Christmas is a time when we tend to eat whatever we like without thinking about the consequences. With a little forethought, we can still enjoy traditional Christmas food without feeling sluggish and guilty after the festive season is over.
Crudité and Dip
Make your crudité look like a Christmas wreath. Using only green, white and red vegetables, you’ll stun your guests with this healthy starter. It’s full of dietary fibre, vitamins, minerals and protein.
- Curly kale – for the base
- French beans – blanched
- Brussel sprouts – blanched
- Mange tout – blanched
- Broccoli florets - blanched
- Cauliflower florets – blanched
- Cherry tomatoes
Place the curly kale on the base of the dish. Leave a space in the centre for your dip and then artistically arrange the cold vegetables around the dip to simulate a Christmas wreath, finally garnishing with the cherry tomatoes. Make a dip of your choice (either white or green), using low fat yoghourt. Avocado dips are always popular and are bursting with healthy ingredients.
Instead of roasting traditional potatoes, use sweet potatoes. They are packed full of nutrients and antioxidants, and they’re delicious. You can even have a mix of colours to brighten up your traditional roast – pink, orange, white and purple. Sweet potatoes have a high dietary fibre content and contain vitamins, A, C, B6 and are also high in potassium and manganese.
Brussel Sprouts and Chestnuts
Brussel sprouts and chestnuts are like a marriage made in heaven. Chestnuts are low in fat and high in fibre. Their sweet nutty flavour complements that of the sprouts. Brussel sprouts are packed full of vitamin C. Just remember to keep them al dente, or all their goodness will leach into the cooking water. Sprouts are another food which are high in dietary fibre and they contain potassium and folic acid.
Intermittent fasting has been popular for many years, especially among those wanting to lose weight. It’s now known that the health benefits of intermittent fasting go way beyond weight loss. Intermittent fasting doesn’t restrict what you eat, just when you eat it. Some practitioners suggest fasting for 16 hours, say from 8pm until 12pm or 6pm until 10 am. Others believe that eating normally for 5 days and then restricting calories to 500 or 600 for two days is the way to go. Whichever you choose, there are health benefits to be gained.
- Brain Power
Intermittent fasting allows the body to experience ketosis, which means that when it runs out of carbs to process, it turns to processing fat to feed cells. Many people say that fasting, even for a short time, keeps their minds sharp and clear. This is because ketosis causes the BDNF gene to be released. BDNF is essential for long term memory, short term memory, general learning and problem solving.
Intermittent fasting keeps our bodies younger for longer. When the body doesn’t have to concentrate on the digestive process, it can perform healing tasks through detoxification and regeneration of cells.
- Reduce Insulin Resistance
Intermittent fasting has shown to successfully reduce blood sugar levels and insulin resistance in people with Type 2 Diabetes. This is good news both for people at risk from developing Type 2 Diabetes and for those who already have the disease.
- Reduction of Oxidative Stress and Inflammation
Oxidative stress and inflammation are both known to cause early aging and cause diseases such as cancer. Intermittent fasting is known to boost the immune system by lessening free radical damage in the cells, enabling the body to fight off diseases caused by inflammation and oxidative stress.