I love to spend time with friends and family. It is so much fun being able to celebrate together, however often these special occasions come at a cost to our health!
Organic Raw Raspberry Ripples from Nutrition Republic
Over indulgences in the typical deep fried, processed, sugar laden food options, coupled with the 1 too many wines, beers or cocktails, often contribute to a growing waist line, digestive upsets, headaches, poor energy and just feeling full and uncomfortable when out and about. No one wants that, right?!
With Christmas just around the corner, it’s a good time (if you haven’t already), to get those lists out and start planning what your Christmas day will be filled with.
Organisation is the key to maintaining your health through the festive season, so planning your foods, drinks, daily activities and even presents, will help create healthier Christmas holidays. Here are a few of my favourite tips to prevent over indulgence hangovers and the unwanted weight gain that often creeps on in the days following an Aussie Christmas.
Start your day lightly.
If you are having a large Christmas lunch and/ or dinner, then there is no need to stuff yourself silly from when you first wake up. Light and healthy options include a fresh vegetable juice or vegetable smoothie, such as my Green Start Juice and Green Start Smoothie.
Coco Detox Green Smoothie from Nutrition Republic
If you are still hungry shortly after, try some protein rich eggs, nuts or seeds.
Help out your digestion.
It is hard work breaking down large amounts and varieties of food over the day. Give your stomach a kick start, by starting each meal with juice ½ lemon, or 2 tsp apple cider vinegar, in warm water.
Add some fluid… non-alcoholic that is.
Help out your liver by drinking non-alcoholic beverages over the day. Add a little excitement and try out coconut or mineral water with fresh lemon or lime juice, or my special occasion Lavender water recipe.
8 cups water (4 of them to be cold)
1.5 tsp stevia
1 tsp lemon zest
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh lavender flowers
Combine 4 cups water, stevia, Lemon zest and lavender flowers in a saucepan. Bring to the boil and the simmer for around 8-10 mins. Strain and remove the flowers and lemon zest. Combine the remaining 4 cups cold water and lemon juice to the mix and stir. Add extra fresh lavender and/or sliced lemon for garnish.
Coconut ice cubes, are a perfect addition to keep you hydrated over the day as well. Simply freeze coconut water in ice cube trays and add to drinks for a refreshing and healthy twist. A perfect way to beat the heat this summer!
Sipping on peppermint, chamomile, dandelion and/ or licorice tea over the day can help prevent post meal bloat (you can chill the tea, if it’s a hot day), along with the pre meal preparation as above and in Healthy Habits To Dining Out.
Photo credit: Nutrition Republic
If you must include alcohol, vodka and gin are the healthier options of spirits, along with organic red wine (in moderation of course).
Along with staying hydrated, taking a liver-cleansing supplement of St Marys Thistle, Activated B Vitamins and Glutathione cofactors, support healthy detoxification and reduce the dreaded next day hangover. If you’ve hit struggle town after too many drinks, you might need to resort to coffee enema :-) These help to cleanse the liver and support the body’s natural production of Glutathione.
Go for wholefood & homemade goodness.
Make a conscious effort to consume wholefoods at mealtime. There is usually a wide variety on offer at Christmas, so seek out the healthier options such as fruits, vegetables (fill up on the nutritious greens), nuts and seeds, together with a smaller portion of roast, baked or lightly grilled seafood, poultry or meats. Also avoid burning your food, to prevent exposure to dangerous hetrocylic amines.
Instead of stuffing yourself silly, make Christmas a time you treat yourself to smaller amounts of high quality foods, that perhaps you wouldn’t usually lash out on. Wild caught seafood is a nutritious and tasty Christmas protein option.
By opting to fill your plate with these wholefoods, it will be easier to pass on the starchy breads, pastas and white potato dishes. For a healthy alternative to sugary deserts, impress your Christmas crowd with my favourite ‘Too Good To Be True Chocolate Cupcakes’ instead!
Too Good to be True Chocolate Cupcakes
3 cups almond/ hazelnut meal
1/2 cup cacao powder
2 tsp gluten free baking powder
1 cup rice, coconut or almond milk
1/2 cup rice malt syrup, raw honey or real maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 large avocado, peeled and seeded
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup cacao powder
1/2 cup raw honey/ real maple syrup
Method: Preheat oven to 175 degrees C. In a large bowl, combine the almond meal, cacao powder and baking powder. Add the milk, honey, oil, vanilla and eggs and mix until well combined. Pour into the cup cakes and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the centre is still a bit moist. To make the icing, combine the avocado, vanilla, cacao powder and honey/ maple syrup in a blender and process until smooth and creamy. Spread over the chocolate cup cakes.
Work it off.
When planning your presents, aim to encourage your loved ones to get outdoors. By being active over Christmas day, you help to burn off any larger food portions consumed. Backyard cricket, volleyball, swimming and other water sports, totem tennis, bocce and frisbee throwing are popular Christmas activities, that make for a fun day!
Have a happy healthy Christmas.
Plan ahead to create a Christmas that offers delicious, wholesome foods, drinks and fun activities, which are gifting to your health.
Wishing you loads of health, love and laughter this Christmas!
Kasey Willson is a qualified Adelaide based Naturopath & Nutritionist. Through television and radio segments, speaking arrangements, blog posts, contributing articles and her online project, the Vibrant Woman Challenge, Kasey's passion is to support and educate women to experience healthy digestion, balanced hormones and vibrant energy levels.