The holiday season is a happy time during which families gather merrily and generally share copious meals! It’s also a time when one usually eats and drinks more than reasonably. The colossal quantity of food and alcohol we then ingurgitate gives our body a hard time and messes up our healthy habits.

Colossal christmas meal

Here is some advice to make these holiday meals a good time that will not rhyme with digestive nightmare or come in the way of your weight and diet objectives.

The key point: the acid-base balance

The acid-base balance is essential for a good health.

A lot of the food that we eat as well as the stress caused by our daily lives can lead to acidifying our body. In order to prevent acidification, which causes muscular tension (contractures), inflammations or skin problems, our body needs to find the right balance between acid food (meat, delicatessen, cheeses, white bread, sugars, sodas, coffee) and alkaline food (potatoes, greens, cottage cheese, dry and fresh fruit). See here a list of acid and alkaline food by Energise for Life to improve your daily diet.

The holiday meals are usually rich in proteins as well as sugar which acidify our body. It is therefore essential to compensate with alkaline food.

1/ Before meals

  • Practice your usual sport. Most people give up their practice during the holiday season, it is a mistake! Don’t hesitate to go running or swimming in the morning on Christmas Eve for example, you’ll feel good and will be even happier to enjoy a great meal with your loved ones afterwards.
Solitary running by Clarkmaxwell - Flickr CC
Photo: solitary running by clarkmaxwell – Flickr – CC
  • Drink a big glass of sparkling water rich in bicarbonate (St Yorre, Badoit, Salvetat in France for example) and eat an apple in order to avoid eating too many snacks which are very high in calories!

2/ During meals

  • Eat slowly. Chewing is the first step of digestion. Take your time to appreciate meals! If you happen to be both a geek and a fast eater, you may want to try a connected fork.
  • As a starter, eat vegetable sticks (carrot, cucumber, celery, fennel) with vegetable dips such as guacamoletzatziki,  tapenade and anchovy puree.
  • Shellfish is a very healthy food, full of proteins, vitamins and mineral salts. And with some lemon drops, it’s even tastier and healthier!
  • Limit your bread consumption, especially buttered bread.
  • Eat fresh fruit or confit (fig, apple, onion) with foie gras rather than bread.
  • The Christmas turkey is a central part of the Christmas meal. The good news is that it’s also a source of proteins and it is not a fatty meat. As a side dish, go for mashed carrots, mushrooms, or other vegetables. Chestnuts go well with meat because they balance the acidity of the proteins, but eat them in small amounts because they are very high in calories.
  • Don’t eat too much dessert! The traditional yule log cake is very rich in calories. You can enjoy a small portion with some fruit salad. Otherwise, use the Emiota smart belt invented by our friend @carine_coulm that adapts automatically to your waistline according to your body position and the size of your belly 😉
  • Alcohol is also part of the party. How wonderful it is to have a glass of champagne before the meal, or wine with the turkey! We are not suggesting that you get rid of it. It wouldn’t be Christmas after all… However, for a better and faster digestion, it is best to also drink sparkling water rich in bicarbonate throughout the meal.

3/ After meals

  • After lunch, go for a walk and get some fresh air. A walk in the countryside will facilitate oxygenation which is essential to detox, and will make a nice family time.
  • You can finish your meal with a detox herbal tea (containing black radish, rosemary, artichoke, dandelion, lime tea).
  • The day after, practice a physical activity in order to detox, get some fresh air and don’t hesitate to drink lots of herbal tea.

You should be proud of your healthy lifestyle. It’s a lot of work to get there. Don’t let a few meals ruin months of efforts. Apply the tips listed here and you will be in great shape to kickstart 2015. Feel free to leave us your details at Goalmap to test our beta version as it comes online in the next few weeks. It will help you set and track all your life goals. Here is how it will look:

Have a healthy diet - goalmap screenshot

If you have other tips to share with our community to get the best out of the holiday season and be fit for the new year, let us know!

The Goalmap team wishes you a very happy holiday season!

This post was written by our guest writer and nutrition expert Martine Catani, and graciously translated from French by her daughter Tiphaine. Many thanks to both for their kind contribution to the Goalmap community.