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Christmas Helps

7 tips for Christmas table flower arrangements

Some comforting ideas for the end of the year

This Christmas, I simply want to share a few good thoughts I’ve picked up from others working in the area of nutritional health – encouraging things you can try before, during and after the 25th of December.

BEFORE… Ask yourself positive questions.

Here is a wonderful post from the founder of the Chuckling Goat farm in Wales, Shann Jones. Shann started making goatsmilk kefir in a last-ditch attempt to save her husband from MRSA (which she did). In times of stress, she says, we can find ourselves instinctively asking negative questions, such as ‘Why is Christmas so commercial?’ or ‘Why does this always happen to me?’. But we can also ask ourselves questions with ‘positive assumptions’ built in to them, and send our train of thought out into hopeful possibilities. For example,

‘What makes me feel the most grateful?’ or,

‘How can I best find the light in the darkness at this time of year?’

DURING… Eat with joy

I received an excellent newsletter recently from nutrition suppliers Nutri-Link, all about the value of mindful eating. At Christmas, we can easily be tempted to consume in ways that make us unhappy. It might be that emotions are running high. Or perhaps we are just busy. For me, their best advice was to slow down and really to enjoy each bite – and pause before reaching for the next mouthful. Another good idea was to concentrate on food when you’re eating it – not to multitask, but focus on how good it is and be present with people around. Being thankful can be such a restorative at this time of year.

AFTER… Boil up some broth

A brilliant way to make the most of your Christmas bird is to boil up the carcass after dinner. (You can keep it in the fridge for a day or two till you’re ready.) Many of you will have come across the fashion for ‘bone broth’, also called ‘chicken stock’ or ‘meat stock’. Yet it has a long trradition of being thought to heal the body. This low-cost and homemade food has not been fully analysed in scientific research (who would fund inquiry into something that can’t easily be sold?), but some studies have investigated its beneficial protein and mineral components separately. Its contents – which include magnesium, calcium, gelatin and glucosamine – have been found to soothe the gut, inhibit infection and calm inflammation, among other things.

Mickey Trescott of ‘auto-immune paleo’ has a lovely article on bone broth, together with tips on how to make it. She uses a pressure cooker; I tend to use a slow-cooker on high overnight. The key is to use organic bones and, once cooled, to keep the fat on top of the liquid as a preservative until you want to use the broth.

With love to you at Christmas, and my best wishes for a fantastic year ahead,


PS: I will be on Christmas holiday from Friday 23rd December until Monday 2nd January inclusive. Much looking forward to being in touch in 2017!

Emma Maitland-Carew, Nutritional Therapist in Oxford and Bloxham, Oxfordshire

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