There’s a lot of hype from leading nutritionists and personal trainers alike right now about the extreme importance of eating clean and raw foods all-year round, but how do we mere mortals battle the bulge – and resist temptation – over the festive season?
Husband-and-wife team Scott and Jodie McKay at Jungle Fit Health and Fitness, based on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, via www.facebook.com/JungleFitPT, which services clients both locally and nationally, has this advice for SHESAID readers: there’s no shortcuts, you’ve got to eat clean and exercise regularly to stay trim and healthy over the holidays (bugger).
Jungle Fit Health and Fitness offers personal and group training, massage, health and wellness coaching and nutritional therapies both in person and online. Fuelled by a passion for health and wellness, and each other, the couple is striving to secure clients all over the globe.
Scott (pictured), who’s the PT side of the business, is Australian Institute of Fitness-qualified and brings a unique style of training to Jungle Fit Health and Fitness, which he also co-owns, having served more than eight years in a combat role in the army.
He says remaining active during the festive season is a must, especially if you overindulge. “Get straight back into exercising now. I highly recommend people don’t put it off for the New Year resolution of: ‘I’ll get back into it next year’ because January 1 turns into February 1.
“Keep active. The weather is so good this time of year, so there are no excuses not to train, even if it’s not at the same intensity as you normally would during that Christmas/NY week. Go for a walk, or play in the park with the kids. It’s all about keeping your motivation going so you don’t lose all the gains you’ve made pre-Christmas.”
Meanwhile, Jodie is a health and wellness coach and co-owner at Jungle Fit Health and Fitness, having studied nutritional medicine, remedial massage, nutritional therapies and health and wellness coaching. So, what simple steps can we all take to eat clean? It’s all about small, sustainable steps, says Jodie.
“Look at substituting your favourite things for a cleaner version or recipe,” she says. “There is so much online these days, it is super simple. Start looking at the labels of things you are eating, make sure that you look at the first four ingredients in that label – if its sugar, canola oil, wheat etc., that is what the product has most of.
“Stick to the outer areas of the supermarket. Don’t go into the other aisles (except the health foods). Many people go straight for the “bad” aisles and are eating processed food that’s masquerading as real food.”
And as to why eating raw food/clean is important, especially in the lead-up to Christmas, Jodie says a clean, healthy diet is the key to optimal health and nutrition.
“Wholefoods will always make you feel vibrant and energised. A healthy body can ward off sickness and is less susceptible to certain cancers or obesity-related diseases,” she says. “Processed foods and acidic foods make us feel sluggish and miserable while also bringing on more illness.”
Jodie’s top holiday tip is to eat more whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, unprocessed (lean) meats, fish (salmon), non-homogenized dairy, legumes and eggs. “Clean eating with wholefoods does not have to be boring, there are many recipes easily available that you can whip up, such as our Raw Peppermint Slice (see below).
“And you can replicate the Christmas food for healthier clean recipes – you don’t have to go without. For example, with rum balls you can make a healthier clean version.
“And a lot of people eat seafood at Christmas, so make sure that you fill your plate with it. There are also some amazing mango, avocado, prosciutto salad recipes around, which are all clean.
“So, you can still have nibbles and enjoy the Christmas period, while still remaining nutritious and clean!”
Raw Peppermint Slice
1 cup of almonds and hazelnuts
1/3 cup of cacao powder
3 tblsps melted coconut oil
1 cup of pitted dates (Medjool, if possible)
1 and 1/2 cups raw cashews, preferably soaked
1/2 cup of desiccated coconut
Pinch of salt (Himalayan, if possible)
1/2 cup of organic maple syrup
5 drops of peppermint oil
1/2 cup of melted coconut oil
1/2 cup of cacao powder
1/4 cup of organic maple syrup
- To make the base: Add the base ingredients to a food processor and blend until it resembles fine crumbs and sticks together when pressed. Place mixture into a lined slice tin and press down. Place it in the freezer.
- To make the peppermint layer: Add cashews and desiccated coconut to a food processor blend until nice and smooth. Add the remaining peppermint layer ingredients to the mixture and blend until creamy. Add to the base and smooth over with a spatula and place into the freezer.
- To make the chocolate layer: Melt the coconut oil in saucepan or microwave. Once melted, add the maple syrup. Then add the cacao powder, stirring until well mixed through. Pour the chocolate on top of the peppermint layer. Put back into the freezer.
- Yum – it is now ready to slice and eat! Store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.
First recipe image via plantbasedmunchies.wordpress.com and secondary image via livingonpulse.blogspot.com.