Hannah:
Welcome back Burn Pod listeners. Now, if you haven’t yet already, just jump back to the previous episode where we had wonderful Sophie Hanley from Sophie Hanley Nutrition on talking all about gut health. And we’d just love to introduce Sophie back for our next podcast or today’s podcast, which is all about what we can do around Christmas to look after our gut health, but also just our nutrition and our wellbeing in general. Welcome back again, Soph.

Sophie Hanley:
Thanks, Hannah. It’s great to be here.

Hannah:
Well, let’s jump straight in. Christmas time. It is always a difficult time over here because you’ve got so much going on around you. You’ve got 50 different events that you have to go to and you’re feeling like you have to go to. There’s always post drinks and this drink here and, oh, let’s do a Christmas barbecue here and let’s do a pav here and it can be really tough to find your way through and look after your nutrition, your health without feeling like you’re limiting or you’re missing out. And so, as a nutritionist, what are the behaviours that you find occur around this time of year in particular?

Sophie Hanley:
Yeah, well, you’re right, there is so much going on and it can be really fun, it can also be quite overwhelming as well. But apart from overindulging, I see people with a lot of guilt this time of year too. Going, “Oh, I should do this, I shouldn’t do that, I’ll just cleanse it off in January,” and then feeling really guilty that they’re not. I think that people, they need to, I don’t know, some people are given… Sorry, really feel the pressure, social pressure as well. Having a look at that and deciding with yourself what you feel happy with, but I guess overall it’s most important about what you’re doing the majority of the time and looking after yourself, nourishing your body most of the time and going out for drinks and having a great dinner out, that’s really all part of a balanced diet as well. And not giving yourself too much of a hard time.

Hannah:
Yeah. I love that. And I think that’s the biggest one, isn’t it? The guilt. Because I know I almost regularly feel it around Christmas, oh, I probably shouldn’t have eaten that or you always have that, I’ll fix it in January.

Sophie Hanley:
Yes.

Hannah:
You know that by the time you get to January, you’re usually exhausted from Christmas and New Years and it’s almost the last thing you want to do is try and put yourself on this ridiculous cleanse and heavy duty exercise programme. It’s not going to happen if all you’ve done for the last month is eat and sit on the couch.

Sophie Hanley:
And no one really wants to do that when they’re on holidays anyway, really, that time of year.

Hannah:
No. And it’s nice to know that I think if you can get rid of the guilt, you’re usually making better choices to suit your lifestyle anyway. It still goes hand-in-hand, doesn’t it? It’s maybe looking at what feels right for you and what really, really makes you feel uncomfortable and just trying to steer clear from those decisions that do make you feel like, oh, I probably shouldn’t have done that-

Sophie Hanley:
Yeah.

Hannah:
… in the first place.

Sophie Hanley:
That is a big one, actually, seeing how you feel after you eat certain things, because sometimes you’ll feel rubbish and it’s thinking, oh, it might have been from eating that particular meal last night with the alcohol. Think about that next time.

Hannah:
And I’m sure around Christmas usually the issue is the alcohol because we are drinking generally more than we would across the year. Depending on COVID, I guess.

Sophie Hanley:
Yeah, true.

Hannah:
COVID might have [inaudible 00:04:11] over. Usually, you’re having a glass of bubbles here or there’s always something every weekend.

Sophie Hanley:
There is. There’s also a lot of lower alcohol options around as well now, which is really, really nice. If you know that you don’t feel well from having a whole bottle of wine and you know that you have to go out the next night and so forth, then there are other options for you. And there’s also a lot of social pressure as well to be drinking a lot and eating a lot so sometimes just having boundaries with yourself, what you want to do.

Hannah:
And that’s another really good point, it’s okay to say no, at this time of year. You don’t have to do absolutely everything. And it’s always the case, I was talking to a builder the other day and he was, going off topic slightly here, he was saying that he’s got so much pressure to get all of his jobs done because for whatever reason, we all think the world’s going to end on the 31st of December. We have to see everyone and we have to do everything. And it’s actually okay just to say, “Look, hey, I went out Friday and Saturday last weekend and the weekend before, and I’ve got one following weekend, no. No, I’m just going to rest and recuperate and nourish my body a little bit this weekend,” and that’s all right.

Sophie Hanley:
Yeah, I agree. And some of us love to do that and we feel the pressure too, but it’s about sometimes just standing up for yourself and saying, okay, actually, no, I’m not going to drink today or I’m going to go home early, that sort of thing, that’s fine.

Hannah:
Yeah. Slowing down a little bit, isn’t it?

Sophie Hanley:
Yeah.

Hannah:
Yeah, which is hard at that time of the year, but even just doing a couple of those, even if it’s just saying no to two different events across that month, that potentially could be a massive difference when it comes to finally Christmas Day.

Sophie Hanley:
Yeah.

Hannah:
Yep. Well coming up to Christmas most of us usually fear gaining some extra kilos. I know that quite often I’m feeling pretty much over food and alcohol before I’ve even hit Christmas Day and so what are some ways that we can choose better and more nutritionist food options over this time of year?

Sophie Hanley:
There’s a couple of different ways, but we should always be looking at trying to support and nourish our body. And a few different ways we can do that around Christmas, because it’s quite hard because we have all these different foods that normally ea, but I recommend that we generally go for savoury foods over sweets is a really good one. They will be more satisfying and more filling.

Sophie Hanley:
I also like to avoid fried foods at this time of year as well because there’s a lot of fried foods, there’s a lot of inflammatory oil and things that are used in there and are not good for our overall health and how we feel. Getting enough protein in is really important. Protein’s really satisfying, should be aiming for a serve of protein three times a day with each of our meals and that will help to balance our blood sugar, balance our energy and stop us from reaching for foods that maybe we don’t really want to eat.

Sophie Hanley:
Having those three regular meals will keep us on track as well, having breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Getting enough sleep too, because low sleep, as we’ve talked about before, really can impact our hunger cues and our bodies satiety. And loading up on, this is a really common sense one, loading up on fruits and veggies is always good to do too. Rather than, we go out so much and meals are really carb loaded, big bowl of pasta, lots of bread, those sorts of things. And doing that all day, every day, it’s nice to do, but we really miss out on the veggie component of the meal as well.

Hannah:
And as much as there’s a lot of rich food around and a lot more alcohol around, there’s also, if you think about it, there’s more home cooking I’ve noticed at this time of year because you’re inviting friends around for dinner or you’re having a barbecue and you’re putting together a salad and there’s a lot of fresh produce around. You’ve got all your amazing berries that come out at this time of year.

Hannah:
All the pink eyes, all the peas, mum and dad had this massive garden. They’ve only just sold up a couple of years ago and we’d just go into the garden and get pretty much our entire meal for Christmas Day out of the garden, obviously apart from the Turkey. You can grow turkeys on trees now, didn’t you know?

Hannah:
But it’s looking at not necessarily having to miss out so to speak on events, but it’s going, all right, I’m just going to choose those more home cook meal options, or, as you mentioned, fill up the plate with your salads. And when it comes to fried food, you get that stuff when you’re out at, maybe your work do and they’re just getting the platter food sent around, and usually it’s party pies and spring rolls and stuff. You don’t really need to eat that, there’s so many nice or better options out there.

Sophie Hanley:
But it’s also about going there and not being starving and being, well, I’m drinking, I need something to eat so I need four party pies. If you [crosstalk 00:09:48] meals and just being a bit prepared, then you should function a bit better.

Hannah:
Exactly. And that’s, as you mentioned before, coming back to your regular three meals a day, making sure you’ve got those and they’re decent meals filled with all the good stuff, then hopefully by the time you get to those events where it’s maybe just after work and it’s “Oh, come and grab a drink,” and then the bowls of chips come out, you’re not necessarily reaching for them because you’re absolutely starving.

Sophie Hanley:
And doing a bit of food prep as well can also be really good because we are so busy, even if it’s just one meal a week, one big curry, or I don’t know, a lasagna or something that you enjoy to eat, that’s got lots of good produce in it. Just so when you’re in a hurry you have some snacks or an extra meal there could be really good.

Hannah:
Yeah, exactly. Now I had a few other questions, we’ve already started talking about them, but if we can type in a little bit more. Are there some other really good options around Christmas time that we can look for? We talked about your fruit and vegetables that are there, any specific things that we can have?

Sophie Hanley:
I like to look at, when I’m looking at meals and what to put in there, a really healthy, basic thing to do is look at the two pros, protein and produce in your meal. Because we know protein’s really important, we need it to rebuild our bodies, for our blood sugar, especially after exercising and then having lots of produce. You can have some protein on a plate, lots of produce and that should be a really nice balance filling meal.

Sophie Hanley:
Keeping up your exercise over this time as well is really important and making time for that, making time for your self. As you said, getting lots of veggies from the garden is great because there is a lot of really lovely salads, brussel sprouts, red cabbage, those sorts of things that go into Christmas meals and having lots of fruit options for desserts as well. There’s lots of delicious things you can do with that. One thing I really love to do is crudité or platters as well, if I’m having friends around or going to someone’s house and instead of it just being cheese and crackers and maybe a dip from the super market, you can do so many nice things with some nice hummus, different dried fruits, some veggie sticks, olives, some nice cheese, some strawberries, those sorts of things. And those things are really popular and they look really great and you’ll get lots of different food that’s filling as well from that.

Hannah:
And I always like to, where I can, base my Christmas barbecues, when we have them, around a big platter of salad. Massive big salad that goes on the table and we usually have some homegrown pink eyes that I’ll chuck in the oven.

Sophie Hanley:
Oh nice.

Hannah:
Just a good piece of meat that I like that we pop on the barbecue, and coming back to that good quality meat as well. I only just learnt this the other day, which maybe is silly, but a lot of the weight, when you look at the weight of say chicken breast in your packet stuff at the supermarket, the chicken’s been injected with water to bring up the weight. And so when you’re cooking the chicken and there’s all this juice that’s coming out of it. And I know that most of you, when you’re hearing this, know what I’m talking about, it’s all in the pan, it’s not good meat.

Sophie Hanley:
No.

Hannah:
Having a local butcher around this time of year, yes you’re going to be paying a little bit more, but you’re going to be getting that better quality meat that’s going to be better for you, better for your gut health-

Sophie Hanley:
Yes.

Hannah:
… probably more filling as well.

Sophie Hanley:
Yeah.

Hannah:
Yeah, and you’ll be doing yourself a service.

Sophie Hanley:
Yeah. Yeah, I think it’s super important with meats and with all foods, just looking at the quality of it and just making those small changes where you can to opt for something that’s a little bit better.

Hannah:
And I like to give myself… I know like the last thing some of you are probably thinking is I don’t need another challenge, Hannah, right now, but I do give myself a little challenge around this time of year where, say we’ve got one event every fortnight over the next few weeks that we’re going to, and usually it’s bring a salad or do this. I like to try and do a different salad just so I can learn that myself each time. Because once you start, you’ve got your standard salad, but if you’re not going out of your norm, you’re not learning all these different amazing salads that are out there and trying it once you can go, ooh, I really like that. And then you can start adding that into your general repertoire moving forward.

Sophie Hanley:
And also on that, the salad dressings as well. You could make some super delicious, super easy things to make just using good quality olive oil, some different herbs and spices and maybe some tahini, all sorts of different things, a bit Balsamic, and tastes so much better when you make them yourself-

Hannah:
Oh, it does.

Sophie Hanley:
… than bought ones.

Hannah:
Yeah, Dad used to do that all the time. We’d always have a little jar of dad’s homemade salad dressing. A bit of dijonaisse, chopped up garlic and then your good oil, good olive oil and Balsamic and just shake it up in the jar and it’s beautiful.

Sophie Hanley:
Yeah, perfect. Yep. I make a really nice one with tahini and olive oil and a bit of garlic and lemon, a bit of quality salt, and it’s so easy and great source of calcium as well.

Hannah:
And even when it comes to things like coleslaws, try and make your own coleslaw dressing rather than getting the coleslaw dressing from the supermarket in a bottle, because it’ll have a hundred percent sugar. It’s basically just straight sugar and fat, whereas coleslaw salad dressing, it still needs a base of a good quality mayo, but at least you’re not getting all your sugar in and you’re getting some decent quality fats, not your crappy fats.

Sophie Hanley:
Yeah. And those things are real easy to make. I’ve made my own mayo a few times and you just put everything in the blender and it’s great. You can make it with really lovely, good quality olive oil and those sorts of things too.

Hannah:
Yeah. Actually I’ve never tried that. I should try it. Do you have any tricks for managing the 1,500 different Christmas parties and get togethers? We know we’ve mentioned a few things, but are there any specifics that we haven’t mentioned yet?

Sophie Hanley:
The issue is that it really impacts your sleep when you’re running around to all these things and you get run down, causes a lot of stress and then it leads to poor dietary choices. You need to prioritise sleep, that’s really important and prioritise yourself and looking after yourself. And that goes with your exercise, keeping up with your yoga or whatever you like to do. And focusing on nourishment instead of looking at food as good or bad. What does my body need? How can I give my body lots of nice foods to give me lots of energy?

Sophie Hanley:
And with the alcohol, looking at taking alternatives, if you don’t want to drink so much, maybe if you’ve got a few things on a few nights in a row cutting back there, and if you’re not sure of if there’s going to be food at a party or what there’s going to be, then having something beforehand and being prepared and just enjoying yourself really around this time.

Hannah:
And is there anything that we can do during the week to support the weekend festivities?

Sophie Hanley:
Healthy breakfast. Love to start the day with a good healthy breakfast, especially when you’ve got loads of things going on. Also doing some lemon water in the morning is really nice to support the liver and your digestive function. We’re quite dehydrated from not having any water through the night so getting in plenty of water in the morning is really nice. Doing some yoga and those sorts of things, not skipping meals and doing some food prep, like I said, so you’ve got food there through the week when you are busy. And just making sure you get in a good sleep routine as well.

Hannah:
And, as you mentioned as well, keeping up the exercise.

Sophie Hanley:
Yes.

Hannah:
If you do have an occasional blowout on the weekend you’re not feeling so guilty because you know that you’ve looked after yourself and it comes back to what we always talk about at Burn Theory, which is 80% of the time we’re choosing those better, but we know that we’re only human and that’s just part of life and we can’t be perfect all the time. Giving yourself that break, taking away the guilt and enjoying your weekend knowing that you’re doing the best that you can during the week to look after yourself and you feel good.

Sophie Hanley:
Yep. Sure, and not being guilty about your big evening out or something. Because I often say health is not about what we look like or how much we weigh, health is about all the things we are doing on a daily, weekly, monthly basis when it comes to food, exercise, water intake, looking at our stress levels, getting good sleep, watching our alcohol intake. It’s all these things that we’re doing most of the time that build out really good health. If you’re going out and enjoying yourself, that’s all part of a balanced diet as well.

Hannah:
And coming off that, one thing that I always like to remind myself of is that Christmas is really only one day or you really want to think about, it’s one week and sometimes let loose if that’s what you feel like doing and enjoy yourself, but it doesn’t mean it has to ruin your entire December and your entire January either. Keep that in mind that one blowout doesn’t mean that you’re fully blown out for the rest of the week or the rest of the month.

Sophie Hanley:
No.

Hannah:
And, like you said, it’s coming back to what you’re doing consistently and regularly with your sleep and your water intake and you’re choosing your options and your exercise, that will really make the difference long-term.

Sophie Hanley:
Yep.

Hannah:
Yep.

Sophie Hanley:
Yep. I absolutely agree with that.

Hannah:
Awesome. Well, before we wrap up, how can our listeners get in contact with you?

Sophie Hanley:
Well, if they want to follow along on Instagram at sophiehanley.nutrition, I often share a bit of info on there and a few tips and tricks. Otherwise they can visit my website, sophiehanley.com. I have a practise in Hobart where I do see people for nutrition and they can reach out to me if they’ve got any questions.

Hannah:
Awesome. Well, thank you so much again, Sophie. I really appreciate your time then. We always have such a good chat so thank you.

Sophie Hanley:
We do, yes. It’s been a lot of fun, nice to catch up with you again.

Hannah:
Yeah. Thank you. And until next time, listeners, enjoy your Christmas time or whatever time you’re listening to this particular podcast and we’ll catch you on the next one.

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