We asked ARTAH founder Rhian Stephenson to share her advice on how to navigate the festive season.
From avoiding blood sugar spikes to hangover recovery, here are Rhian's top tips to help prime your body for all those holiday parties.
1. Be picky with your treats
Chocolates, candies and cookies are everywhere for weeks before and after Christmas, so it’s easy to get into the habit of mindlessly eating far more than we’d like. Choose a handful of times you’d really like to treat yourself, and just enjoy it. A great way to stay present is to ask yourself: will this make me feel good? If it’s a resounding yes, then go for it. If you know it’s going to make you feel bad, it’s a hard pass. You’ll feel far better when it’s intentional.
2. Whenever possible, up the quality
One of the great things about the holidays is there’s lots of home cooking, meaning there’s lots of opportunity to swap out less nutritive ingredients for their higher fibre, higher quality counterparts. Try swapping standard white flour for buckwheat, almond or wholegrain flour, and white sugar for maple syrup or dates.
3. Get your veg in before noon
When things really start to kick off, treat your breakfast and lunch as opportunities to pump up phytonutrients and fibre. Getting in all your veggies and fibre before you go out in the evening means that you’ll not only have nourished your microbiome and supported your metabolism with Phyto-essentials, but you’ll feel more satiated, full of nutrients, and less concerned with getting in your greens as you arrive to party.
4. Support the liver
Christmas is a time for parties, meaning it’s also a time to make sure your detoxification and elimination pathways are firing on all cylinders. Deep Detox is our go-to support for liver and bowel function and can be protective for the liver against alcohol and inflammation.
5. Implement blood sugar walks
Walking is a great way to dispose of excess blood sugar and prevent erratic energy, hunger and mood swings. If you are feeling like you’ve overdone it on the sugar front, try to go for a walk within 20 minutes of your dessert. It will help slow the rise of blood sugar and subsequently prevent a crash and will help the body deal with excess sugar with less stress.
6. Veg + protein first
Food timing can be surprisingly effective at helping to manage overeating by recruiting satiety signals rather than spiking hunger cues. We’re trained to eat the breadbasket first, but this way of eating spikes our appetite and inhibits satiety, even though we’re consuming calories. Eating protein early in the meal will trigger the release of gastric hormones that feedback to the brain to suppress hunger. Including fibrous vegetables early also helps slow the absorption of sugars, so even if you’re going to reach for an indulgent dessert, it won’t have the same effect.
7. Stay consistent between indulgences
When we feel guilt or shame after an indulgence, it often triggers panic, which in turn, leads to yo-yo patterns of restriction and even more indulgence, and a mindset of "I’ve blown it so I may as well." This is incredibly common, so if this sounds like you – it’s time to breathe and reboot. Our body can deal with a few indulgences, so it's important to remove the stress so you can truly enjoy the holidays. Staying consistent with your favourite go-to healthy meals throughout the holidays will be one of the best ways to keep a level head and ensure you enjoy the treats you choose.
8. Actively recover from hangovers
Hangovers are hard to navigate and, unless you’re intentionally choosing the things your body needs the day after the night before, they can perpetuate erratic blood sugar, moods, and hunger. Electrolyte balance is one of the most impactful things to work on – so try Cellular Hydration in at least 500ml of water as soon as you wake up to three more times in the day as a pick me up.
9. Have a plan
We’re all about planning for success and feeling good as quickly as possible after the holiday celebrations are our top priority. It’s helpful to have a plan that is designed to boost energy, nourish the gut and promote the best mood possible. We love the 5-day Cleanse for a quick fix, or for something longer – our best-selling 28-Day Reset is still our go-to for a complete overhaul. Spoiler alert - if you’ve already done the 28-Day Reset, we have something new dropping for the New Year, so stay tuned for more information coming soon - sign up to our newsletter for first access!
10. Prioritise rest
One of the first things that tends to slip with a busy schedule is sleep and, more often than not, the impact is felt immediately; enter fatigue, lack of focus, insatiable appetite and cravings. If you know you're heading into a somewhat sleep-deprived period (Mums, I see you!) try and incorporate quick and easy hacks into your evening routine to get you set up for sleep success and maximise how many hours of shut-eye you can get, and how quickly you can get them. A few rituals I swear by:
20 minutes of yin yoga before bed to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system
- An LED mask while I'm getting ready for bed to lowers cortisol, de-stress and stimulate melatonin
- A bath (heaven, if I have time)
- A Headspace meditation