Eat Delicious! Our Christmas Wellbeing Survival Guide
Leading nutritionist Elizabeth Montgomery has come up with a wonderful guide to negotiating the festive season in true Ethical Hedonist Style! This is the definitive festive guide to a healthy and vibrant new you. Discover how to pick the most vibrant, delicious, wholesome foods, that will nourish your heart, your senses and your taste buds. Then, sail through parties and family gatherings without developing a cold or feeling that you need to spend the whole of January on a detox! I hope you find it wonderfully inspiring and useful – please share it with the people you love most in the world – Merry Christmas Elizabeth and Alison Jane
Tune into the Season
Winter festive season is upon us. This is the season when the tendency to overindulge in rich foods and late night parties creates a burden on our immune systems. However, with a little careful planning, it’s possible to avoid catching the dreaded cold and flu viruses. Now is the time for health prevention – so you can enjoy yourself all season long!
Here are some health and lifestyle tips for the festive winter season:
The magic of winter season requires practices that conserve our energy. The long cold dark nights require us to go bed a little earlier and arise a bit later, which helps to keep us in tune with nature’s rhythm. It’s a good time for observing ones dreams and is the ideal time to incorporate practices like meditation, to help quiet the mind, relax and to go within. It is also wise to include gentle stretching exercises first thing in the morning and last thing at night, to help ward off the contractive effect of the cold weather.
Embrace Fermented Foods
A good way to boost immunity during the cold winter months is to regularly consume foods that contain a spectrum of probiotics (which means pro-life). Adding fermented foods into the diet is key since they are loaded with friendly bacteria. Some of the more popular fermented foods include raw sauerkraut (also packed with vitamin C), coconut based live yogurt and miso soup. Fermented kombucha and coconut kefir drinks are also gaining popularity – plus they taste delicious!
Eating rich foods during holiday season can wreak havoc with your digestive system. This can create uncomfortable (and often embarrassing) symptoms such as bloating, wind or acid reflux. There is hope however, when we understand how to combine certain foods to curb digestive discomfort. One golden food combining rule is: never combine dense protein (especially animal based) together with starchy carbs. This is because different enzymes are required to breakdown these two very different foods. When eaten together at the same time, it inevitably causes a degree of indigestion. Therefore, protein is always best combined with non starchy vegetables. Correct food combining examples include: Goat’s cheese and watercress salad, or prawn stir fry with plenty of vegetables, or organic free range turkey with salad and steamed greens, or vegan kidney bean chilli (protein) with raw sauerkraut and steamed green beans. Try it a feel the difference!
It’s easy to become dehydrated in winter especially since we go from dry artificially heated spaces, into the cold, and back again. Make sure you drink plenty of pure filtered water to transport nutrients and help the body to flush out toxins. Bump out the diuretic coffee, black tea and alcohol, and replace with hydrating herb teas and vegetable juices instead.
Consuming sugar wrecks havoc on the immune system. Clinical evidence shows that eating 70 grams of sugar will suppress the body’s white blood cells, making them 40 percent less effective at killing germs. In fact, eating simple sugars reduces 75% of our body’s immune system and its ability to function for up to 6 hours! So what to do during the holidays? It is best to avoid having the table white stuff along with glucose and fructose. The good news is that there are several much healthier options available to add to traditional recipes. Stevia is the ‘new kid on the block’ and makes a super healthy natural alternative since it tastes like sugar, but is actually diabetic friendly. Other healthy options include coconut sugar and xylotol.
Include Immune Boosting Veggies and Fruits:
1) Lemon and limes. These two fruits are an excellent source of vitamin C which helps the body to defend itself against bacterial and viral infections. Try adding lemon to warm water first thing in the morning, or use lemon or lime juice instead of vinegar in salad dressings.
2) Vegetable juicing. Juices are ‘pre-digested’ which means that they are absorbed directly into the system. This is a sure fire way of flooding the body with alkalising and nutrient dense phytonutrients (phyto means plant).Think of your daily vegetable juice as a new type of multivitamin – which helps to keep your immune system healthy.
3) Cruciferous vegetables. This particular family of vegetables includes kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and broccoli which are bursting with a wide spectrum of nutrients which supports our bodies throughout the cold winter months. They are a rich source of flavonoid antioxidants which contain cancer protective properties, and help the liver to escort toxic xeno-oestrogens (found in our food chain and environment) out of the body. Enjoy them raw, or lightly steamed (to preserve vital nutrients).
Include warming spice and all things nice
1) Turmeric. The active ingredient is curcumin which gives off an array of health properties and gives turmeric its distinctive bright orange/yellow colour. Curcumin is anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and rich in antioxidants. It is helpful for detoxifying the liver and has been linked to the management of inflammatory conditions such as eczema, arthritis and asthma.
2) Ginger. It is known as the garlic of the Far East and is prized for its yang (warming) properties. It contains potent anti-microbial, anti inflammatory and antioxidant nutrients which make it a key winter season spice. Try adding into soups, stews or vegetable juices. It’s also ideal after dinner when freshly grated into a pot of boiling water with a dash of lemon.
3) Cinnamon. This popular winter favourite is very warming, helps to stabilise blood sugar levels, and has antibacterial properties. Try it with porridge, in tea, or on a baked apple for a healthy dessert.
4) Garlic is king of the natural antibiotic and antibacterial spices. Add raw cloves to salad dressings, juices or lightly cook in stews and soups.
Aim to incorporate some of these simple lifestyle tips over the festive period and beyond. And enjoy a healthy happy and magical winter season!
For more info on Elizabeth Montgomery and her Nutrition Practice go to- www.holisticnutrition.co.uk