Giving your body a break before ‘D-day’ – that’s the idea behind the pretox : a short preparatory detox to give your digestive system a rest before the Christmas and New Year feasting begins!
During the 5-7 days preceding Christmas, cut out sugary foods, processed meats, ready-meals, dairy products and gluten. Instead, eat plenty of fruit, vegetables, plant protein and highly-digestible grains (such as quinoa, millet and amaranth).
You’ve got a calorie-laden evening ahead of you so you’re thinking of doing some ‘damage control’ by skipping lunch? Bad idea! By missing a meal, you’ll simply end up hungrier... and more likely to succumb to the evening’s temptations.
Better to have a light and healthy lunch if you want to control your appetite at dinner.
From appetisers through to dessert, the wines and spirits flow at a giddying speed. But even at these festive occasions, moderation remains key: try to restrict yourself to one or two glasses, preferably red wine or champagne. Avoid over-sweet wines and strong liqueurs.
While drinking too much alcohol is bad for our health in general, the liver and nervous system fare particularly badly. Though detox supplements do not in any way affect blood alcohol levels, they can help when it comes to the ‘morning after the night before’. Those based on milk thistle, a plant that supports good liver health, have proved their worth (formulations such as Liver Support Formula, rich in milk thistle, and Alcohol Detox Formula, a targeted, innovative complex that also contains kudzu and vitamin B1) (1).
Hydration plays a crucial role in eliminating metabolic waste products from the body. During the festive period in particular, you should try to drink at least 1.5 litres of water a day, preferably in between meals to avoid bloating.
If you’re not keen on plain water, tea, herbal tea or water with lemon are just as good, provided you don’t sweeten them.
There’s no denying that the chocolate pralines, sweet pastry desserts and chicken vol-au-vents do nothing for your blood sugar or cholesterol levels.
Berberine, produced mainly from barberry (Berberis vulgaris), is a powerful phytonutrient from the alkaloid family which supports cardiovascular health and glucose metabolism. It therefore helps to maintain normal blood sugar levels (2-3).
During December and January,supplementing with berberine (for example, with the product Berberine, a pure extract standardised to 97%, the highest percentage on the market) can therefore offer valuable support.
You’ll be pleased to know that certain festive foods are actually good for you! Shellfish and seafood top the list: oysters, shrimps, lobster and coquilles Saint-Jacques all contain numerous minerals important for health such as zinc, iodine and selenium.
In the same vein, lean fish and white meat constitute excellent lighter options as they’re low in fat. At the same time, their protein content makes them very filling – a clever trick to help you resist the urge for that second helping of Yule log!
If huge meals don’t agree with you, go easy on the carbs. According to Chinese dietary principles, this large family of macronutrients is in conflict with the processing energies of the spleen and stomach, and thus end up slowing down the digestive process.
As well as the traditional after-dinner sweets with coffee, watch out for the canapes, the brioche toasts and the shop-bought pastries, all of which may contain added sugar and additives. Also, try to cut down on bread, as it makes an already rich meal even heavier.
If, despite all of this, your stomach still gives you a hard time, there are state-of-the-art supplements that can help (such as Digestive Enzymes, a combination of 15 carefully-selected enzymes, plus plants such as aniseed, ginger, peppermint and fenugreek, all of which support good digestive health) (4-5).
Between the avalanche of high-calorie dishes and the long hours spent sitting round the dining table, there’s nothing like stretching your legs to jump-start your metabolism and ward off those unwelcome excess pounds. Why not take advantage of family get-togethers to go for a post-prandial walk or play outside with the children?
And if, despite all these good resolutions, your bathroom scales are groaning by the New Year, you can always take selected supplements to help you reach your goals (such as Weight Loss Booster, a revolutionary formulation containing Satiereal®, a patented saffron extract, and raspberry ketones) (6-7).
Why deny yourself that foie gras or boudin blanc? The festive season should always be a time of pleasure and conviviality. Don’t panic if you commit a few nutritional ‘sins’: it’s all a question of degree.
If you like petit fours, don’t deny yourself completely, but choose a few and enjoy them without feeling guilty, chewing them slowly and appreciating each mouthful. Eating small amounts without depriving yourself is the key to not succumbing to temptation more seriously in the long run!
It might not be as romantic as mistletoe, but desmodium (Desmodium adscendens) deserves to be hung above any table. Of African origin, this herbaceous plant helps to protect and support the hepatic system, which is often under severe strain during the festivities (8-9).
A realfriend to the liver, desmodium has quite rightly found its way into certain dietary supplements (such as Desmo Forte™, a high-quality liquid extract obtained from the whole leaf of the plant).
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