Tis the season to be jolly… overindulged! Between Christmas parties starting in early December (sometimes late November!) through until New Years Eve, you can guarantee that these 30 or so days can have a MAJOR impact on people’s health.  It is not uncommon for people to gain up to 10kgs in this period as well as do a whole lot of damage to their bodies!  By the time most people hit January they are feeling tired, run down, and just plain lousy!

So here is my Christmas Survival Guide for staying healthy, happy and sane this holiday season!

1. Try to keep a routine.

I find starting each morning by having a glass of warm water with lemon squeezed in (or lemon oil) is a great way to start your day.  This cleanses the digestive tract, flushes the liver and provides alkalising nourishment to your body first up, and it’s a nice hit of Vitamin C!

2. Start your day right.

We are all flat out at this time of year, and often we neglect the simple task of eating, and eating regularly.  Always start your day with something, be that a smoothie, some granola/muesli with fruit or eggs, make sure you put something healthy in your beloved body that will keep you going for a few hours.  This will help to kick start your metabolism and get your body going.  Breakfast is literally the meal that is meant to “break the fast” after all the hours your body has spent sleeping and healing itself.  So skipping it is known to cause a miriad of issues (I’ve never read a study otherwise).  My body literally is crying out for food as soon as it hits 6am, but for a lot of people this isn’t the case.  So if you don’t feel hungry, try starting with something small like a healthy smoothie with some natural protein powder and cutting back at dinner time and having a smaller meal with no snacks before bedtime.

3. Ditch the sugar.

Seriously.  There is enough sugar in the fruit we eat and the occasional sweet treat that might contain unrefined sugars like Stevia (one that has the lowest Glycemic Index of the natural sweeteners on the market), Yacon Syrup, Agave Syrup, Coconut Nectar, Rice Malt Syrup, Raw Honey or Maple Syrup.  Refined sugar should be avoided at all costs.  It literally robs your blood of calcium, is damaging to the organs (liver, kidneys, pancreas to mention just a few), it puts your blood sugar levels out of whack, it feeds disease and illness, it suppresses our immune system and that’s just for a start!!

4. Be prepared and head out stocked up.

When you are on the run, the best thing you can do is chuck some healthy snacks in your bag before you head out the door.  My favourites are raw nuts, smoothie, organic apple sliced up with OnGuard, and boiled eggs.  It is far better for you to snack on these nutritious goodies, than to be tempted to pull in when you see the dodgy golden arches because your stomach is rumbling!

5. Do a fast.

I’m a big fan of fasting.  It is amazing how good you feel after a fast! You might think it’s crazy, but giving your body something else to do, other than process all the food you throw down there is a good thing! Your body actually spends time healing and repairing itself because it doesn’t need to focus all it’s energy on processing.  And the good news is that even just a one day juice fast is beneficial.  There are so many options with fasting and it isn’t all bad! You have so many options, you can  juice all day, enjoy some beautiful clear soups, yummy fruit and veg smoothies, or try a raw diet! Either way your body with thank you.

6. Keep hydrated.

With all the rushing around it’s often hard to remember to keep yourself hydrated.  Make sure you drink lots of good quality fluids in the form of alkaline water, fresh juices (not store bought), Kombucha, Rejuvelac, herbal teas or my favourite is my own spritzers.  If you have a soda stream (or if you don’t, I highly recommend one), they are the perfect way to mix it up a little and have a little sparkling water to mix things up.  I use my zazen Alkaline Water with it so I know I am getting the best quality water.  I love to add essential oils like Wild Orange, Lemon & Lime, Smart & Sassy blended in with fresh fruit and mint to give it such amazing flavour as well as it being purifying, detoxifying and hydrating all at once! It’s amazing how much more you will drink when your water is flavoured. Oh and if you feel hungry, but it hasn’t been long since you ate, try having a large glass of water.  People so often mistake hunger for thirst and eat when really their body just wants water.  Another trick is to add a drop of peppermint oil to your water to curb your appetite!

Did you know? Most of the water we consume from supermarket bottled water, reverse osmosis systems and Brita jugs, etc are not as easily absorbed by the body? Why? Because filtering water is only the first step in providing the H2O that mother nature intended, this gets us 50% of the way to perfectly balanced water.  The other 50% is about mineralisation and alkalisation. To find out more about what makes zazen water perfect for you and your family read more here – http://www.zazenalkalinewater.com.au/the-facts/

7. Get organised!

My family have often joked that I am the “List Queen”, and I have been asked if I have lists for my lists! I like to write down everything that I need to do, and everything I need to shop for.  There are also some great Christmas present tracking apps, as well as other organisers. Wherever possible I limit my trips to the supermarket and start planning in advance so I don’t have a frantic rush at the end. Shop on line and click and collect are fantastic, you don’t even need to brave craziness with the kids!

8. Hit the supplements!

Between the late nights, overindulging, crazy shopping centres with tired parents and kids, and the general stress of the holiday season – the immune system takes a big hit!  It is the time to be focusing on boosting your immune system in any way you can.  I stopped using multivitamins a long time ago because of their lack of ability to be absorbed by the body (nearly all are actually passed through our urine).  So look for Liposomal Vitamin C or Lypo-Spheric Vitamin C (high absorbency), a good probiotic that does as many strains as possible (how many billion is not as important as how many strains it delivers), Fish oil (I use the doTERRA xEO Mega – send me a message if you are interested in buying some so I can organise for you to save 25% off the retail price – this is only available in the US) and Vitamin D (well you can get this outside for just 10 minutes twice a day! No sunscreen!).
(Note – I’m actually not a huge fan of supplements, my general feeling on them is that if you are eating good quality fruit & veggies and lean meats and fresh seafood you shouldn’t need to take any. But in situations where there is high stress or your body is weakened already from illness or disease they are very important).

9. Try to include detoxifying processes.

While you are over-indulging, try to keep the body working as best it can.  Keeping your lymphatic system flowing will help assist with healthy immune function and also help to detoxify your body at the same time!  This can just be simple things link oil pulling, dry skin brushing, epsom salt baths, walking, running, and incorporating things like essential oils to coconut oil (Smart & Sassy Blend is great for detoxifying, weight loss and keeping the lymphatic system powering along – take a couple of drops in your glass water bottle or rub on your body).

10. Take some time out.

I know, I know…easy to say hard to do (especially coming from wonder woman here behind the keyboard who tries to juggle two businesses and toddler at her feet colouring in her toenails with pen 🙂 But you do need to be totally selfish, even if it is just 15 minutes in your day – it just needs to be about YOU.  Whatever that looks like for you – be it reading a book, writing a journal, going to the gym or for a walk, yoga, meditation or if you have a bath, take a nice detoxifying bath (add some epsom salt and essential oils to detox your body).

Just remember – It’s only once a year. Even with your best intentions, the chances of you eating or drinking something that isnt optimal for your health is high. So my only advice is, lose the guilt, enjoy things with moderation and be mindful when you eat.  Don’t sit there feeling terrible, just enjoy it for what it is.

Party tips –
– Try to always have a healthy, nourishing dinner before you party!
– If you are eating out, fill your plate with vegetables, lean meat and fruits for dessert. If you are going to indulge in alcohol, choose healthier options like Red Wine (full of antioxidants) or good quality stout beer over White Wine (high in calories and sugar), or sparkling wine. Alternate between water or sparking water between drinks to keep hydrated.
– If you do overindulge, I always have DigestZen – Digestive Blend with me at all times.  Its great to have in your handbag if you are travelling or if you are out and about eating things you wouldn’t normally.

Have a Happy & Healthy Holiday Season!