Although the festive period is a time for celebration and indulgence it can sometimes leave us a bit worse for wear come the new year, so I’ve outlined some tips below that help me to have a healthy yet happy holiday and I hope that they help you too.
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1. Start Your Day Right With A Nourishing Breakfast
Rather than starving yourself until dinner time which makes it more likely that you’ll overeat, try to have a nourishing breakfast which will start your day off right and provide your body with what may be lacking in the rest of your meals e.g. fruit, veg, and fiber.
Try a smoothie with mixed berries, spinach, five walnuts with cinnamon and ginger. Not only do you get some fruit and veg, but the walnuts provide anti-inflammatory omega three fats, while the cinnamon and ginger will help ready your sugar levels and digestive system for what’s to come.
2. Get Outside And Move Your Body
While the festive days off can be quite busy, it’s good to try to fit in some kind of movement if you can, this doesn’t have to be a hours gym session or anything too strenuous, it can be a few minutes of yoga (some poses are actually great for digestion). Another great option is a walk after your big meals with loved ones or pets. If you can bare the cold then getting outside into nature is a great relaxer and helps the digestion process.
3. Take Some Quiet Time
If you can, meditation is a fantastic way to unwind from all the hustle and bustle of a busy Christmas time. If you find it hard to do, why not try making a gratitude list instead. This is when you make a list of all the things you are grateful for, it can be anything, even small things such as being able to have a calm walk with the dog that morning or having clean water to make a cup of tea to warm you up. It doesn’t need to be massive, simply try to appreciate what you have.
4. Add Spices And Herbs To Your Dishes
Festive food can be quite rich, so one way to offset this a little is to add spices to your dishes.
As mentioned above cinnamon can help to balance sugar levels and ginger is good for reducing unwanted digestive issues. Chilli/cayenne pepper can give your metabolism a little boost, whilst turmeric is an excellent anti-inflammatory and digestive aid (try to take it with black pepper/good quality fat/ginger to increase absorption). Black pepper can help nutrient absorption from food and a rosemary and thyme combination (among other spices) in marinades has been shown to help reduce the production of negative compounds (HCA’s) in grilled meat.
5. Love Your Liver
We all indulge over the festive holidays and enjoy more treats/rich food which is perfectly normal (and in my opinion required to help keep some sanity) but your liver may end up taking a bashing so try to balance it out by alternating your alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic ones.
Coconut water is a great option, as it has potassium and magnesium in it which benefits blood pressure but also keeps you more hydrated than just alcoholic drinks alone, meaning less of a hangover. Plus you can get flavored ones as an option other than water for the designated drivers.
Another great way to look after your liver is to squeeze some cruciferous veggies (brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage etc.) onto your plate. These veggies are a great source of glucosinolate and sulforaphane which support detox enzymes and pathways in the liver aiding its function and helping to remove unwanted compounds. So spruce up your sprouts in whatever way you like so that at least a few make it onto your plate!
If you really can’t stomach any of these, then beetroot has a similar effect so try roasting it with some carrots and rosemary or see my recipe below for a beet-based liver loving mulled wine.
Liver Loving Mulled Wine (makes 500ml)
-3 beetroot approx. 350g
-6 medium carrots
-2 inch piece of ginger
-1 medium orange
-1/4 tspn cinnamon
-1/8 tspn nutmeg
-A dash of ground cloves
Juice the beets, carrots, orange and ginger then pour it into a pot, add the spices, taste and adjust to your liking. Gently heat it while stirring until it has all been heated through.
The perfect treat for a fantastically healthy festive holiday season!