Feasting and celebrations — Enjoy it!

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Alva Carpenter, [email protected]

Published — Friday 1 January 2010

Last Update 1 January 2010 3:00 am

Whatever your beliefs, festivals and celebrations are about the community coming together to share and enjoy a meal and celebrate. For a few days we feel a sense of good will and community and it is to be enjoyed.

I think it is healthy to take a break and allow ourselves to believe for a short while that the usual rules of healthy eating do not apply. You can if you want find lots of low-fat recipes for Christmas fare in magazines but it all looks so unappetizing and tasteless. I am a great believer in there being a time and place for everything, and Christmas, Eid, Diwali and other festivals are a time to enjoy and indulge a little.

We all have a love affair with traditional festive food. For those celebrating festivals such as Eid or Christmas, traditional dishes and smells bring back the magic of our childhood. It can be hard work for the cook but I get out my mother’s recipes and make the cake and pudding and traditional pies and traditional family stuffing recipe for the turkey. I spend hours in the kitchen but my children drift in and out helping with little jobs and enjoying all the lovely aromas coming from the kitchen in anticipation of all the food on Christmas day. My Grandmother used to rear turkeys for Christmas and send all of her 14 children a turkey and a Christmas cake as a present. She was quite a woman.

Christmas cake, mince pies, sitting around the television watching old movies and eating chocolates with family and friends: and of course we deserve to enjoy it. When I lived in Dubai we used to follow Christmas lunch with a walk on the beach flying kites. Now in Somerset we listen to the Queen’s speech and then go for a walk in the woods and come home to a blazing log fire and a slice of Christmas cake.

So how indeed do we have our cake and eat it?

The average person gains about 2 kilos during the festive period, although in the Gulf this may be less, as the festivities are usually shorter than in other countries. So, the answer is to plan ahead. Start now and be virtuous and cut down in preparation for the festivities.

For advice on daily exercise e-mail to [email protected].

A few things to go easy on

Salted peanuts are so more-ish — a small handful (25g) contains 12g fat, which tends to sit on the hips.

Stilton cheese is irresistible but a piece the size of a matchbox (35g) contains 12g fat. So just have a small piece and take time to really enjoy it.

E-mail me now at [email protected] to receive my monthly e-newsletter; the New Year issue will be full of motivational tips.

Ask Alva

Can you suggest some healthy new year’s resolutions for a heavy smoking overweight salesman? — Ravi

Here are some healthy New Year’s resolutions to inspire you to make some healthy changes to improve the quality of your life.

Get fit...

This is one of the most popular and most important of all New Year Resolutions but it is the best way to start a healthier life. Join a gym and visit for half an hour every morning. Use the stairs for two floors when you are visiting customers never use the lazy lift!

Eat healthy...

To stay healthy one must follow good diet e-mail me for a copy of my healthy eating plan, and I would also recommend you take Permea Plus as a good daily multivitamin and health insurance policy and make sure you eat plenty of fruit as smokers need extra vitamin C.

Quit smoking...

Experts advice teaming this resolution with a concrete plan. Special anti-smoking gum may help or try eating frozen grapes instead of smoking as this will give you something to do with your hands when you are searching for a cigarette. Smoking is so bad for your health so try in your mind to always associate smoking a cigarette with a heart attack!

De-stress...

In this modern day life, everyone leads a stressful life. This New Year make a resolution to ease tension in your life and spend more time with your dear ones.

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