Christmas Indulgence – Make it healthier
A healthy Christmas
The party season is well and truly upon us, that is of course if you can get to the party through the snow! This time of year for many people means drinking more alcohol and eating out more often than they normally would. It can also mean skipping dinner and heading straight for the party fun in the hope that you can fill up on canapés if you are lucky. Eating before you go out does not need to dampen fun or spontaneity.
Overeating at office parties and client dinners, family gatherings and friends get togethers can have a detrimental effect on your digestion. You may even feel the affects of this well into the New Year. Lets face it the majority of people throw caution to the wind over Christmas and indulge.
The following are some tips to protect your body over the Christmas and New Year period, what to be aware of and the health implications that overindulging can have.
Overeating puts a huge strain on your digestion, especially your liver. This is the organ that controls your blood sugar, detoxification and digestion, especially of fats due to the bile it produces. When it is overloaded as most people’s are around the Christmas season, it can cause all sorts of problems both immediately and longer term. A clogged liver means that toxins hang around a lot longer, a clean liver means clean body.
Leaving a big gap after Christmas dinner so that the body gets a chance to digest properly is vital. If you top up on sweets and chocolate afterwards then the digestion of Christmas dinner will be prolonged well into the night.
Those on medications need to be even more aware of the strain of overeating on the liver where the medications get detoxified.
Taking digestive enzymes with your Christmas dinner may help to improve digestion.
Sugar – Christmas cake, Christmas pudding and Christmas Candy
All sugars – including dried fruit and fruit juices (eaten regularly) have a detrimental effect on ALL aspects of health. Just because it is fruit, it does not mean there is no sugar. The fructose in fruit if eaten in large amounts can damage the liver and cause weight gain.
Dried fruits in small amounts can be healthy as they contain minerals, fibre and some vitamins, but any people consume lots of dried fruit and fruit juice in the mistaken belief that the more you eat the better it is for you, It is simply not true. There is SO much sugar in Christmas treats. Many people have major blood sugar imbalance throughout the year but when it comes to Christmas it is off the scale. Children, even more so. (Apologies I am on my Blood sugar soap box)
There is no way to avoid Christmas treats, but try to consciously pick ones that have ingredients that will help with blood sugar balance if not with the calories. For example including some nuts or seeds with a treat will slow the sugar release. Use whole grain flour when cooking. Cinnamon also can help with insulin regulation therefore assisting blood sugar balance.
There is no other way of putting this Alcohol is toxic to our bodies, to our brain cells, skin health and mental well being. However Christmas is the time that people drink more to relax with friends and have fun.
Taking a few precautions can make all the difference to how you feel the next day, and whether you can keep up the pace of the holiday season.
Making sure you eat enough, take some liver support supplements, drink plenty of water, eat mineral rich foods (like green leafy vegetables, kelp, wholegrains) and take some mineral supplements like calcium, potassium and magnesium, will at least give your body a head start.
Fats are very important too, so include all the Omega rich fats: omega3,6,9. The answer is also not to binge, pace yourself, drink water regularly throughout your parties and dinners, you will really appreciate it the next day when you don’t have a hangover and fatigue.
There is a great herbal complex that you can take to protect your liver, if you are interested please contact me.
Healthier Mince Pies
Below is a recipe for you to make healthier minces pies (Meaning less sugar and more minerals). They are so easy to make and really delicious, everyone I have tried them on has loved them.
6 oz Whole grain spelt wheat flour (contains gluten, but is better tolerated than other wheat flours
2-3oz goats or cows butter
2 x desert spoons of Dark Molasses sugar – you can grind this to make more powdery
3 x teaspoons of ground cinnamon
You can choose any dried fruits that you like, these are the one that I have used:
3oz of Soft prunes
3oz of Dates
3oz dried Apricots
2 x desert spoon of organic raisins
2 x grated rind of unwaxed preferably organic oranges plus the juice of one of the oranges
1 x grated rind of unwaxed preferably organic Lemon plus the juice
2 x teaspoonfuls of ground mixed spice (but can just use cinnamon)
1 x small teaspoon of coconut butter (optional – it is better than the normal suet that is used)
1 x teaspoon of molasses sugar (optional as the mixture will be very sweet anyway)
(The beauty of the above dried fruit ingredients is that you only use a small amount therefore you will have plenty of dried fruit to use to make more over the Christmas period as you can store them in your cupboard for quite a while)
Other options: Dried Cranberries, Figs, Almonds. Walnuts, Blueberries.
Soak all dried fruit in water for approx an hour.
Using a blender or food processor (or chop finely) put all ingredients for the filling together and blend in short bursts – don’t blend for too long or it will have no texture (chopping will give you the most texture.
You can use the mixture straight away or leave in the fridge until you are ready to make your mince pies.
Rub the flour together with the butter in a mixing bowl, until the mixture looks like bread crumbs, add the molasses sugar and the cinnamon mix in thoroughly. Add a little water a bit at a time whilst kneading into a dough. When the dough is no longer crumbly spread some flour onto a work surface and place dough in the middle. Cover a rolling pin in flour and roll out dough making sure that it does not stick to the surface by using flour. Roll out until approx 3mm deep.
Using a larger cutter and a smaller cutter (or two different sized glasses) cut out the rounds of pastry and place the bigger one in the tray ready for the mixture. Once the mixture is inside put the smaller one on top and squeeze down at the sides. You can make little festive leaves out of the left over pastry. Moisten the back before sticking on the smaller round as the lid. Place in oven at 160 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
Tips for protecting your Health this Christmas
1. ALWAYS eat before drinking alcohol – make sure this contains fats and proteins not just carbohydrates.
2. Take mineral supplements like Calcium and Magnesium to neutralize the acidic environment caused by alcohol.
3. Take liver support supplements like Milkthistle and Shisandra
4. Eat liver support foods: Walnuts, green leafy vegetables like kale and cabbage, artichokes and sufficient protein.
5. Take a Vitamin C supplement that has been ‘Buffered’ so that it is not irritating to the gut lining – take throughout the day but avoid taking with alcohol.
6. Balance your blood sugar – avoid eating sweet things on their own.
7. Avoid caffeine drinks including fizzy ones.
8. Pace your self – drink water in between drinking alcohol.
9. Take a B Vitamin complex the morning after with food as alcohol, poor dietary habits, fatigue all deplete the body’s reverses of B Vitamins.
10. You can also increase consumption of foods containing B Vitamins like brown rice, wholegrains, molasses.
11. Take Omega3 fats – either fish oil or flax oil (vegetarian)
12. Don’t mix medication with alcohol.
13. Take some exercise to burn of the Christmas calories and get your circulation going.
|About The Author
Sam Bourne is a qualified Nutritionist registered with the NTC (Nutritional Therapy Council), CNHC (Complementary and Natural Health Council) and BANT (British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy). She draws her clients from Wandsworth and the Central London area.
Find out more about Sam’s work by visiting her GoToSee profile page here
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