Now is the time to start your Christmas preparations in earnest.
Tell everyone their Christmas cards must have been lost in the post, and don’t even think about hunting for presents until the day before the event. By that time the shops are practically empty and there are plenty of bargains to be had.
It’s pointless getting worried in advance, much better to relax and commence preparations of a different kind. Your body and mind require careful maintenance in order to be happy and healthy this Christmas.
1. Worried about fitting into last year’s glitzy outfit? Reduce your wheat intake. Many people find they retain water when eating wheat and lose it once they replace bread, pasta, pizza, cakes, biscuits and mince pies with healthier options such as slices of banana-nutbread with whipped coconut cream.
2. While you are at it, you might as well ditch the sugar as well. Once eaten, sugar undergoes a strange metamorphosis into a wobbly substance located around hips and thighs. Sugar also undermines your immune system, making you more prone to flu bugs during the festive season at a time when you want to look and feel your best. Substitute with a little honey, fruit, xylitol or stevia.
3. Be philosophical and accept the inevitable. Yes, you may well put on a few pounds over Christmas, but you can minimise the damage by eating the obligatory five pieces of fruit and vegetables per day – then there’s less room for unhealthy habits!
4. Try an apple fast once a week (unless you have severe blood sugar problems). For one entire day, eat as many apples as you please and drink plenty of clean water. Apart from looking svelte, this regime gives you a good internal clean-out before the banqueting begins.
5. Go to the gym or walk a few extra miles three times a week to kickstart your metabolism. This way, you’ll still be burning off the calories after Boxing Day.
6. Central heating is cosy, but to prevent dehydration, please keep your internal water supply topped up. External water therapy is useful, too, for lymphatic drainage . No matter if you can’t face the annual Christmas Day swim in the sea, just find a jacuzzi and jump in.
7. Stressed out by the mere thought of ‘challenging’ moments with your in-laws? This year, make yourself popular by buying “healthy” gifts. How about an organic box scheme, or gift-vouchers from a health clinic to try out a range of complementary therapies?
8. Christmas celebrations can be challenging for people with food intolerances. Subscribe to “Free From Matters” a specialist magazine for those on restricted diets (http://www.foodsmatter.com). Vegetarians and vegans can log on to www.vegweb.com or buy the VegWeb Vegan Recipe Finder app to locate yummy recipes.
9. If you are prone to overeating at Christmas parties, buy digestive enzymes and keep them handy whenever you go out. Rather than taking an antacid, try a few digestive enzymes. These quickly help to break down food molecules so they can be absorbed more efficiently (this tip is not for anyone suffering with gastritis or stomach ulcers).
10. If you are prone to overdrinking, support your liver by eating plenty of cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, cabbage) and drink dandelion root tea or coffee. Clean alcohol options are gin or vodka without the usual sugary mixers (choose sparkling water with lemon juice instead).
Finally, don’t believe any practical jokers who tell you that if nobody sees you eat it, it has no calories. Or that if you eat your Christmas pudding standing up, it doesn’t count! Bah humbug…
Martina Watts MSc Nut Med is a registered Nutritional Therapist. Contact me for your personalized nutrition and lifestyle programme to address health concerns and peak performance by phone, skype or in clinic.