Coping with Christmas

Of course, it comes around every year, but the cycle of feasting followed by ‘detox’, or insane overconsumption of rich foods and then complete abstinence, just when you need some solid sustenance to get you through the winter, is neither good for man nor beast.

It arises from a time when food was hard to preserve, and food miles weren’t yet invented. In early winter, there was abundant food stored after harvest, and a need to slaughter cattle that couldn’t graze when the grass wasn’t growing. It made sense to have a great feast, and the celebration of the birth of Christ was tacked on to the winter festival that had been happening ever since we settled down and started to grow crops and keep animals. But now, when we can keep things indefinitely, ship them across the world, and there is abundance all the time – at least in the fortunate West – it doesn’t make much sense at all.

Detox, or crash dieting, puts the body into starvation mode, so that when you do increase your food intake, you put on weight very quickly. It’s the opposite of sustainable. If you really want to avoid weight gain, stay well, and enjoy all the other lovely things about Christmas, the choice is simple.

Don’t overindulge. Have a little of what you fancy, and use bitter herbs like Dandelion root, Yellow Dock and Vervain, together with digestives like Lemon Balm, Chamomile, Fennel and Limeflowers, to give your system a helping hand. Stay active, so that you burn off some of those extra calories. It’s really about celebrating life, and love, and light, and you can do that without stuffing yourself.

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