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EDITORIAL: Be healthy for the holidays


EDITORIAL: Be healthy for the holidays

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ALL ACROSS the island Barbadians will be recovering today from the fatigue brought on by all the cleaning and other preparations that are traditional at this season.

Christmas Day this year starts a long weekend when, except for those who are mandated, or disciplined enough, to attend work, the biggest thing on many people’s minds will be how much they can eat and drink for the next three days. It is one of the most enjoyable times of the year for many, but it can also turn out to be the most unhealthy as well.

Too many of us think nothing of stuffing our stomachs with as much as our plates and glasses can hold, with little regard to the harm we do ourselves, especially when we consider the rates of obesity in this country and the fact that so few among us get adequate exercise.

So in the midst of the traditional eating binge period, we offer you the following advice from the Healthy Caribbean Coalition:

• If you’re eating turkey, go for the white meat, and skip the skin, which adds extra fat and calories.

• Remove the fat and skin from baked ham.

• Cook stuffing separate to the meat so it doesn’t soak up fats during cooking. Try using wholegrain breads for stuffing to increase your intake of fibre.

• When making gravy, let the turkey/meat juices rise and skim the fat off the top, before making your gravy.

• Watch out for food choices loaded with calories. For example, ponche crema has 350 calories and 19 grams of fat without the rum. A single slice of cheesecake pie has 400 calories and 28 grams of fat. That’s almost a meal.

• Treat yourself by sampling a selection or two, rather than having full servings. For example, half a slice of plain cake, or one small scoop of ice cream with fruit salad.

We would even add to the advice of the coalition by suggesting that you may be able to reduce your urge to overeat if you consciously decide to share with others who are less fortunate. That extra slice of turkey or ham and that oversized piece of black cake can’t tempt you if it is shared with the neighbour.

And we cannot advise about healthy consumption without urging Barbadians also to moderate their drinking, especially if they plan to drive. Impaired driving does not just endanger the life of the driver, but any other person who happens to come within striking distance of vehicle.

We suspect that over the next three days thousands of Barbadians will move around visiting friends and family and will operate on the premise that respect for offered hospitality means you have to accept each drink. We say know your limits. Know what’s sensible and don’t drink beyond what’s reasonable. Alcohol poisoning is not unusual at Christmas.

We, therefore, wish you a healthy, safe and blessed Christmas that is characterised by the exercise of sound personal judgement and a sense of caring for your fellow man.