Guide to Keep Healthy and Sane at Christmas – The Holiday Health

christmas kraut

The lead up to Christmas can be challenging, and for many the holidays are not the happiest time of year. Suddenly you are all together cooped up inside with expectations riding high and sometimes things are not quite a merry as you were hoping.

I grew up in Germany. My father was in the British army and we enjoyed many as Christmas there. A lot of time was spent outside at seasonal markets and there was far less emphasis on the commercial side of things. As children we would walk from house to house singing and carrying candle-lit lanterns. Trees were put up on Christmas eve when the family would gather together and play games. I have a few abiding memories of my childhood Christmases that I try to integrate them into my own family festive preparations and celebrations.

  1. Make stuff: I’m not suggesting that you make all your presents but decide on something to make and set up a mini production line. I remember so vividly making darling little dolls nestled into half a walnut shell. The head of the doll was a small wooden bead, her hair a bit of yellow wool and there was a little red and white checked fabric for a blanket. Try making something edible and decorating with a pretty bit of ribbon.
  2. Wash up! Being one of five girls meant there was always a moment at Christmas when washing up seemed like the best thing to do. When things get heated being on washing up duty can keep you out of a lot of hot water. Actually, simple household chores can be very rewarding and therapeutic.
  3. Switch traditional pickles for spiced lacto-fermented vegetables; these will support your digestion and move the stagnation in the digestive system caused by sitting and over-eating.
  4. Get outside and go for a long walk. Moving will stimulate the digestive system and this will improve digestion, energy and mood.

Christmas Kraut

Eat this tangy, delicious condiment to boost your digestive system

  • 1 large red cabbage, shredded (one outer leaf reserved)
  • 1 apple
  • 1 beetroot, grated
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 tbsp juniper berries
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1-2 tbsp salt
  • 1 kilner jar
  1. Place the red cabbage in a large sterilised bowl and add the salt. Massage the salt into the cabbage to draw the water out and until you have enough liquid to cover the cabbage in the Kilner jar. Grate the apple over the cabbage and mix well. Add the spices and grated beetroot. Transfer to the jar and pack in tightly, pressing to release more liquid.
  2. Use the reserved cabbage leaf to keep the cabbage submerged in the brine.
  3. Cover and leave at room temperature for five to seven days. Check daily to make sure the kraut is still fully submerged. Transfer to the fridge where it will keep for up to one month.