Christmas Weight

Reporter: Damien Hansen

If all you want for Christmas is to drop a dress size or shed a kilo or three, then you better watch out because in Santa 's wake there will be calories that'll make losing weight very tough.

But there are some practical ways to avoid a yuletide hang over. "I would argue that you can eat Christmas pudding, I would argue that you can drink wine, you can eat what ever you love, you can skip going to the gym for the day and yes you can still be healthy", said Georgia Rickard, Editor of Healthy Food Magazine.

"When you walk into any Christmas party you're going to come across lots of nibbles and there are some that you can indulge in. I would definitely recommend going for vegetable based dips -- so things like beetroot and mint dip, you've got your humus, those are great options", Georgia added.

When it comes to the Christmas buffet, Georgia suggests filling your plate with salad rather than favourites like baked vegies. "Baked veggies are often baked in the tray with the meat, they soak up all the fat run off, so you're getting something that looks healthy but its actually veggies with a big side of saturated fat", Georgia warned.

But don't deny yourself the good stuff. "I would certainly recommend going for a bit of Christmas pudding or some cheese cake, just make sure you choose a low fat ice cream instead of something like a cream, its actually got less kilojoules, less saturated fat, it's a better product all around", she added.

And here's a tip -- while you're chewing the fat with friends and family, chew some gum. "Gum is actually a really good thing to have because many studies have shown that if you chew gum after your meal, you'll actually eat less in the afternoon. Its also been shown to reduce your stress levels by up to 17%, which is a very big help on Christmas day", Georgia said.

"When you come to Christmas, the actual lunch, do make sure when you're choosing your meat that you're avoiding things like the skin on the turkey and also the stuffing -- those two things again are quite high in fat and not very good choices", she said.

But the reality is this Christmas, the more food you eat, the more you are going to have to exercise. But if you are worried about putting on all that extra Christmas cheer, don't be, because the answer is in your beer."Drinking beers is one of the best things we can do", said Don Tolman.

Looking at Don, you'd think he'd know a thing or two about beer --.and he does. He's also an international expert on nutrition, described as the Indiana Jones of wholefood medicine. "If you look at a tomato, it is red and has four chambers -- they now know tomatoes are heart food, just like capsicum. And celery -- it looks like a bone, it snaps like a bone; it is twenty one per cent sodium and that's the way the bones are. We now know celery helps to heal bones", Don said.

Don believes Australian's shouldn't feel guilty about indulging in beer this Christmas because, if brewed properly, it's good for us. "Beer does not ruin your health. Often times it is the things that are being eaten with it -- pills that are popping and swallowing and other things -- but beer and natural organic wines they are medicinal and very healthy", Don said.

Don has identified a number of beers that are better than the more main stream, highly filtered options. They're preservative and additive free. Coopers, Red Oak, Fat Yak, Mountain Goat, Edmonstone, Barossa..The Greenman and Hefeweizen by Hoegarden get Don's tick of approval. "There are some good ones out there and a lot of people thankfully, in breweries in Australia, are trying to lift this thing and come back to reality", Don said.

Beers like Stone and Wood, brewed in Byron Bay in northern New South Wales. "Less is definitely more when it comes to good, quality beer", said Ross Jurisich, from Stone and Wood Brewery.

"Beer is very much a natural food product and these are the four ingredients we've got right here -- .we've got water, malted grain, yeast and hops and looked after the right way, you are going to have some great tasting beer", he said. "As long as the label doesn't say artificial colour, because they have artificial colour that is not what you want", Ross said. So the cloudier the beer, the better that is.

And for those waking up a little cloudy this festive season, it turns out the age old fry up is not a bad hangover cure after all. "There actually might be some evidence that it could help. What that comes down to is the eggs, so eggs actually contain a component in them called sistine which can help break down one of those toxic by-products that I was talking about earlier -- so you actually get over your hang over faster", Georgia said.

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