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Cold Turkey Christmas?

Guest blog post from Leah Larwood from food, travel & wellbeing blog, Roots and Toots.

There’s no such thing as detoxing. A study this December reveals that in medical terms, it’s nonsense. The only way to get healthy is through diet and exercise. Makes sense. Yet every January, like many others, I hatch grand plans of extreme cucumber juicing while commencing on a war with raw. Not this year.

Last Boxing Day, after Only Fools and Horses, I gazed down at my pregnant-looking belly and wondered whether all of the food I’d consumed was actually worth it.  So this December I’m actually starting a healthy eating regime, in a bid to feel good a month early. I figured that if I can do this over Christmas, it’ll be a breeze for the New Year. Well, that’s the theory.

I’m not ditching everything. I’m a big believer in balance. I’m virtually a vegetarian anyway, so this December there’ll be no meat, limited desserts – although a small treat a day is allowed (Booja-Booja ticks that box nicely). I’m avoiding fried foods that are high in saturated fats and I’ve also decided to give up alcohol.

My main rule? Don’t complicate food, make it simple. And have some balance. An extreme approach is never sustainable, it’s about the middle way. So although I’m calling this my #DetoxDecember it’s not entirely as purist as it sounds. Yes, I’ll be eating more fruit and vegetables and I’ll be cutting out booze completely but I will still indulge in a small daily treat and allow myself to have bi-weekly bigger treats such as a large slice of cake with coffee or a small bag of chips with mushy peas by the coast.

This is how I’m approaching a balanced #DetoxDecember:

  • Daily smoothie or juicing challenge for breakfast
  • 7 pieces of colourful fruit and veg a day
  • Daily raw challenge (raw vegetables as lunch or snack)
  • Avoid crisps or biscuits and opt for nuts and seeds.
  • Dining like a healthy queen at night
    • Eat anything I feel like (within reason) as long as it’s meat free
    • Limit fried foods to once a week
  • Balanced rewarding
  • No alcohol

If you feel like incorporating some balance this December, you don’t need to necessarily follow a strict plan. Here are five simple ways to keep a check on things. By incorporating some balance, you can still indulge in all your favourite things when you go to a party or Christmas dinner with family. Simply pick up the healthy reins the next day. I’m sure you’ll feel the difference come January.

December Healthy Eating Tips:

  • The Smoothie Challenge: Swap your usual breakfast for a fruit smoothie every morning
  • 50:50 Lunching: Eat slices of raw vegetables with homemade aubergine dip and hummus for lunch on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Eating what you’d usually have for lunch the rest of the time.
  • Balanced Treating: Instead of opting for a full-blown dessert, keep a stash of Booja-Booja in your fridge and treat yourself to one or two after a healthy meal
  • Drink: Less alcohol but drink plenty of water and if you feel peckish in between meals, snack on fruit or make a sweet-scented herbal tea such as liquorish & fennel or chocolate herbal tea
  • Bulk up on Veg: In the evening bulk up with vegetables on your plate (around 60%)

The first half of December has gone relatively smoothly. It’s been OK you know. I’ve feasted on mango or berry & banana smoothies for breakfast, things like baked sweet potato wedges and crushed avocado dip for lunch and homemade vegetarian pizza for dinner. And my favourite treat, Rhubarb & Vanilla Booja-Booja. So yeah, it hasn’t actually been that difficult. I can do this (she says). But then, the parties haven’t really started yet!

If you’d like to see how I tackle part two of December, you can track my journey via my blog or follow me on twitter @rootsandtoots

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