Updated: Jan 7, 2021
Goodbye 2020. What a year we have had! I'm sure we are all looking forward to Christmas. There has been so much human loss that it's scary. Of course, we want to celebrate but I am writing this article to show you what can happen during the holiday season - this isn’t to put you off enjoying the holiday but only to ask you be a little bit more responsible.
Heart attack during the holidays
If I asked you how many people die from their first heart attack and in which time of the year, would you be able to answer?
Would it shock you to learn that 50% die of their first heart attack? Would it surprise that most of the incidents occur between Christmas and New Year and why would it surprise you?
The office parties
We have worked very hard in an extremely difficult time this year; some from home and everybody else social distancing but, it is party season and, despite the restrictions, some of us are really going for it.
Christmas is still a week away but the photos being posted on social media are scary. Drinks followed by roast turkey with greasy gravy and a fabulous mixture of drinks, of course, at some point we put our masks on and take a break for a smoke, is it beginning to sound familiar? Someone I know posted a photo at the hairdressers and she was sipping a glass of bubbly at 11.00 am, I thought hairdressers couldn’t offer any drinks during the pandemic but maybe I’ve got it wrong. Some have already done the Christmas dinner several times!
Christmas day (one of my experiences)
Picture the scene; its Christmas day and a glass of champagne (alcohol) hits me on arrival, the table is beautifully decorated and full of yummy food, we have all the cold cured meats (salt), the beautiful bread rolls and breadsticks (carbs) and a variety of flavoured snacks such as crisps and crackers (more salt).
The house smells like a confectionary shop because a lot of the food is displayed out for friends and family to help themselves, I am talking about all the dry foods like dates, figs, nuts, chocolate (sugar) and, of course, the turkey, with all the trimmings, will shortly make an appearance.
Enter the kitchen to say hi and the hosts are cooking and sipping wine (alcohol) at the same time because it's Christmas…they are already a bit tipsy by the way. A group of friends have popped out for a cigarette (smoke) and a bit of fresh air!
Dinner was lovely, compliments to our hosts. Enter the Christmas pudding with brandy cream (fat, sugar and alcohol) accompanied by a nice vintage sherry from Portugal (more sugar and alcohol) and coffee (caffeine), at this point we are beginning to feel a bit uncomfortable, let’s pop out for a bit of fresh air, good idea let's try the Cuban Cigars! (smoke).
We are back inside chatting and drinking (more alcohol) and then I hear, pass the After Eights (more sugar) but it's ok because it’s chocolate with mint and so is good for our digestion! Now we are all sitting down and at this point, I'm thinking, "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas," because as they can no longer stand up the, “let’s have fun with Milvia,” starts: "Is that the same glass? You've had that for hours…come on its Christmas and, you eat and drink like a little bird." (Nothing wrong with my diet, thank you very much)! It goes on. Eventually, it's time to leave, but no, let's have one for the road!
What wakes me up on Boxing Day if I stay over is the smell of bacon (fat/nitrates). That’s right, because we read somewhere that’s exactly what we need if we get up with a headache and queasy stomach.
I enter the kitchen but, my cheerful good morning doesn’t go down well but, I am happy it's Boxing Day. I am feeling great because I eat and drink in moderation and I have a day off! Sitting at the table a few are wearing sunglasses because it's too bright, eventually, the realisation that a fry up doesn’t resolve things is upon us, so it's time to look in the bathroom cabinet; out come the aspirin, the paracetamol and the heartburn remedies (toxins) and, they all affirm they will never do that again!
I made it sound comical but it's very sad for me to observe this behavior and, what is even more disturbing is, to watch the personality change due to the alcohol.
The family would have received food and wine (alcohol) as gifts (most of the food is unhealthy). A rich meal followed by Christmas pudding, caffeine and more wine and sherry or brandy (alcohol) accompanied by another cigar (smoke) is the perfect mix for cardiac problems such as atrial fibrillation and stroke. This behaviour is of course repeated on Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year's Day.
Put simply, celebrations which involve the consumption of unhealthy foods and drinks cause unnecessary deaths. The cardiologist Phillip Ettinger called it the “holiday heart syndrome” in 1978.
These holiday foods also cause rapid weight gain not only on your waist but also increase visceral fat which is the most dangerous as it attaches to the organs.
What if this Christmas we did things a little differently? What if this year we celebrated the real meaning of Christmas and gave thanks for what we have and, spared a thought for all those families who lost a dad or a grandad or in my case my older brother due to this awful pandemic? Let's enjoy Christmas but remember to: