Oh how I love Christmas and I’m truly looking forward to it. It is a wonderful time of the year, full of joy, presents, love, fun and food. The run up to Christmas however, can be quite hectic.
This is the busiest time of the year in both work and a private life. All the shopping that needs to be done, all the planning of Christmas parties, dinners, drinks, getting thoughtful gifts for everyone, new outfits for all of the celebrations. And, if this is not enough, that’s the end of the year in companies and that means – even more busy at work! All that is stressful and exhausting, therefore surpassing our immune system and as a result, many of us will end up sick for Christmas. So, how to stay healthy on the run to Christmas and enjoy the festive season to the fullest?
I would like to share with you a few simple tips to get you through the run up to Christmas.
Those are the basics of being healthy, which many of you may already know, but we keep forget about it maybe because we don’t realise how important they are. And the truth is that before you start to experiment with all those fancy diets, you need to get the basic right first, otherwise you will not succeed.
- Drink more filtered water
Why? Because water is essential to hydrate our body to carry nutrients around the body, to detoxify, but also to speed up the metabolism. When we are dehydrated the metabolism slow down and we start feeling fatigued, dizzy, low in energy and also we gain weight when the metabolism slows down.
Ditch all the sugary drinks or drinks contains artificial sweeteners, for our bodies this is almost like a poison. Sugar is related to almost all the chronic illness existing, whereas artificial sweeteners are very damaging to our neurological connections and the nervous system.
Ditch all the caffeinated drinks, which are over-stimulating the stress hormone cortisol production, which is basically like being stressed out for our body. High cortisol inhibits insulin production and causes the body to store fat, it suppresses the immune system and digestive system. So there can be a lot of health consequences of drinking to much caffeine.
If you need your coffee or a tea have it before lunch and then stick to water.
Make sure the water is filtered or bottled as the tap water (also used in tea and coffee) contains fluoride and chlorine which are negatively affecting our thyroid. Thyroid is responsible for the metabolism and when it slows down we are low in energy, gaining weight and feeling unwell.
2. Eat 3 well-balanced meals instead of snacking all the time.
Snacking is not as great as we thought so. Each time we snack our blood sugar level goes up and our pancreas produce insulin. More insulin circulating in a blood more unsensitised to insulin we can become and over time we may develop insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is related to metabolic disorder, which is diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and obesity.
Especially dangerous are packed snacks that we just grab on the go, like crisps, biscuits, chocolates, breakfast bars, etc. Those are high in simple carbohydrates, process carbs, which are a killer to our metabolism and general health.
So instead of that have a satisfying and balanced breakfast lunch and dinner. Make sure that it contains complex carbs, proteins and fats. Complex carbs are raw or lightly cooked vegetables, which should make half of your plate. You could also have a small portion of buckwheat, quinoa, sweet potato. Personally I’m high fat low carb so I’d avoid those, my carbs are veggies only, but if someone is making a transition from a typical high carb diet a small complex carb portion is fine. In generally fill up with veggies first, that should be the main staple of your meals. One quarter of your plate should belong to a good quality protein: free range chicken, wild fish, grass feed steak, organic eggs etc. And, as we’re reducing the carbs we have a space left for a healthy fats: avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, nuts and seeds, grass feed butter…yum!
Fat is something we should not be avoiding as they are essential for our body. I’m sure you could her before a therm essential fats, but I don’t think you ever heard essential carbohydrates. There’s a reason for that. Fats are essential to every little cell in our body, we need it for energy, we need it for insulation of our organs, we need it to build hormones, we need it to carry fat soluble vitamin, our brain is made of fat. Therefore the body makes a good use of it, and it will be more likely utilised by the body other than stored in a fat tissue. Carbohydrates, on the other hand, are a good source of instant energy, however if we do not burn out this energy an excess carbohydrates will convert to fat and be stored in our fat tissue making us fat.
3. Eat a whole food diet
Whole food is a food that hasn’t been processed or has been minimally processed and as a result of that it’s free from preservatives, colourings, flavour enhancers, added salt sugar or trans fat. Instead of this whole food is high in vitamin, minerals other phytonutrients and fibre that hasn’t been destroyed during the processing.
The easiest way to eat a whole food diet is to buy your food as close to the source as possible. Buy your veggies at the organic farmers market, meat at the butchers and fish at the fish shop. All of those are also available online, so it can actually save you some shopping time.
People may think that when they buy a whole foods they will need to spend lots of time on preparing and cooking meals. And it is completely the opposite! Lovely organic veggies or free range meat or wild fish is fresh, nutritious and super delicious, so you actually don’t need to do much more with. Make a simple salad with your leafy greens, onions, tomatoes, carrots with a nice dressing, fry a piece of fish or chicken with some butter, sea salt and black pepper and it will taste just awesome.
Those ware my 3 main dietary rules, but I also have some lifestyle tips to keep you going.
- Be active
And I don’t mean working out 3-5 times a week. Studies are actually showing that people who have a sedentary lifestyle the whole days and after go working out for 1 hour a few times a week are less fit than people who are moving regular through out the day.
So the simple things like taking the stairs instead of the lift, getting out of the bus/train a few stops before and walking the rest of the distance, going for a brisk walk during your lunch instead of sitting down in a canteen.
What you could also incorporate is to stretch every 1-2 hours. It may maybe look a bit strange in an office environment if only one person is doing it, so make everyone doing it! Get everyone to get up for 5 min every hour and do a few stretches, hand swings, hip movements, sit ups, etc. This is only 5 min but will get the circulation going and get more oxygen to the brain and muscle. This is very effective way to work more efficient, so it may be a convincing argument to your boss.
The same you can do with your workout, instead of doing 1 hour every second day do 10 min 3 times a day: a short 10 min workout before work, a 10min during lunch and 10 min after work. Its only 10 min, so less motivation is needed.
2. Cold thermogenesis – cold exposure.
This is my favourite way of improving basically everything in the body. Cold thermogenesis improves metabolism and fat burn, boosts the immune system, shoots down the inflammation, improves the cardiovascular health and cognition and it makes you feel like a superhuman!
Cold exposure means exposing your body to the temperature below our body temperature. It can be cold shower, swim in a sea, lake or river, ice bath or just going outdoors.
Here’s my video of how to take a cold shower with a less BRRRR effect.
Those are very simple but extremely powerful things you can do to get more energy for the Christmas shopping and to stay healthy and energised over Christmas.