Tips for a healthy, guilt free Christmas

We are constantly surrounded by food during the Christmas and holiday period, with busy schedules and late nights it can be hard to feel healthy enough to enjoy all of the festivities. Here at Body Fusion we believe in a balanced approach to life, this includes the party season. Hence we have a few recommendations that’ll help you enjoy yourself without blowing out or feeling too restricted.

Never arrive too hungry

Arriving at a function ready to eat an entire Christmas ham is never a good idea. Always eat a balanced breakfast with low GI carbs like sweet potato, grainy bread or oats with eggs, yoghurt and either vegetables or a little fruit. Eat regularly throughout your day, have a light fibre rich meal or snack before you go like some snowpea & cucumber sticks with hummous or 1 scoop plain greek yoghurt with 1 piece of fruit so you arrive level headed and not devour your days worth of kilojoules from the cheese and chip platter.

 Choose what you LOVE, not what you like.

Big festive meals are a joyous event however this doesn’t have to equate to a big festive weight gain. Instead of saying ‘no’ all the time only choose the item or couple of items you truly LOVE and forgo the ones you only ‘like’. For example I love pavlova, but I only just like potato salad. So I will choose to eat a piece of pavlova after dinner but swap the creamy potato salad for baked vegetables and salad. Changing the way you think will reduce the amount of guilt associated with food decisions and allows you to enjoy your meal because you are eating the foods you love!

Eat just a little less

Once you have chosen your ‘LOVE’ food/s consider your portion sizes. If you are trying to lose weight or simply maintain then eat whatever you like just in a smaller portion. This will keep your total kilojoule (energy) total in check and prevent a binge. Try having half a piece of fruitcake with fresh fruit instead of a big slab with trifle as well.

Be alcohol wise

It is a time of celebration and in Australia that often means free flowing bubbles and beers. Remember moderation! If you choose to drink then opt for a shot of a clear spirit with a soda water/ diet mixer instead of beer & cider. If you’re a wine drinker then slow yourself down by finishing one glass at a time then chase it with a non alcoholic drink (like the fruit flavoured sparkling waters).  Always aim for at least 2 alcohol free days per week.

Make sleep a priority.

There is no replacement for a good nights sleep, it will reset your appetite hormones, helps stabilise stress levels and reenergise the body. Make a conscious effort to get at least 7-8 hours sleep per night, limiting blue light from mobile phones and computers at least half an hour before bed.

 Keep moving

This is especially important if you are taking a break from your normal exercise routine. Replace your workouts with outdoor activities like walking, bike riding, swimming (especially at the beach), maybe even trying some water sports like surfing or paddle boarding. Exercise is particularly important for keeping your metabolism working efficiently and improving insulin sensitivity. 

 Remember that a few extra treats over a couple of days can be tolerated by the body but don’t let it those habits carry into the New Year. Remember, one fruit mince pie over 4 weeks can add up to an extra 1kg of weight, that’s not something many want to start a new year with.

Wishing everyone a very safe, happy and healthy Christmas and New Year!

Katrina :) 

 

Fragrant turmeric fish & chickpea curry

There is something really comforting about a fragrant curry on cold winters night, but when cooked with large amounts of ghee, butter, coconut milk and cream they can pack a hefty punch on your waistline. (Not ideal if you plan on following it up with a night on the lounge). Skip the takeaway and try this wonderfully tasty and satisfying turmeric curry, so easy to prepare it will be ready in under an hour. Your taste buds will be singing and your body happy because it is low in fat, salt & sugar as well as high in protein & fibre.

Serves 4

  • 3 x barramundi fillets, skinned, sliced into small pieces
  • 1x 400g can chickpeas
  • 2 tsp ground coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric, fresh, grated
  • Cracked pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2 long green chillies, roughly chopped
  • 1 x 4cm piece fresh ginger, sliced
  • 2 tbls olive oil
  • 2 brown onions
  • 2/3 cup fish stock
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves
  • Juice ½ lemon
  • 3 tsp fish sauce
  • 2 x broccoli heads
  • 2 cups snow peas
  • 200g spinach leaves

Method:

  1. In a frying pan dry fry coriander, turmeric, pepper for 2-3 mins until fragrant. Tip into a small food processor add garlic, chillies and ginger and whiz into a paste.
  2. In a large frying pan, heat 2 tsp olive oil and cook fish fillets for a minute on each side, set aside.
  3. Heat remaining oil in frying pan, cook onion until soft. Then add spice paste and stir for another minute.
  4. Add stock, lime leaves, lemon juice and fish sauce to frying pan with ½ cup water, bring to the boil.
  5. Add fish fillets and chickpeas back into the pan, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. While curry is cooking, blanch broccoli and snow peas with boiling water and place onto a serving plate.
  7. Serve curry on top of ½ cup brown basmati rice OR 1 cup cauliflower rice + green vegetables. 

Dry July – How to regenerate a healthy liver

You might be familiar with one of the following scenarios below:

1)   You’ve woken up for work with a ringing headache and are feeling about as average as Spain did in the World Cup soccer. How did the end of financial year work drinks cascade into a shower of champagne or a steady flowing abundance of delicious beer?

2)   The weather in Sydney had become so bitingly cold that it justifies a good hearty glass of red by the fire – every night. For every degree colder this fosters furthur justification of a) A cheeky glass of port or desert wine to top the night off or b) Some/a block of chocolate to accompany the red wine

Your lovely liver: An under valued vital organ that regulates many processes in your body. However, at this time of the year it’s starting to complain. Battered and bruised its been fighting a little too hard.

The liver has various functions within the body the main one being DETOXIFICATION. That’s right! The liver helps to purify the blood by removing toxins such as alcohol and drugs from the body. But did you know it also helps regulate hormone levels? Can you imagine what happens when it can perform this duty well? Hormones regulate everything from sleep to mood, metabolism, reproduction and immunity - to mention a few!

The liver also works to DIGEST all your food. Fats are digested by bile in the stomach, which is a product secreted by your happy hepatic (liver) cells and transported to the gall bladder. Carbohydrates and proteins are broken down so that these nutrients can eventually be converted to energy for use within the body. 

Also wondering why when your liver has been under the pump you are more likely to come down with some mysterious flu? Well the liver is also responsible for your IMMUNITY.  It plays an important role in capturing and digesting nasties such as bacteria, parasites, worn out blood cells and fungi.

So lets focus on some liver regeneration.

Number 1: Reduce your alcohol intake. Limit alcohol to weekends only or if you can, commit to a month off. Lets face it, a hot milo in front of the fire is going to be lot more nutritious; alcohol is empty calories anyway (contains basically no nutrients). Focus on average 2L of water daily which can include herbal teas such as chamomile to rehydrate and filter the blood.

Number 2: Reduce highly processed foods particularly ones that are not only high in saturated fat but also salt and sugar. For example: processed and fatty meats (sausages, salami, bacon), deep fried take out and fast foods, cakes and biscuits, pastries and chocolate.

Number 3: Increase your intake of linoleic acid, a polyunsaturated fat. This will aid in reducing liver inflammation. Include nuts, seeds (flaxseed particularly) and oils (e.g extra virgin olive oil) as a part of your daily diet.

Number 4: Be smart with your selection of fruits.  Berries, pomegranate and grapes (I know you are already thinking wine again but the alcohol content outweighs the benefits here!) contain ellagic acid and resveratrol, which can help to regenerate liver cells. The bitter in lemon and limes can also break down stagnant material.

After following this for a good month you liver should start to improve all its functions. Hopefully a lot of what I have recommended also becomes habitual!

Also why not actually sign up for Dry July though and contribute some money towards a good cause like cancer prevention? Think of all the money you are saving not consuming alcohol anyway!

Stay happy, healthy and warm.

Ash xx