Keeping your gut healthy all-year-round can be a challenge, especially at Christmas. One of the key things that we recognised was the fear surrounding food control and staying in 'top-healthy shape', which we also know is unrealistic for many. After all, Christmas is a time to enjoy delicious foods and most importantly have fun and be happy. Here are 4 of our top tips to keep your gut healthy and definitely happy this holiday season.
1. Permission to Eat
Give yourself permission to eat what you fancy without shaming, guilt-tripping yourself or compensating for it. Christmas time (or any time) is not the time to worry about a perfect diet, a consistent routine, and putting pressure on yourself for what you are doing or not doing. Stress related to food can do more harm than the food itself, especially when it is enjoyed occasionally during special times of the year. Instead of all or nothing mentality, strive for balance and moderation. Regular eating, fibre rich vegetables with most meals and moving in the way you enjoy are some ways to keep it sensible, but enjoyable.
2. Enjoy the Moment
Enjoy the special moments with friends and family. Aside from a balanced diet, a sense of community, belonging and positive emotions have a powerful impact on the quality of the microbiome and in turn, the immune system. While spending extended periods of time with family for some may be difficult, focus on gratitude for having a family and the opportunity to be all together.
3. Stick to Your Body Clock
Although this is more difficult during the holidays and is definitely not a hard-written rule you must follow (we do not like strict rules, because they create an unhealthy mindset), try to maintain your usual body clock as much as possible. It is easy to go to sleep later and eat more sporadically with social gatherings going on and all sorts of temptations around. Aim to stick to a similar sleep cycle (or catch up on sleep if you need to) and maintain regular eating, as it will help to keep your blood sugar balanced and avoid intense cravings
4. Enjoy Seasonal Food
Take the chance to enjoy some seasonal winter food aside from all the delicious treats. Apples, mandarins, beetroot, Brussels sprouts, cranberries, cruciferous vegetables and cranberries are some name examples of what’s in season in December. We have a delicious warm Brussels sprout salad recipe to share with you to help you incorporate some of these foods. This will also remind you to include fibre with your meals, keeping your digestion going.
5. You heard us, wine!
Enjoy some mulled wine. It contains a wide range of spices like cinnamon, cardamom, aniseed, orange zest, as well as resveratrol from the wine. Remember that spices also count towards your weekly plant points, so having a glass or two can be a great way to get them up. Make it a social activity and make your own to ensure the best quality ingredients.
For more information on dealing with your emotions and mental health over the holidays, click here.