before and during your party, you'll be less likely to overindulge
in alcohol and food. Try the "1-1 rule" with alcohol:
Alternate your alcoholic beverage with a glass of water to reduce
your overall consumption.
Use the fiber trick. Don't overlook the powerful appetite-control
effect of eating some extra fiber; this is an often overlooked strategy.
Load up on some raw veggies or eat a whole-grain snack before your
party for a sense of fullness to keep you from overeating.
Try the small-plate trick. Instead of loading up a single large
plate with food, use a smaller plate and make a few trips. You'll
be much more likely to eat less with a smaller plate.
Try the protein-first trick. The biggest pitfall at holiday
events is eating too many carbohydrates. It's easy to get double
and triple starches, because there are so many choices. Try "front-loading"
with protein, such as turkey, ham, etc., before eating any starches.
This way you'll have less room for the excess starches that promote
fat storage through insulin release.
Avoid festive drinks. Take a pass on the traditional holiday
beverages such as eggnog and punches, which can be very high in
calories, fat and sugar. Stick with wine or light beer. If you want
to consume a few adult beverages, try to do it after your meal to
minimize the effect they have on stimulating your appetite.
Practice calorie cycling. You already know that even with the
best of intentions you'll probably eat more calories than normal
on the days you're attending holiday parties. But one day of excess
calories is not likely to cause weight gain. It's the overconsumption
of calories on successive days that promotes fat storage. A good
strategy to follow is eating fewer calories the day before and after.
While this isn't a green light for gluttony, it does help offset
the extra calories you're likely to consume at holiday parties.
Keep score. You know you're likely to indulge at holiday parties
with food and drink you wouldn't normally have. So make a commitment,
even before you walk in the door, that you'll have "X"
number of drinks or sweets. Then simply count what you have and
stop when you hit your numbers.
Plan exercise. Don't fall into the trap of telling yourself
that you'll start exercising at the first of the year since you're
likely to blow it during the holidays. Exercising regularly during
the holiday season will significantly reduce unwanted weight gain.
The key here is to set times for exercise. You're likely to be thrown
off your regular routine with traveling, guests, holiday parties,
etc. Know this and plan accordingly. Block out thirty minutes for
exercise, even if it's just walking, regardless of where you are
and what's going on.
Doll of Charleston is a certified personal trainer, fat loss expert,
speake, and founder of Shaping Concepts Personal Training Studios.
white and new: Pig offers its own Grace Bridge wines
ANN THRASH, editor
10, 2009 -- The Pig is no slouch when it comes to wine -- consider
that a CNN correspondent once noted how surprising it was to find
a great selection at one of the Charleston area stores -- so many
of us wouldn't be shocked to discover some very good bottles on
the shelves at a variety of price points. But we were indeed surprised
earlier this week to see that some of the bottles at our neighborhood
store had a drawing of the late, great Grace Memorial Bridge on
"Cheers!" and lift a glass this holiday season to Grace
Bridge wines - three new wines that Piggly Wiggly has commissioned
from Brownstone Winery in Lodi, California. The wines -- Chardonnay,
Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, all 2006 -- were cellared and bottled
at Brownstone and retail for $7.99 a bottle, an affordable price
in this (or any) economy.
label is cool -- it's got an old photo of the Grace with the words
"Grace Bridge" written in a very 1920s-looking script
- but what really counts is what's in the bottle. We sampled all
three earlier this week, so here's what we think. Wine gurus we're
not, but we'd classify ourselves as fairly knowledgeable, open-minded
and definitely nonsnobby when it comes to what we like.
we tasted the Chardonnay, and even though that isn't our favorite
type of white wine, this one was pretty nice. We're already thinking
it will be a great warm-weather wine to sip on the porch next spring
and summer, maybe with some cold boiled shrimp for supper. In contrast
to some of the big, buttery, oaky California Chardonnays, this one
has more prominent citrus flavors, so it's clean and crisp - and
it's unoaked, according to the label. The wine has a bit of Chenin
Blanc blended in, which adds some balance. The label recommends
chilling it well and matching it up with seafood, chicken, a light
pasta dish, grilled vegetables or appetizers. This is a Chardonnay
that might grow on us, especially at this price.
Grace Bridge Merlot was also a great value for the money. The berry
and cherry flavors and aromas really grabbed us. This seems like
a very user-friendly wine; we'll sip this one while cooking supper,
then pour another glass to go with the meal - maybe pork tenderloin
off the grill or a weeknight pasta that's got a bit of spice. The
label notes that "small lots of premium Pinot Noir and Petite
Syrah" are blended into this wine, and it's aged for up to
six months in American oak. No doubt, this was our top pick of the
three Grace Bridge wines.
Cabernet Sauvignon, in our book, didn't live up to the high hopes
we had after the Chardonnay and the Merlot. Admittedly, we like
big, strong, rich, manly Cabs, and this one came across to us as
on the lighter-styled side, so maybe it's just us. Whatever style
you like, though, at $7.99 a bottle, this one is worth checking
out. The notes on the label point out that the wine contains touches
of Cabernet Franc and Petite Syrah, is aged in American oak and
would pair up well with meat off the grill, aged cheeses or barbecue.
time you're at your neighborhood Pig, pick up a bottle or two and
do a taste test of your own. A Grace Bridge wine would be a great
"little something" to take to a holiday party hostess
-- Mom used to call those "bread-and-butter" gifts because
you gave them to show that you know where your bread is buttered.
Keeping it local: We're still collecting suggestions for
neat Lowcountry-oriented gifts, so if you've found something special
- or if you've discovered a "hidden gem" of a shop --
e-mail us and
let us know. We also thank Diane De Angelis of Charleston, who had
this comment in response to last week's suggestion in this space
that museum shops are a great place to find unusual and distinctive
gifts: "I'm so glad you mentioned the Gibbes Museum Shop. For
anyone who hasn't been there lately, it has become a real gem of
a store. I have bought numerous gifts in the shop, and even my husband
will get a handsome scarf made of kimonos. Recently, they also had
framed and signed prints by Brian Rutenberg, whose vibrant work
is now showing upstairs, (as well as) a wonderful and dwindling
supply of Elizabeth O'Neill Verner prints, plus a great section
of art-related toys and book for children."
Thrash is editor of CharlestonCurrents.com. You can reach her by
with the rough roadwork on the Mark Clark?
venting because I don't know where else to do this. Just when we
thought I-526 between I-26 and Route 17 (end) couldn't get any more
torn up, crews were on the scene digging up and repaving. Notice
would have been nice -- motorists might have avoided tire blow outs
on the overpasses, and people like me would have scheduled the SUV
from our spouses in advance.
-- beauty. No bumps, no flying rocks, no cracked windshields. Two
were replaced on my Mini Cooper in a one-year time period.
Monday) I get on 526 East at 17 and guess what? Several feet of
loose gravel all over the road and my vehicle. I am not mistaken;
same thing this morning. Perhaps DOT needs to get a new contractor
who can fix the roads right the first time. It may not be long before
the entire roadway is as bad as it was several months ago.
Washington state like this as well? Our new Boeing friends who are
going to clog local roadways may not be impressed.
Nanci Kestenbaum, West Ashley
a comment or want to vent? If you have something to
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public spiritedness of our underwriters and nonprofit partners allows
us to bring CharlestonCurrents.com to you at no cost. This issue's
featured nonprofit partner is the Lowcountry Food Bank, which was
founded in 1983 as a clearinghouse for donated food items. The Food
Bank, which receives more than 10 million pounds of donated food
annually, seeks to feed the poor and hungry of the ten coastal counties
of South Carolina by soliciting and distributing healthy food and
grocery products to nonprofit agencies serving the poor, and to
educate the public about the problems of and solutions to domestic
hunger. For more, visit the Food Bank online at: http://www.lowcountryfoodbank.org/.
of Charleston Dog Show nets $527 for Pet Helpers
inaugural College of Charleston Dog Show brought out 21 canines
and raised $527 last Friday for the Pet Helpers Adoption Center
and Spay/Neuter Clinic. The pets and their owners paraded through
the Stern Center Courtyard during the event, which was organized
by the college's women's tennis team.
A dog's-eye view of the competition at last week's College of
Charleston Dog Show. (Photo by Laura Olsen Imagery)
team really jumped at the opportunity because they're such pet lovers,"
said Coach Angelo Anastopoulo. "They were thrilled to help
out." The team hopes to make the show an annual event.
in this economy, it's heartwarming to see even college students
stepping up to the plate, or the serving line in the case of the
women's tennis team," said Tracey Erwin, Pet Helpers' development
celebrities served as judges, including "Extreme Akim"
Anastopoulo, Brooke Ryan of radio station 95 SX, and Carolyn Cremins,
wife of the college's basketball coach, Bobby Cremins.
teams up with Gilligan's for oyster shell recycling
Seafood Restaurants across the state are working with the S.C. Department
of Natural Resources to help conserve South Carolina's oyster beds.
Gilligan's has instituted an oyster shell recycling program in all
of its restaurants to help sustain the local oyster population.
Every shell Gilligan's recycles over the course of the winter will
be replanted by DNR officials back into the estuarine environment,
replenishing and enhancing the state's oyster supply. During the
summer months, oysters spawn and release free-swimming larvae, called
spat, into the water column. The spat are carried by tides and currents
and, after spending about two weeks moving in the water column,
seek a suitable surface upon which to attach and begin building
their shells of calcium carbonate. Unless disturbed, these oysters
will spend the remainder of their life cycle where they have attached.
of oyster cultivation experience have proven oyster shell to be
one of most desirable materials for attachment and subsequent growth
of young oysters, DNR says.
Way's Resolution Run offers lower registration fee
Trident United Way's Resolution Run
9:00 am Jan. 2, 2010
Joe Riley Park in Charleston
To get the lower price and long-sleeve t-shirt guarantee,
register by Dec. 22
else: Hundreds of prizes, music, party hats for all!
United Way is offering a less-expensive, limited-time registration
fee for the annual Resolution Run, which takes place Jan. 2 at Joe
Riley Park. Those who sign up by Dec. 22 will pay a fee of $20 (adults
or kids), which includes a long-sleeved T-shirt and a timing chip.
After that date, registration is $25, and T-shirts can't be guaranteed.
eighth annual Resolution Run is a 5K, family-oriented run/walk featuring
music, prizes and other activities. Dogs and baby strollers are
welcome. Race-day registration opens at 7 a.m., and the race gun
goes off at 9 a.m. The certified course starts and ends at Riley
Park. To register, go to http://www.tuw.org.
County, Nature Conservancy
honored for land protection
County's Greenbelt Program and the staff of the Nature Conservancy
of South Carolina picked up a Partnership Award recently from the
Southern Region of the U.S. Forest Service. The groups were recognized
for their innovation and leadership in working together to acquire
critical landholdings within the Francis Marion National Forest.
granting of funds from a county government to the federal government
is unprecedented," Bradley said. "The benefits to Charleston
County are twofold: protecting greenspace as well as providing additional
public access. Within the Southern Region, the Francis Marion has
long been recognized as an invaluable public resource providing
opportunities for hunting, fishing, birdwatching, nature study,
academic research and environmental education. The Francis Marion
also augments and buffers critical habitat on adjacent lands of
Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge and Santee Coastal Reserve,
a landscape of extraordinary conservation value on a regional and
Forest Service applied for and received grant funds of $200,000
for the Murrell Tract, a 96-acre total in-holding between two wilderness
areas. The Nature Conservancy applied for and received grant funds
of $623,700 for the Bulls Bay Tract, a 196-acre total in-holding
threatened by development along the Highway 17 corridor. The Conservancy
raised $1.1 million in additional private funds to match the county's
greenbelt funds and subsequently donated the entire tract to the
Forest Service. The Conservancy also received grant funds of $4
million toward the acquisition of the 900-acre Tibwin 2 Tract, along
with a $500,000 grant from the S.C. Conservation Bank, to be matched
with federal funds. This tract lies directly across from the national
forest's Tibwin Plantation and provides a connection to the main
body of the forest.
corridors such as these are becoming increasingly important for
wildlife and biological health, officials said, and additional projects
are planned that will continue to leverage limited federal acquisition
us a review
If you have a review of a book, movie, restaurant or local arts
endeavor, please send no more than 150 words to editor Ann
Thrash. Make sure to include your name and full contact information.
moss (Tillandsia usneoides) is a gray tree-borne epiphyte
native to the coastal plain of the southeastern United States. As
an epiphyte, Spanish moss gets water and food from the air and does
not harm the host tree. It is not a true moss but a relative of
the pineapple family in the genus Bromeliaceae. Spanish moss produces
small, yellow-green, three-petaled flowers in the spring and early
summer. In mid- to late summer seedpods burst and rely on the wind
for distribution. Typically they lodge in the bark of rough-barked
trees, especially live oaks and cypress. The plants are a tangle
of long stems and slender leaves. The individual mosses can extend
over twenty feet in length and are host to red bugs and spiders.
colonists sometimes used Spanish moss as insulation in chinking
log houses. Its largest commercial use came as a stuffing for furniture
after the Civil War, when it was called vegetable horsehair. In
the early twentieth century South Carolina had several moss gins.
In 1973 scientists studied Spanish moss taken from along U.S. Highway
17 to determine the levels of pollutants in the lowcountry air.
Spanish moss declined dramatically in the state during the 1970s
from the effects of a deadly mold, but it has since recovered.
in live oaks and cypress, Spanish moss is a familiar and evocative
symbol of the lowcountry. Some find it restful and comforting, while
to others it suggests more mournful feelings.
Excerpted from the entry by James H. Tuten. TTo
read more about this or 2,000 other entries about South Carolina,
check out The South Carolina Encyclopedia by USC Press. (Information
used by permission.) To
read more about this or 2,000 other entries about South Carolina,
check out The
South Carolina Encyclopedia by USC Press. (Information used
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Think you know
oysters? Here are five little-known or otherwise quirky facts about
our favorite winter bivalve, courtesy of the S.C.
Oyster Restoration and Enhance program.
breathe much like fish, using their gills and mantle. Oysters
also have a small, three-chambered heart, colorless blood, and
a pair of kidneys.
- While oysters
have separate sexes, they may change sex one or more times during
their life span, and there is no way of telling "the boys"
from "the girls" by examining their shells.
- Ever seen
a tiny crab in an oyster? It's a species called Pinnotheres
ostreum, about the size of a dime, that has evolved to be
able to live inside an oyster's shell. They're prized by gourmands,
in part because they're not often seen.
- An oyster
produces a pearl when foreign material becomes trapped inside
the shell, causing an irritation that makes the oyster produce
nacre, a combination of calcium and protein. The nacre coats the
foreign material and, over time, produces a pearl.
are a nutritional bonanza -- in fact, the National Heart and Lung
Institute suggests oysters as an ideal food for a low-cholesterol
diet. Oysters are packed with vitamins A, B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin),
B3 (niacin), C (ascorbic acid) and D (calciferol). Four or five
medium size oysters supply the recommended daily allowance of
iron, copper, iodine, magnesium, calcium, zinc, manganese and
phosphorus. Be aware, though, that because raw oysters may carry
bacteria, people with chronic liver disease, impaired immune systems
or cancer should avoid eating them raw.
on occasion is exhilarating. It prevents moderation from acquiring
the deadening effect of a habit."
Somerset Maugham, English novelist (1874 - 1965)
American Business Expo: 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 10, 10
Storehouse Row, Noisette, North Charleston. The Charleston Metro
Chamber of Commerce's Latin American Business Council (LABC) will
host a seminar and expo to educate attendees on the economic impact
that Latin Americans and their businesses have on our region, and
to offer local businesses an opportunity to exhibit to this community.
The event will also provide Latin American and traditional business
owners with an opportunity to network with industry experts. Cost:
$15 chamber members, $30 nonmembers. More info: Email
of Wreaths: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 10, Palmetto Café,
Charleston Place Hotel. Fourth annual festival will feature champagne,
hors d'oeuvres, live music from Silver Lining and wreaths from local
interior designers being auctioned with all proceeds going to the
MUSC Children's Hospital. In addition to the wreaths provided by
members of the American Society of Interior Designers, kids from
the Youth Center at the Charleston Air Force Base will provide several
wreaths as well. Tickets: $10 in advance at the Orient-Express Boutique
at Charleston Place or by calling 937-9142; $15 at the door. Guests
can get parking-ticket validation for the Charleston Place garage
on Hasell Street.
Bliss and Scrooges": 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Dec. 10, Omar
Shrine Temple, 176 Patriots Point Blvd., Mount Pleasant. Family-oriented
event to benefit Windwood Farm features Santa, snow, live performances,
the Grinch, Scrooge, shopping from local retailers, carolers, cocktails
and more. Tickets: $5; free for kids age 12 and younger. More info:
Silks Exhibition: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Dec. 10, 214 King
Street Gallery, 214 King St. Kimono Silks features new works by
batik master Mary Edna Fraser. Fraser discovered the vintage narrow
silks on a recent Australia trip and has blogged about the experience
A master dyer, Fraser came home with aerial landscapes featuring
batiks, monotypes, oils and archival prints. Exhibition on display
through Jan. 24; gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each Monday
through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. More info: 762-2594
or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Messiah": 8 p.m. Dec. 10, Summerall Chapel,
The Citadel. Celebrate the season at the Charleston Symphony Orchestra's
performance of Handel's "Messiah" under the leadership
of conductor Dr. Robert Taylor. Tickets: $15 adults; $5 children.
More info: 723-7528 or visit
Search Workshop: 9 a.m. to noon Dec. 11, Center for Women,
129 Cannon St. Experienced job coaches will offer advice to women
on resumes, cover letters, developing a job-hunting strategy, preparing
for interviews and dealing with changes and transitions. Cost: $20.
Holiday Farmers & Craft Market:
11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 12, Mount Pleasant Farmers Market,
Moultrie Middle School, Coleman Boulevard. Annual holiday market
offers locally grown fresh produce, baked goods, hot food, homemade
preserves, hand-crafted gifts by more than 100 local artisans, live
music, and children's activities. Santa will visit the market, listen
to Christmas wishes and hand out candy canes. To honor Arbor Day,
the town will give out free trees to the public at the Arbor Day
tent. Varieties to be offered this year are red bud, native osmanthus
and cherrybark oak.
Day at Gibbes: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 12, Gibbes Museum
of Art, 135 Meeting St. Free admission to the Gibbes includes family
and holiday-related activities, youth choir performances and beverages
provided by Rising High Café. Sponsored quarterly by the
Junior League of Charleston to offer visitors a chance to experience
the museum at no cost. More
Conroy Book Signing: 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Dec. 12, Blue
Bicycle Books, 420 King St. Conroy will sign copies of his latest
novel, "South of Broad". To secure a place in line, customers
can get tickets for the signing starting Dec. 11. Tickets are free
to customers who purchase a Pat Conroy hardback or have already
purchased "South of Broad" from Blue Bicycle Books (please
bring your receipt). For a full explanation of the guidelines for
the signing or to order a signed copy, go
here online or call 722-2666.
Pleasant Holiday Parade: 5:30 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. Dec. 13,
along Coleman Boulevard, Mount Pleasant. A fireworks show starts
at 5:30 p.m., with the parade beginning about 5:45 p.m. and featuring
more than 100 floats. Parade starts at the intersection of Coleman
and Pelzer Drive (near Shem Creek) and concludes at Sea Island Shopping
in the Square: 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 13, Marion Square,
downtown. Community-oriented festivities sponsored by the city of
Charleston, featuring music, dancing, lighting of a nine-foot menorah
by Charleston's Holocaust survivors, crafts and food, including
latkes and other traditional Hanukkah fare. More
info online or 724-7305.
Christmas Parade: 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 13, downtown
Summerville. Summerville D.R.E.A.M. and the Summerville Fire Department
host one of the largest holiday parades in the state, with approximately
3,000 participants (including Santa) and thousands of spectators.
More info: 821-7260 or online.
ONGOING AND SOON
Thursday: Until 9 p.m. Dec. 17, downtown Summerville.
Downtown stores will be open late for holiday shopping, and carolers
and other musical entertainment will be featured along with refreshments.
Sponsored by the Merchants of Summerville and Summerville D.R.E.A.M.
More info: 821-7260 or online.
Sing-A-Long: 6 p.m. Dec. 20, Citadel Square Baptist Church,
328 Meeting St., downtown. Sing along with the Charleston Symphony
Orchestra as the musicians perform all the favorite "Messiah"
songs. Admission: $15 adults; $5 children. More info: 723-7528 or
New Year, Charleston: 4 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Dec. 31, Marion
Square and surrounding locales, downtown. A family-oriented, alcohol-free
event with concerts and activities to mark the beginning of the
new year in the Lowcountry. More
info online or at 724-7305.
Polar Plunge prep
Homes for Christmas
Enjoy holidays sans lbs.
Instruments of Hope
Armas: Latin biz expo
Be a principal
Women at Gibbes
new food show
on car tags
way of tithing?
over on Sanford
off a little
is time for courage
place for prejudice
fun at Halloween
to old clunker
to squeeze in
on holiday lights
a tourist here
lists of year