New Zealand’s Dr Mark Craig was one of the country’s first public advocates of the whole food plant-based diet, and when it comes to enjoying the ‘silly season’, he likes a piece of both worlds.
Although Mark is very much a confirmed Kiwi, he still strongly acknowledges his UK roots and generally takes his sons back ‘home’ to see their grandparents around this time. He and the boys took a two-day sightseeing stopover in China on their current trip.
“At this time of year, in New Zealand, we enjoy the sun and swimming as often as possible,” he says.
He says relaxing is important for him and “remembering why I do it, why we do what we do for our work and the choices we make because of it because the year gets so hectic. Otherwise, it’s all about time in nature, time with the kids, and seeing the country.
“I think time in nature and getting away from screens and buildings is important.”
When they’re in the UK, it’s all about family and enjoying winter Christmas things – “lights, mulled wine (zero alcohol maybe now!) and time with kids. Reading is always good for the brain and nourishment, of course.”
Regarding eating over the holiday, Dr Mark’s advice is always straightforward and crystal clear.
“Make it healthy, and you’ll feel better. Treat foods rarely give any lasting pleasure so get used to enjoying tasty and healthy foods in general, which do both. Planning ahead helps! And telling people the food you eat, offering to cook, cook extra so others can try it, etc.”
He says that when you mull over the value of the Christmas-New Year break, it’s a chance to reaccess things.
“It’s a time to think about what is important, where you are going in life, what is working and what is not working; you get a chance to think about what you feel about parts of your life, without the business of daily life getting too much in the way.
And what about the year ahead?
“More living, less hustling always! Being aware of what you need to get by and enjoying the rest. Getting healthy if habits have slipped; movement, nature, healthy cooking and time to look up new food ideas, seasonally, spending time with kids (if they want to). You hope for more compassion but what you can change is your attitude to the difficulties and challenges in life.”