Love it or hate it, Christmas can be a very stressful time of the year for both the body and mind. We get caught up in a flurry of parties and shopping and are swept away on a festive high. We’ve spent all year carefully watching what we eat, but how can we resist overindulging when there is so much temptation?
Here are a few tips to get you nutritionally and emotionally through the rollercoaster month of December!
Christmas Nights Out
There’s no getting away from the tins of biscuits, boxes of chocolates and party food everywhere you turn this month, so try these simple tips to keep you looking and feeling as great when you leave, as when you arrived.
- Eat before you go. That way you don’t arrive ravenous and eat all around you.
- Bring your own! Hummus & crudités are great for a party and a welcomed alternative for everyone. Unsalted nuts are tasty and highly nutritious providing essential nutrients such as calcium, magnesium & zinc.
- If you are tempted by the foods on offer, avoid anything deep fried and bite size nibbles such as sausage rolls and cheese balls – the calories soon mount up.
- Alcohol dehydrates you, so if you plan to consume alcohol, drink plenty of water. Alternating between alcohol and water when you’re having a drink or two will prevent you from drinking too much, too quickly and will also reduce your risk of a hangover the next day. Holding two drinks (one being water!!) will also help avoid the temptation of nibbling as your hands will be full!
- Coconut water is great for re-hydrating the body too.
- Make healthier choices on the cheese board and opt for goat’s cheese, red leicester or cheddar, rather than brie or camembert. Choose water biscuits, breadsticks or crisp breads over french stick and crackers.
- Digestive enzymes are great for helping your digestion when you’ve eaten too much or feel like your food is just sitting in your stomach. Ask your local health store for more information.
Ok so your good intentions of “going for one” ended badly and now you have to pay the price with a pounding head. The key is re-hydration and eating healthily despite the cravings for carbs which is just your body struggling for energy!
- Start the day with hot water & lemon and drink plenty of water, (coconut or regular) and herbal teas throughout the day.
- Follow on with a healthy breakfast like scrambled eggs on wholegrain toast or porridge with berries and a sprinkling of milled nuts & seeds. If you cant stomach food, why not try my cucumber detox juice, berry & chia smoothie or the delicious avocado, kale & pineapple juice (trust me, you wont taste the kale but you will get all the benefits!)
- Try sipping peppermint tea – this can help counteract acidity you may feel and help relieve abdominal bloating
- Don’t be tempted by the “hair of the dog”, it doesn’t cure a hangover, it just prolongs it until the next day!
- Increasing your vitamin C intake can naturally help a hangover.
- Our ability to detox reduces as we age, which means we are more likely to suffer with a hangover after a smaller amount of alcohol. A course of Milk Thistle is thought to help protect the liver from poisonous toxins as well as boost the regrowth of liver cells to replace those damaged by disease or toxic substances such as alcohol.
The combination of richer foods, larger quantities and the emotional stresses Christmas can bring can have a huge impact on our digestive system. While Christmas has become synonymous with catching up with friends and loved ones, eating out and trying different foods, the last thing you want on your night out is to suffer the uncomfortable and often embarrassing side effects of indigestion.
Here are few tips to ensure you don’t have the leave the party early because of an upset stomach!
- Chew slowly – Not chewing your food properly puts your whole digestive system under stress and can result in indigestion, constipation and flatulence.
- Digestive enzymes – at this time of the year portion sizes tend to increase and we eat more unusual & richer foods. Taking digestive enzymes (with guidance from your health store) with your meal will help in the breakdown of your foods and thus avoid some of the discomfort of food just sitting in your stomach.
- Watch your foods – with 1 in 3 of us walking around with a food intolerance, be mindful of what you are eating and drinking this Christmas. Your overly full feeling may not necessarily be that you have eaten too much, but you may be intolerant to certain foods which can cause bloating and digestive issues.
- Don’t eat when you’re stressed – with so much pressure at Christmas to get everything just right, it’s important we take 10 minutes a day for ourselves and relax. Avoid eating on the run.
- Probiotics – such as acidophilus can help to give your digestion a much needed healthy boost.
If endless partying, shopping and tying up all those loose ends at work have quickly depleted your natural energy stores. Follow these simple but effective tips to recharge your batteries and start the New Year with a bang!
- Lavender – uplifting and calming, Lavender is ideal for balancing the body and mind as well as soothing away the stresses of the day. Sprinkle a few drops on a tissue and inhale the fragrance as soon as you start to feel stressed or fatigued.
- Watch your sugar intake to avoid your blood sugar levels dropping too low which results in low energy, mood and weight gain.
- Are you getting enough sleep?
- Boost flagging spirits with a burst of aerobic exercise. Run up and down stairs as fast as you can or put on some music and dance the night away.
- Give in to tiredness – whatever time of the day, take a 10 minute nap. It can work wonders.
- Rejuvenate tired eyes with a few minutes of palming. Rub your hands together to warm them up, then cup them over your closed eyes.
- Soak in a long bath with epsom salts – not only will the downtime help to relieve your stressed body, the magnesium contained in epsom salts is the body’s natural tranquiliser which will help you unwind and sleep.
- Listen to your body and be realistic about what you can and can’t achieve.
- If all that fails, turn off the lights and lie down near the Christmas tree. Let your body sink into the floor, breathe deeply and watch the tree lights sparkle!!!
Whatever you do this Christmas, make it a great one.
Be silly, dance, giggle and most importantly have fun!
A few useful articles to keep for January!
- Setting realistic New Years Resolutions
- Learn how to make the right choices with your diet and lifestyle!
- Chose the best weight loss option for you
- “This is not a diet, it’s changing your diet”