As the nation starts putting the leftover Christmas turkey into sandwiches and gym owners start getting ready for their Christmas bonanza in January, I thought it would be a good idea to share my thoughts about food and it’s unhealthy relationship with Brits at this time of the year. I must state at the outset that I am not a nutritionist, and nothing in this article should be construed as advice. These are just my own personal thoughts based on my experience and research. If you are still reading and confused what the title is about, keep reading. It will all make sense. I promise.
This was my first Christmas as someone who is on a plant-based (PB) diet. My sister had kindly invited the family around for Christmas lunch and dinner. As none of my family are vegan, I decided to ask my sister to pick any recipe from my “Thug Kitchen” book and I would make it for the day. She picked the spinach and mushroom lasagna.
Christmas eve was spent buying all the ingredients from a ridiculously packed Sainsbury’s and then making the vegan dish in question. Not to yank my own chain here, but when I had finished cooking it, it tasted fucking orgasmic.
Fast forward to Christmas day and the usual suspects of Christmas cuisine was out in force at my sister’s house. Turkey, gammon, roast potatoes, cake and…samosas. (Usual suspects of Christmas cuisine in my family). I offered my lasagna to everyone at the house. There were 10 of us. When I explained that the lasagna was a “healthy” vegan dish, the look on each and everyone’s face was one of “oh god that’s healthy” which was accompanied by the words “I’m full, I can’t eat anymore”. No one even tried a spoonful of my lasagna. Of course, I was disappointed by this. I questioned whether the lasagna looked bad, or whether it smelt bad. I couldn’t work out why no-one would even try it. I then realized it’s because the mindset of my family, and probably most families in the UK on Christmas day (and the days after) is one of “we only want to indulge and we will deal with the healthy stuff in January. New year new me and all that crap. What could I do to make my family think healthier in this week of indulgence.
The answer…send them to North Korea.
Actually, no. That probably wouldn’t work. I’m not sure North Korea is the best place for them. What I could do, is to get them thinking about the North Korea solution. More on this later. I know you are dying to know what on earth I am talking about, but I promise you it will be worth the wait. Go grab yourself a pint of water and an apple and hopefully by the time you have finished eating and drinking them, it will become clearer.
So…North Korea. The hermit state. Land of the not so free. Led by the portly Kim Jong Un. I wonder what he ate for Christmas? What does he eat all year round? Kim clearly leads an unhealthy lifestyle but so do many of the world’s leaders. Our own BoJo oscilates between 15 and a half stone and 14 and a half stone (98.4kg – 92.1kg). He is 5ft 9’ tall (175cm) and 55 years old. Even though I am not a fan of the BMI chart (for reasons that I can talk about on another day) I thought it would be interesting to punch these digits into the NHS’s BMI calculator which is accessible via their website.
I guess you didn’t need a rocket scientist to figure out that Bojo is off the scale on the BMI chart. Bojo, my advice to you is to start walking more (or even cycling).
I decided to do the same thing using Kim Jong Un’s biometrics. Kim is 5ft 8 (172.7cm) tall, 35 years of age and a staggering 122kgs (270 lbs). The result is noted below.
Kim Jong Un makes Bojo look like Cristiano Ronaldo according to this data. Kim, you need to take a time out, maybe take a sabbatical and reassess your life mate. Go out into the North Korean woods, grow your own vegetables, seclude yourself from everyone and do some introspective analysis of yourself. Become a hermit.
The way you are going, diabetes will get you before the Americans do.
In 2012, Kim Jong Un reportedly put on so much weight that he developed a cyst on his ankle. If there’s one food Kim is known for eating plenty of, it’s cheese. In fact, Newsweek says the dictator had to exit of the general public limelight a couple of years ago after he ate an excessive amount of Emmental cheese that was freshly shipped from Switzerland. In case you’re curious about this cheese, it’s made from whole cow’s milk and is frequently used in fondue because of how well it melts. But it’s also not exactly low-fat, which might be a part of the rationale Kim gained such a lot weight over the years. As if Kim’s love of cheese wasn’t providing him with enough saturated fat, Fujimoto also says he enjoys Kobe steaks as part of his lavish dinners. Kim’s love of red meat is almost certainly contributing to his waistline.
There is also a theory that Kim is getting fat on purpose. A portly stature is a symbol of great wealth because only people who can afford food are able to maintain a high BMI. So, some speculate that Kim’s weight gain is fully intentional — a way for him to show off how much food he’s able to access.
This easy access to “crap” food issue is the point I want to make here. We currently live in a society where “crap” food is marketed so heavily before the festive period Christmas that make it very difficult to eat and drink healthy at this time of the year.
Much of the marketing is geared towards selling processed foods that are packed with additives that straight up go Chernobyl on your metabolism, gut and hormone balance.
Another problem is the amount of excess food that is leftover from Christmas. For me, I’ve been eating mushroom and spinach lasagne since Christmas (thanks fam a lam), but for my family they are eating the leftover chocolate, cake and biscuits from my sister’s party.
I have no problem with free choice and people wanting to eat what they want but even though Christmas is only a few days, allowing too much indulgence, for too long, leaves many feeling terrible as we come into the new year. To top things off, most people stop exercising altogether at this time of the year and tell themselves “I’ll leave it till the new year to go to the gym/workout”.
‘The night after a heavy day, like Christmas or new years eve, it’s important to hydrate first thing, and get some good quality protein, fat and veg.
Toast, avocado and mushrooms are the perfect breakfast post Christmas and new years eve, add some fruit for carbohydrate or sliced tomatoes and forget about the butter and croissants.
The more natural your food choice, the quicker your body will heal from the day before. I try to focus on wholefoods with plenty of vegetables, whole grains, high quality protein and fruit. But what is the best way to stop yourself succumbing to the temptation of the leftover food? How do I get around eating when I’ve been invited to various parties? I also can’t work out because the gym is shut.
Have you finished your apple and water? Ok great!
The answer is THE NORTH KOREAN SOLUTION.
Get rid of everything that is leftover by giving it to a homeless shelter or a food bank and clearing your cupboard, fridge and house of everything that is unhealthy and will tempt you. Nuke your entire house of every single shitty piece of food that is in there and replace it with good, healthy nutritious food. You can’t say you don’t have time. This is the time of the year that EVERYBODY has time. And if you still think you don’t have time, MAKE TIME. MAKE SMART FOOD CHOICES. Invest in your body and yourself. Try to eat as healthy as you can in this week and you will feel as though you have accelerated into 2020 with a fresh and healthier mind and body. Every time you get a craving you will then have no option but to eat healthy.
Here is another holiday season hack. If you have an invite to a party where you know there will be a large amount of unhealthy food, then spoil your appetite by eating some vegetables and/or fruit before you go.
When you’re hungry you tend to make poor food decisions. So have a snack and give yourself time to see what foods are available, and make choices based on what you’re craving and what you actually want.
GET MOVING! Your body needs to recover from the punishment it has suffered from being sedentary and eating crap on Christmas day. No excuses. So what if the gym is shut? That doesn’t mean you can’t move your body. Go for a walk. Put on a YouTube video and do some yoga. Put some music on and do some abdominal crunches and press-ups. Go for a run. Do the double Parkrun on New Year’s day! Do all of this with a family member or a friend to help motivate you!
Thanks for reading as always. I hope you have had a fantastic Christmas and have a brilliant new year.
I’ll just leave you with a photoshopped picture of Kim in a Santa outfit.
We are the gift that keeps giving 🙂