Christmas lunch….a time to over indulge in rich and heavy food and drink?
Maybe…..but its not all bad news!
Some of the traditional Christmas foods are good for you!!
1. Brussel sprouts…… the good old, oft maligned and humble brussel sprouts, if not having had the life boiled out of them (please just steam them and don’t overcook them!) contain powerful anti-cancer compounds and can lower cholesterol naturally.
Top tip: Keep the water from the steamer and use for your gravy or to add to your green juice if you are a juice baby!!
2. Nuts….. walnuts, brazils, almonds, hazelnuts etc = little powerhouses if you eat them as nature intended…. just crack ’em! Full of minerals and vitamins, their fatty oils are fantastically good for your heart, skin and immune system!
Top tip: Almonds (shelled) benefit from a soak in water for a few hours and then a languish in the lowest possible heat in the oven to dry for as long as it takes, this ‘activates’ them and makes them easier to digest.
3. Red wine….. in moderation of course! It seems that there are definite benefits to a small amount of red wine. Containing resveratrol which is proving to be an anti-oxidant that possibly helps prevent damage to blood vessel lining.
Top tip: Dark coloured grapes such as Merlot and Cabernet are, I believe the richest in antioxidants.
4. Chocolate….. it has to be dark chocolate, with a high % cacao content! The higher the % real cacao the less amount of sugar present. Cacao is one of the most powerful superfoods in the world, full of antioxidants.
Top tip: Being so high in cacao content you will not want to eat more than a couple of squares!
5. Turkey….. (If you can…. know where your turkey has come from and that it has been humanely reared) a source of protein, low in fat, containing minerals and vitamins,
Top tip: Don’t curse the left overs! If you are too overwhelmed, (if the bird was fresh ) strip the meat off the (fully!) cooked bird and pack it into bags and into the freezer ready for you to make soup etc out of another time!
6. Stock made from the turkey carcass…. if you stick all the left over veg and gravy in a huge pot with the carcass, water, loads of mixed herbs and garlic bring to the boil you can make a fabulous stock packed full of nutrients. The stock needs at least 6 hours slow cooking. Remove the fat from the stock, warm it up and drink it (bone broth)!
Top tip: Bone broth. This is the ‘new’ super food of tomorrow….trust me! You heard it here first!
7. Carrots…. They need little introduction! everyone knows that carrots are good for you! They contain carotenoids that are powerful antioxidants and long been known to help eye health.
Top tip: Steam them so that they are not a squidgy mess, or you will lose their goodness! (Again, you could use the water for gravy or juicing)
8. Parsnips…. close cousins of the carrot, rich in nutrients, vitamins and minerals that support the cardiovascular system.
Top tip: If you are worried about the sweetness of the parsnips, the natural sugars present are more than balanced by the nutritious content!
9. Cranberry sauce…. OK!!! …so I have cheated here a bit! Cranberry sauce, if you make it yourself is going to be better for you than a shop bought one as you can keep your added sugar or honey to a minimum!
Top tip: Cranberries themselves are full of vitamins and minerals but are admittedly a bit bitter to eat! So stew them with a bit of honey, shredded orange peel and ginger!
10. Spices…. the spices most synonymous with the smell of Christmas to me are ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg! They all have powerful healing properties. Ginger can help calm the digestive system and is an anti-inflammatory compound, cinnamon is anti-bacterial and also plays a part in the regulation of blood sugar levels and nutmeg has anti-bacterial and aphrodisiac properties! It also helps you sleep!
Top tip: Post meal (about 30 minutes) to aid digestion, slice and peel 1/4 inch fresh ginger root with a slice of unwaxed lemon and add to a cup of recently boiled water.