Christmas may be over, but the memories – and leftover confectionery – linger. Instead letting those sugary goodies lure you into your pantry time and time again, do yourself a favour: put down the decadent treats and stop delaying your annual detox!
Of course, you could do what you always do: eat more salad than a rabbit, hit the gym more often than a body builder, and grin and bear those post-Christmas blues. Or you can opt for the fun alternative: going on a holiday and exploring another country’s attractions and its healthy cuisine. Not only will sightseeing distract you from your detox, but you’ll also get a taste of new – and simultaneously nutritious – dishes. What could be a better way to part from your beloved mince pies and pralines?
While Ireland’s famous Ulster fry and soda bread don’t exactly scream “detox”, don’t be fooled: the cuisine is also rich in root vegetables, beans, kale and lean meats, which are fantastic sources of calcium, magnesium, folate and Vitamin B & E. What’s more, many of its dishes are seasonal, making use of unprocessed and locally grown fare. Here are a few winter classics that’ll reinvigorate you after a long day of sightseeing.
You could write a song about how delicious this Irish speciality is – or just sing the existing one! The traditional tune of “Colcannon”, which celebrates this conventional dish, has been covered by several artists over the centuries, all of whom have lauded “Colcannon, made from lovely pickled cream / With the greens and scallions mingled like a picture in a dream”. As the song suggests, this meal combines greens, such as cabbage and/or kale, with scallions, all of which are added to a hearty portion of mashed potatoes. Many Irish people also insist on adding parsley and chives, and enhance the taste with butter and cream or milk (let’s just pretend that’s healthy, too). After walking through the streets of Dublin or strolling along Galway’s harbour, this simple and authentically Irish dish is sure to satisfy your taste buds.
When you think of Irish winter classics, the first thing that probably comes to mind is stew. Warming your hands and stomach with a bowl of hot and hearty stew is not only one of the most effective ways of gearing up for your next session of frosty sightseeing, but is also deeply embedded in the country’s history. Read more about this wholesome staple, which consists of root vegetables, herbs, garlic and tender beef or lamb, in this blog post.
A Little Treat…
While sticking to meals like colcannon and stew is certain to cleanse your system of the refined sugars and carbs that have a place at every Christmas table, you may want to cheat a bit… you are on holiday, after all! Let your resolve slide and treat yourself to one of Ireland’s more indulgent dishes: spice bags. This fast food, which was influenced by Asian cuisine, has become all the rage in recent years, and is particularly popular in Dublin. Think chips, spicy chicken, curry sauce and even a healthy handful of peppers and onions – why not reward yourself for braving the cold by ordering this delicious dish at a chipper?
Leave your Christmas slippers at home and change into your walking shoes – it’s time to say goodbye to your food-induced holiday coma and explore Ireland’s sights, sounds and healthy savours!
Wondering what other European countries make for ideal detox destinations? Keep your eyes peeled for part 2 in our series.