9 Ways to Stay Happy, Healthy and Hangover Free This Christmas!
Superfoods and Nutrition
08 December 2015

Christmas Drinks, Decorations and Snow

Sounds too good to be true? Read On…….

It’s here again - silly season is upon us!  However, this doesn’t mean you have to suffer as a consequence of having a great time, simply follow a few simple tricks and we guarantee you will come out the other side not only feeling healthy and energised but ready to tackle the new year in style.

When it comes to Christmas, many of us feel we cannot resist the temptation of over indulgence with a view to making our New Year’s resolutions a way of offsetting this, but come on – be honest – how many of us actually stick to these resolutions?  Last year 24th January was nicknamed “Fail Friday”, based on the response to a survey done by the Independent newspaper, as the day most likely to be the day the UK’s willpower was collectively broken.  Why not get a few good habits in place now thus negating the need to set unrealistic expectations in the New Year?!

Tactical Planning

There are some simple tactics we can use to minimise the damage when attending the whirlwind of works Christmas parties, friends’ soirees and the like.  If you know there are going to be canapes and nibbles on offer then eat a healthy meal before you go out to take the edge off the temptation!  A meal high in healthy fats such as avocado and olive oil slow the digestive system down, this in turn will slow down the absorption of alcohol into your bloodstream.  If you don’t have time to do this before you go out then there are plenty of traditional, seasonal foods which are packed with health benefits – seek out vitamin and mineral rich foods.  Head for the crudities, raw carrots and cucumbers dipped in hummus or salsa, nibble on brazil nuts, walnuts and almonds, these are packed with antioxidant vitamin E, brain boosting fats and essential minerals! 

If you are going to be eating a sit down meal then healthier options can include lean meat and an abundance of vegetables – traditional winter vegetables such as brussels sprouts, carrots, swede, butternut squash and turnips are packed with fibre, vitamins and minerals.  Substitute regular potato for sweet potato if this is an option and don’t skimp on the butter – yes you heard right – butter is rich in short and medium chain fatty acids and recent research has shown that not only can these raise beneficial HDL cholesterol, lower the risk of stroke and support the immune system they can even contribute to weight loss.

Don’t just Survive this Christmas, Thrive by following these 9 Simple Tips!

Lemon Water, Green Drink, Milk Thistle

A great way to minimise any damage done by partying too hard is to “pretox”, this is to create the best environment in your body to deal with any potential overload of alcohol or unhealthy foods.  After this comes the detox of course!  Here are some simple strategies you can employ before and during party season:

1. Increase your fibre intake which will help to strengthen and cleanse your digestive system.  A great way to do this is supplementing with psyllium husks, these are pure dietary fibre which will cleanse and eliminate toxins from the bowel.

2. Take Milk Thistle Extract daily, this will protect and detoxify your liver – the active ingredient is silymarin which specifically works to repair liver cell damage from alcohol and other toxins.

3. Drink lots of water!  As most people are aware, over consumption of alcohol causes dehydration.  The ideal scenario would be to match each alcoholic drink with a glass of water, however, we are not all that disciplined when at a party!  If you can, drink a large glass of pure water before bedtime and a glass of pure water with the juice of a freshly squeezed organic lemon first thing in the morning - this will flush out toxins, alkalise your body and aid digestion.

4. Avoid caffeine after 3pm on the day of each party – caffeine can put extra strain on your liver which will need to be in tip top condition before a night of partying.

5. Drink colourless drinks!  The severity of hangovers can be significantly reduced by drinking clear beverages such as white wine, vodka and gin.

6. Help you gut recover by taking a multi strain probiotic everyday over the party season. 

7. Have a green smoothie for breakfast, this will further aid your body in its efforts to detox, nourish you, stabilise your blood sugar and keep you full until lunchtime!  Check out our “Delicious, Deluxe Detox Smoothie”, substitute the water for coconut water as this will restore the electrolyte balance in your body and boost hydration.

8. Get active the morning after.  A brisk walk, light jog or swim will help work off any second helpings you may have succumbed to, kick start your metabolism and help you to feel normal again.

9. Take saunas or steam baths once or twice a week, this will help your body to quickly sweat out toxins as well as enhancing your metabolic process, circulation and boosting the supply of oxygen to cells and tissues.

Throw Your Own Seasonal Superfood Shindig!

Give yourself, friends and family the gift of good health - Christmas doesn’t have to be all about excess, plenty of amazing seasonal fayre is filling and highly nutritious.

Santa’s Superfoods:

Fruits and Seeds

Nibblesalmonds, brazil nuts, cashew nuts, hazelnuts, pine nuts and walnuts are packed with essential vitamins and minerals as well as essential fats.  Go for guilt free indulgence with an assortment of raw chocolates – not only will they satisfy your guests with a sweet tooth they are chock-full of energy boosting nutrients – great for getting the party started.

Canapes – olives, raw nut and seed butters, raw nut cheeses, avocados, shitake mushrooms – all of these ingredients can be incorporated to make tasty treats that also pack a powerful nutritional punch!

Starters – Superfood soups, breads and seeds can make sumptuous starters – check out our Cauliflower and Pumpkin Seed Butter Soup and Sweet Potato and Coconut Flour Bread recipes.

Main Courses – Traditional turkey has recently come into its own as a superfood!  Packed with protein, low in fat and full of nutrients, particularly vitamins B3, B6 and B12 and essential minerals.  For the veggie or vegan guests try a juicy nut loaf with all the trimmings – let’s not forget the cranberry sauce, cranberries are packed with phytonutrients, are anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.

Desserts – Supercharge your sweet course with an array of superfruits and superfruit powders; apricots, dates, figs, goji berries, inca berries and mulberries are brimming with antioxidants.  Seeds can be added to your Christmas puddings and cakes, chia seeds in particular are great as an egg replacement should you need to cater for vegan guests, not only that they contain an abundance of omega 3 essential fatty acid.

Raw Chocolates

For further health benefits, try adding food grade peppermint essential oil to your raw chocolates for after dinner mints and replace traditional cheese with raw nut cheeses for your cheeseboard.

Finally… Relax and Take Some Chill Time….

Lady Meditating and Stonehenge at Solstice

This season doesn’t have to just be about endless rounds of parties and presents, Christmas also ties in with the pagan celebration of Winter Solstice, a festival still very much celebrated here in Glastonbury!  This is a time for honouring our journey through the previous year, it is the time of rebirth for the sun and marks the shortest day when hours of daylight are at their least.  We can use these dark nights as an opportunity for reflection and renewal, sowing seeds for what we wish to manifest in the coming year.  Stretching back for millennia, this is traditionally a fire festival to celebrate the rebirth of the sun, a time to let go of that which no longer serves us to make way for that which will.  This could be the true origin of New Year’s Resolutions as we are invited to plant the seeds in our consciousness of that we would like to achieve in the coming year.  It is also the time of year to select the physical seeds we want to plant and grow in the coming season.  Many Christmas traditions stem from the Winter Solstice, the Anglo Saxon name for this time of year was “Yul” meaning wheel.  In pagan Scandinavia, village people sat around bonfires burning yule logs throughout the night whilst drinking mead and listening to the stories of minstrel poets.

Whatever you do this season, make time for yourself, treat yourself kindly, take the opportunity to nourish your body, mind and soul and have yourself a truly magical Christmas!

Sources for this article:

http://www.healingthebody.ca/the-surprising-health-benefits-of-butter/

http://www.thewhitegoddess.co.uk/the_wheel_of_the_year/yule_-_winter_solstice.asp

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/09/14/milk-thistle-benefits.aspx

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