Clarissa’s Healthy Top-Tips for the Festive Season
In general, the festive season is a time to party hearty, let loose and enjoy those warming winter foods. From turkey, complete with trimmings, to sumptuous desserts and all-day tipples, this isn’t usually a time when anyone worries about their health. The concern sets in on January 1st, when gym memberships are renewed, and green juice cleanses are gulped down.
But don’t despair: eating, drinking and being healthy this festive season doesn’t mean that you have to hang up your Santa hat and compromise on fun; follow my top tips to get into the festive spirit the healthier way, and pre-empt the looming stress, hangovers and potential weight gain.
Mindful eating is a practice that allows our mind-body connection to be utilised while eating or making food choices. Slow down your eating to allow your body to listen to your hunger cues and avoid over-eating. Focus on the food you’re eating and savour the flavours and textures so that you can feel satisfied and therefore less likely to reach for serving number three!
Space out your meals and maintain a healthy eating pattern – which means eating meals as per your normal routine. Just because there are copious mince pies to hand, doesn’t mean you should spend the day “grazing”. Eat because you are hungry, not because you are bored, or because of social pressures.
Don’t Give Up on Movement
It can be easy to let our exercise routine slip to the side over the holiday months. It is cold, there are hangovers and… there is Christmas shopping to be done! However, exercise is a crucial practice, not just for the non-holiday months. Ensuring you get some movement everyday can help with stress levels, holiday weight gain, mood, energy and overall body health! Plus, it can help the body’s natural detoxification systems by sweating out last night’s mulled wine! Going for a brisk walk or some indulging in some warming yoga can help get the blood moving and the ethanol OUT!
If you do choose to exercise, make sure you hydrate yourself sufficiently as you don’t want to further risk becoming dehydrated – and also make sure you are not still inebriated, as no one wants to see you moonwalking on the treadmill.
Fuel Yourself at Breakfast
It’s easy to skip this important meal, or cave and indulge in mince pies and bacon buttys to ease that Christmas party hangover. But eating a good breakfast will help ignite your metabolism and keep you feeling full and energised. And, if you fuel your body correctly, you’re less likely to snack on the rogue chocolates lying around. A great post-Christmas party breakfast is a healthy omelette packed with vitamin-filled veggies, but if you can’t face a cooked breakfast, a good helping of berries and probiotic yogurt will also do the trick.
With the surge in indoor heating and an abundance of sugary treats on offer, it’s easy to mistake thirst for hunger, and consequently reach for another slice of cake or pig in a blanket. Instead try having a glass of water when you feel those initial hunger pangs. If you are still hungry fifteen minutes later, your body is telling you it needs food. Keep a jug of water with sliced orange, lemon and sprigs of herbs by your side as this will encourage you to top up your glass throughout the day.
Hydration is also crucial for those of us who need a helping hand to detoxify the remnants of last night’s prosecco. That headache the next morning, is partially fuelled by dehydration – so to not only avoid a horrid headache, but help alleviate the pain, make sure you are getting a minimum of two litres of water throughout the day and for every alcoholic drink throughout your day/night, have one glass of water.
Milk Thistle, Ginger, Fennel – certain herbal/plant extracts, tinctures and teas can help moderate the side effects of a hangover. Milk thistle assists the liver to naturally detoxify and additionally supports the gut from the vicious side effects of alcohol… and it is entirely natural! You can take Milk Thistle in a capsule format, and it is best taken before and after alcohol consumption.
A number of studies have shown that one teaspoon of ginger powder mixed with hot water can actually offer a more powerful pain relief from headaches than your over the counter paracetamol! Fresh and powdered ginger is also excellent at helping relieve any nausea you may feel the next day.
Fennel is best consumed as a tea for its therapeutic effects. As a tea, it helps support the bodies innate detoxification pathways and also helps soothe irritated stomachs
Most Importantly, Enjoy Yourself!
Whilst it is important to eat healthily and stay active (even though it’s Christmas), there’s also such a thing as “everything in moderation”. Make sure you take the time to enjoy yourself during the holidays and embrace the time you have with friends, family and those oh so cheesy Christmas films. Happy Holidays.