December, the month of Christmas, is a wonderful collection of seeing friends, office parties and festive family gatherings. It is also that time of the year when nutrition becomes an obsolete trade, well kind of.
Having lost count of how many times I've been asked to write about how to have a "healthy" Christmas or how to stop festive weight gain, I thought I'd take to this blog with some foolproof pointers. So here is what I came up with:
1. Don't have a health conscious Christmas
Yes, I'm registered nutritional therapist. Yes, my job is to make people healthy and tell them to eat more vegetables. BUT, no, I don't want you to have a health conscious Christmas.
You see, there is more to staying healthy than just food. Social circles and human connections are just as important.
I realise this sounds a bit hippiefied so let me explain:
You go to your aunt's/ uncle's/ sister's/ brother's (delete as appropriate) house, they spent all day cooking up a storm, went to great expense to purchase some fabulous alcoholic beverages, you know because it's Christmas so why not, and you turn up to announce that you are in fact gluten free, paleo and don't really fancy a drink.
The rest of your family conversations will revolve around a. has she/he gone mad? b. she/he has an eating disorder c. how can we convince her/him that this isn't a good idea. So for the remainder of that day your newly found eating habits will be questioned until you either finally give in or can't take anymore and end up downing a bottle of Christmas plonk.
The moral of this story is: don't be a party pooper. Drink the wine, eat the food and make the most of having a good time with people that have made an effort to be with you. It's better to get to January a couple of pounds heavier and with lovely new memories of great family gatherings or parties where you didn't feel restricted.
Live it up, laugh and be merry.
2. Don't ignore the veg
You won't be judged for dodging an overcooked brussel sprout but ignoring vegetables altogether is a mistake. Vegetables are where the majority of essential nutrients come from and putting some on your plate when they are in front of you anyway isn't such a struggle.
Besides, those veggies are the difference between having an OK hangover or a "can't cope with this day" style epic hangover.
Indol-3-carbinols found in cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, kale, cabbage (and brussel sprouts), can speed up detoxification and generally give your liver a hug when it needs it.
3. Drink up
Before you get carried away and think a nutritional therapist is encouraging more alcohol, let me just be clear: I meant drink water.
Keeping hydrated is especially important when the unavoidable combination of salt, protein and alcohol are present. Either drink a glass of water following every alcoholic drink or ensure that you get your 8 glasses of water in somehow.
You won't just have more energy this way, but you'll also avoid putting too much pressure on your kidneys and since you need your kidneys to stay healthy, it's best if you look after them.
Have a wonderful Christmas and make the best of spending time with your friends and family.
Just in case you get too carried away, check out the Upgrade your Health package in January. It may just help you shift that excess weight.