The holidays are coming and that means excess. A week of partying in Ibiza, heavy and humungous food in New York, pasta pandemonium in Italy or spicy curries and authentic dishes in Asia will each pack on the calories, leaving your body feeling like it was run over by one of the planes on the runway.
Youll want to detox on your arrival back home, or perhaps youll go the other way by cutting down on the unhealthy food before you go, so you wont suffer with guilt during your travels.
The good news is that you dont need to cut flavour out of your diet when you start the long journey back. Tangy fruits, good cuts of meat, vibrant, organic vegetables and cleansing drinks will not feel like punishment.
Lets start with breakfast. Home made (and therefore potentially lower in fat and sugar) granola and gluten-free blueberry muffins are easy to bake. And it might sound too good to be true, but toasted bread rubbed with garlic and oil, topped off by eggs fried in low-fat oil and charred tomatoes, is a superb and thoroughly satisfying breakfast that can be guzzled without guilt.
Asparagus and broccoli are good for your liver and heart, and excellent in the battle against ageing. Stir fry peppers in chilis and ginger for a few minutes, add your greens and a little mint, salt and sugar, and you have a five-minute super-powered feel-good stir-fry. It can be tweaked to include numerous other vegetables and spices, and with a little rice youll soon feel like youre back feasting on exotic foods in the Orient.
Just about any salad will bring down the blood pressure; combinations of lettuce, cabbage, peppers, raw vegetables where applicable, and most fruits will work well. Particular fruit favourites include figs, pomegranates, pear and mango.
Sometimes youll want a little meaty extra, so marinade chicken in a little garlic, sage, seasoning, lemon juice and vinegar overnight. Grill the next day and find a light honey sauce fry the chicken in the sauce with some prepared quinoa, spring onions, cranberries and almonds and youve got a filling and satisfying meal.
Choose the right ingredients and a simple stew can feed the stomach and salve the conscience. Fry a pound or so of chicken thighs in a large pot until browned. Remove the chicken and replace it with winter vegetables such as carrots, vegetables, celery, and leeks, before adding 4/5 cups of stock, and then later add orzo pasta and the chicken. Add seasonings as required with a slow cooker you could prepare this overnight, or more likely through the day.
For snacks, indulge in the cleansing qualities of grapefruit, celery, pineapples and watermelon. Green smoothies combining fruit and vegetables are a short sharp punch of goodness, so try banana, ginger, vanilla yogurt and honey; mango, kiwi, peach and spinach; and blueberry and avocado are all winners.
These are simple recipes which can be fine-tuned, altered and amended into foods that will make you feel like a new person. Test them before you go on your holidays so the recipe is ready when you return, and the heartburn and hangover will soon be a thing of the past even if the holiday memories remain.