There is so often negative press around this time of year, a cry out to beat the bulge, combat the stress, a sense that one is battling through the festive season without putting on those pounds, falling out with family members or ending up feeling exhausted! Let’s turn it around and put into place a few easy day to day tricks to combat the increased demands and more importantly to look and feel fabulous!
Our digestion is so key to our inner health affecting our immunity, mood and beautifully reflected in our skin health. Our microbiome (that is our good bacteria and bad) out numbers us 10:1, so it is key we look after it, as really we are just a shell supporting this microbiome! When we indulge it often means increased sugar intake, either in sweet treats, cakes, pudding, chocolate and the easiest consumption of sugar and often overlooked is in alcohol! Sugar changes the microbiome and encourages the wrong growth of bacteria and even a potential rise in yeast, so what are the tricks to support a healthy gut this Christmas?
Digestion loves to be supported by a homemade bone broth so don’t throw away those bones and instead make a delicious bone or meat stock and consume daily, either in the form of soup or just on its own, its delicious with a squeeze of lemon juice and pinch of a good salt, Himalayan or Celtic sea salt.
Option: Invest in a good therapeutic probiotic and take one at night, drink kefir or kombucha to support a healthy microbiome, a mouthful of sauerkraut or kimchi with your main meals, fermented foods are fabulous for your gut health and readily available from health foods shops.
2. The Liver
The kindest organ in your body, but when out of balance, or under increased demands or congested can lead to emotional outbursts, feelings of irritation or anger and of course hangovers! The liver is very good at regenerating itself, but you need to give it nights off! Liver time is 1 – 3 am so ensure at least two nights a week you are getting into bed before midnight and to break from alcohol for those two nights too, decide which those nights are going to be, Sunday/Monday night are often good nights to commit to and consume turmeric before sleeping to support the liver, almond turmeric milk is a wonderful comforting drink and aids detox (see recipe). Drink lemon water in the morning on waking to further support detox. Add cucumber to water during the day and eat a few slices before going to bed to avoid a hangover! Aim not to drink on empty, line the stomach before heading out, either with the broth, a few cucumber slices or a green juice.
Option: take Milk Thistle to support the liver and detoxification pathways.
The skin suffers from dehydration, lack of sleep and increased indulgence. Dry skin brushing is a great way to boost the lymphatics and increase detox. Eyes can be the greatest give away, to remove dark circles under your eyes make up a solution of 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda dissolve in hot water or tea and soak two cotton pads, leave on your eyes for 15 minutes and rinse.
Sitting is the new smoking. We need to move, it releases endorphins so we feel happier, sweat encourages detox and the more we twist and turn creating movement in the body the more we shed toxins. Think of wringing out a sponge! Playgrounds for adults should be the new regime where laughter is combined with movement. Rebounding is fantastic for strength, immunity and detox. Aim to move at least an hour a day, 10,000 steps is the goal.
For those travelling overseas to the land of Onsens, clean oceans and lakes the benefit of deep mineralisation from these waters is very cleansing for the body. Even better to swim in cooler waters to boost metabolism and immunity.
Option: to end your shower on cold water to invigorate. Increase detox by adding 1 cup of Epsom Salts, sea salt, or seaweed to a bath and soak for 20 minutes.
Time to regenerate, switch off the adrenal glands, balance hormones and detox, but how to support when we are sleeping less? The most nourishing pose for the adrenals and to support the days when sleep has been shortened is to lie in reverse pose, hips higher than the head and legs resting against the wall, lie arms outstretched by your side and rest at the end of the day like this for 10 minutes. If you can sleep like this too it will combat the shortened hours. Hormone reset: ensure you get to bed by 10pm at least two nights a week to switch off the adrenal hormone cortisol, which makes you store fat around the middle. More sleep = flatter stomach!
More demands can lead us to feeling that life is spinning out of control! Simply kick off your shoes walk barefoot in the park, along sandy beaches to reconnect. It is so important when so much of our daily life is taken up by time spent on electronic devices under a cloud of electronic interference. Switch off WIFI at night!
Safe sunbathing without toxic sun creams. Sunlight onto our retina supports the adrenals and sunlight cleanses our blood. Safe sunbathing aim is to have 10 minutes in the early morning or after 4 pm build up, so the skin doesn’t burn. It is so calming and restorative both under winter or summer skies.
When life is busy and on the go simply forgetting to drink water can be so basic and affect mood, concentration and is often misconstrued with hunger. When nights are long and alcohol increased it is really important to drink good quality clean mineral water, aim for 2 litres a day. Boost with herbal teas, green tea, green juices and unpasturised coconut water. Remember for every coffee or black tea consumed you need to drink an extra glass of water.
Intermittent fasting at the end of the festive season is the greatest reset you can give your body. Short, easy and with multiple health benefits. Boosting levels of human growth hormone also known as your fitness hormone, increasing libido, mental acuity, and longevity. Choose a day when you have few demands, can sleep early or on a long haul flight to simply drink water, herbal teas and green tea over one day.