How one can offset the Christmas Creep

  • Healthy dish: a Brussels sprout salad makes a nice Christmas side according to Catherine Burns (Photograph submitted)

    Healthy dish: a Brussels sprout salad makes a nice Christmas side according to Catherine Burns (Photograph submitted)

I’ve only just recovered from Hallowe’en candy and here comes Christmas racing towards us with all its mulled wine and boxes of Quality Street chocolates. It’s my absolute favourite time of year.

I’ve never grown out of Christmas magic — but I’m in danger of growing out of my pants! To offset the ‘Christmas Creep’ (most people put on at least 2lbs over the holiday period every year), I’ve been working my way through all of the gym classes at work.

In case you missed it, I’m now based down at The Waterfront on Pitts Bay Road where I’m continuing the clinic but, also, working with Miles Market, Harry’s, the corporate offices and their gym.

I decided if I was really going to understand how we can best use the gym to support our clients, then I should probably get to know it inside out.

So, this week and next, I’ve challenged myself to try every class on the schedule. It’s Day Two and I’m already a little broken. I run and do a little yoga, but there are clearly some muscles that I haven’t been using!

Trying to work off excessive Christmas calories is a good approach, but we do tend to be overly optimistic when it comes to estimating how many calories we’re burning off.

We also tend to underestimate how many calories we’ve eaten in the first place — that’s not a great combo.

Of course, just focusing on calories isn’t a great idea either. If weight was as simple as calories in versus calories out, we’d have figured out the obesity crisis a long time ago. Quality calories matter. We need to pick nutrient-dense options that nurture our bodies, supporting anti-inflammatory and detox pathways as a matter of course.

When it comes to choosing healthy options during the holidays, the trick is to look for something new and exciting that’s packed full of flavour.

It’s not the time to roll out the same old, same old, as that doesn’t feel like much of a treat.

Recently, I went to Boston for a long weekend. I had an amazing time in wonderful company; real good for the soul kinda stuff. There were some cocktails along the way, but there was also a big browse of Whole Foods and some great new restaurants — one of which was the kind of farm-to-table that totally floats my boat.

They had an incredible sautéed Brussels sprout salad that I’ve thought about many times since. The kind of thing that makes you feel healthy from the inside out and tastes amazingly fresh and delicious.

I forgot to write all the ingredients down (maybe something to do with the wine), but I’ve tried to recreate it since and I’m pretty proud of it!

Sprouts are a cruciferous vegetable and, as such, they are amazing for supporting your natural detox pathways, however they tend to divide the world — you either love them or you hate them.

For the sprout lovers out there, I promise you’ll be a fan of this Christmassy side. It would be amazing with leftover turkey and some mashed sweet potatoes.

You could make this vegan by serving it with quinoa and using a variety of nuts (instead of just hazelnuts) — macadamias and walnuts would be a good addition.

Remember, if you’re vegetarian or vegan, you can increase the bioavailability of plant-based amino acids by combining several different sources of it together.

So instead of just using hazelnuts, having the combination of quinoa, hazelnuts, macadamias and walnuts would work really well.

Whichever way you make this, enjoy!

(Note: if sprouts, or any cruciferous veg, make you embarrassingly gassy, try Beano enzymes which are available from most pharmacies.

They make a big difference ,but you need to have them right at the start of a meal. Afterwards is too late.)

Sautéed Brussels Sprout Christmas Salad (serves 2)


¼ cup hazelnuts

12 large Brussels sprouts

1 tbs dried cranberries (I used Eden Organic)

½ apple

Dried ginger, very small pinch

Nutmeg (dried or fresh), small pinch

White pepper, small pinch

Black pepper, small pinch

Salt, small pinch

Light olive oil


1, Roast the hazelnuts at 245F for 20 minutes, then set aside to cool. Once cool, place in between a clean dish towel and rub vigorously to remove most of the skins. Then chop roughly.

2, Trim the bottoms of the sprouts and remove the outer leaves. Chop finely.

3, Chop half the apple into slim sticks

4, Sauté the sprouts in the olive oil over medium heat until a little tender. Add the nuts, cranberries, apple, ginger, nutmeg, pepper and salt. Continue to sauté for a few minutes until flavours are blended. Serve immediately. (You may need to be generous with the olive oil to get the sprouts to soften.)

Catherine Burns is a qualified nutritional therapist. For more details:, 505-4725, Natural Nutrition Bermuda on Facebook and @naturalbda on Instagram

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Published Dec 13, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Dec 13, 2019 at 8:43 am)

How one can offset the Christmas Creep

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