Christmas season

This time of year can be overwhelming to say the least. You only have to step into town to get caught up in the flurry of buying, busyness and stress. Apparently ‘tis the season to be jolly’, so what about aiming for happy, healthy & light rather than overwhelmed, sad and bloated.

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Nutritional therapy is more than just about food, it encompasses all elements of health from food to exercise, stress, toxins, sleep, relaxation.

Really everything in the body is connected so making small sustainable changes to each of the above is going to impact on health across the board.

A period like Christmas with its busyness & overindulgence can play havoc on our blood sugar, our gut health and even worsen any inflammation we have going on, all adding up to us not feeling our best at a time of year when we ‘should’ be feeling great.

Physically, Christmas really provides the perfect storm for stress and poor mood, when our adrenals are over run by stress, sugar, alcohol we are not going to be able to manage our stress as well as we might. The busyness, late nights, stress etc might mean we are not feeding ourselves right, if we are left deficient in certain nutrients like magnesium, B vits we will be finding things more stressful or Vit C with our immunity down which we don’t want right now. With higher amounts of sugar and processed foods the blood sugar rollercoaster could be in full swing, which really with its hormonal link is like a hidden stress and really promoting poor mood and weight gain.

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So heres a list of ideas to keep you feeling you’re best this Christmas season, so you can really enjoy all the lovely aspects of down time, more time to spend with family, nice meals, gifting and getting out in nature.


It can be a stressful overwhelming time for many of us. Try some of the following to keep stress levels down, to ease the pressure on your adrenals and help to balance mood, emotions, energy levels.

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Do things your way; Don’t get caught up in the madness, run your own race. Have your list, work through it, according to your budget, there’s no need to overextend yourself. Financial burden can be a huge source of stress so getting organised and sticking to your list can help take the stress out of it. You can’t buy everything for everyone, small heartfelt tokens go a long way, even a card, phone call or homemade gift is always so well received and often means even more.

Boundaries; Think what you would like. Be ok with saying no when needs be. Whether its requests for extravagant presents, or Christmas dinner invites, that extra drink or mince pie, take a second to think what is the right thing for you, trust your intuition and you say no whenever you need, its empowering.

Enjoy it for the nice moments; Down time, family time, connection, laying low, getting out in nature, watching a family movie, having a lie in. It doesn’t matter if the place is spotless or if everything gets done, its your Christmas too, rope in some help and make sure you get a chance to relax too.

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Recharge; We all lead such busy lives, you want to feel some way refreshed after the Christmas period rather than feeling you need a holiday or the doctor!

Try to use this time to relax, put the feet up and have a lie in, connect with friends & have some laughs!

Connect; If things are getting too much, call someone for a chat to talk things through, a problem shared is a problem halved. Really the aim of the game is keeping calm, calming that nervous system, as being in a stressed state is going to an impact on much more than you realised, impacting your digestion and gut health, which is so deeply connected to our mental health.


Of course this is a time for kicking back and letting our hair down but we don’t have to be left feeling awful after, with a tight waistband and sluggish. It is possible to really enjoy Christmas while still feeling great, it’s all about the balance! With endless opportunities to have a drink or tuck into a box of Roses, it can be hard to stick to a healthy lifestyle at this time of year. Here’s some tips on the food side of things.

Be Mindful; Instead of mindlessly tucking into the boxes of chocolates or biscuits, have some healthy treats on hand; chocolate bark or chocolate dipped strawberries are my go-to’s. Think are you actually hungry? Even though you’re busy, don’t skip main meals at this time of year as it will only leave you open to snacking on rubbish when there so many opportunities at the moment. If you’re satisfied from your meal you won’t feel so much like reaching for that mince pie.

nutritional therapy kara o’donnell wellness midleton cork

Watch the booze; Enjoy yourself, but drink mindfully, there’s lots of alcohol free options that give the feel of having a drink or switching out every second drink for sparkling water or elderflower.

nutritional therapy kara o’donnell wellness midleton cork

Christmas Dinner; At dinner, focus on lots of veg rather than mountains of bread or potato. Slowing down and chewing your food very well is the best way to aid digestion and stop you feeling overly full after.

Really enjoying the craic & chats at dinner, putting down your cutlery, taking breaks between courses and not drinking a lot of liquids while you’re eating. Switching stuffing and gravy to gluten free made a huge difference to me this past couple of years and really got rid of that post-christmas dinner bloat.

Dessert; Theres endless ideas for lighter more nutrient dense desserts that still allows you to have a lovely delicious end to the meal while not feeling completely stomached! A light flourless chocolate roulade or an almond chocolate cake are great options.

nutritional therapy kara o’donnell wellness midleton cork
nutritional therapy kara o’donnell wellness midleton cork
nutritional therapy kara o’donnell wellness midleton cork
nutritional therapy kara o’donnell wellness midleton cork

Quality Ingredients; It is possible to still have all the foods and traditions you love while using better quality ingredients. Organic veg, gluten free gravy, organic/free range turkey all make such a huge difference in terms of the potential chemicals you could be consuming.

Also, using a good quality bread like a good sourdough will make all the difference to the Christmas leftover sandwiches, as slice pan can be so hard to digest. Even real butter for adding to your veg or bread, natural, high in omega 3 and much better than the ‘healthy’ spread alternatives.

A Happy & Healthy Christmas to you all

Kara xx