Christmas

Christmas Eve wisdom for surviving tomorrow

Happy Christmas Eve everyone.  In this shorter instalment of ‘surviving the festive season’ series I’m here to give you some festive cheer and some sensible tips for surviving tomorrow.  Whether you’re chief present giver, head chef or in charge of keeping the children entertained whilst others get on with making the day run smoothly this post has something for everyone.

I know that from the minute the house wakes on Christmas Day to the minute we go to bed that night it can be go, go, go and tensions can run high – especially when families get together and spend protracted periods of time in each other’s company.  It’s common to find yourself reverting back to stroppy teenage behaviour too easily when Aunty Gladys asks again why you don’t have a ‘lovely boyfriend’ or Uncle Bob makes a snide comment about vegan diets.  So how do you deal with it?

Continue reading “Christmas Eve wisdom for surviving tomorrow”

Christmas

A simple festive soup recipe

Hi everyone,

For today’s ‘surviving the festive season’ post I’m sharing with you my go-to winter soup recipe which comes on so handy when you need something healthy, filling and easy during this crazy time of year.

I make batches of this soup and freeze them so that if unexpected guests arrive you’ve always got something healthy to serve them. Or if you come home after a long day of work or festive shopping you can simply heat this up and in under 5 minutes you’ve got something hot and nutritious to eat.

Continue reading “A simple festive soup recipe”

Christmas

Beat the Christmas bulge

Hi everyone,

Today’s post is another post in the ‘festive season survival’ series and it comes curtesy of the lovely Melissa Pierson.

Melissa is the founder of Roots & Shoots Nutrition, and is a UK registered nutritional therapist practising in central and SW London. She aims to bring her clients health and wellbeing back into balance and helps them to maintain optimal health by using a range of tools to assess and identify nutritional imbalances. She uses the Functional Medicine approach of nutrition science in her clinic to ensure the most up to date and effective nutritional practices are available for her clients.

She is passionate about inspiring, motivating and educating others to lead healthier and more balanced lives. She does this by offering private consultations, workshops, seminars, events, and other nutrition services.

If you want to find out or to book a consultation with Melissa more you can visit her site here or her Instagram here.

Without further ado, here we go…

pexels-photo-196648

Don’t get me wrong…I love Christmas as much as the next person. The endless eating, presents, movie marathons and the Christmas parties and drinks! However, I’m also aware of that gloomy feeling come January when you feel far from healthy and spry!

It’s not surprising to know that the average person puts on 6lb of weight over the Christmas period, and roughly 6000 calories are consumed on Christmas day alone (this is 3 times the recommended daily consumption for women, and 2.4 times the amount for men)!

First things first, my food philosophy is one of balance and still being able to enjoy what you want to…. for me it’s about everything in moderation. Christmas should very much be a time for celebration and relaxation.

So, I thought it would be good to share my top tips for beating the Christmas bulge AND still being able to enjoy the festive period!

  • Eat breakfast – Start your day the right way –  it sounds pretty simple however if we start as we mean to go on we are much more likely to continue good habits throughout the day. It has been shown that people who eat breakfast regularly have a more balanced weight than those who do not. Make sure your choice of breakfast is a protein rich one which will satiate you and keep you fuller for longer. Foods like eggs, porridge and greek yoghurt are all good examples.
  • Maintain your blood sugar balance – what does this mean? Eating what we call low glycaemic load (GL) foods (which are complex, unrefined carbohydrates such as wholegrain bread, brown rice and pasta) take longer to break down once consumed compared to simple, refined carbohydrates such as white bread, white pasta etc. and they release sugars more slowly into your bloodstream. This means that you don’t get a sugar spike and energy release is more stable throughout the day. Also, adding protein and a small amount of good fat to each meal will also help with appetite control.
  • Be mindful of your sugar intake – often foods have a traffic light diagram on the bottom right hand corner of the label – you may be surprised at some of the foods that are in the red categories, and these are the ones that should be avoided or consumed at a minimum.
  • Choose wisely when it comes to alcohol – its highly likely that your alcohol intake will increase over Christmas. This in itself will contribute significantly to your calorie intake as alcohol provides you with 7 calories per gram, second only to fat which gives us 9 calories per gram. The key here is to stick to clear spirits or drinks that aren’t full of added sugar. Spirits like vodka, gin etc. (with sparkling or soda water) are a better choice over wine, beer and cocktails.
  • Eat before any Christmas parties – this will give you more control over the food you eat at parties. Canapes alone can contain 100 calories each and don’t tend to be hugely filling. Eating fibre rich foods will ensure you stay fuller for longer and help to suppress any sugar cravings.
  • Practice mindful eating – again this sounds pretty simple however in reality we can sit in front of the TV and eat for hours without really feeling full. Being fully aware of what you’re eating with no distractions (sitting at a dining table and not in front of the TV, properly chewing each bite etc.) can help your body to tell you when its full and when you should stop eating.
  • Be mindful of portion size – eating off smaller plates can be a huge help in not overeating throughout the Christmas period. Top up your plate full of fibre rich vegetables and lean protein (turkey being a great example) and eat these first, leaving less room for more dense and calorific foods.
  • Make sleep a priority – lack of sleep can increase our cortisol and adrenaline levels, which can in turn increase our appetite. Some studies show that sleep deprivation can cause people to overeat on the following day, choosing high sugar and high salt foods over fruits and vegetables. Use this time to reduce any sleep debt you may have by getting a good night’s kip (min 7-8 hours per night).

I hope some of the above will be useful, and that you have a great festive period with your loved ones!

A huge thank you to Melissa for sharing her words of wisdom as we get closer to Christmas day and the challenge to stay healthy becomes even harder (or is it just my total lack of willpower at the moment?!) . I will definitely be keeping her tips in mind as I know that I can let some of these good habits slide as the festive pressure increases.

Hope you’ve all had a great weekend. I will be back on Wednesday with another festive post.

Katie x

*This post originally appeared on http://rootsandshootsnutrition.com/

Christmas

Surviving the Christmas party scene

Hi everyone,

For the second instalment in my ‘how to survive the festive season’ series today I am focusing on providing you with some practical (but enjoyable) ways you can survive the (often numerous) festive parties.  As I don’t know about you but I seem to have something planned in my calendar everyday between now and Christmas Eve.

So, today I’m talking through how you can survive those social occasions with grace and still enjoy yourself at the same time.  I know how at this time of year even the most dedicated of healthy eaters can lose their willpower when faced with a Christmas buffet (me included).

First things first

Be prepared!

Continue reading “Surviving the Christmas party scene”

Self development

How to have a merry mindful Christmas

Hi everyone,

I’m currently ‘out of the office’ as it’s my birthday weekend & I’ve been put on an enforced no social media ban. Whilst I take some time out the lovely Alexandra is kicking us off in the first of my new series about how to navigate the festive season without losing your head or eating everything in sight – but also still having fun (it is Christmas after all).

Alexandra is a qualified and accredited Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapist Coach who works within a therapeutic counselling framework. She coaches her clients on a one-to-one basis to help them discover what they truly want to achieve. She has experience of working with a range of different issues, including anxiety, low self-confidence and debilitating habits. Regardless of the problem, her clients always realise their full potential and get a new energy for life to start living their dreams after working with her.

I’m so happy to have her here on the blog and I hope you enjoy reading this post as much as I did. Without further ado, here we go…

Continue reading “How to have a merry mindful Christmas”

Career journey

Study update – five months in

Hi everyone,

Well, we are five months in to the Science Access Course and any ideas I had about being able to provide you with a monthly study update sort of went out the window over the past few weeks.  Sorry about that, life sort of went a little crazy-busy and I wasn’t able to keep all the plates spinning.

So, we are well in to November and I’m on the final leg of the course.  Since my last study update here Biology has bitten the dust and I’m almost at the end of the Anatomy and Physiology module.  I’m just an essay, an exam and a few tests away from completing the course.  How the hell did that happen?  I’m simultaneously delighted and terrified that the course is coming to an end and that the next step will be the hardcore nutrition only studying.

With that in mind, here’s what the last few months have taught me…

Continue reading “Study update – five months in”

Food hacks

Easy and clever ways to reduce your meat consumption

Hi everyone,

I’ve now completed a whole month of being vegetarian and although there have been the odd slip up (like the time I accidentally bit into a homemade pasty from a colleague and didn’t think to check if it was meat free before realising it was a proper Cornish pasty filled with mince beef and potato) but otherwise nothing too horrendous.  I must admit that in the first week I found myself looking longingly at bacon and sausage sandwiches which surprised me as I’ve always been someone who thought they weren’t that fussed about meat.  I’m happy to report that those feelings soon passed and the rest of the month was relatively smooth sailing.

I managed to find all the foods I wanted and used it as an opportunity to experiment with meat free recipes throughout the week which saved me both cash and time and I’ve even got back into the groove of batch cooking and freezing which has been brilliant – although I am aware I have a freezer full of meat that needs using up and I’m in no rush to get to it.  Perhaps I’ll give it away to my parents?  I will keep you posted on that one.

In the meantime I thought it would be helpful to share some ways I found to reduce my meat consumption over the past month.  I know if you’re used to eating meat at nearly every meal it can seem a little daunting to reduce the quantity (especially if you’ve never tried it before and were raised on the meat and two veg philosophy of my childhood) but just a few tweaks to your regular routine can make all the difference.

Here’s how I did it…

Continue reading “Easy and clever ways to reduce your meat consumption”

Uncategorized

Trying vegetarianism

Hi everyone,

A shorter but slightly more personal post from me today.  A few weeks ago I watched the Food Choices documentary on Netflix.  They say:

“This documentary follows filmmaker Michal Siewierski as he explores the impact that food choice has on people’s health, the health of our planet and on the lives of other species sharing our world. It looks at many misconceptions about food and diet, offering a new view on these issues. The film interviews world-renowned experts, including Dr. T Colin Campbell, Dr. Richard Oppenlander, Rich Roll, Joe Cross, Dr. John McDougall, Capitan Paul Watson, Dr. Toni Bark, Dr. Pam Popper, Dr. Michael Greger, Gloria Athanis, and several others. You will never look at your plate in the same way again.”

Continue reading “Trying vegetarianism”

Uncategorized

October non-foodie favourites

Hi everyone,

Can you believe we are in to the first week of November already?  Autumn is my favourite season of the year by far and I’ve been loving watching how London is changing as the year marches on.  Although I’m a winter baby (my birthday being at the start of December) I love that Autumn is when you can start to really snuggle down with big jumpers, hot water bottles and big bowls of porridge in the mornings.

With the end of another month comes another set of non-foodie favourites.  This month I’ve been hunkering down and studying more than before as I’m coming to the end of the Science Access Course (five weeks left!  Eek!) and the reading has stepped up slightly so my time away from the academic books has been spent really trying to immerse myself in the things I enjoy to give my brain a break. 

OK, here we go…

Continue reading “October non-foodie favourites”

Sugar

Sweet treats that won’t leave you feeling sour

Hi everyone,

In the final post of my sugar mini-series we are on to the good stuff: the sweet eats.  So far we’ve covered the different types of sugars, how to reduce your intake, how to deal with your cravings and finally (finally!) we’re on to the post you’ve all been waiting for: the desserts.

Now this is not me giving saying it’s ok to go and eat as much sugar as you want, because that’s never going to happen.  Today’s post is a reminder that it is possible to eat sweet things occasionally as long as it’s not all the time and when it’s a mindful choice – not a binge off the back of a sugar craving.

The great thing about these recipes are that they are all low sugar (all mostly low fructose which is even better) and can be knocked up quickly, in batches and kept in the fridge or freezer for when you feel like a treat.

Continue reading “Sweet treats that won’t leave you feeling sour”