CHRISSY FEVER IS IN FULL SWING – and with the festive season’s onslaught of excess, your health can take a battering. A study by supplement company Healthspan revealed that nine in 10 people admit to consuming more food and drink at Christmas than at any other time of the year (no surprise there!). So if you’re on a mission to get through the upcoming party weeks without compromising your health, this clever calendar will be a better gift than anything Santa could deliver.
DAY 1 TAME YOUR TUMMY The festive season screams cocktails and canapés, but increased alcohol consumption can mess with your delicate gut fl ora. Pop a probiotic to calm tummy woes.
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DAY 2 STEER CLEAR OF EXTRA SALT A generous sprinkle here and there can result in water retention, so step away from the salt shaker and fl avour your food with lashings of herbs instead.
DAY 3 GO COCO With great weightmanagement benefi ts thanks to its good fat content, a spoonful of coconut oil should be part of your party-ready routine.
DAY 4 SAY NO TO SUGAR Noshing on the sweet stuffleads to weight gain and skin woes (ugh) just for starters. Cut back and you’ll fi nd that you instantly have more energy, and clearer skin, too.
DAY 5 BOOST YOUR VITALITY An iron-rich brekkie is perfect before or after a big night out – it gives your body the fuel it needs to get up and go. Dish up eggs in the morning and pair with a side of wholegrain toast (hello, B vitamins) for an energising start to the day.
DAY 6 SNACK SMART Looking for a festive clean-eating snack? Whip up a batch of raw peanut butter truffes. You’ll need 125g natural peanut butter, 3 tbs honey, 1 tsp greens powder, 6 dried apricots, chopped, some chia seeds and 3 tbs oats. Mix together the peanut butter and honey, then add the greens powder, apricots and chia seeds. Stir in the oats and roll into balls. Coat in chia seeds or cacao powder and place in the fridge until set.
DAY 7 GET LIPPY One week into the party season, there’s nothing like a slick of lippy to make you feel like a new gal. Make your pout even sweeter with a swipe from a vegan-friendly and chemical-free bullet.
DAY 8 LOVE YOUR LIVER While it’s pretty tricky to dodge the bubbly come festive season, it is possible to minimise the damage. Your liver is in charge of processing toxins, so if you’re planning a big night out, get into some milk thistle (available from your local health food store) the night before and the morning after to support your liver.
DAY 9 PLATE IT UP RIGHT Buttet-bound? Think about how you balance your plate. Nutritional therapist Emma Cockrell recommends this approach: “Half of your plate should be non-starchy vegetables, a quarter of the plate protein, and to support weight loss, slightly less than a quarter of the plate should be high-carb foods, such as wholegrains and starchy vegetables.”
DAY 10 TAKE A WALK Go for a leisurely 20-minute stroll after meals to help aid digestion and fi re up your metabolism.
DAY 11 DRINK WATER BEFORE YOU EAT Down a large glass of water before a meal to fi ll up faster and avoid overeating. Oh, and don’t forget: that extra hydration will come in mighty handy if you’re on the booze, so keep on sipping the H2O.
DAY 12 FINISH YOUR WORKOUTS ON A HIGH Crank up your cardio routine with a sprint session at the end of your run or workout to burn some extra kJs.
DAY 13 BOOST YOUR FIBRE Fibre is key to feeling full and energised all day long, so make sure your meals contain plenty of it. Think oats with banana for brekkie and legumes at lunch.
DAY 14 SQUEEZE IN FITNESS ON THE GO Turn a shopping spree into a workout. “You can turn buying presents into a really effective workout by walking or cycling to the shopping centre. Then walk the whole of the centre fl oorspace, window-shopping, before making any purchases,” suggests fi tness consultant Dean Hodgkin.
DAY 15 GO GREEN Your social calendar could see your nutrient levels take a nosedive, so pep yourself up with some greens powder. Add to cereal, yoghurt and salads.
DAY 16 HYDRATE YOUR SKIN Skin’s nighttime needs are different from its daytime ones, so grab a night cream that ticks all the boxes. You’ll want something that stimulates collagen production and recharges cells with fatty acids and vitamins A and C.
DAY 17 DRINK WATER WITH A LITTLE LEMON Make it a ritual to start the day with a cup of warm water and lemon to improve liver function, kickstart your metabolism and increase vitamin C levels.
DAY 18 DANCE THE NIGHT AWAY Dancing is a legit way to stay fi t, you guys, so don’t be shy to bust a move. “Keeping moving is great for topping up fi tness levels. It can be anything from dancing around the Christmas tree to rocking the dance floor at your office party,” advises PT Simon Bubb.
DAY 19 DUST OFF THE NIGHT BEFORE Feeling a little worse for wear after your office Christmas bash? Hydration is the top hangover cure. We rate watermelon or coconut water to get back in fi ghting form.
DAY 20 CLEAR UP YOUR COMPLEXION This is the busiest month of the year, so ensure your skin is prepped in between events with some face masks containing skin-loving ingredients like aloe vera and green tea.
DAY 21 GET AN EXTRA SERVE OF HEALTH Go big on the veg: swap your fi ve-a-day for seven-a-day and go heavy on leafy greens and water-rich cucumber.
DAY 22 STOP WEIGHING YOURSELF Take a break from the scales, as the number you see isn’t the most accurate measure of how you look. Focus on your fi tness gains for a mood boost.
DAY 23 MAKE TIME FOR A CUP OF TEA Put the kettle on! A herbal tea with dandelion root or nettle will help detoxify, while fennel and ginger is tummy-calming – just the stuffyou need right now.
DAY 24 DON’T FORGET MINDFULNESS The hustle and rush of the season means your head will be in a million places at once – so be extra mindful of being, er, mindful! If you’ve started a meditation practice, don’t let it slip now – instead, turn to page 128 for our easy four-minute meditation sesh you can do anywhere.
DAY 25 ENJOY CHRISTMAS LUNCH! If you’re having a roast for lunch, know it has loads of health benefi ts. Turkey is a lean source of protein, Brussels sprouts are packed with detoxifying compounds, and roast carrots, parsnips and potatoes are all good sources of antioxidants. Merry Christmas!