Dagmar von Cramm: Already afraid of gluttony at Christmas? Expert reveals how we can defend ourselves against it


Dagmar von Cramm: Already afraid of gluttony at Christmas? Expert reveals how we can defend ourselves against it

Ms. von Cramm, what do you actually think of the holiday kilos? Well, I would try to keep the increase within bounds. Because if you only gain one or two kilos every year at Christmas, that will be 20 to 40 kilos in 20 years. You have to be clear about that.

During the Christmas season, many take a diet break, they accept the additional holiday kilos, only to then fast again afterwards... We know from studies that such a fasting diet is not the healthiest, but I still find it acceptable. Of course, it makes more sense to organize the festive season in such a way that you enjoy it, but don't hit it endlessly. Then you might end up weighing an extra pound, but you can usually get that down again – for example, if you simply skip the biscuits in January, and maybe drink less alcohol.

What does the weight back and forth do to the body within a few weeks? Well, it's not like the body remembers which kilos are the Christmas kilos and then thinks, "Oh, I'll shed those first." It's just not like that. If you lose weight, fat cells are broken down, but so are muscle cells. The problem: the less muscle mass we have, the lower our energy requirements. So if we continue to eat after the fast, as we have always done before, then that is already too much and we run the risk of gaining weight again. This mechanism is known as the yo-yo effect.

But it's not easy either. Temptations everywhere. A nut corner here, a roast duck there and then relatives who want to fatten you up. Why is it so difficult for us to say no? Eating together, the round table, is an essential part for families in developing a sense of togetherness, of togetherness. Breaking away also means breaking out of this community. The person offering the food sometimes perceives this as a rejection and feels hurtful. But because we are particularly in need of harmony at Christmas, we try to please everyone - this also includes not saying no.

Either holiday kilos or cranky relatives - that sounds like a choice between the plague and cholera... A good way is to talk to each other in advance, make appointments and maybe think of a code word. You could say: "I don't want to eat so much, it's not good for me. You can rely on it to taste good, but please don't force me. If you force me, I'll say Otto-Otto and you'll remember it that we have an appointment. Then we don't have to discuss it anymore." You can also compensate with meals where you eat independently. So if I know that I've been invited to roast goose at my parents' house in the afternoon, then I just skip breakfast or dinner.

And how do you stop yourself from reaching for the cookie bowl every time you walk by? It starts with not shopping as much. I keep having this discussion with my husband when he comes back at the beginning of December with a Christmas stollen or candy. It's enough to buy all that stuff at Christmas. You don't have to start bunkering and eating four, six or even eight weeks in advance. In this way, the delicacies remain something special.

Despite all good intentions, we eat more than is good for us. Why does this keep happening to us?Keyword: saturation effect. Our body is not as fast as our mouth. In addition, Christmas food does not fill the stomach as much because it is not as high in fiber. Chocolate, marzipan, biscuits, goose, potato gratin have an incredibly high energy density per gram. By the time the body notices that it has eaten the daily ration, the stomach has already doubled the portion. Our bodies are not made for such concentrated, highly processed food, so our early warning systems then fail, so to speak.

There's a saying: "I'll burst in a moment" when you've eaten too much again. That doesn't exactly happen, but heartburn is definitely possible. What helps against this? Excessive acidity can occur with very greasy, spicy food, which can be intensified by alcohol. In and of itself, heartburn isn't a bad thing. But if it is very painful, bullrich salt, for example, will help. Or you grate a potato on a coarse grater and let the abrasion drain on the sieve. This will yield about 3 tablespoons of raw potato juice. If you drink it, it's really good and can buffer quite a bit. A cup of homemade, low-salt vegetable broth also helps.

I didn't know the potato trick yet, but I did know a number of other recommendations for action after the binge. Let's go through them.

The digestive nap, is that good or bad? I would advise against it right after eating. It's always good to stay upright, especially to counteract heartburn.

Is that an advertisement for the traditional post-meal stroll? The short stroll is actually a lot better than taking a nap or just moving from the dinner table to the living room table. The walk has a positive effect on the blood sugar level, it does not rise as quickly and is balanced. The movement also helps the closure at the entrance to the stomach to do its job more easily and heartburn does not occur.

Couldn't you just have a schnapps? I don't mind a little digestive schnapps. It already has its effect. Certain herbal extracts that are soluble in alcohol work well and promote digestion. If two centiliters are drunk, that's okay. It should then be a herbal bitter and not a cherry liqueur or a clear one. By the way: alternatively you can also drink a herbal tea.

The Christmas dinner is gone, the cheese platter follows. Because cheese closes the stomach. Or? So I would like to warn you intensively about this. Sure, fat closes the stomach. But I've already eaten more than enough fat from my biscuits and the roast, so I don't need the cheese. You can save the plate. It is more digestive and healthier to eat fruit, for example in the form of a fruit salad. Fruit doesn't kill you that much either.

I still have one: espresso. In principle, you can do that. The espresso wakes you up a bit, but it helps you get up from your chair for a walk more than it helps with digestion. However, if someone has problems with heartburn, he should rather do without.

What would be the perfect Christmas meal if you want to please your stomach? I think a lamb's lettuce with pomegranate seeds or with pieces of orange, artichoke hearts or palm hearts is a great starter. If you want some salmon tartare or smoked salmon to go with it, that's good too. I have nothing against the duck or goose as a main course. It's fat, but it's good fat. Since these are waterfowl, they contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Alternatively, you can also have fish as a main course. A generous portion of vegetables should also be included. The supplement should be as light as possible. So make the potato gratin with milk instead of cream. And in the dessert I would use fresh fruit. You can also add a scoop of ice cream to that.