A very festive pick-me-up!

  • Worth the effort: the BTC 5K Glow Run is always a rewarding day (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

    Worth the effort: the BTC 5K Glow Run is always a rewarding day (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Food4Thought Catheine Burns

I missed writing this last week because we were fully immersed in the last week of Beat the Couch and I literally forgot what day it was.

On the upside, we had 70 runners complete their ten-week challenge and run their first — or first-in-a-very-long-time — 5k.

Race day is always a rewarding moment and, as usual, I was trying to hold it together and not cry all over the medals. Good job we were doing the BTC Glow Run and it was dark!

Earlier on, I’d spent most of the day working with one of the America’s Cup teams.

As I sped off to get ready for Beat the Couch, it struck me how I was going from one fitness extreme to the other.

But as impressive as the AC boys are, I was just as impressed with our crew too.

It takes guts to go from a lifetime or years of not moving into a ten-week challenge, especially with (what feels like) everyone watching.

Whether it’s fear of failure, pain, or fitting into running gear, it’s not a stress-free process.

As we ease into the programme, we have one bit of advice on repeat for our beginners: comparison is the thief of joy. Just focus on your own progress and your own goals.

It’s amazing how hard it is to take your own advice though. There are days when I feel like the most deeply flawed person on planet Earth, especially when it comes to parenting. Elf on the Shelf season is not exactly helping either.

It seems like everyone else is painstakingly creating hilarious scenes and I’m lucky if I remember to move it at all. I keep waking up in the dead of night realising that I’ve forgotten.

Creeping downstairs at 3am to conjure up something quickly though, is definitely more preferable to the alternative.

Having the bedroom door burst open at 6am and my eyelids prised apart by two outraged children is not the most relaxing start to the day…..!

Thank God for my great girlfriend then, who chimed in with “everyone’s flawed; we’re all just as flawed as each other” at exactly the right moment.

With the highlight reel of life played out on social media, it’s easy to forget that everyone is struggling with something. It’s almost impossible to live life perfectly — there’ll always be something to knock us down, the trick is to just keep getting back up.

As fun as it is, if you’re finding Christmas a little stressful, then try and remember this: your nutrition will either make you or break you. You can fuel the stress cycle with more sugar, caffeine and alcohol, or you can break the stress cycle with food that actively nourishes you. So, rather than falling into the nearest tin of Quality Street, try making these Christmas energy bites instead.

They’re sweet and festive, but packed full of more natural sugars, with a little fibre and protein to help steady you as you go. Did I mention they are wrapped in chocolate? Mmmm!

Christmas energy bites

Ingredients (makes approx 15)

6 large medjool dates, pits out

1 small handful of dried cranberries

8 dried apricots (preferably sulphite-free)

3 tbs raw pumpkin seeds

3 tbs chia seeds (whole or ground)

¼ tsp cinnamon

2 tbs nut butter (cashew or almond)

1 tbs extra virgin coconut oil, melted

1 bar (approximately 100g) good quality dark chocolate, plain or flavoured. I used a dark orange chocolate that was amazing! (Supermart)


1. Place all your ingredients except the chia seeds and the chocolate into a food processor. Whizz until well combined and the dates/apricots have been broken down to much smaller segments.

2. Add the chia seed and whizz again until everything is well mixed.

You should be able to press the mixture together into small balls. If not, add a touch more coconut oil.

3. Make approximately 15 balls, rolling the mixture between your palms and put on a plate. Once they are done, place them in the fridge or freezer to set.

4. Meanwhile, melt ¾ of the chocolate bar in an absolutely dry pan (not even a speck of water or the chocolate will curdle) over an extremely low heat. Be patient.

Stir with a metal spoon once melted and loosen with 1 tsp coconut oil if necessary.

5. Retrieve the bites from the fridge and roll in the chocolate to cover them completely.

Or just drizzle with melted chocolate if you can’t be bothered with the full immersion! Put them back in the fridge or freezer to set.

6. Enjoy — one or two at a time!

•The advice given in this article is not intended to replace medical advice, but to complement it. Always consult your GP if you have any health concerns. Catherine Burns is the managing director of Natural Ltd and a fully qualified nutritional therapist trained by the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in the UK. Please note that she is not a registered dietitian. For details, please go to www.natural.bm or call 236-7511. Join Catherine on Facebook: www.facebook.com/nutrifitandnaturalnutritionbermuda.<;/i>

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Published Dec 16, 2016 at 8:00 am (Updated Dec 16, 2016 at 8:02 am)

A very festive pick-me-up!

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