We asked Susie, aka Gourmet Glow, to put together her health & fitness Christmas wish list. And unlike all the others, there’s not one single physical items she wants. Instead, she wants what can’t be bought, but must be earnt and nurtured and is often considered so valuable, a price can’t be put on it. It’s her health. So instead, she’s broached a topic so many of us hold our heads in our hands about – how do we stop ourselves over-indulging on food and drink? Especially as it’s thought the average person consumes approximately 7000 calories on one day! You know the feeling – it’s when you’re sitting on the sofa after Christmas lunch, holding your stomach like a pregnant hamster and wondering why and how you ate so much. And then someone cracks open another box of mince pies… If that sounds like you then the good news is that it is possible to have a Christmas where you merrily scoff delicious food but without making you feel disgusting.
Here’s Susie’s top tips for a healthy Christmas:
This year so many people have asked me what I want for Christmas, surprisingly this year it’s been tough. 2015 has seen me reevaluate my life and my priorities. As someone who has suffered from long term health conditions I made the decision to change the way I live my life, by embracing a more healthy approach to heal my tired body. So far the changes have been amazing, I’m physically and mentally better healed and it’s showing through my new found smooth skin and glossier hair. So I guess when I think about what’s important for me to have this Christmas, it’s my health. No amount of material items can replace feeling well and happy.
My Christmas wish list this year is a collection of tips that will help both myself and you enjoy a happy, healthy Christmas without missing out on the festive goodies! Enjoy!
1. Try to stay relatively gluten and dairy free. Christmas is a time where it is all too easy to overload our systems with gluten and dairy, placing a huge burden on the digestive system leaving you feeling sluggish and bloated. But it’s actually easy to avoid this. For festive meals try to avoid breads, pastas and pastries and why not try festive rice pilafs making use of all the yummy Christmas spices and dried fruits. Or challenge yourself and make butternut squash nut loaf. When it comes to the big day itself, you can’t shy away from a good roast potato but make sure you cram your plate with fresh steamed veggies. Swap the butter for a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, or avocado oil, you’ll actually absorb the fat soluable vitamins better. On the big day,iInstead of a mayonnaise rich prawn cocktail, why not experiment with citrus cured salmon and a fennel clementine salad, or if you must be traditional, swap the mayonnaise for coconut yogurt mixed with lemon, herbs and garlic? For the main event, you don’t need to shy away from Turkey, it’s lean and full of tryptophan, which is perfect for enhancing mood, helping your thyroid function as it should and promoting restful sleep. If turkey isn’t your thing why not roast a side of salmon? Full of omega fats, it’s a superfood bomb on a plate! Dessert doesn’t have to be cream laden or gluten-packed Christmas pudding. Why not be different and make a mulled fruit pannacotta with coconut milk, or if traditional is your thing, make a Christmas pudding replacing the flour with ground almonds and buckwheat flour. It can be fun experimenting. Lastly, the humble mince pie with brandy butter is iconic Christmas so how can you avoid that? I’ve just made a batch of raw mince pies using ground sesame seeds mixed with coconut oil and a hint of cinnamon, raw cacao and coconut sugar as the pastry and used an organic vegan mincemeat as the filling. It’s delicious and guilt free!
2. The festive season is a time for parties but how do you snack sensibly? Christmas brings out the processed treats aplenty but these can be packed with detrimental chemicals including preservatives, sweeteners and flavour enhancers. But Christmas is also a time where the healthy treats are also bountiful. When else do you see the shops so crammed with dried fruits and nuts? These are packed with healthy a fats and nutrients to boost a healthy mind and body – just be careful of salted varieties. If you’re in charge of the festive snacks, when it comes to the beloved ‘crisp and dip’ station, why not try serving lentil or hummus chips with homemade beetroot or celeriac dip? Root vegetables are at their best right now so carrots, cauliflower, squash etc are perfect drizzled with oil and cumin, roasted and puréed to make a delicious dip. Smoked salmon, as long as it’s not doused in cream cheese is a perfect canapé. What about serving it on rye bread with a horseradish cashew cream? Delicious! It doesn’t have to be all raw crudités!
3. Stay hydrated. The festive season brings fizz, mulled wine and egg nog, delicious at the time but can leave you feeling a little worse for wear! Why not try mulling fresh squeezed fruit juices with cinnamon, orange, cloves and nutmeg? All the nutrients fruits combined with the anti inflammatory, immunity boosting benefits of the spices, warming, rich and guilt free. When it’s comes to the bubbly, why not make a cordial of fruits and low GI sugar and mix with sparkling water? As a winter warmer, eggnog is hard to beat but a steaming mug of almond milk infused with raw cacao, ginger, cinnamon and a hint of clementine zest really hits the spot! Remember to have a bottle of filtered water to hand throughout the day, you’ll be surprised how a little sip here and there builds up, refuelling the cells of your organs, giving you that all important glow.
4. Fresh air. No one can underestimate the feel good factor a burst of fresh air does. While cosy log fires and central heating give us a warming glow, they dehydrate the skin leaving it dry and tired. A brisk 20 minute walk is enough to revitalise and refresh, leaving you brighter and more energetic to enjoy the festivities.
5. Finally, everything in moderation. Christmas IS a time to indulge so don’t be too hard on yourself if you slip. If you bear these changes in mind and make a few tweaks here and there, you can by all means treat yourself, a healthy mind leads to a healthy body, so go out and most importantly ENJOY!