Long-awaited winter holidays have arrived. Whenever you go, festive table will expect you there. So, what should we do to enjoy New Year dishes and not to gain extra kilos during two weeks of holidays? ForUm has asked vice president of Dietician Association of Ukraine, endocrinologist Natalia Samoylenko to answer these and other questions.

- I want to start with the question all women worry about: how to eat without limits and not to gain extra kilos?

- Unfortunately, such miracles do not exist. If we eat a lot of "wrong" food for a long period of time we will gain kilos inevitably. Thus, either reduce portions or focus on healthy food. First of all, I would recommend not to finish everything you cooked before January 3, as you may have problems with alimentary organs or even poisoning. Secondly, in order not to overeat at New Year parties, come there already full, meaning cook a good 'right' dinner and eat less harmful dishes. What does it mean? It means dishes without mayonnaise, not too much toasted, etc - for example, nice meat, fish, sea products with fresh vegetables.

Both during the holidays and after, it is necessary to make 'fasting days' or even a 'fasting week'. On New Year holidays we traditionally eat a lot of fat, fried and smoked food, sweets and puddings accompanied by mayonnaise salads and soda pops. Such mixture can harm badly the alimentary organs and kidneys. It would be better to follow a vegetarian diet for a week after the holidays and to take two-three 'fasting days' during the festivities.

- You've mentioned fasting. What is the best way to organize Christmas table for fasting people in order not to impair health?

- Those who fasted should remember that withdrawal from fasting must be gradual. Do not eat all dishes available on the table at once. At the festive table, start with one kind of protein product, and then next day eat another one. For example, on the first day eat some fish, the next day eat some eggs, and the third day eat some meat. This is the most safe strategy for your organism. 
- What would you recommend people abstained from alcohol for a long period of time, but on holidays decided to loosen up?

- Fat and fried dishes plus alcoholic drinks is a double impact on liver and pancreas. Thus, choose one type of an alcoholic beverage and drink only it during the whole New Year night. You can take dry white or red wines, but be careful with sweet champaign.

- And what about traditional vodka for New Year?

- Safe quantity of alcohol for women in equivalent of 40 degrees is about 50-70 grams, for men - 70-100 grams. That's it. Besides, do not wash down alcohol, but take a snack, and do not make complex cocktails, as they aggravate the influence of alcohol. Do not mix soda pops with alcohol, as bubbles also increase the influence of alcohol and irritate mucous coat of stomach.

- What about soda pops?

- Well, all sweet soda drinks are bad. The ingredients include flavouring and preserving agents, carbon dioxide, various acidity regulators, artificial substitutes, and none of them is natural. Such synthetic substances bring only harm. Moreover, there is too much sugar. One 0.33 l bottle of a sweet soda may contain up to 15-17 refined sugar pieces. You do the math.

- And juices?.. Is it ok to buy in supermarket or it would be better to make themselves?

- If we speak about the whole night, it is better to take not sweet juices, but sour fruit-drinks made of cranberry, raisin, sea buckthorn. Such berries have positive influence on digestion and do not overload the organism with sugar. If we eat a good dinner and then drink a fresh juice with much fruit sugar, our organism will not be happy.

- For New Year people like to buy exotic fruit, like passionfruit vine, mango, papaya, pine apples... Is it safe for our stomachs?

- For exotics lovers I would say that any exotic food might cause failure of alimentary system. Our organism does not have necessary ferments to digest new product. Thus, it is better to buy something familiar for your stomach, like bananas or pine applies. If you do want to try some exotic fruit, do it another day and do not ruin your holidays by going to an emergency room.

- What about our domestic vegetables and fruit, not seasonal for the moment? How harmful winter tomatoes and cucumbers can be for our organism? 

- Such products are not useful, that's for sure. Our nutrition must be based on the law of seasonality, meaning eating tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants in summer and autumn, and cabbage, pumpkin and root vegetables, like turnip, carrot, radish, beet, celery - in winter. We have lost the tradition to eat season products. Many people do not even remember how and with what to cook them. But in fact, these products are very tasty and useful.

- Why is it not recommended finishing salads on New Year morning?

- It is dangerous. Salads with mayonnaise, sausage and various carbs are a true resort for harmful microorganisms. If a person eats this kind of salad two or three days after the cooking he has all chances to continue celebration in a hospital. Such salads can live in a fridge for 4-5 hours maximum, and on the table - for two hours tops. When you have your Russian salad on the table, exposed to people's sneezing and coughing, it is also dangerous.

- How to fight morning hangover? With cucumber pickle juice? 

- Cucumber or cabbage pickle juice can help only if it does not contain vinegar. Pickle juice contains living ferments, which make you feel better immediately. Hot vegetable soup brings similar effect, or you may try hot herb drinks, like rose hip tea with honey or cranberry fruit- juice.

-What products are better not to mix at the New Year table?

- I recommend not combining potato with fried meat or smoked protein products. It is better to eat potato for lunch, and to cook meat, fish or sea products with fresh vegetables for dinner. Moreover, abstain from cakes and desserts for New Year dinner, but leave them for the next morning.

-As far as I know it is not recommended to drink tea right after food. Is it right?

- It is. Any beverage, drank right after eating, will enlarge stomach and complicate the digestion process. It is better to wait couple of hours.

- If poisoning or intoxication does take place on New Year night, what should a person do first?

- Get rid of the food, which caused poisoning symptoms as soon as possible.  Drink a lot of water and evoke vomiting. Then lie down and wait for a doctor. The only pill you can take without prescription is charcoal.

- What can our readers do to get rid of 'New Year kilos' at home?

- First of all, go back to dietary regime. Balance your diet, but never ever stop eating. It is a big mistake to fight extra kilos with hunger. You will lose weight while you are not eating, but then you will gain them back anyway. Thus, eat five times per day. One time portion for women is 200-250 grams, for men - 300-350 grams. Secondly, drink 2-2.5 liters of water per day. Thirdly - no more chips, crackers, cakes, coca-cola, fast food, as they do no good for your metabolic process. Fourthly, do breathing exercises. In the morning drink a glass of water, lie down on the back and breathe with belly. Breathe in with nose, blow out your belly and breathe out through the mouth. Make pause, hide your belly under ribs and then breathe in again. Do the exercises for five minutes. If you do this exercise regularly, the result will not slow to arrive. Be healthy and do not exaggerate with food.  All the best wishes for the festive season!

Anastasia Pika, photos by Maxim Trebukhov


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