Tis the season for so many things – not least of all over indulgence. Today Ruth, Foodies100 blogger and nutritional therapist in training, is with us from Let Her Eat Clean to share her tips for a healthier Christmas.
No one wants to be friends with a budding nutritional therapist at this time of year, do they? But I’m absolutely no purist and the first to treat myself at this time of year. I’m more of a thoughtful foodie than slave to the salad spinner– think Team Nigella and not Gillian McKeith. So just how can we all have our cake and eat it this Christmas without starting January full of self loathing and too many mince pies?
1. Be sure to drink enough
Water, not wine, that is! It’s so easy, as we rush to finish the shopping, attend concerts and meet up with friends at the bar, to neglect how much water we should actually be drinking. 2L a day tends to be a good ball park guide and start getting it in from the moment you wake up. I have a mug of hot water and lemon (topped up with cold so I can drink it immediately) prior to my morning coffee and have a bottle of fizzy water in the fridge for when I come home after a few sherbets. Festive food is that bit richer and thus saltier so always ask for a carafe of water when you’re eating out and remember to sip from both your wine and water glass.
Woken up with a raging hang over? Reach for the coconut water – loaded with potassium, electrolytes and a ton of naturally occurring sugars, it’s the one to sort you right out!
2. Behold the Brussels sprouts!
These fellas are the unsung heroes of the festive season. I’m a huge fan of them roasted in coconut oil with a bit of chopped bacon. Cruciferous vegetables of the cabbage family contain glucosinolates; important phytonutrients for our health because they are the chemical starting points for a variety of cancer-protective substances. Latest research shows Brussels contain more of this brilliance than the green leafy poster child that is kale. So go ahead, wade in for seconds.
3. Start as you mean to go on with that first bite of the day
Every morsel we put in our mouths sends a message to the rest of our body, our hormones and all the chemical reactions that take place during digestion. And this message is never more important than first thing in the morning. Sugar will send blood glucose levels through the roof and here follows a series of energy crashes, cravings and fat stored. Protein first thing does none of this and is so much more satisfying. Smoked salmon and scrambled egg, left over turkey or pigs in blankets? They’re all great choices. And no, chocolate with nuts in it doesn’t count as ticking the protein box! Hold off dipping into the biscuit tin until at least after breakfast.
4. Keep moving, moving, moving, moving
Our usual exercise routines often go straight out of the window during the busy month of December but you can still fit in a good stretch of the legs as you go about your chores and festive engagements. At the supermarket, park as far as you can from the front door; in a multistorey take the stairs not the lift; there are a ton of quick fire home workouts you can also pull off YouTube if you’re up to something more strenuous. But I like nothing more than wrapping up in a million layers for a long walk in the beautiful outdoors – especially in those days between Christmas and New Year.
5. Be kind to yourself
I’ve spent a lot of time this year looking into mindfulness practices that have seriously helped me get one step closer to the holy grail that is “moderation” I’m hoping this will be the first Christmas where I won’t be riddled with guilt, bursting at the seams and plagued by lunatic thoughts of a full month of deprivation in January. There’s so much to be said for a little of what you fancy but savour every moment, slow down, don’t dive head first into the Quality Street. Learn to recognise when you’re actually hungry. Above all, enjoy yourself and don’t whatever you do, go on a diet in the New Year.
Thanks to Ruth for this fantastic post – has is inspired you to be a bit healthier this Christmas?