Eating healthily at Christmas



YULETIDE is a time of indulgence. The one period of the year where everyone, or so it seems, expects and is expected to eat, drink and be merry. That said, for some people this goes against their daily practice. Obviously there are parts of the globe which enjoy festivities at other points of the calendar and even within our own local communities, there are those for whom the 25th December is just another day. The world and its inhabitants and their cultures are interesting because they are varied!
There are also people who, for whatever reason, need to watch what they eat and drink. Perhaps it is especially difficult for them. Whilst the rest of us are stuffing our faces, they must be cautious. Or maybe it doesn’t even bother them at all. That said, joining in the festive fun is something which brightens up the cold, short days of the twelfth month. So the question is, how to do this?
A wise old man once said “a little of what you fancy does you good”. Well, that’s not strictly true. The saying might be sound but the person who first voiced, or rather sang, those words was the risqué Victorian comedienne and music hall performer, Marie Lloyd. Given much of what we associate with the modern Christmas originates from those times, perhaps we should treat this as fitting advice. It does, after all, correspond with the Confucian teaching of “hari hachi bu”, that you should eat until you are 80% full. Or with the Japanese proverb “eight parts of a full stomach sustain the man, the other two sustain the doctor”. In other words, eat, be merry but don’t overdo it.
There’s also good news for those who enjoy a traditional Christmas dinner. Turkey is very healthy meat as it is rich in protein, a wide range of vitamins and also contains a lot of mineral nutrients. Stuffing only need be unhealthy if you use ingredients which aren’t good for you too. Heavy, low GI, breads such as Polish rye or German pumpernickel offer a good base for this side dish whilst also helping your body to stay feeling great. If you’ve time to make your own cranberry sauce, you can also ensure that what you’re putting into your mouth there will bring more benefits than harm as well.
When it comes to immediate health, there are ways to ensure you don’t wake up sick on the 26th too. Obviously being careful how much alcohol you consume is a good way to ensure you don’t get a hangover. Not drinking at all leaves you even more certain of not suffering the post-drink blues. That said, most people enjoy a tipple at Christmas and wise advice there would be that darker drinks contain higher concentrations of congeners which are known to make you more ill the next day. In short, indulging on vodka or gin will result in you feeling better than whiskey or brandy.

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