A Christmas gift to anyone out there who may need it.
Anxiety, depression, mental illness, pain & chronic illness are difficult to live with at the best of times but this month is a particularly difficult time.
Often we want to be able to join in like ‘everyone’ else but it can come at a price, resulting in us experiencing a flare up in our conditions.
I have been hearing from so many people who are struggling at the moment so I have put together a list of nutritional tips that may help you to avoid going downhill over the Christmas period, or may help you to support a loved one who is struggling.
They are tips I use myself and often recommend to others who are going through recovery.
Hopefully they will enable you to feel more included this Christmas, which let’s be honest is all any of us really want.
Christmas tends to bring with it a lot of overindulgence and for us this is a bad thing!
Now, I know that overindulgence is something that many of us look forward to, the excuse to eat and drink whatever we want. But, there is a problem with this as it overloads our already delicate systems with extra toxins that along with the extra stress we’re under and the increase in physical activity can cause us to feel very ill very quickly and ruin things for us.
So how can we get around this without creating a Christmas where we feel left out and a party pooper?!
•In the build up to Christmas Day try to drink lots of water to clear your system. It’s really beneficial to stay very well hydrated. It helps greatly with pain, mood and fatigue. Avoid too many hot drinks especially caffeinated ones. Have water or water with a slice of lemon.
Avoid processed, fatty and sugary foods and eat plenty of fruit and vegetables. Especially greens.
•On Christmas Day dinner doesn’t have to overload your system. The best way to avoid this is to opt for more vegetables on your plate. As the meal naturally has lots of vegetables in it nobody else will think anything of it. Aiming to fill half your plate with vegetables (excluding potatoes) will firstly make it look like you have a big dinner the same as everyone else, but will also give you lots of antioxidants and fibre to help your body run more smoothly and feed your friendly gut bacteria. The rich food at this time of year can disrupt our gut bacteria which can trigger inflammation in our bodies.
•Replace your roast potatoes with roasted sweet potatoes and other roasted root vegetables. Sweet potatoes are naturally anti-inflammatory, whereas potatoes can sometimes cause you to feel more achy and give you a blood sugar peak which can disrupt mood and flare pain by increasing inflammation in the body.
•Steer clear from milk chocolate. You may feel lifted immediately after eating it but the sugar and milk will do no favours for your mood and pain levels. If you can’t live without it choose good quality dark chocolate instead, just don’t overdo it especially if you’re of an anxious nature.
•Have some prepared salad in the fridge to put with your cooked meats at your post Christmas meals.
•Get some good fats into your system by snacking on nuts (unsalted), avocados 🥑 and smoked salmon. Omega 3 has been shown to help with depression and also healthy fats help you to utilise other nutrients as well.
•Avoid crisps if you can. If you can’t choose ready salted and alternate between eating a few crisps followed by eating a few veg sticks. Cucumber and celery sticks are especially useful for relaxing muscles, easing pain and anxiety and reducing fatigue.
•Make a fruit platter or fruit salad for Christmas Day or parties including pineapple and berries to help reduce inflammation. Avoid heavy dairy desserts. You can get soya custard and creams and oat cream which are better than dairy ones but remember moderation is key as they still contain sugar.
•Try not to use alcohol to numb pain or low mood as it will only exasperate the problem. If you like a drink and feel you can tolerate it have a glass of red wine, but don’t over do it.
•Keep some plain soya or coconut yogurt containing live cultures in the fridge to mix with some berries (it’s helpful to have some frozen ones) at breakfast to restore the good bacteria in your gut. An imbalance in gut bacteria has been linked to mental illness, pain, and many other health conditions.
•Accept that you have a condition that means that you need to pay extra attention to your body and maybe you can’t binge the way you may like to but with some simple changes you can have a great time and ultimately be healthier in the long run.
•Finally if everything becomes truly overwhelming putting pen to paper 📝 is hugely effective especially if you find that you’re struggling to see the wood for the trees. Write down what’s bothering you followed by what you are grateful for to gain a clearer perspective.
Relax, listen to your body and be present this Christmas 🎄.
Sending you healing energy and thank you so much for reading.