How to.. Host a Healthy Christmas Party

You’re hosting a Christmas party and thinking what to make…. “Sugar and spice and all those things nice” is what they say ….. but given how damaging sugar is, is it really that nice, and do you want to harm your family? You want them to feel that you are thoughtful and considerate, so we’re going to say a big N-O. Instead, we have the tips and tricks you need to deliver the tastiest sugar free Christmas lunch they’ve ever tried – and it will keep them asking for more.

Firstly, when you’re doing your prep, go the extra mile and do your research! Tempting as it is to buy the store-bought ham glaze and DIY over your ‘homemade’ lunch, have a look at the label and you’ll see that it’s probably full of sugar. Even if it doesn’t list “sugar” on the label, it may be under the guise of dextrose syrup, corn syrup, fructose, maltose, agave or fruit juice concentrate. Regardless of how those clever marketers package it, understand that 1=1 and sugar=sugar. The best thing to do here is pop a packet of Natvia in your basket and create your own glaze, or any other delicious creation that you’re whipping up.

Next, when you’re at the soiree, encourage conversation between courses – after all, the idea isn’t to get the most slices of that delicious quiche, the concept is to engage with each other. Slowing down will minimise that food coma and allow them to feel energetic, rather than flat, following your spectacular spread. Now THAT’S showing the ultimate Christmas spirit.

Second, on the topic of food, don’t mention it’s sugar free. Time and time again, it’s become very apparent if people KNOW something has been ‘healthified’, that they will turn it away and have a superimposing negative expectation upon trying it, so much so that it compromises their ability to actually enjoy the meal. Rather, just tell them the special ingredient is love and watch their faces, bodies and minds rejuvenate at your tantalising treats.

The final step in hosting the best sugar free dinner party is to make sure you’re consistent across plate and glass. No, we’re not talking about matching colour palettes here, what we mean is ensure that the drinks you serve are void of the aforementioned toxic sweet stuff. This will mean you’re going to have to avoid processed fruit juices and soft drinks at the least, and remember that alcohol is made from a base of sugar as well – so we encourage you limit it, if not remove it completely. Some special homemade mocktails which combine lemon, soda water, lime and a little freshly squeezed orange juice (still sugar, but nothing processed or excessive here) will delight your guests so much that they wont even take note of what they are missing out on. 

This article was a sponsored post for natural sweetener company, Natvia. Know that I would only endorse a company I believe in, therefore if you are looking for an alternative to sugar this christmas (or in general), I highly recommend the product.

Olivia Arezzolo | Melbourne Personal Trainer | Healthy Tips

10 ways to Keep in Shape this Christmas

1.     Start the day right with a ½ a lemon squeezed into warm water. It will clear out the toxins from the champagne last night… or the night before….

2.     Speaking of water, drink a big glass of filtered, bottled or alkaline water before you head out to your festive do’s: Hydration is often confused with hunger and before you know it you’ve arrived and eaten half a plate of mini pizzas. This will reduce the impact of your hangover tomorrow as well – goodbye fogginess, headaches and aches, hello energy and zest!

3.     Get outside for a stroll now that the days are longer and remind yourself how beautiful summer in Australia is.

4.     Offer to host your friend-mas at your place, providing the most delicious sugar free dinner party for your friends they could ever imagine. Raw zucchini pasta with prawns tossed through, topped with pine nuts and a sprinkle of goats feta, anyone?

5.     After Christmas lunch happens, grab a footy, cricket ball or frisbee and entertain your oldies with some classic backyard sport. It will remind them of the ‘good old days’ and your uncle Stu is sure to whip out a story or two. The happiness alone on their faces will do it for you, but better still, you’ll be getting active without even realising.

6.     When you’re down at Bondi, Cronulla, Portsea or Sorrento (or Bali for jet-setters), hire a board and (attempt to) ride some waves. You’ll meet a few funny typical Aussie surfer dudes, as well as have fun finding out how coordinated you are, or there lack of.

7.      Give the gift of love aka the gift of health by buying gifts for your fam-bam that will improve their wellness – healthy cookbooks, passes to that luxe pilates or hot yoga studio or even just some homemade sugar free chocolates instead of the standard box of Roses will be helpful for them. How it benefits you is that you’ll get to share in some of the healthy stuff that they are getting involved in, so it’s a win win for all.

8.     Go easy on the treats. A slice of Aunty Nancy’s decadent chocolate brownie (definitely NOT sugar free), those cocktails at your christmas party and the subsequent 1am kebab / burger all add up (it’s ok, we do it too). Be smart and be conscientious: tasty at the time, it doesn’t feel so great for the week after when you’re bloated and moody.

9.     Remember that life exists after Christmas day. Yes, we know that your grandma WILL give you the darkest death stare when you decline her third helping of roast lamb (or pasta for anyone o European descent), but she will survive. If you’re full, own it, and be ok with it. They don’t have to wake up to the food coma in the morning, but you do.

10.  Finally… enjoy it! Don’t feel bad for indulging a little – it’s Christmas! Embrace the opportunity that your family is together sharing something special and don’t overthink it. We were designed with senses like taste and smell so we can enrich our experiences – so make the most of them!

This article was a sponsored post for natural sweetener company, Natvia. Know that I would only endorse a company I believe in, therefore if you are looking for an alternative to sugar this christmas (or in general), I highly recommend the product.

Olivia Arezzolo | Integrative Personal Trainer | Melbourne | Fitness Model

My Q&A Feature on Sportsluxe Label, Lurv

To be completely honest with you, I'm pretty stoked about this feature article for luxe activewear label Lurv. It might seem small to some, but to be able to advocate healthy living, touch the lives of thousands of impressionable young girls and inspire wellness is something I have aspired to do since I was about 15. It's the key reason I started modelling. It's the reason I studied psychology for 4 years, Fitness for 2 and began my own blog. It's the reason I've spent years working hard, both in formal education, but mostly, on my own being - because the only way to inspire others to care for themselves is to do it - wholeheartedly - in my own life.

Here's a snapshot of the piece, but of course, I can't give it to you all - you'd see that here

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Sugar Free September

 

Welcome to our favourite month of the year – September! And if you haven’t already noticed, we have a challenge for you – go completely sugar free for the month. Yes. If you’re wondering what to expect, how to manage or why you would consider this, continue below.

The why:

if you currently experience the sugar high post eating, and subsequent fall; if you’re feeling flat and fatigued more than usual, if your sleep patterns are poor, or your moods are erratic or lower, if your skin is breaking out, you have headaches or just not feeling as good as you know you can. All these are symptoms of poor diet, and sugar is one of the key culprits here. See, sugar wrecks havoc on your kidneys, adrenal glands, liver and brain, so these symptoms are common for those who have a dependence on the white stuff.

The how:

Simplest thing to do is switch your cooking sugar from refined to Natvia – no brainer. Encourage your mum, sister, best friend and boyfriend to do the same. The next step is to monitor other ‘natural’ or ‘hidden’ sugars (eg. corn syrup, rice malt syrup, maple syrup, dextrose, fruit juice concentrate, fructose, maltose, saccharin) which may be added to your otherwise healthy foods, such as granola, muesli bars or flavoured yoghurt. If you can’t find one that is 100% sugar free, for the sake of SFS (sugar free September), opt for an alternative, or even better, DIY using one of our recipes.

And then…

Share your experience with your friends, including us! See, we are part of the journey and want to support you along the way. We also want to inspire the rest of our community by your delicious recipes, ingenuous ideas and creative methods to celebrate being sugar free. Send us your recipes so we can post online, hashtag #sugarfreeseptember so we can regram, or write on this blog what has happened to you as a result of going sugar free. We can’t wait to hear all about it, knowing it will be amazing for your mind, body and soul.

Written by Olivia Arezzolo, model, personal trainer and nutritional medicine student. Her favourite part of living a sugar free September is the quest to wellness cafes in search of SF dishes: raw coconut and cacao bliss balls, vegan ice cream and peanut butter-anything being amongst her choices. She’s enjoying it so much she might continue it all year round.

Written as a sponsored post for Natvia Sweeter Life Club

Even models and personal trainers aren't super healthy all the time....

I have a confession. Although I am a renown health fanatic and fitness freak, I have not been acting with integrity lately. I have not been treating my body with kindness or nourishing with wholesome goodness. For many weeks now, possibly months, I have been disrespecting physical and mental selves. And now, it’s caught up to me.

Waking up each morning, I’m feeling heavy, puffy and bloated. My digestion has slowed, my mind is struggling to think clearly and my skin is reminiscent of an oil slick. Although this isn’t painting the prettiest picture, this isn’t even the worst part. The most horrible element of this experience would be that I feel like I am the victim here. I’m suffering and there is nothing I can do. Poor me.

See, you might think that a model, personal trainer, nutritional medicine and wellness ambassador might not reach this place. Isn’t my entire lifestyle about health? Aren’t I meant to be at the forefront of everything holistic, educating others about what to do? Yep. That’s me. But… at the same time, underneath these labels, beyond my career, therein lies something more: the fact that I am a human being, and I am perfectly imperfect – exactly as you are.

And as this perfectly imperfect being, we will make mistakes. We’ll make decisions when we aren’t thinking clearly, and as a consequence, experience less than wonderful outcomes. And that’s 100% ok.  Why? Because facing an unpleasant experience motivates us learn and grow, inspires us to enhance our knowledge, provides depth of character, and – if not the most valuable element here – provides us sense of empathy for others who encounter similar challenges.

So, if this is you or someone you know, rather than beat yourself up or play the victim card, simply make a conscious decision to make better choices. Become more aware of the fundamental link between your actions and their consequences. And most importantly, be empowered by the understanding that your life is entirely in your own two hands. Because when you do, you’ll liberate others to do the same.

Written for the Natvia Sweeter Life Club, which i've been contributing now for over a year. For other brands interested in collaborations, please click here.