Monthly Archives: December 2016

Your Christmas Survival Guide! (Or “How to have the most Merry, Enjoyable, Jolly Christmas ever!!”)

Survival? Seriously? Is that a word we should even associate with Christmas? What about Merry, Enjoyable, Jolly? Well that’s exactly what we’re aiming for! How to have the most Merry, Enjoyable, Jolly Christmas ever!!

Let’s get the reason why we need this guide out of the way from the outset: if you have insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, diabetes (Type 1 or Type 2), you live in a body that doesn’t deal well with sugar. That doesn’t change at Christmas. It isn’t in your best interests to pretend otherwise. Denial doesn’t change the facts – it puts you at risk. The secret to your best ever Christmas is to work with your body, not against it. Here are my 10 Top Tips to ensure a “treat” for you is the right way to treat your body!

  1. Gotta think carbs! Remember it isn’t just sugar itself that’s going to raise your blood sugar. Every bit of carbohydrate you consume will eventually add to your blood glucose levels. Any glucose that you don’t burn off will have to be stored – mainly as body fat. The wrong kind of body fat. Visceral fat. So do a deal with yourself – think about all the carby foods you might consume, and then choose just a couple of favourites to keep in and plan the rest out of your Christmas menu. There are some easy and delicious alternatives to any of the usual Christmas foods. Let’s go…
  2. Make your breakfast as carb-free as possible: you’ll possibly be indulging later, so get off to the best start. Keeping your blood sugars level at breakfast time means you’ll maintain your energy, focus and enjoyment of the rest of your day. Some of the most luxurious breakfast choices fit into this very well: think smoked salmon; scrambled eggs; poached eggs on a bed of spinach with a dollop of Hollandaise on top; kippers; a middle eastern breakfast of feta, hummus, olives, cold meats… You’ve a lot of choice to go at!
  3. Keep bread off your table – even if you’re having a soup starter. Let’s face it, bread has no place in fine dining (ask Giles Coren, food critic, who says “Lay off the bread. Bread is not a first course, it…will ruin your whole damn meal. And make you fat.” Same goes for that Yorkshire pudding by the way!
  4. There’s nothing much to argue about where a good old roast is concerned – except perhaps the amount of starchy root vegetables that find their way to your plate. Those starches will turn to sugar and your blood glucose levels will be affected! Swap out potatoes for sweet potatoes – superb roasted! Then limit carrots, parsnips and beets to just one or two pieces. rebal-ball-2016-38Go mad for the Brussels sprouts though! Cauliflower, broccoli, peas, mangetout all have a place on your festive plate. And spiced braised red cabbage – oh yum!! Just find a recipe that doesn’t call for sugar – or simply miss it out – it isn’t necessary for health or the taste of the dish. Sign up for my latest newsletter to see my favourite festive red cabbage recipe! I served turkey in this way (above) at The Blue Ball in November – it went down a treat. One of the guests rang later to say how great he felt – not sluggish or sleepy the way he normally does after a roast – lively and up for a spot of dad-dancing to boot!!
  5. OK now, pud. There is a ton of natural sugar in anything made with dried fruits, so puddefinitely choose one – or make your own – without added sugar. They’re well worth hunting out, and, again, you won’t be compromising on flavour! The same goes for Christmas cake. Sign up for my latest newsletter to see my no-added-sugar celebration cake recipe!
  6. Serve your (small piece of) pud with cream. Make it a good quality organic cream. Pouring, whipped or clotted according to your personal preference. There’s no added sugar in pure cream, so it makes a better choice compared with a sugary brandy, rum or custard sauce! For the even better option try it with a full-fat no-added-sugar organic natural yoghurt: the sharpness of the yoghurt beautifully compliments the richness of the pudding. If Christmas cake is your chosen treat a small piece of my no-added-sugar celebration cake (see above) with a piece of traditional Wensleydale cheese is the way we do it in Yorkshire!
  7. Get out!! Christmas happens outdoors too! Research has shown that going for a walk after a meal is beneficial. It helps to regulate blood sugars – by burning off some of that free glucose now roaming around your blood stream – and promotes weight loss. All good then! Make a breath of fresh air a part of your day – you’ll find kids out on their new bicycles, scooters, skateboards, skates; people walking their dogs. Maybe that could be you? 30 minutes steady or brisk walking will set you up for the rest of the day – you’ll be awake, alert, full of life for more fun and games.
  8. It’s snack time? Hmmm. Sounds like the opportunity for a carb-fest, but it doesn’t have to be. Choose nuts. Good healthy fats and plenty of protein. A handful of nuts a day has been shown to benefit blood sugar levels and be a good choice for people affected by diabetes. Why not get the ones with shells? Volunteer to be the person in charge of the nutcrackers – you’ll be nibbling rather than scoffing! 
  9. What about the chocolates? We both know you are not expecting me to give you a green light here! Unless you are into 100% chocolate of course! But assuming you are not, then find a way to keep it to just one or two. Instead of the big box of cheap choccies, why not buy a small box of something really expensive and luxurious? You’ll see every single chocolate as a treat in itself. Last year my lovely hubby bought me some amazing truffles – just 9 in a box. He couldn’t resist telling me the price! At over £2 per. truffle I savoured each and every one: just 9 chocolates lasted 4 days!
  10. Alcohol? Ditto! No authentic green light here either. Sip don’t guzzle. Wine and soda for a longer lasting smaller measure? A nip of something special rather than a bottle of something cheap? Alcohol is especially dehydrating so be sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day. Hydration is especially important to anyone living with diabetes, as you will already be at increased risk of dehydration as your kidneys may be working overtime to pee out excess glucose today.

You’re special, and you can make your Christmas extra special. Try something a little different and see just how well you can feel this year – and how much more that sense of well-being enhances your day!