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by Medindia Content Team on December 24, 2007 at 1:16 PM
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"A lovely thing about Christmas is that it's compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together." - Garrison Keillor (American author).

Christmas, the season of warmth and good cheer is once again upon us. Close on the heels of Id, Diwali and Thanksgiving, this festive season could be another of die-hard resolutions washed down the sink.


Yet, it need not be. With a bit of will and some help from us, there is little reason why this celebration of fun, family and friends need not bring the best of cheer to you and to your loved ones'.

The Taste of Christmas

The yearly stress of making this Christmas 'the best ever' for your family and friends can cause you to lose track of your diet goals. Follow the tips below and enjoy a 'guilt-free' xmas.

  • Till Christmas Eve, avoid stocking the house with snacks, sweets and junk food.
  • Keep bowls of fruits and unprocessed nuts where the whole family can tuck in.
  • If you are unable to fit in your daily exercises, try ten minutes of walking within your house or even on-the-spot exercises like skipping, stretches or yoga.
  • There is no dearth of recipes available on bookshelves, Television shows or even the Internet on sumptuous looking and tasty low-calorie Christmas dishes. Make sure you compliment with big bowls of salads and fruits.
  • At parties, try to eat some high-protein snacks like cheese or yogurt or even some fruit before you leave.
  • Try something new, as we generally eat less of what is 'new' food to us.
  • Another tip is to eat slowly and converse while doing so. According to experts, your brain needs around 20 minutes to get the signal that you are stuffed!
  • As the spirits Of Christmas flow abundantly, be sensible to limit your intake. One simple way is begin your drinks as late as possible in the day. Spacing your alcoholic drinks with soft ones can make things easier for your liver. Experts say the consumption of sugar can hamper the metabolism of alcohol by the liver. So if you have had a lot of sweets, make sure to drink less. Opt also for cream-less cocktails to bolster your diet goals.
If you feel like Oscar Wilde who famously said: "Almost anything I like is sinful, illegal or fattening", take heart. Chocolates and wine are now touted as 'health foods'.

Cocoa contains flavonoids that prevent heart disease and cancer. The warriors are the antioxidants contained in these flavonoids - flavonols and procyanidins. They fight free radicals, protect blood vessels, improve blood flow and even prevent dementia!

Red wine consumed up to two glasses per day, can lead to a healthy heart and even reduce the risk of Alzheimer's and colon cancer, says research. The magic ingredients here are the powerful antioxidants- resveratrol and anthocyanins.

  • Coming back to the Christmas party, remember to practice safe driving. It is a good idea to designate drivers prior to the party, especially when teenagers and youngsters are involved.

The Warmth of Christmas

  • A major chunk of the joys of Christmas lie in the meeting of family and friends.
  • Plan parties in advance so that you are hassle-free enough to join the others while they celebrate.
  • Finish the decorations and the sending of invites, as early as you can. Most of all do not compare yourself with super-human party hosts. A simple celebration complimented with warmth and love will be remembered the longest.
  • At family gatherings try to avoid controversial topics and family gossip. Steer clear of family feuds and don't take sides.
  • Partying safe is one factor that can never be overlooked. If you have young children or are inviting them, buy child-safe Christmas decorations. Be aware of the hazards of electric Christmas lights. Christmas staples like mistletoe and holly are poisonous and must be kept out of reach from children, too.
  • Be sure to discard leftover cigarette butts and alcoholic drinks immediately if young children and pre-teens are around.
The Thrill of Christmas

This season of fun and laughter can be just the opposite sometimes. The stress of measuring up to or over the Christmases past, can leave you overwhelmed and even depressed.

  • Get organized! Plan out shopping lists and get your purchases packed and ready, well ahead of time.
  • If money is an issue, do not be forced to spend beyond your means. Discuss this with your family members and if not now, then some day they will see the wisdom of your words. Compensate with love and quality time.
  • When you do buy gifts, try to include the aspect of health for a change, this year. It could mean a platter of organic food products for your parents, a Yoga mat for a stressed-out aunt, a skipping rope for a niece, a juicer and fruits for your children, a pre-paid Ayurvedic rejuvenation treatment for your spouse etc.
As clichéd as it may sound, it's always the thought behind the gift that counts.

Most of all, remember that not all will be enjoying Christmas this year. Be sensitive to those who have had a recent bereavement, are going through a divorce or are having serious health issues, etc.

The Joy of Christmas

This season of good cheer must be spilled over to be complete. At least for selfish reasons, get that 'feel good' factor that takes care of your emotional health, from the power of charity.

  • In addition to Christmas gifts for your friends and family, contribute generously to welfare organizations. You could also give away used but wearable clothes, toys, etc. to the poor.
  • Christmas is also a good time for bonuses - for your household help and others who help make your life a little more convenient, throughout the year.
Rightly so has Eric Sevareid the American newscaster declared: "Christmas is a necessity. There has to be at least one day of the year to remind us that we're here for something else besides ourselves."

Here's wishing you a Christmas where you will gift yourself and others the best your health can get.

Source: Medindia

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