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Can you believe Christmas is just a little over 3 weeks away! Every year it seems to creep up, then BAM! Santa’s on your door step.

I’m the type of person who leaves all my shopping until the last minute; taking advantage of all those crazy late night shopping hours on Christmas Eve. However, that being said, I am always, organised when it comes to Christmas day lunch. I love food and the rituals around food and most importantly I love creating recipes that I know are both delicious and healthy that I know my family will love.

I believe it is so important to keep your health and diet on track throughout the Christmas period as it is usually the one time of year people throw their healthy eating choices out the window and then many people struggle to get back into a healthy routine after all the Holiday festivities. I also believe it is the perfect time of year to relax and indulge with all of your loved ones. I am a strong advocate of nourishing your soul, just as I am a strong advocate of nourishing your gut. My family and friends may often hear me use the words ‘soul food’, this is me describing food that is shared and enjoyed with all of the special  people in your life that brings with it contentment and happiness. Christmas is a perfect soul food moment; however soul food doesn’t need to be bad for our bodies just because it’s good for our soul. Below I have combined the best of both worlds for a Christmas that is filled with healthy souls, healthy minds, healthy bodies and most importantly- healthy guts!

Helping your gut bugs survive the festive season

Be Prepared
You know, those scouts are on to something here, as this is really the number one point to staying healthy and making the right food choices over the Christmas break. Of course Christmas morning is a morning filled with children's laughter and the scrunching of wrapping of paper, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t have a healthy breakfast to start your dayA breakfast full of nourishing proteins and fats will really set you up to make great food choices during the day. It will balance your Leptin hormone, which is the satiety hormone, made by adipose cells that helps to regulate energy balance by inhibiting hunger and makes us feel full. So not only will some beautiful eggs, bacon and avocado taste amazing it will also regulate your insulin levels which will also switch off the sugar cravings and kick start your metabolism to get you through the day.

Excercise xmas morning – a walk with the family let the kids try our their new bikes – This will stimulate digestion, get your lymphatic system pumping and get some precious vitamin D in your system.

Food and drinks to family events to share encourage others to try and share your knowledge and education of yummy healthy food

Water, water, water 
Red wine and champagne are a big part of many family Christmases. A glass or red wine is full of antioxidants and polyphenols which nourish our body but it must be backed up by plenty of water to ensure that your liver is getting some love to process the toxins from the alcohol. Good quality spirits and soda water is also a great choice if you are going to drink as they are low in sugar.

Eat slowly and enjoy and savour every mouth full it takes 20 mins for our brain to register we are full and not to go back for seconds straight. Chewing slowly also generates precious digestive enzymes to help us digest our food and absorb all the nutrients we eat. Undigested food sits in the gut, feeds pathogenic bacteria and makes us crave more.
Choose wisely
If at an event ask for gluten free meals and skip the regular sugar filled desserts. At family events take advantage of the cooked veggies and salads and make a yummy mayonnaise to take to add that extra good quality fat to fill you up.

Gut nourishing and festive friendly treats

Prepare some of these delicious and healthy gut loving Christmas treats to take along to your family function. This will ensure you have yummy and gut nourishes food choices available at your Christmas dinner that everyone will love.

Cultured Coconut Cherry-Choc Parfait

  • 3 cups Kultured Wellness coconut yoghurt
  • 1 cup medjool dates pitted and soaked
  • 2 table spoons cacao powder
  • 2 cups pitted cherries halved
  • Desiccated coconut and/or pure dark chocolate to serve
  1. Divide coconut yoghurt so you have 1x 1 cup and 1x 2 cups. Set the 1x 1 cup aside. Place the other 2 cups in a high speed blender with the cacao powder, pulse until chocolatey. Get dates and add a few at a time into the blender while blending on a medium-high speed. Blend until a smooth chocolate-like mousse from the yoghurt, cacao and dates.
  2. Get 4 large wine glasses (stem-less riedel glasses are the best), place a few of the cherries on the bottom of each glass, top with ¼ cup chocolate mousse yoghurt, place more cherries on top of mousse yoghurt, add ¼ cup plain coconut yoghurt, add more cherries, top with ¼ cup chocolate mousse yoghurt and finish with more cherries and a sprinkle of desiccated coconut and a shaving of dark chocolate. Refrigerate and serve

Mulled Cherry Kefir

  1. Pour some (or all) of your coconut kefir into a glass bottle and mix with pitted cherries and 1-2 teaspoons mulled spice blend.
  2. Place lid on bottle/jar and leave on bench for 12-24 hours, keeping an eye on it as they can over fizz!
  3. Once fermented, strain through a plastic strainer and enjoy!

Cultured Beetroot Dip

  • 450 g raw beetroot, peeled and chopped
  • 120 g of your homemade Kultuerd Wellness coconut yoghurt
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp of ground cumin
  • 1 tsp of parsley
  • 20 g of olive oil or avocado oil
  1. Blend all the ingredients together until well combined, using either a blender or food processor. You can either serve as is or you can place in a jar, with the lid on tight and ferment on the bench overnight (8-12 hours)  to really ramp up the good bacteria and ferment out the sugar from the beetroots.

Christmas Kraut

  • ½ small cabbage finely shredded or chopped (keep one leaf spare)
  • 1 medium apple shredded or finely chopped
  • ¼ cup cranberries (dried or fresh)
  • 1 medium orange (smashed and squished in a mortar and pestle so the juice and pulp goes in)
  • ¼ cup Kultured Wellness coconut kefir
  • Water to cover
  1. Place everything in a 2L fermenting jar and cover with fresh, filtered water, cover with a cabbage leaf to keep Kraut under the brine line, seal and leave to ferment for 3-6 days (the longer you leave it the more tart it will be. Serve alongside your Christmas dinner to aid digestion.

Don’t Forget…

Christmas is a time for gratitude, family and friends. It is a time for relaxation, enjoyment and contentment. By incorporating these healthy food hacks throughout all of your Christmas festivities, you will be nourishing your gut bugs and keeping them thriving and in turn, they will provide you with an abundance of energy to keep you on your game and enjoying all of your celebrations. If you have a little too much wine on Christmas day, or you smuggle an extra slice of Christmas pud home for leftovers – take this on board as soul food, be at peace with the decision and wake up the following morning and nourish your gut and body the way you always would.

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