We all do our best to lead active, healthy lifestyles. The trouble is that our society is often not very conducive to that kind of lifestyle, especially at this time of year. In the past few decades, a weird binge mentality has arisen around the Christmas season. While for generations it’s always been the time of good food, family and togetherness a nasty element has wriggled its way into the festive season. There’s an unspoken consensus that festive excess isn’t just permitted, it’s our duty. In real terms this often means loading up on chocolates, drinking to excess and stuffing our faces until our waistband can take no more. These excesses may seem like just a part of the fun but they can be harming to our health.

While you’re absolutely free to indulge in this behavior if you so desire, to do so could go some way to undoing all of your hard work and success both at the gym and in the kitchen. Here we’ll go over some of the more socially acceptable toxins that we lend an ill-advised free pass over the holiday season, why they’re damaging and suggest much healthier alternatives. If you don’t relish the idea of dragging yourself to the gym with all the self-loathing masses on the 2nd of January… Read on.

Coffee

While many of us mark the seasons with the rotation of gimmicky lattes and hot chocolate at our favorite coffee houses, an over reliance on caffeine can be harmful especially around this time of year. As the days grow colder and darker, many of us find ourselves taking comfort in a foamy hot beverage but drinking too much coffee (to say nothing of all that excessive sugar) can exacerbate existing anxiety issues and lead to headaches, dehydration and even hallucinations.

Alcohol

It’s the big one. A glass of wine with dinner is acceptable and enjoyable but the strange binge culture that’s developed around the Christmas period is just plain unhealthy. From over indulgence leading to regrettable behavior at the office Christmas party to alcohol fuelled family disputes at the Christmas dinner table, excessive alcohol use can ruin your Christmas as well as your health. If the thought of a teetotal Christmas makes you feel uneasy you may want to visit this website. Your liver and metabolism will thank you for your abstinence this year.

Meat

Unfortunately, Christmas is a meat fest with turkey, chicken, duck, goose and (Heaven help us) turducken dominating the Christmas dinner menus. Unfortunately many meats (especially processed meats) are proven to have carcinogenic properties and can drastically increase your risk of cancer. Despite their healthy reputation, poultry products are not only full of sodium but are also a major source of cholesterol.

Sugar

‘Tis the season to overindulge on sugar! From the ubiquitous chocolates and snack cakes that make the rounds before dinner to the candy canes that adorn the tree, the sugary excess of Christmas is a health hazard waiting to happen. A 2015 study found that sugars (especially refined white sugars) are not only empty calories but are inherently toxic.