The 12 rules of Christmas: Christmas tips to survive the food and frenzy.

By Andrea Cullen

I am going to make the shock assumption that most hard-working triathletes know how to eat a balanced and supportive diet to reward the hard training that their bodies agree to.

But just in case here is a reminder:

A well thought out nutrient dense diet is imperative if you want to go long and hard for a long time without injury, illness or burn-out 😊.  All the various vitamins, minerals, plant and food based antioxidants, amino acids from protein, fatty acids, resistant starches from specific carbohydrate foods, prebiotics and compounds with long names that research keeps identifying in natural foods are important for our health and for the cells, organs, brain, muscles, tendons and ligaments, tissues and even our gut microbiome to function optionally. Food is not only fuel but also provides the structural and supportive ingredients to allow the body to operate, recover, and repair from daily life and training. Don’t forget salts and water; these are very important also.

Nutritious food also aids hormone balance, immune system function, and the correct balance of bugs in our guts (these form our first line of defence against bacterial, yeast and viral infections and they also are involved in the digestive process, making some vitamins and neurotransmitters, and gut healing substances called short chain fatty acids; wow!).

This diet that we call balanced looks like a diet based on mostly plant foods such as vegetables, fruits, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds; with some whole grains such as oats and rice for example, along with a moderate amount of protein from animal, fish, eggs, and dairy foods. We need all of these foods for various reasons and in varying proportions depending on the work that we ask our bodies to do and our unique and individual constitutions.

No one diet is perfect, and this can make the journey rather confusing in how we find the optimal for us. However, for most of us a fad diet, an extreme diet, or a diet eliminating a major food group is rarely needed. The first rule is to choose natural and un- to minimally processed foods with the least amount of chemicals, additives, preservatives and sweeteners added. Yes, your body works hard but no this doesn’t mean that you can just eat anything as a response because we need more than calories. Junk food is mostly empty calories and is lacking in goodness; furthermore, it comes packaged with other stuff that we just don’t need.

Many athletes make the next step an extreme but what if you focused on improving your diet by making choices directed by quality, source/location and ethics and perhaps upgrading your cooking or fermenting skills.

Our bodies have this amazing thing called HUNGER to tell us when it needs food and sometimes this directs what foods we desire (i.e. cravings for meat or fat or carbs), and SATIETY which is fullness, and this tells us when to stop. If you pay attention, you can learn a lot about what the body needs. This intuitive system works best if you avoid processed foods, junk choices, eating without taking the time to allow the digestive system to operate correctly and excess stress; all of which interfere with this intuitive signalling system. At the end of the day survival is what matters and nothing screams chocolate bar and cake better than eating on the go and emotional stress.

So here are my 12 rules of Christmas

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Take a few minutes to reflect ….

Take a few minutes to reflect this Christmas and New year…. make it meaningful


Hi Folks,

There were just too many thoughts flying around my head this morning to share with you all, so I did the quickest thing and got them down in a video. I am not a fan of the old here I am look at me 🙂 and the video clearly agreed with a cut off after a few minutes!!

So here is a short video message from me reflecting on Christmas and goal setting for the New Year followed by a mash-up on voice recording to complete the message.

Please do take the time to ponder what Christmas means for you, how to be present in all the chaos, and take time to be mindful of your New Years goals.

Please enjoy and add comments about your own goals and desires. Lets make them happen in 2016….

and please click here to continue 🙂


There are no prizes for counting the number of “so’s” and “you know’s” haha!

Please enjoy the very random photos that I had to select to get this recording online. The last approximately 20 shots are taken locally from the University of Limerick, St Mary’s Cathedral, and local Limerick in 2010 when we had our big freeze. This is the effect of freezing fog and not snow; there was no snow and isn’t it incredible! And the final few are taken from Keeper Hill back in 2004 (oh gosh).

Be brave and add feedback and if you like some of your goals… no better time to start having a think and sending the message out to the universe that you mean business!

And enjoy this wonderful art by Josephine Wall; take a moment to see all that is in the image


Josephine Wall Winter

Love ya’all.


PS In my self consciousness I omitted what to me is perhaps a significant reason for my goals and aiming to grow all that I am, and that is for all I can be and give in my relationships. Most importantly in my relationship with my boy :-). I spend a lot of time reflecting on my relationships with others and myself and what true connection means. It would be remiss of me to not add this here because for me my relationships and connection to other people give the meaning to everything that I strive for in my life, work and profession. Relationships and connection are the purpose for my passion and desires to become my most loving, giving, expanding and aware me. ❤

Festive Eating Survival 101


Festive Eating Survival 101:

My Festive Season Prevent-the-Flab Strategy!

Hello everyone,

This piece was written in 2013; so I am going to add in a few quick edits now to update this for 2016.

If there was one message that I want to convey it is that Christmas is a time of sharing and partaking, loving and living.

Christmas meals are not about food but family, tipples not about getting drunk to escape but to enjoy company, to connect and relax; and desserts not about calories but sharing in an indulgence and just for once letting go without a judgement on the self.

Approach the festive period with the right mind and a balanced awareness around food and alcohol.

Be mindful of what truly matters and above all be grateful and as generous with your time, love and the abundance that you have as possible.
Wishing you all a peaceful, rested and abundant Christmas. OH and if you haven’t already listened; take a moment to check out my video and voice blog yesterday. Much love. Me x

Take a few moments to reflect….

To sign out for 2016 this is a gem of a cover that will hit you wallop in the heart and soul; love these boys.


santa kept hsi new years resolutions

Instead of giving you a list of “To Do’s” and to “ NOT Do”; I am going to give you a list of what I personally do to prevent weight gain and maintain my fitness over the Christmas period right through to the New Year. So that by New Year I haven’t ended up with a whole new me!

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