By Chani Carroso
Making it through the holiday season without a little indulgence is practically impossible. It’s easy to start the new year with a long list of resolutions to address the damage you’ve done in the past two months, but it’s also just as easy to enjoy the holidays without overdoing it. Scroll down to keep reading & find out how it’s done!
Contents1. Listening to your body2. Food3. Alcohol4. Exercise5. Battling a hangover6. Dips for days!
LISTENING TO YOUR BODY
There’s a lot of evidence that proves the body will tell you what it needs. However, if it’s telling you it needs lots of chocolate cake and coffee, it may be worthwhile questioning it.
Eat, drink and be merry- the mantra of the Christmas season. Interestingly- Ayurveda, one of the oldest systems of health says that any food eaten when happy and relaxed is more nourishing than healthy foods eaten when depressed and tense. So being one of the happiest times of year, before you go H.A.M on the christmas ham, keep in mind the purpose of food. Essentially, food is to sustain and develop body and mind, compensate for bodily wear and tear, produce energy, and increase immunity against disease.
According to ayurveda, you should eat by only listening to your body for what it wants for example, only eat when you are actually hungry and eat what you are craving (if you're feeling feverish and sick, your body usually craves fruit… this is because your body is asking for the nutrients in fruit to help you get better).When the body is trying to restore its balance, it will send you messages of what it needs, which may be in the form of cravings. However, because the mind and emotions are also effected by the imbalances, it’s easy to convince yourself that you need a food, when in reality you just like the food- the comfort, taste, or quick high it gives you. Keep this in mind over the holidays.
Here are some tips on how to eat in an Ayurvedic way this holiday, to help keep you balanced:
• Eat only when hungry.
• Don’t eat when you feel emotionally unstable.
• Give thanks to the source of the food, and the people who prepared it.
• To curb self-indulgence, offer food to another living being before eating, be it a person, plant or animal.
• Limit distractions when eating and chew each bite consciousness (example, don't eat food while watching TV and eat all your food without paying attention, this will make you look down at an empty bowl and want to eat more).
• Chew food well before swallowing. The saliva produced helps digestion. They say apron 50-100 chews per bite!
• Beware of restaurants. They need to make a profit. Quality of ingredients may be compromised.
Watch your portions.
The easiest way for me to remember how to control my portions is to make sure the majority of my plate is loaded up with veggies. You don’t have to deny yourself a bread roll or a slice of pie here and there…just make sure vegetables are the main part of your meal. That way, you will fill up on healthy, nutritious, and low-calorie foods before it’s time to splurge on the indulgent stuff.Eat at home first.
If you’re going somewhere where you are unsure what the food served will be like, eat at home! Sounds simple enough but I’ve been to enough parties where the main food options were sandwiches and deep fried surprises of unknown origin. So I eat at home before I go. Nothing’s worse than going hungry to a party then arriving home really late, starving, or even worse, feeling guilty for eating handfuls of crap.
Google the menu
If you're going out to a restaurant, 99% of them are awesome ones with their menu online. Suss that menu and choose a healthy option well and truly before you're stuck on a table of 10, a wine deep, getting food choice envy off your table neighbour. Being prepared for your holiday dinner parties allows you to make decisions ahead of time and stick to your guns.
Appetisers to avoid & to become best friends with. Appetisers can quickly add up to a full meal + more. Some of the fried options that swing around can also be a real calorie bomb. If you know you’ll enjoy the main course, politely decline the small stuff. However, if you are in need of a little sustenance, go for a protein-based appetiser. The best options to delve into include anything that belongs on a seafood tower, a mini lamb chop, or a chicken skewer. The veggie tray and hummus can be a great option unless you’re the girl who can easily smash the whole bowl. Avoid fried food, quiche, and flatbread options, which spike blood sugar and contribute to insulin resistance, inflammation, and weight gain and immediate hunger afterwards. Remember: You are there to spend time with friends, catch up and celebrate, so try to enjoy the conversation instead of the crab cakes.
Last one, its pretty simple...choose one or the other My easy rule… dessert or alcohol…only choose one for your celebration.
Grab a Buddy.
The holidays are everyone’s favourite time of year to reunite with with family and friends. One great way to catch up with people you haven’t seen in a while is to make your get-together an active one. If one of your besties is in town for the holidays, plan a walking coffee date with her. I’ve started doing “meeting hikes” catch ups and/or business meetings that take place while going for a walk along the beach or on a walking trail in the hills. Apply the same concept to your holiday catch-ups with friends and family to stay active and be social at the same time.
Maximise Your Workout.
No one wants to spend all day in the gym when there is holiday shopping, dinner parties, and catching up to do. So, if you only have a small amount of time to spare, make it worth your time by amping up your workout. One of my favourite ways to maximise my workouts is by doing H.I.I.T training… for example stair runs up and down for 30 mins, with the walk down being my rest in between.
Get Festive with Your Fitness Routine.
Exercise is often disguised in fun activities we love doing with friends and family. In fact, anything that gets your heart rate up and breathing faster will help to burn calories during the holidays (and burn off that fruit cake pie, too). Beach swims, beach volley ball, cricket, water fights all count as exercise! Grab your family for a game of touch football—you can burn 450 calories in a 45 minute game. Who said you had to go to a gym to burn off some christmas food?
Earn your alcohol
If you know you're about to have a night of drinks and the like, make a pact with yourself to earn your night of celebrations by working out the day of the event and the day after. Work out 4 hours before your party, followed by a protein based meal, followed by shower-hair-makeup. Its all about staying active and making room in your extra booty stores to hold on to the potential extra holiday glucose.
Just Add Soda Water.
Cocktails go hand-in-hand with holiday celebrations, so it’s nearly impossible to avoid having a libation here. However, that doesn’t mean you have to gulp down extra calories with your refreshment. Think about this, one nip of vodka alone is 60 calories. That begins to add up over a night of celebrations, especially when you're adding one nip with a couple of others inside a cocktail + over a cup of sugary juice in each drink!!
One of my best little tips for slimming down your drink is replacing sugary drink mixers with soda water. If you’re the type who likes specialty drinks, indulge in just one. Then, choose a low-cal option for your second drink eg, vodka soda and fresh lime. I recommend drinking a glass of water between every alcoholic bevy… and if you’re not a big drinker like me but feel socially awkward without a drink in your hand, just ask for a soda with muddled lime… no vodka = no extra calories!
Alcoholic calories (the devil in liquid form)
Just another little note for you to make better choices in the coming days and nights (warning, this is where I might break your heart a little):
merlot red wine - 160 cals
chardonay white wine - 140 calls
250mls orange juice (bottled) - 150 cals
Cosmo - 250 cals
Espresso martini - 285 cals
Tequila - 70 cals
Red bull - 110 cals
Smirnoff double black - 204 cals
Bacardi breezers - 100 cals
BATTLE THAT HANGOVER
Luckily, I have some medically-sound strategies to relegate that hangover far away from your Sunday, post Christmas night or New Year Day, compiled for your throbbing convenience below:
Duhhhh. You’ve probably hear this one before, but that’s because it really is your best weapon against a hangover. We all know that alcohol is a diuretic (which makes you pee more than normal), which unless balanced out by drinking copious amounts of water, leads to dehydration. Most of the symptoms of a hangover—like dizziness, dry mouth, fatigue, and headache—are really just symptoms of dehydration. So double fist it with tap water between your dranks to beat off the beast.
2. CHEAP STUFFResearch shows that darker liquors and wines have higher amounts of congeners than light alcohols, leading to worse hangovers. Congeners are harmful by-products of alcohol fermentation that have small traces of acetone and other dirty chemicals you shouldn’t be putting into your body. They are more common in cheaper alcohol as well, so try to steer clear of the usual bottom shelf cab sav to save a doller. Not worth it.
I cried tears of joy when i found out Hydralite made ice blocks. Go and stock up right meow (you can get the powder satchels or the ice blocks from your local chemist). They can replenish the valuable electrolytes lost due to the frequent urination from all that gin and water you’re drinking. Maintaining a constant level of electrolytes is important, since they regulate muscle and nerve functions in the body. Drink them before you go to bed or, if you’e found yourself hungover in the morning, drink plenty of these throughout the day as well as fresh juice to help replace any nutrients or vitamins lost the night before (OJ, PINEAPPLE, APPLE, WATERMELON ETC).
4. NURSE CHANI TO THE RESCUE
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like advil, aspirin and ibuprofen block the production of prostaglandin in the body. High levels of prostaglandins have been linked to more severe hangover symptoms like throbbing headaches, vomiting, lethargy and dizzyness. So popping a pill before you crash could do more than just prevent a headache.
5. SOZ, BUT COFFEE AINT YOUR FRIEND THE DAY AFTER
Coffee might make you feel more human the next day, but it shouldn't be your main guy to drink. Caffeine is a diuretic, which as we discussed earlier, is really not a good idea for someone who is already dehydrated, unless it’s accompanied by a huge HUGE glass of water. Of course, caffeine is also a stimulant, which can help stave off fatigue and your desire to deck people. So drink coffee but not copious amounts.
DIPS TO MAKE AT HOME
SUNDRIED TOMATO, CHILLI, CASHEW & CAPSICUM DIPBlitz these ingredients together:- 1 red chilli
- 30 grams Parmesan cheese, cubed
- 1 clove garlic clove
- handful of fresh corriander leaves
- 120 grams Cahews
- 1 red capsicum, quartered,
- 10 grams fresh lemon juice
- 100 grams Semi sundried tomato
30 grams EVOO (extra virgin olive oil), or use oil the tomatoes come in
DELICIOUS CHRISTMAS CRANBERRY ORANGE & RASPBERRY RELISHBlitz these ingredients together:
-1/2 stick of cinnamon
-1/2 star annise
-1 cup dried cranberries
-1 cup candied orange peel
-1 cup frozen raspberries
-1 cup shiraz ( red wine)
-1 cup palm sugar, loosely packed
FRENCH ONION DIP
Blitz these ingredients together:
-250 g cream cheese
-1 Beef Stock Cube
-2 teaspoons Onion Poweder
-1 teaspoon Garlic powder
-1 teaspoon raw sugar
PISTACHIO, CRANBERRY AND BASIL DIP
-1 bunch basil, leaves only
-130 g pistachios
-100 g Cranberries
-20 g olive oil- serving of plain yoghurt
SPICY FRESH CAPSICUM AND CHICKPEA DIP
Blitz these ingredients together:
-2 tsp Cumin Seeds Whole
-2 cloves garlic
-1/4 red onion, approx 35g
-1 red capsicum, approx 300g, cut into about 8 pieces
-400 g tin of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
-1/4 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp hot paprika
-25 g olive oil
-20 g red wine vinegar, or lemon juice
SPICY GUACAMOLEBlitz these ingredients together:
-3 pieces Avocado
-1 piece juice of lime
-1 piece tomato, cut into quarters
-5 sprigs coriander, stalks and leaves
-1/2 piece red onion, halved
-2 piece Red Chili, seeds removed
-1 piece green chilli, seeds removed
-1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
-1/4 teaspoon ground cumin seeds
-1 teaspoon sea salt, to taste