I wonder though, how many of you are anxious about the impending indulgence, decadence and inevitable “slipping off the wagon” that Christmas also brings? We have to remember that food is nourishment but that it’s also joy - and that sharing a meal with family should be a joyful occasion not a stressful one.
So what can we do to avoid the inevitable food coma whilst still enjoying ourselves? Because let’s face it, if you can’t let loose a bit over Christmas then when can you?
1. Think About Blood Sugar
I think that Christmas is a time to be aware of blood sugar levels (they can get excessively out of hand at this time of year!) but not to let yourself become obsessed with sugar consumption to the point of feeling like you can’t join in with the fun. One crucial element of blood sugar regulation that I like to remind people of is that if we consume sugar alongside protein and fats then the release of sugar into the bloodstream is actually slower than if we just ate the sugar alone.
Now, the reason this is such great advice is because if, say, we were to eat sweets or chocolate then we naturally are just getting the sugar. If, on the other hand, we choose to eat a home-made chocolate cake that contains eggs, ground almonds, coconut and other highly health-giving foods then we stand a much better chance of one, not losing nutrients, and two, having a slower blood sugar spike.
P.s. the Cru8 Paleo Chocolate brownie is unbelievably delicious and decadent but relatively low in sugar (and natural sugars at that), plus it’s also grain, gluten and dairy-free.
2. Cook From Scratch Where You Can
Knowing what’s gone into our food has got to be one of the simplest and most effective ways of maintaining good overall health. No hidden additives, no refined sugar syrups, and ingredients chosen by you for their quality rather than their cheapness. And at Christmas time, it’s as simple as mince pies! Making your own (especially as us Brits love to consume them in excess) can be game changing in terms of sugar intake, nutrient density and - believe it or not - flavour. Try these!
Healthier Mince Pies
For the mincemeat:
- 2 apples, cored and chopped into small pieces
- 1 vanilla pod, split lengthways, seeds only
- 100g raisins
- 100g sultanas
- 100g dried cranberries
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- Juice of 2 oranges
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
For the crust:
- 400g ground almonds
- 3 tbsp almond butter
- 2 tbsp chicory syrup mince pies and hot chocolate
- Place the mincemeat ingredients into a saucepan and stir. Simmer for about 30 minutes, until the apples are soft.
- Meanwhile, make the crust. Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4 Place all the remaining ingredients together in a food processor and blend for a minute or so until everything has mixed together, add a little water to bring the mixture together if necessary.
- Sprinkle a gluten-free flour over your surface, eg coconut flour or some more almond flour, and roll the mix out until it’s about ½ cm thick.
- Grease a 12-hole muffin tin with coconut oil and then mould the mix into the holes using a 10cm cutter. Place the tray of crusts in the oven for 8 minutes, until they start to turn golden brown.