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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.

Love the latte lifestyle? Why I do not drink much milk…

Is milk healthy?

After putting my thoughts into a recent post on soy lattes, the topic of milk in general started to pop up and just like soy, milk is a heavily debated topic for sure.

One thing I wanted to add is that our blog at 180 Nutrition is gathering great momentum and there are some very smart people in the industry following it… way smarter than me! The one thing I envisioned when I started blogging was to create awareness on health and hopefully attract like-minded people who contributed with feedback. All questions and comments are encouraged and whilst I’m clearly passionate about health I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I do my best when I can :)

Anyway, back to the topic at hand! Why I don’t drink much milk…

MilkIs milk healthy?

I’m clearly a fan of the ‘latte lifestyle’ and if I had my way, I’d hang out and work in a cafe most days! I’m wary when it comes to milk consumption and I only have one flat white a day with milk. I don’t use milk in my 180 supplement shakes or porridge etc… and here’s why:

I’m not here to convince you as to whether you should drink milk or not but simply create awareness to explore avenues. There’s an argument within itself if we should even be consuming milk as humans. Some say it should stop after breastfeeding, others say we’ve been having it for thousands of years. A bit like vegetarianism, there’s a whole host of conflicting evidence flying around on which is best… healthy debates indeed!

But for me personally, I like to look at the common sense approach and the certain facts that concern me:

Commercialism

Whether we’ve been drinking milk for thousands of years or not, it’s fair to say before industrialisation, if we wanted milk we would have probably strolled out to the back yard and milked the cow ourselves. Failing that we would have traveled to someone who had done that for us. Times have seriously changed and milk is BIG business.

Milk is a derivative of a cow, and as far I’m concerned the quality of the milk depends greatly on the condition of the cow, and the environment it’s kept in.

Did you know the average cow was recorded back in 1930 to only be able to produce roughly 1.5 litres a day. According to this article from Weston A Price – Back in 1930, the average dairy cow produced 12 pounds (about a gallon and a half) of milk per day. In 1988, the average was 39 pounds (4.5 litres) per day. This was accomplished by selective breeding to obtain dairy cows that produced a lot of pituitary hormones, thereby generating large amounts of milk. But the industry was not satisfied with this output. Today rBGH, a synthetic growth hormone, is used to get even more milk out of the dairy cows, bringing the average up to 50 pounds (6 litres) of milk per day.

This is done to meet the ever-increasing demands of milk and to make more money. Yes the above facts are based in America, but here’s a great article written by Tania Flack on growth hormone used in Australian beef cattle.

Not to mention the feed, cows eat grass right? No, the majority are fed on corn! So what impact does this have on the cow? The milk? The beef? Antibiotics anyone?

A great resource on commercial farming is the movie Food Inc.

All these things concern me and this alone puts me off drinking too much commercial milk. There are many articles and resources worth checking out on this topic and I’ll list some at the end.

Pasteurisation

There’s a continuous war going on whether we should be pasteurising milk or not. Pasteurisation is set out to accomplish two things: Destruction of certain disease-carrying germs and the prevention of souring milk. The milk is heated to a high temperature for up to half an hour and kills everything dead.

The heating is indiscriminate and kills all nutritional benefits along with positive bacteria.

If you are drinking milk for it’s calcium, you should consider what extreme heat/pasteurisation does to milk. According to the Dr Mercola website – Probably pasteurisation’s worst offence is that it makes insoluble the major part of the calcium contained in raw milk.

Weston A Price – We have all been led to believe that milk is a wonderful source of calcium, when in fact, pasteurisation makes calcium and other minerals less available. Complete destruction of phosphatase is one method of testing to see if milk has been adequately pasteurised. Phosphatase is essential for the absorption of calcium

From what I’ve researched, literally dozens of other precious enzymes are destroyed in the pasteurisation process, without them milk is very difficult to digest. How many people do you know who are lactose intolerant? This just makes me wonder whether people are intolerant to lactose or actually intolerant to what we are doing to the milk?

Homogenisation

HomogenisationI’m surprised how many people consume milk and don’t know what this means. Do you remember a time when the cream used to sit on the top of the milk? Back in Wales when growing up we had to put stones on top of the milk bottles when delivered other wise the birds would peck the top and drink the cream. You got fat chance of this happening these days, why? Homogenisation.

If you look at a clear milk carton these days, you’ll see there is no cream at the top and that it’s been evenly dispersed evenly throughout the milk.

Homogenisation breaks the fat into smaller sizes so it no longer separates, allowing the sale of non-separating milk at any fat specification. This is done by mixing massive amounts of milk to create a constant, then forcing the milk at high pressure through small holes (see illustration above).  They do this because it prevents creating various levels of flavor and fat concentration. It is also cosmetically appealing.

The risk?

Surprise surprise, but there’s a war going on regard homogenisation. There are claims that milk homogenisation affects the development of atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, milk allergy and milk intolerance, Type I diabetes or Type II diabetes.

Whether you believe this or not, I feel that the moment you mess around with food and start highly processing it, it will have it’s consequences. I don’t like the idea of this and I stay away from it when I can.

What’s the alternative?

There are a lot of alternative milk products available these days, from almond milk, oat milk rice milk, soy milk etc. These warrant their own posts, but check the labels as they usually taste pretty bad and are highly sweetened. They certainly don’t help the cause of the latte lifestyle.

Raw milk may you may ask?

I can only speak for myself here. When I started to really pay attention to what was happening to our milk, I switched to raw milk (Cleopatras bath milk). Yes bath milk! It’s called this as it’s illegal to sell raw milk for human consumption. If caught you’ll be treated like a drug smuggler!

I generally don’t drink much milk at all these days, but I drank raw milk for years with no problems. I’ve even known people who are lactose intolerant to drink it with no reaction. Should you drink it? Research first would be my advice. I’ve only scratched the surface when it comes to milk with this post!

As for the latte lifestyle? If you asked for a raw milk flat white they would think you’ve just escaped from an asylum! For me? Long black it is!

Thoughts? If you have any comments or helpful resources, would love to here them.

Audio interview: The process of raw milk production

On a side note: I truly enjoy writing these posts, hence our frequent blog posts. At the end of the day though, these are just my thoughts and feelings around a topic I’m passionate about. I encourage everyone to do their own research and check out the facts for themselves.

If you did enjoy the post and got something from it or have something to share on the topic, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below. If you feel others would benefit from this then it would be great if you could share it using one of the icons below (Facebook etc). Cheers, Guy

Interesting articles & resources

 

3 reasons why we eat grass fed beef & use grass fed Whey Protein Isolate (WPI)

grass fed WPI whey protein isolate
By Guy Lawrence

Think of this for a moment… would it be fair to say that the better the quality of food we eat daily, the better the quality of our overall health? Common sense really.

Does it matter what the cow eats?

Does the same apply to the living food we end up eating? When taking a look at the cow, we can easily assume the better the quality of food they eat on a daily basis, then the better the quality of them? Yep… No brainer really and pretty hard to argue.

When you are consuming a food source derived from cattle, I’m sure you would agree that quality is a major factor. But before we start to look at the differences between grass fed WPI whey protein isolate and corn fed regular whey protein, let’s take a step back and look at the bigger picture. The first question that springs to my mind is:

Why are farmers feeding their cattle corn in the first place?

I remember growing up in school with my teacher telling me that cows ate grass. Maybe she got it wrong!

1. Watch this video

Below is a clip from the movie Food Inc. If you have not seen this movie I would highly recommend it. Just give yourself five minutes of your time and you will begin to build an image of the bigger picture and why we only use grass fed WPI Whey Protein Isolate at 180 Nutrition.

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