Monday, 1 December 2014

Christmas CAN be healthy!

If you've spent the whole year being healthy then the festive period can prove a bit of a shock to the system - and derail your fitness journey completely. But everyone deserves a little break - and it's not all bad. Here's my way of looking at it...

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Festive fare

Now I'm not going to lie to you, mince pies are not a health food. They contain sugar and fat. And they taste good too. Moderation is of course the key (now, where did I put it?) But not all Christmas nibbles need be sent to the naughty step. How about nuts? Full of protein, vitamins, fibre and minerals they are a powerhouse of nourishment. My personal fave, almonds, are high in vitamin E, which is great for your skin, while within its own skin you'll find heart-protecting flavonoids. Meanwhile Brazils are rich in the mineral selenium, which aids thyroid function and supports immunity, and walnuts are rich in omega-3, which can help prevent heart disease and stroke, and also contain cancer-fighting antioxidants.

Then there's the traditional turkey, which like all meat, is a a rich source of protein (plus white meat like poultry typically has less fat that dark meat, cook skinless for an even lower fat option). It is also a source of iron, zinc, potassium and phosphorus and contains vitamin B6 and niacin, essential for producing energy. Turkey also contains the amino acid tryptophan, which helps to strengthen the immune system, and selenium, which is essential for thyroid hormone metabolism. Winner, winner Christmas dinner.


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And finally, when Santa leaves a satsuma in your stocking he's basically acting as your personal nutritionist - not only is a satsuma full of vitamin C (just one can provide nearly half of your daily recommended intake) the unadulterated fruit retains the edge over juice because it still has fibre, which fills you up and, ahem, keeps you regular. Satsumas also contain folate, which helps prevent heart disease, and potassium, which can lower blood pressure. They even contain calcium. So, you see why a Bucks Fizz is teetering on the edge of healthy...right?

Mind over matter

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You'll hear plenty of people quote 'Jesus is the reason for the season' in the next few weeks - as we try to balance today's consumerism with the real message of Christmas (it's to celebrate the fact the God loves us rotten lot of sinners so much he sent Jesus along as a sacrificial lamb actually). And while you might not believe in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, Christmas can still be a time when you examine your beliefs and spirituality. It's certainly a period when we make time to meet up, spend time with and get in touch with everyone that's important to us. The majority of us are able to put aside our other worries and commitments (even the shops shut - well nearly!) and concentrate on what really matters - friends, family, love and peace (oh-er I've come over all Bono). There's nothing more healthy than focussing on what really counts (hint: it's not getting the latest X-box upgrade or winning at  Monopoly).

And finally, there's nothing more inspiring than a few weeks of over indulgence to reaffirm your commitment to your own health! Hopefully you'll have given and received lots of motivating fitness gifts - from books and DVDs to Pilates socks and workout wear - and maybe even a new bike or a gym membership? And thus, armed with your new kit, you'll be in exactly the right frame of mind to set some new health and fitness goals for that fast approaching New Year!

Will you be letting loose this Xmas - or will you keep moderation in mind? Do you look forward to forgetting about your fitness for a bit - or are you planning on keeping up the good work as you rock around your Christmas tree? Share your thoughts in the comment box below - and add in any tips you have for keeping happy and healthy this Yuletide.

4 comments:

  1. I have put gym gear from Sweaty Betty on my Xmas wish list!

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    1. It's a very tempting place! I love the Marlow store, the staff are very friendly.

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  2. I aim to keep moderation in mind as we go through the next week to ten days of festivities! Thank you for sharing on #CreateChristmas x

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    1. I think that's one of the best ways - there's no need to over indulge - just enjoy some great food (oh and a nice glass of wine - or two!). Thanks for commenting.

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