With Christmas almost upon us, lets get real... we ALL want to participate in the food festivities. These survival tips will allow you to join in without feeling like you are missing out, but most importantly protect your health as best you can at this festive time of indulgence...
Avoid starting the day with dipping your hand into the Christmas sweetie tin as it sets the tone for food choices for the rest of the day. A day full of sugar will leave you exhausted all day long and you will still feel the effects into the next morning! Add protein to your breakfast; think good quality sausages in a sourdough sandwich, scrambled eggs or if you're vegan, scrambled tofu on sourdough toast. Try to sneak in some raw bitter green leaves to improve digestion - think rocket, watercress or spinach.
10 minutes before you eat your meals, try adding 1 tbsp of organic apple cider vinegar (look for the label which say 'contains the Mother' and is unfiltered) to a glass of water to start the digestive juices flowing. Best drunk with a straw to protect your teeth from the acidity, however your gut will love the additional acid for digestion!
Aim to fill half of your Christmas dinner plate with steamed veggies to increase your nutrient intake and off-set some of the more luxuriously rich foods on offer. This gives your body a chance to use the antioxidants to mop up some of the inflammation promoting foods.
Eat your Christmas dinner in the following order; veggies 1st, then protein, then carbs. This slows down the digestion of the glucose-spiking roast potatoes and should help you stay awake in the afternoon!
There's usually been extra effort in preparing Christmas dinner. Don't rush eating it!! Savour the taste and eat mindfully, as this will help avoid bloating and gas.
Try to leave 4 hours between meals to allow your migrating motor complex (MMC) to switch on and sweep your intestines clean of any lingering leftovers which may allow toxins to build.
It can be difficult to do at this time of year, but try not to eat in a stressed state as it diverts energy needed for food digestion to having energy to flee that tiger or hyperactive child! Breathe in for a count of 4, then breathe out for a count of 7 - repeat until you have a feeling of calmness, then eat. Use this technique anytime to get you through when you are feeling uptight.
We've all been there... mindlessly eating the sweets on offer during Christmas... eating far more than you originally intended! Decide on how many you want to eat for the day and put these into your own Christmas bowl with a chaser of a raw nut to reduce the insulin spike. Sweets are best eaten straight after a meal.
Alcohol is usually a bit more free flowing at this time of year. Alternate your alcoholic drinks with a glass of water, but elevate it to the next level - fill your favourite wine or gin glass with lots of chopped fresh fruit, cranberries frozen in ice-cubes and fill with filtered water. Family and friends will be envious of your fabulous cocktail and your clear head the following day!
HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE!!! Water, herbal teas, organic chicory or dandelion root coffee all count. It may help you avoid picking at the nibbles and will certainly keep you more alert in the afternoon! We often reach for food when our body is actually trying to tell us that we are dehydrated.
If your stomach is telling you that you have over done it, try chamomile or peppermint tea to help soothe your gut the natural way.
Most importantly of all....
enjoy the special time spent with loved ones.