Survive and Thrive in the Festive Season

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

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Embracing the festive spirit as the year draws to a close, the invitations for Christmas and end-of-year gatherings may be flooding in, promising fun and merriment. It’s a wonderful time of year; yet if you’ve been focused on your health and wellness of late, it may pose a challenge. How can you ensure that the strides you’ve made towards fitness and well-being aren’t unravelled during the holiday season?

Good news – it is possible to relax your food and exercise routine during a holiday without undoing all your previous efforts. Just as taking time out of your usual routine is great for your mental health, mixing up your regular nutrition and movement is also great for your physical health. (Note my words – mixing up, not abandoning!).

How? By paying attention to the unsung hero of our bodies—the liver. A powerhouse in itself, our liver processes alcohol, hormones, and a myriad of nutrients, ensuring our well-being. Yet, during seasons of excess, when we indulge in rich foods and perhaps a bit too much merrymaking, our liver bears the brunt of it all. It’s crucial to consider how we can support and nurture this vital organ, allowing us to enjoy festivities while still supporting our health.

Here are some mindful tips to guide you through the holiday season, leaving your health, and liver, relatively intact:

1. Plan Alcohol-Free Days: If you find yourself invited to numerous social events with alcohol, intersperse alcohol-free days, giving your liver the respite it deserves, along with the time to focus on processing all the other nutrients you are still consuming.

2. Hydrate with Filtered Water: Keep hydrated with filtered water, helping your body process and clear out excess toxins, including alcohol.

3. Balance Rich Meals: If you are indulging in meals slightly more lavish than usual (not uncommon on Christmas Day!), avoid consecutive days of heavy eating. Opt for lighter, nourishing options on prior and subsequent meals to maintain a healthy balance.

4. Nourish with Cruciferous Vegetables: Support your liver with nutrient-rich cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels Sprouts and spinach – all healthy, liver-loving foods, so that your liver can continue to perform at its best.

5. Mindful Alcohol Consumption: At social events, start with a non-alcoholic beverage, intersperse alcoholic drinks with water, and consciously savour your drinks.

6. Movement: Your usual exercise routine may be disrupted, yet that’s no reason to sit still! Build in time for walks (particularly helpful after a big meal), swims (remembering to be sun-smart), or try out some new games with the family – beach volleyball anyone?

As we head into 2024, let’s prioritise our well-being while still enjoying time with loved ones.

May your holiday season be filled with joy, balance, and a healthy, thriving liver.

Cheers to a vibrant and well-nourished start to the New Year!

Develop a positive relationship with food