Christmas is one of my favorite holidays. The lights, decorations, family get-togethers, and music are all part of my family Christmas traditions. Christmas is also a time of celebration and faith renewal for me. Activities of giving, sharing, singing, and worship are components of what I love about the Christmas season.

Don’t forget the parties and exotic, rich foods that I look forward to at Christmas time!  Cookies, homemade candy, pies, and eggnog—these are part of my happy associations with Christmas. But this year my Christmas eating is going to be different.  I’m shifting away from sugar treats and short-lived pleasures to focus on the less visceral 4Cs.

Below is a snapshot of the 4Cs created by Robert Lustig, author of The Hacking of the American Mind: The Science Behind the Corporate Takeover of Our Bodies and Brains.

Image icons of the 4Cs

#1 – Connect with friends, family, and neighbors with house visits, get-togethers, and church worship and fellowship services.

#2 – Contribute to organizations and community networks that improve our neighborhoods and help those in need.

#3 – Cope by planning for 8 hours sleep each night, daily exercise, and enjoying the mindfulness of single task activities.

#4 – Cook more and enjoy home-cooked meals made from scratch that include Tryptophan (most readily available through eggs), Omega-3 fatty acids (through fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, or sardines, nuts and seeds), and include only a moderate amount of sugar (no more than six teaspoons or 25 grams) per day.

Mixing the 4Cs together reminds me of what I hope for at Christmas and all year round—connections through friendships, meaningful community involvement, feelings of wellness and having the capacity to cope, and happiness from home cooked meals.

Robert Lustig, the author of the 4Cs, has written many health-related books and professional publications.  Lustig is an American pediatric endocrinologist and professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), who specializes in neuroendocrinology and childhood obesity.

To learn more about the 4Cs and the science behind these guidelines for sensible eating, good health, and strategies to increase Serotonin, the “contentment” neurotransmitter, go to Robert Lustig’s website:

What about you? Will you try bringing the 4Cs into your holiday celebrations this year? Whatever you do, enjoy!!