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Happy Holidays, Healthy Holidays!

by Dr. Reeja Tharu on  December 31, 2008 at 4:14 PM Celebrating Life   - G J E 4
The season of yuletide is a time for quiet contemplation - on things that have been, and on things that are waiting to unfold. Although the season provides 'food for thought' it may also be apt to lend some thought to food.

By general consensus, starting from X'mas and right through the New Year, is a time to 'eat, drink and be merry'- a time for holidays, family gatherings, friendly celebrations, excessiveness and gluttony.

Food and drink are offered at the drop of a hat and it is extremely difficult for ordinary mortals to be deterred by the consequences, such as love handles and jelly bellies.

Battling the Bottle

During X'mas celebrations it is common to see even respectable adults 'losing their marbles' in public, after drinking themselves silly . And the irony is that many of them do not seem to mind!! 

But the medical world is apprehensive. Consulant Liver Surgeon, Professor Max Malago, wags a warning finger  against the  health hazards  of excessive drinking. Binge drinking, which is common during the  festive season, especially in the West, is all set to replace smoking as the prime killer if folks are not careful  and behave responsibly.

Binge drinking has been linked to a soaring saga of liver diseases; it is also associated with a number of grave health conditions such as  brain damage, stroke and  breast cancer.

Piling the Platter

During the holiday season most households prepare food as though there isn't a morrow. The larder is stocked with foodstuff sufficient enough to feed a swarm of locusts! Children act as aliens and attack the larder pretending that it is stacked with enemy supplies.

It is but natural to go with the flow and eat more than usual during the Holidays, what with food being specially prepared for the season. The freshness, the richness and the taste of these specially- prepared assortments assaults the senses of even the most resolute. The opportunities to binge is manifold. For those who are fighting eating disorders, the temptations can be troublesome.

The staggering majority of people who overindulge during the holiday season fall sick due to indigestion, heartburn and bloating. Not quite in tally with the essence of the season!!

Dr Chris Fenn, Nutrition Consultant, says: "Digestive problems can be uncomfortable and often quite embarrassing and are much more common over the Christmas period. We all want to enjoy ourselves over Christmas so try and identify the foods that cause the problem and keep them to a minimum."

Shop & Drop

Xmas and the  new year season can detrimentally affect people who are without family or friends. Solitude can be depressing and there are  many who wade through the season wallowing in the  blues.

For some, it is also a season for compulsive buying.These individuals run into colossal debts and little does the world realize that many of these  buyers suffer due to conflicts- social and emotional. Depression is common in  them and shopping is a method  for them to  mask their troubles, unwind and feel good. However, they may experience sharp pangs of guilt and shame at the end of  the spree. 

Happy Holidays- Tips

By eating sensibly and by exercising moderation at all levels it is possible to imbibe the flavor of the festive season and rejoice with full gusto. To make your holidays happy and healthy here are a few useful tips-

• Never go to a party hungry- that is a sure-fire way to indulge in gorging. Snack on a fruit about 20 minutes before a meal.

• Watch what you eat! Make sure you have light soups and veggies as part of your meal. This curbs appetite and reduces calorie intake.

• Eat protein-rich, lean food. Protein releases a gut hormone called PYY3-36 which sends the 'full' signal to the brain.

• Limit your intake of fried, creamy, processed food items.

• Sample everything but look out for those portions.  Moderation is the key to sensible eating.

• Try exercising before a heavy meal. Going for light walks afterwards can be useful. Look out for every opportunity to burn those calories.

• Alcohol, if required, must be consumed in moderation ONLY. Remember the pot-belly? That's where all your drinks get 'stored'!

Drink plenty of water -the alcohol and the caffeine tend to dehydrate.

• If depressed, talk to a friend or a counselor.

Detox your body to rejuvenate and infuse vigor.

Children must be told about the importance of sensible and moderate eating. They must be encouraged to eat after judicious intervals.

• Keep antacids and other medications handy.

Last, but certainly not the least, spare a thought for your lonely or poor neighbor, because this festive season is not about buying and binging; it is about loving, giving and sharing! Happy Holidays!

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Source: Medindia
Dr. Reeja Tharu/L
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