How 11 Wellness Experts Stay Healthy Over The Festive Season

Over the next few weeks, most of us are bound to indulge. But that doesn't mean there aren't steps you can take to stop it all going to pot. Here, we asked some leading wellness experts to share their tips...
How 11 Wellness Experts Stay Healthy Over The Festive Season
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Alice Mackintosh, nutritional therapist & co-founder of Equi

“Restriction is rarely the answer at Christmas – it’s often the case that being too extreme is what causes people to fall off the wagon and go too far the other way. The body actually copes better if you eat and drink in moderation rather than having your daily calories and alcohol units all in one night. Try to increase your fibre intake, which can help support detoxification. Fibre also helps slow the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream. Sadly, party food can be on the beige side, so do what you can to top up in the daytime with veggies, fruit, pulses, nuts and wholegrains. I take Chuckling Goat kefir daily throughout the festive season to support my microbiome, as alcohol and rich food can impact the balance of gut flora.”

Visit AliceMackintosh.com

Cassandra Hawthorne, acupuncturist & Chinese medicine practitioner

“According to Chinese medicine, winter is the season of the kidneys, which store our energy. An easy way to nourish the kidneys is to stimulate the acupuncture point at the inner ankle. This point is particularly good for low back pain, insomnia and fertility. Applying gentle pressure to this point will help keep your kidney Qi happy throughout the busy and cold winter months. Eating foods that are black or dark purple will also nourish the kidneys – think black beans, adzuki beans, black sesame seeds, aubergine and figs.”

Visit Recultivate.co.uk

Aimee Victoria Long, PT

“Structure your workouts to fit around your lifestyle at this point in the year. It’s pointless aiming to do a 90-minute workout if you’re time poor. If you only have 30 minutes, aim for a higher-intensity session – think short bouts of intense work followed by a quick rest period. If you lift weights, consider doing supersets or trisets, i.e. two to three exercises back-to-back and then resting. This not only saves time but keeps the heart rate higher, leading to an increased calorie burn. Also rethink how you catch up with friends. Instead of heading to the pub, meet up for a run or walk.”

Visit AimeeVictoriaLong.co.uk

Daisy York, nutritionist & co-founder of Aegle

“Christmas can be such a busy time of year. If you struggle with energy dips, breakfast is non-negotiable. The perfect breakfast should include some form of protein (nut butter in a smoothie, chia seed jam or baked beans on wholemeal toast) and ideally some vegetables – think spinach in a smoothie or mushrooms in an omelette. Looking after the gut is also imperative, especially if you are anticipating a higher-than-normal intake of alcohol and refined carbs. Try to include a different pulse every day – think lentils, chickpeas, butter beans and kidney beans – or keep a jar of chopped nuts in the fridge to sprinkle onto side dishes, soups and stews.”

Visit MeetAegle.com

Dr Johanna Ward, GP & cosmetic doctor

“Remember alcohol is a toxin. If you have a big night on the cards, support your liver’s detoxification process with plenty of water and the right supplements – try NAC, glutathione and milk thistle to tackle the toxins. If you are prone to bad hangovers, it could also be worth taking an antihistamine before you get into bed as it’s often the sulphites and histamines in alcohol (as well as dehydration) that make you feel dreadful the following day. It’s also worth remembering both alcohol and sugar take their toll on the skin – they trigger a process called glycation, which damages the skin’s collagen. To shield your skin from the ravages of excess sugar, take a 10,000mg collagen supplement daily – I recommend my own ZENii Skin Fusion.”

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Ellie Woodhouse-Clarke, nutritional therapist

“If you’re prone to low moods and energy dips in the winter months, you may be suffering with seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Light therapy can be hugely powerful in this instance – its sleep-wake lights mimic sunrise and sunset, which can help you feel more energised in the morning and calmer in the evening. If you are feeling rundown with nasal congestion, try a steam inhalation. Boil 500ml of water with two tablespoons of carom seeds, one teaspoon of turmeric and a handful of mint leaves for ten minutes. Once boiled, strain a small amount for drinking and use the remainder for an inhalation. With the liquid in a large bowl and a towel over your head, inhale deeply through your nose for about ten minutes. Repeating this two or three times each day can make a huge difference.”

Visit EllieClarkeWellbeing.com

Louisa Drake, founder of the Louisa Drake Method, PT & health coach

“The festive season is best managed in small doses. However, if you do fall off your exercise or nutrition schedule, don’t throw in the towel completely. A temporary bump won’t ruin your progress, but a week of indulging, poor sleep and a lack of movement will throw you off a lot longer. Remember movement is medicine – it will raise your metabolism and release endorphins. Try to get back on track straight away – even if it’s 15 minutes with some resistance bands or a glider, or a walk with your family. If you’re really struggling with a hangover, my go-to is Remedy’s ginger and lemon kombucha. It eases nausea with its medicinal properties and is also rich in B vitamins, which can become depleted when drinking.”

Visit LouisaDrake.com

Emma Bardwell, nutritionist

“It’s definitely the season to be a little jollier than usual. If you’ve overindulged, have a Dioralyte sachet mixed with water before you go to bed to replace missing electrolytes. Burning the candle at both ends can also take its toll on B vitamins. If your diet isn’t quite up to par, invest in a decent B vitamin complex to make up the deficit – I rate BioCare’s B Complex. And if you need a respite from the fun, try Mother Root, which is a brilliant alternative to alcohol. Pour a 30ml shot over ice and serve with tonic, a sprig of rosemary and a slice of orange.”

Visit EmmaBardwell.com

Isa-Welly Locoh-Donou, nutritionist

“Try to have at least one meal every day at home – whether it’s a balanced breakfast or lunch. When things get busy, I rely heavily on leftovers and turn them into wraps. Baked eggs are also quick and easy, and can be packed with green, leafy vegetables, while overnight oats are quick and easy to prep. If you have a rare night in and fancy something nutritious, roast aubergines, courgette, sweet potato and chickpeas with salt, paprika and garlic powder. If you struggle with digestive symptoms, especially bloating, consider starting your meals with digestive bitters to naturally increase stomach acid and aid digestion.”

Visit IsaWelly.com

Shaylini, reiki master teacher & energy healer

“Living in tune with the seasons hugely impacts our overall health, especially over the festive period when our circadian rhythm (our 24-hour clock) can be thrown out of balance due to late nights and poor sleep. Getting adequate daylight will reset your internal rhythm and minimise stress. Surrounding yourself with seasonal tastes and smells can help you tune into the season – this will assist your circadian rhythm to be in tune with the rhythm of nature. I love NEOM's Christmas Wish Candle, which is infused with cinnamon and tonka bean, and also swear by The Nue Co.’s Prebiotic + Probiotic to aid nutrient absorption, balance cravings and improve the efficiency of digestion.”

Visit TheSacredSelf.co.uk

Dr Alisha Damani, NHS doctor & founder of The Drip Stop

“Protein can work wonders for your skin, body and mind. If the thought of a cold chicken salad doesn’t appeal, try a bowl of warm soybean spaghetti, which you can find in most supermarkets – it provides 21g of protein per serving and cooks in minutes. A higher protein intake will also curb your carb intake, meaning you can splurge a little more on festive treats. I also swear by Skinade at this time of year. A liquid formula, it’s quickly absorbed by the body, meaning you feel the effects almost instantly – it’s packed with vitamins B and C as well as omega oils and collagen, all of which can help keep the immune system strong.”

Visit TheDripStop.co.uk

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