READ - How do you have a healthy Christmas?
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Your advice today is coming from Melissa Gearing. Mel is passionate about prescribing herbal medicine as a tool in fighting illness and imbalance within the body. Mel aims to fuse traditional herbal medicine with current research and evidence. She believes in an integration of herbal and pharmaceutical interventions. To learn more about Mel and the services she provides visit her website MG Herbs.
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Christmas for many people means STRESS (as we mentioned on the last blog). For most people too, it means letting loose, eating too much and potentially drinking more than you usually would.
Temptations are everywhere. It’s the office Christmas party. The bring a plate street gatherings. The food and wine based presents. The catchups. And then the busy-ness, which doesn’t provide you with anytime to upkeep your normal healthy routine.
This Christmas, make it different.
You can enjoy yourself AND maintain your wellness, with a little organisation and resolve…Here’s how:
1.Eat Before You Go
You might consider this already, especially if you have food intolerances, but I always recommend having a health snack or small meal before going to a party or gathering where you might be tempted to eat unhealthy options.
Consuming a satiating and healthy snack will give you an excuse not to indulge in unhealthy offerings, sets you up to make healthier choices and provides you with at least some nutrition if you plan on having a big night.
Having something in your stomach makes those stale nibbles look less appetising too!
We know every Christmas special under the sun will be showing on the TV, but you don’t need to plonk yourself on the lounge all day!
Encourage the whole family to get out for a walk at some point – ideally, after dinner to aid digestion. The more activity, the better, so take along any new outdoor gifts, like bikes, scooters, balls or frisbees, and even better, get some time in nature together.
3. Go easy on the booze
Those alcohol units can really mount up over the holidays. Beers on Christmas eve, champagne with breakfast, wine with dinner, Christmas party cocktails… the list goes on!
So, do try to keep tabs on how much you are drinking, and intersperse alcoholic drinks with soft ones. The one alcoholic drink to one non-alcoholic drink is a great practice, order a mineral water with lemon or lime to spritz it up.
Drink plenty of water in the lead up to any event in which you’ll be consuming alcohol and have some healthy intentions in place for yourself - Buy some snack options like felafel or good quality bread for those midnight snack nights and stock up on coconut water as a rehydration option if you need it.
4. Don’t give yourself a Christmas stuffing!
Recent research suggests that we consume around 3,000 calories in our Christmas dinner – more than the entire recommended daily intake for a grown man! This huge feast not only contributes to weight gain but also to indigestion and heartburn – not to mention lethargy for the rest of the day, reducing the chances of you burning much of it off.
Instead of gorging yourself on Christmas dinner, eat a normal-sized meal and then take a 20-minute break to see if you are still hungry (it takes this long for the brain to register that the stomach is full). The chances are, you’ll realise you’ve had enough. Also, you will probably enjoy your meal, and the day, much more.
5. Eat Wholefoods First
Let’s be honest, most of us get through the entire Christmas period eating no more fruit than the dried stuff in the Christmas pud. It just doesn’t really feature on the Christmas menu.
But at this time of late nights, overindulging and partying, it’s more important than ever to get your vitamins and minerals, to help you stay in good health.
Ensure that your Christmas shopping list enables you to fill up the fruit bowl and get mostly wholefoods in your belly. This could include adding carrot sticks to the snack plate, more vegetables into the roast, and having your prawns with a home-made salad instead of a bread roll.
6. Think before you eat
Christmas is a time of plenty, and with nuts, chocolates, chips and cheese platters wherever you look, it would be rather Scrooge-like to suggest that you don’t eat any treats over the festive period!
But rather than mindlessly popping whatever is in front of you in your mouth, spend a moment thinking about whether you really want it, or are just eating it because it’s there.
Invest some time (or money) into bringing healthy, good quality Christmas goodies if you’re attending a gathering, and if you’re hosting, suggest healthy options for guests to bring along.
( We can help you out with this - We’re offering raw Christmas cakes this year - Orders must be in by early December - email to order)
7. Stress Less (see our Holiday Stress blog for more on this)
‘Tis the season to be jolly’ but jolly is the last thing many of us feel with overspending, cooking, cleaning, endless ‘to do’ lists and visitors we could do without. Try to keep a sense of humour and proportion. Is it really the end of the world if the carrots are overcooked or if the house is a bit dusty? Do you really care about Auntie Mary’s disapproval of the fact that you and your partner are living together and aren’t married?
Remember, Christmas is just one day out of 365 and it isn’t worth stressing over!