Santa, You Better Watch Out

When Santa got stuck up the chimney he began to shout … “you girls and boys won’t get any toys if you don’t pull me out”!  How, how, how… did Santa get stuck up there?  Hmmm.. it looks like he could have Syndrome X.

All grown up now, I can take an objective view of this Jolly ol’ fella who may have added some magic to my childhood memories.  Although I sometimes wonder at the scale of psychological damage inflicted in the name of Santa, on the innocent, who offer only pure belief and love in return.  I know that my own mother made a conscious effort to play down the character of ‘Santa’ with us kids because she was so devastated to find out in her own childhood that he wasn’t real.  And, at our office Christmas celebrations one year, a colleague recalled how, at age 12 and being the oldest child in her family, she got ‘the truth’ along with her Christmas present.  In one swift and traumatic moment she was handed a new pair of gloves and leveled with an instruction to grow up, as she watched her younger siblings open their Christmas toys.  “You better watch out, you better not cry”, even though you’ve been snookered by a lie!   I thank my mother for having the wisdom to save us from at least falling hook, line and sinker for the phantom that is Santa.  Anyway, I digress!

What is Syndrome X ?

There is no direct connection between Syndrome X and Santa or Xmas, the season of stress and over-indulgence, but indirectly it seems like the perfect occasion to talk about this health condition.  Syndrome X is also called ‘Metabolic Syndrome’ [MetS].  MetS is a metabolic imbalance.  This means that how your body metabolizes and stores energy is off balance.  The physical manifestation of MetS is ‘fat around the middle’, also called visceral fat.   Scientists now know that storing fat around the middle of your body rather than anywhere else, has major health implications, and studies show that it increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke and cancer.  But, you don’t even have to be overweight to carry fat around the middle.  And, it’s not only about what you eat, your diet is just one contributing factor.

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DIM Vegetables

Diindolylmethane, or DIM, is a compound that is formed in your body during the digestion of foods that contain the nutrient indole-3-carbinol.  Indole-3-carbinol is found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts.  Eating these foods, therefore, provides your body with DIM.  DIM supports the liver in detoxifying and removing harmful molecules including carcinogens, from the body.

Source: Google Images

The vegetables in this photo look very inviting but if you are anything like me you will need some convincing and to be a little more creative in their use.  I’m definitely not a fan of overcooked broccoli, cabbage or Brussels sprouts. YUCK!!  What’s that smell?  But apparently, it doesn’t have to be that way.  Since finding out how beneficial these vegetables are for hormone balance and cancer prevention, I’m finding new and tasty ways to get them in.

How does cauliflower curry soup sound?  There are lots of recipes out there for cauliflower rice as a substitute for rice.  White cabbage can make up a healthy coleslaw.  Not forgetting that a couple of spoonfuls of Sauerkraut on your salad or dinner also ticks this box.

Chopping or chewing cruciferous vegetables results in the formation of these bio-active products. Eating them either raw, lightly sautéed, quickly stir-fried, or steamed is best to retain the full array of nutrients.  If you wish to experiment with them raw, try juicing, fresh salads, marinated salads, and adding sprouts or greens to your sandwiches. But the most important thing is to eat more of them!  Individuals with thyroid function concerns should consume these vegetables mostly cooked (vs. raw).

There are lots of different cruciferous vegetables to choose from, so if you’re including these wonderful vegetables as a regular part of your diet, be sure to keep up the variety.

Apart from the well known and often quoted varieties like broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts, there are also the less published members of this family, namely:

Rocket;  bok choy;  garden cress;  kale (all colours);  horseradish;  mustard seeds (all colours);  turnip root and greens;  watercress;  real wasabi and  radish, greens and sprouts.

These recipes look amazing  – Dr Oz Cruciferous Veggie Recipes