Christmas 2013 newsletter

Welcome to my December newsletter. Here we are again, and I cannot believe I find myself at the end of another year. I have had the busiest year to date here at Kate Arnold Nutrition. From gout to fibromyalgia, PMS to IBS, from the easy to the highly complex, you have sought out nutrition as a way forward for your health. A big thank you as always to everyone for your positive response – it’s been a joy to work with you all. 2014 for me sees the start of some exciting new projects, working within schools and the local community. I will keep you posted as to what is happening!
More and more of you are aware of how you are spending your money and what corporations you are willing to give your hard earned cash. Despite still being on the back end of a recession most people I’ve seen are still choosing to eat as well as they can which is fantastic news. I’m off for a well earned rest for a week over Christmas but will be back on January 3rd. I can’t wait to see what the New Year brings forth. Wishing you all a very healthy and happy Christmas and New Year.
Kate’s 12 Festive Food Tips

It’s very usual for the average person to gain 4-6/lbs over Christmas and I know those of you following my weight loss programmes are beginning to panic even more than usual. As much as Christmas seems to be about excess fundamentally it is about having a break from work and being with family more than how much ginger wine and chocolate brazils you can consume! Here are a few easy tips to follow that will help prevent weight gain:

1. Christmas Day is long – or it seems to go on forever, perhaps it’s because I remember my mother getting up at 5am to prepare the lunch! So first things first. Start the day with a good breakfast. Scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and a glass of champagne is fine – honestly! Or what about grilled kippers (probably only for those that have their kitchen well ventilated). Porridge may be a slow release carbohydrate but its still carbohydrate, so protein is the key here.
2. Continuing with the protein theme. Try and make Christmas savoury rather than sweet, and higher in protein – this will help fill you up and you hopefully won’t want to graze so much on the things that you are trying hard to avoid ie The Quality Street tin.
3. Most people will eat what they buy and what’s in the cupboard, so try not to buy cakes and biscuits and tins of chocolates. Homemade is far better if you have the time as you have control over the ingredients and amount of sugar added. Bowls of popping corn are a good idea or why not try dipping nuts ie pecans, brazils and walnuts into dark chocolate. Wholewheat crackers with a little cheese and chutney will fill you up more than cake and mince pies!
4. Don’t forget to drink water and if that’s too boring try a cordial instead: here are some healthy alternatives to alcohol: Belvoir raspberry and rose cordial, Belvoir organic ginger beer, Belvoir spiced winter berry is a great alternative to mulled wine. Watch out for the ingredients list – avoid anything with glucose syrup/fructose/glucose fructose syrup.
5. There is a reason why we feel sleepy after a turkey lunch – it is high in tryptophan, that can boost serotonin levels in the brain, so its great to eat and snack on cold. For vegetarian/vegans, a nut roast does the same.
6. Sugar – avoid it where you can as your blood sugar levels may start to soar and that feeling of ‘got- to -eat- the- whole- tin’ will surface. It’s addictive stuff so try organic/over 70% cocoa products this year if you can, and read labels (don’t forget this includes corn syrup and fructose syrup as well!), If you buy a large tin of chocolates and wonder why you want to eat them all – don’t say I didn’t warn you!
7. If you’re wheat/gluten sensitive, there are now plenty of wheat free/gluten free festive treats in health stores and supermarkets – have a good selection of mince pies, cakes and puddings. Be careful of some “free from” ranges – check the ingredients list always – some of these products are full of additives.
8. Sticking to the above will hopefully keep your blood sugar stable. When blood sugar is high, you produce more insulin which is a fat storing hormone. So keeping your blood sugar stable by eating more protein. If you add general Christmas stress and pressure into the mix this increases the hormone cortisol, which throws more sugar into the blood, (which in turn produces more insulin, which in turn stores fat). So eat protein – Keep Calm!
9. On to alcohol! – don’t forget that alcohol contains sugar – so you can put weight on if you are not used to alcohol and puddings on a regular basis! For those who really don’t want to gain weight – its better to choose either a pudding or alcohol. Keep the main course high in protein, skip a pudding and have a couple of glasses of something dry.
10. Get out into the fresh air and get some Vitamin D, which will help your immune system and if you can get some longish walks in with the family that would be even better,  far healthier than slouching in front of the tv all day!
11. If you are beginning to think about goals for 2014, think about starting to reduce the amount of sugar you have in diet. Keep a food diary and see how how much you accumulate over a week – you might be shocked
12. For most of us Christmas is about family, and having a break from work – it is not about SUGAR! and to be more specific it’s not actually about too much food. However good nutritious healthy food shared with family round a table is a wonderful way of connecting and bonding. Choose the best food you can and the best food you can afford.

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