… and it’s still over a week until Christmas.
I once worked with a chap who turned vegetarian at Christmas. Not because of some great ideological turnaround, but because he just ate far too much meat and couldn’t face eating it ever again. I think I might have arrived at that point. I may manage some chicken, and some fish, but red meat is definitely out. Joined by cheese and wine. If I never eat red meat or cheese, or drink Prosecco or wine again, I will be very happy!
How has this state of affairs come about? This year, rather than spending a chunk of time in Bristol during Autumn, we decided to split it into two smaller chunks, one at the end of October, during which we went to a wedding, and another in early December to provide us change to visit friends and family in the run up to Christmas. Don’t get me wrong, it’s been lovely to catch up with everyone – we didn’t manage to fit everyone in that we wanted to see, but the endless cycles of dinners has taken it’s toll.
I’m not a big drinker – maybe one or two glasses of wine with a meal – but even that is too much to face. I am, however, a dessert and cake eater, I’m one of those people with a pudding stomach, yet I can’t face another dessert this side of Christmas! I don’t even think I can face my beloved Mousse de Chocolat when we are back in Portugal.
It got me thinking about the difference in food between Bristol and Portugal. I’ve tried, I swear I’ve tried, to eat as healthily as I can when we’ve been in restaurants. I rarely order meals that involve chips only had one turkey dinner (which was a belter at the Lazy Trout at Meerbrook), but it’s the sauces. I had Seabass at Alton Marina in Stone which was just devine – but it came with a ratatouille based sauce. At Cote’s in Quakers Friars Bristol I had salmon, again divine, but again with a ratatouille sauce. Everything comes with a sauce and I like plain! Portugal plain! Where the fish is the star of the plate!
In light of recent, over eating events, I am also going to try introducing a 12 hour fast. I first heard about this on Rangan Chattergee’s, podcast ‘Feel Better, Live More’ with Professor Satchin Panda. If I think back to my childhood ‘tea’ was on the table at 5.00pm – primarily due to evening activities which my sister and I took part in which required us to be back out by 6.00pm. After that the kitchen closed. We weren’t the sort of family that did supper, a milky drink before bed but that was it. Occasionally we’d have a biscuit or two in the evening, but that largely depended on how recently the food shop had been done! Breakfast was usually about 7.00am, so that meant we’d ‘fasted’ for up to 14 hours between meals. Apparently this is good as it allows your body to digest the food properly, before you go to bed and stops the digestive problems that come with eating too late into the evening. Outside of that 12 hour window, you still eat normally – it’s just that the long break between dinner and breakfast helps the body along.
I’ve also googled steps you can take to minimise the effects of over-indulgence. According to US News the best ways to manage a food hangover are
- Fill up on water and other clear liquids. I know I don’t drink enough water and am trying really hard to drink more water. I’ve added some peppermint oil to the water too, hoping that will get my system moving more quickly.
- Eat healthy meals, avoid missing meals and try to get back onto an even keel as quickly as possible. Getting back to Portugal will help with this as the food is far more plain. Husband is also a superstar at cooking meals that will make my insides smile!
- Eat fruit and vegetables; increase your fibre intake. Again, I know I fall short here, particularly with vegetables
- Include some exercise – don’t go mad but introduce some exercise to get digestion moving.
- Think about habits. This is key for me. To think about what habits led to the situation in the first place and identify things you would like to change. What I’d most like to change is my lack of will power, how easily I give in when people ask if I’d like a Prosecco, or if we’re having dessert. I have got to start doing what suits me, not other people.
I cannot quite explain just how bad I have been feeling, I felt death was inevitable, or at the very least my stomach might explode. I slept for an entire day as I was certain I had flu coming, I had shakes and I ached from head to toe. Whilst I have tried to eat as well as possible in restaurants, it’s been the habit of eating extra bits that have made the situation worse. The odd chocolate during the day from the tin in the middle of the coffee table, the odd chocolate chunk shortbread from Starbucks, the odd pastry from a bakery because I’m only here for a couple of weeks, the odd desert with meals when we have been out. All in all, it probably amounts to eating fairly badly, between meals, for the past two weeks. This is the habit that needs to stop, especially as I already know that white flour in particular makes me feel fairly lousy.
I’m not going to bother with a plan. I’m pretty rubbish at making and keeping to plans – I always forget to look at them. I am equally bad at tracking food too! I’m just going to take each day as it comes and try to do the best that I can. But in the short term I am going to aim for:
- Avoiding alcoholic drinks
- Avoiding needless cakes and chocolate
- Avoiding red meat
- Avoiding cheese
I’m not saying I will never have these things again, I’m not going to go mad and exclude things for ever, but I’m going to try my very best to take a break from them and see how it affects my health and overall wellbeing. At the moment the mere thought of eating any of the above makes me nauseous, but either way, I really cannot go on feeling quite as bad as I do at this moment in time! I don’t own any scales so I can’t monitor any weight loss, so it will all be based on feeling – how I look, how I feel, the energy I have and how I fit into my clothes. If at the end of the day I can give myself a green tick in each of the 4 areas above then I’ll consider it a good day. Once I have mastered those I might think about adding other things in, or re-introducing them to see what the effects are.