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3 Simple Tactics To Stay Healthy & Enjoy The Christmas Festivities At The Same Time

christmas_healthy_food_options

By Guy Lawrence

You can’t have your cake and eat it too… Can you? If you are a bit of a foodie/health nut like myself, you can spend just as much time and energy worrying about what you eat as enjoying yourself whilst at Christmas parties.

This can cause unnecessary stress which is the last thing we want! So the key for me is finding that balance of enjoying yourself and letting go, but staying on top of things at the same time. Here’s a few things I’ll do…

Tactic #1 - Alcohol

Let’s be honest here, most people turn up to Christmas work parties, stuff their face with food and generally get wasted on free alcohol!

I’m not much of drinker (2 glasses of red is going wild for me these days), so tactics are required when it comes to Christmas parties without coming across as a douchebag food snob or sourpuss… and having fun at the same time.

Good Strategy - Always have a drink in your hand and sip it slowly. People generally leave you alone for some reason if they think you are getting drunk with them. I’ve never understood the peer pressure behind this. When people get three parts sloshed, they can never work out if you are sober or drunk anyway, so why the hassle in the first place?

What to drink -  I avoid beer these days because of the wheat. Budda-belly comes on fast and I always remind myself of this before caving in to the cold amber nectar! Instead I go for a glass of red. Not quite the Welsh Guinness guzzler of old, but I’m happy to take the banter on the chin if I’m with any of my old footy mates! And as I’m sipping it slowly, the red wine gets really warm in my hand, has had plenty of time to breath and tastes twice as good!

Reducing hangovers - If you do fancy having a few but don’t want to feel like a train wreck the next morning, drink single white spirits in a tall glass (vodka’s good), soda water and fresh lemon or lime. You’re keeping yourself hydrated with the soda water whilst still getting amongst it. Way, way better than sugar loaded lemonade or coke. Also avoid the cordials as the sugar there will feed the train wreck too.

Another good call is for every glass of alcohol, have the equivalent in a glass of water. Hydration, hydration, hydration. School boy error otherwise! Yes you’ll end up going to the bathroom more, but hey, there’s always an interesting conversation to be had with a drunk there.

Tactic #2 – Food

Strategy 1 – Eat before you go out. Gorge yourself on clean healthy food including loads of great natural fats. People might think you are a rabbit when you’re there, but it’s better than starving or caving in to the chips because you feel faint with hunger.

Having lot’s of food in your stomach too helps with alcohol (see tactic #1).

Strategy 2 – Especially if you missed the opportunity with strategy 1. Fill your plate full of food anyway, and just pick at the meat. Pray there’s fresh salmon there and leave the sausage roll on your plate. Bit like the drinking strategy, people won’t feel threatened by the fact that you actually care about what you put in your body, because they can see all the bad food on your plate.

Strategy 3 – Combine strategy 1 & 2 together. You may not be able to move on the dance floor, but you are still doing yourself a lot of favours for tactic #1!

Tactic #3 – Dips, Chips & Xmas Cake

Dips – I read an article on double dipping once and haven’t been able to shake the thought of it ever since. The dips become a breeding ground and you’re just inviting the unwanted in. If you’re gonna dip, be the first in and let everyone else spread the love!

Chips – These are what you call domino foods. All well and good picking on the odd chip to get that salty savoury fix, but as we both know, once you pop you can’t stop. A nice way of stocking up on those trans-fats (yes they are bad) and spiking blood sugar.

You could have one chip and go for the first dip, but this is a tricky art to master and much discipline is required.

Christmas Cake - Courtesy is needed here. I think there’s a big difference to spoiling yourself and having some cake Christmas day, to say, having a 3pm fix of it everyday for a week straight over the holiday period. When cake is handed out, you can:

A. Eat it. It is Christmas after all! For a healthy Xmas cake recipe alternative CLICK HERE.

B. I swear to god when I’m with family, they must think I need fattening up because the cake and chocolates continually come flying at me (love you guys). What I do in this situation is take a bite, resort to tactic #1 & strategy 2, float around the room mingling, then slip the plate off to one side when no-one is looking.

C. You could simply give the cake to someone else. I always feel a little guilty though as I know that sugar fix isn’t really doing them any favours!

Conclusion

Fun aside, I do think it’s important to let your hair down once in a while, I know I do. In saying that, when parties come at us thick and fast over the holiday season, it’s wise to have a few tactics up your sleeve and not cave into too much peer pressure.

For all you health nuts/foodies like myself out there, how do you handle the party season? Love to hear your thoughts, Guy

Need ideas for healthy festive treats? Try our healthy recipes here.

5 Tactics To Reduce The Dreaded Hangover That You May Not Have Thought Of…

5 Tactics To Reduce The Dreaded Hangover

Lynda: What is an alcohol hangover? Technically a hangover from alcohol develops when blood alcohol concentration (BAC) significantly drops and peaks when it returns to almost zero.

Unfortunately “The Alcohol Hangover” can last up to 24 hours and commonly includes symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, poor concentration, dizziness, thirst, mood fluctuations, cognitive impairment and a general feeling of suffering.

Can a hangover be prevented? Outside of consuming alcohol in moderation or abstinence, unfortunately there is no evidence to suggest that conventional or complementary methods are effective for prevention or treatment of the dreaded hangover.

What We Can Do?

While we can not prevent or cure a hangover, there are a few things we can do to reduce it’s severity.

  1. Choose your fuel wisely; what you choose to drink can either be a nasty cocktail of chemicals and sugar that aggravate your hangover or a “cleaner” alternative with a few health benefits. Red wine contains many health promoting compounds such as polyphenols, phenolics, flavonoids and antioxidants namely Resveratrol. In moderation these compounds are anti-ageing, have been shown to support cardiovascular health, and even have anti-cancer and a neuroprotective effect in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimers. Unfortunately many people have allergies or intolerance to some ingredients in wine such as alcohol, amines or sulphites. If this is you, another option would be a potato based Vodka with soda water and fresh lime instead. Be mindful as many Vodkas are grain based. Potato based Vodka is gluten and sugar free and is low in carbohydrates. Be careful not to use tonic water instead of soda water, a common mistake. Store bought tonic water is often high in added sugar. Some may also contain fruit extracts and quinine to improve the flavour. If you would like slightly more antioxidant, polyphenol and flavonoid activity go for your organically produced wines. These wines are produced without sulphur dioxides/sulphites, making it a better alternative for those with sulphite sensitivity.
  2. Sleep; make sure that you are getting quality sleep, especially a couple of days prior to a drinking “binge”. Sleep deprivation has been shown to aggravate the severity of hangovers. Ask yourself the following questions. Are you getting 7-9 hours of undisrupted sleep most nights? Do you get to bed before 10pm? Do you wake feeling refreshed? Is your room dark, cool and without exposure to light, especially blue light from technology, computers, mobile phones etc? Are you avoiding blue light exposure for up to an hour before bed? If you have answered no to any of these questions, you may need to look at improving the quality of your sleep for many more reasons than reducing the symptoms of a hangover. To find out how you can improve your sleep here.
  3. Vitamins and minerals; Dose up on a B vitamins, magnesium and purified water before and after a drinking session. Alcohol consumption depletes many nutrients in the body that are essential for overall health, particularly the nervous and muscular system. The ones we deplete most are water, vitamin B1, B12, Folate, and Magnesium. A lack of these nutrients exacerbate hangover symptoms and add to that generalised feeling of misery. I like to use Magnesium bisglycinate for its enhanced absorption.
  4. Know your limitations; We are all unique and our genetic differences may influence the way we respond to alcohol and may contribute to alcohol addiction, dependence and abuse. Geneticist Dr Margaret Smith claims that around 50 per cent of the risk of drug or alcohol dependence abuse is genetic and although there’s no single addiction gene, there’s a cluster of inheritable traits that can make some people more vulnerable. Read more here.
  5. Ditch the smokes; if you are a smoker and need another reason to quit, I can accommodate. Studies have shown that smoking can increase the severity of your hangover…amongst other things.

Conclusion

So with all of this in mind and with the memory of what a hangover looks and feels like, thoroughly enjoy this festive season well prepared and ready to tackle alcohol in moderation so that you are not having to recalibrate your angry body and mind a week after a night of fun.

lynda griparic naturopathThis article is brought to you by Lynda. She is a qualified Naturopath and Nutritionist with over 14 years of experience in the health industry. Lynda specialises in gut health and weight loss. She has extensive experience in running healthy, effective and sustainable weight loss programs and has expertise in investigating and treating the underlying causes of weight gain, metabolic problems and gut disturbance.. If you would like to book a consultation with Lynda, CLICK HERE

Learn more about 180 Superfoods here

References:

  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3827719/#R1
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1322250/
  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25722174
  4. http://180nutrition.com.au/2015/10/20/my-top-4-hacks-for-the-best-sleep-ever/
  5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3371298
  6. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15138463
  7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2572692/
  8. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7836619
  9. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20712596

 

The year of great health: Lose weight & raise energy fast

By Guy Lawrence

Want to start your year the right way? Are you planning a New Years Resolution of great health, weight loss or exercise?

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Gluten Free Paleo Friendly Christmas Snacks

paleo christmas snacks

By 180 Nutrition

Does your family think you are slightly odd as you avoid the landmines of mass overindulgence over the festive season? Or are you someone who lets your hair down and says sod it, so you stuff yourself like the turkey you are about to eat!

Either way, if you are looking for a tasty, high protein paleo friendly snack, then these stars might just do the trick. You can hand the paleo snacks out to the relatives without them thinking you belong to some strange food cult, and get praise for creating these healthy and festive treats! Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 & 1/2 cups almond meal
  • 1/2 cup 180 protein powder
  • 1 – 1 & 1/2 tbs cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • Juice of half an orange
  • Orange zest
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp stevia or to taste

Step 1

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl and it should make a sticky dough.

Place the dough in the fridge for about 20 min so that it is easier to handle when you roll it out.

Then roll the dough between two sheets of baking paper to about 5 mm thick.

Use some festive christmas cookie cutter shapes and cut out all your favorite biscuit shapes.

Step 2

Pop onto a baking tray and bake for 12 minutes at 160 degrees.

Optional – As it’s Christmas: When the Stars are cool, melt down three squares of 70% Lindt chocolate and pipe some chocolate onto the biscuits into cute shapes and viola!!!

So there you have it, some great paleo friendly high protein snacks… Bring on the party!

Big thanks to Caroline Howe for another awesome recipe. Angel!