Your survival guide for the festive season
Article2 min12 December 2017
Christmasitis, noun: The inflammation, bloating and self sabotaging that often begins on 1 December and ends just after Australia Day – 26 January.
The combination of summer and the festive season can catapult many of us into an eating frenzy with many people gaining one to two kilos over the holidays. Christmas functions, end-of-year parties and welcome-to-Summer celebrations, New Year’s Eve parties, and a host of other celebrations can bring out the ‘Sugar Monster,’ even in the healthiest of us.
You don’t have to be a Scrooge and not enjoy the celebrations, but consider some ways to keep yourself from feeling miserable about how you indulged once the fun dies down. If you take heed of the following tips, you should feel delighted, and encouraged, by all the possibilities that come with the fresh start of a new year.
Tips for avoiding Christmasitis
- Don’t go to a party hungry. Eat before you go to an event if you don’t believe there will be healthy food choices available. You’ll have more time to socialise and you won’t be obsessed with hunger and wondering when the next tray is coming out. Consider eating a piece of cheese or a rice cracker with some nut butter on it before you head out the door. You don’t want to be that person that cannot concentrate on what your friends are speaking about at the party because you are searching for food and worried you will not find anything nourishing. If you nourish yourself before you go, then relax with your beer and wine and if something somewhat ‘clean’ comes along, you’re happy not HANGRY.
- Try to have a glass of water between alcohol. Alcohol will add to weight gain, slow down your liver function, and may dehydrate you. A dehydrated brain is one of the factors in a hangover. A hangover and dehydrated skin the following day is never a great look. Consume and enjoy, but be moderate. Have a hydrating glass of sparkling mineral water between each alcoholic drink, and in the morning you’ll be happy you did.
- Choose the ‘right’ nibble. Tasty treats are abundant at holiday parties. Look for nibbles that are high protein and low in sugar. Seek out the chicken or prawn skewers. Crustless quiche, smoked salmon, a bun-less sausage, or even a bowl of nuts to dampen hunger without adding sugary kilojoules. You don’t have to proclaim to anyone what you are doing or looking for…just do it. Nay-sayers are everywhere, and they are actually quite in awe of how vibrant you look because they don’t have the discipline like you do.
Get over it. If you do indulge in one too many wines or party pies, don’t carry on with guilt and self-abuse the following day. Get up and exercise and commit your new day to low-sugar, whole and fresh foods. And before you go to bed, pop two fish oil capsules. Fish oil is anti-inflammatory so it will calm the inflammation of alcohol while you sleep.
Don't skip breakfast. People who beat up themselves mentally often begin the following day by skipping breakfast. By midday or the afternoon, they become so hungry that they roller-coaster off into indulging in convenient junk food. (I know you are thinking to yourself, how does she know me?). Do not skip a meal the next day. Why? Because too much alcohol can make your blood sugar rock and roll the day after, so the best way to recalibrate is to eat three meals and a protein packed snack for morning and afternoon tea.
Burn it. Celebrations and holidays are meant to be enjoyed and you will most likely over indulge at some point. Commit to a regular exercise plan to keep your metabolism fired up, your endorphins stimulated, and your mind off your next meal.
Michele Chevalley Hedge is a Nutritionist and Founder at A Healthy View, international author and Mum of three teenagers. She is often referred to as the ‘modern day nutritionist’ because she knows that when it comes to our health extremes do not work, but ‘A Healthy View’ does.
The philosophy at A Healthy View is simple – no fads, no extremes, just good health. We see patients around the world from school kids to busy Mums and corporate business leaders. We are bringing back the love of food to allow for greater physical and mental wellbeing.
You don’t have to be a Scrooge and not enjoy the celebrations, but consider some ways to keep yourself from feeling miserable about how you indulged once the fun dies down
The use of almond meal instead of white flour makes these Christmas cookies gluten free. Almonds also increase the nutrient profile so each cookie is full of protein as well as being lower in refined sugar.
Ingredients for 10 Gingery Men:
- 280 g (2 ¾ cups) almond meal
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 grated fresh ginger
- ½ teaspoon gluten free baking powder
- 4 (60 g) fresh soft pitted dates- without preservatives
- 50 ml coconut oil
- 30 g quality maple syrup
- 1.5 teaspoon vanilla bean extract
- 1 vanilla bean pod contents ( optional for added sweetness)
- 1 egg white
- Combine almond meal, baking powder, dates and spices in a food processor.
- Process until combined and mix is crumbly.
- Add olive oil, maple syrup, vanilla + egg white.
- Process again until a soft dough forms.
- Remove the dough and flatten down slightly between 2 pieces of grease-proof paper (baking paper) – about 3 mm thick.
- Refrigerate for 1 hour to allow the dough to firm up. If in a hurry, place in the freezer for 20 minutes.
- Cut out into shapes with a gingerbread cutter and place cookies onto a baking tray lined with baking paper.
- Bake at 150 C for 30 minutes or until golden.
- Remove from the oven and cool.
Melted white chocolate or dark chocolate can be used to decorate.