We’re two weeks away from Christmas Day, and whilst I’m really excited, I also want to take it as a time to recharge and have a healthy, happy break from the normal day to day routine. This week I’ll share my guide to feeling well during the festive season. Recipe wise I’ll share a delicious potato gratin. It might seem like a bit of a contradiction but having a ‘healthy Christmas’ is an achievable task even with the tins of biscuits and bottles of wine open everywhere you go!
First up let’s talk about sickness at this time of the year, the winter months are known to serve up illness on a silver platter. What can you do in the next two weeks to help with this? On a practical level don’t forget the basics like eating fruit and vegetables and staying hydrated. Planning ahead is important and getting any prescriptions you need early is a great way to be organised. Also booking any doctor appointments that you need in regular hours rather than the out of clinic hours. If you have symptoms that you are worried about in the next couple of weeks, speak to a health professional. Don’t downplay or ignore illness to avoid missing an event. The common viral infections in winter are contagious and skipping a get together to recover is doing yourself and others a favour! No one wants you at their party spreading sickness.
Next up let’s talk about finding balance in your body during the coming weeks. It has long been the case that our eating at this time of year can be sugar based, rich or fatty food. Rather than being one extreme or the other, consider the happy middle ground with food consumption. I’ve long enjoyed ‘indulging with intention’. What I mean by this is that if there is something that I truly love I’ll plan to happily eat it, I won’t eat it and nothing else, but I won’t deprive myself of it. I pick the indulgences that I like the most and stick with those in moderation. Try not to have a ‘January 1st clean slate’ approach, it’s just not a kind way to treat yourself, you’re worth more than an all or nothing approach. Consider gut health when thinking about eating during Christmas, our immune system and gut health are massively connected. A few simple ways to contribute to a balanced gut that you could try to incorporate are:
-Try out fermented foods, such as yoghurt, kombuchas, sauerkraut and pickled vegetables.
-Exercise and move your body, this helps with your digestive system.
-Get plenty of sleep, this will support overall health and gut health.
When considering finding balance in your body, also think about how you would like to move it during this time. I can promise you that no matter how small the amount of exercise you do, it will make you feel better than doing nothing at all. Wrap up and go for a walk. I try to do a walk every Christmas day and it’s always one of my favourite moments of the day. Make your own list of things that make you feel good movement wise. For me that is stretching, walking with others and weight training. Knowing that means I can try to find ways to weave these through my next few weeks. Also, it might not be feasible to do a full version of what you normally do so consider the micro version, a short walk with a friend, a ten-minute stretch if you can’t do a full pilates class.
However, you find yourself spending the next two weeks, I hope you can find some time for it to be a healthy and happy one.
Wellness Tip: Take a time-out. When we give a child a time-out it’s to give them time to gather their thoughts, calm down and regroup. It works for adults too! If you feel yourself getting overwhelmed, take a time-out.
Exercise Tip: Clear out. Now is a great time to gather up any charity items, get rid of those out of date jars in the cupboards and definitely get on top of any junk lying around. You’ll most definitely work up a sweat and be more organised for the holidays.
Recipe: Potato Gratin
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
- 1 tbsp. butter
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 leek, washed and thinly sliced
- 350 grams cooked potatoes, roughly crushed
- 300 mills vegetable stock
- 50g cheese, grated
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees. Melt the butter in a medium pan on medium heat and add the onion and leek. Sauté the onion and leek until soft.
- Add in the potatoes. Pour in the stock and combine the ingredients. Transfer
the ingredients to a small oven-proof dish.
- Sprinkle with cheese and pop into the oven. Cook for approximately 20 minutes until browned on top.