Avoid back and foot pain this Christmas!

Posted by Nathalie Hawthorn on

Has the Pioneer woman got you grabbing your baking tray out of the kitchen cupboard this week and throwing your exercise and fitness workouts out of the window? Or maybe Jamie Oliver has got you thinking about the benefits of vegetarian meals now that everyone seems to be looking out for the welfare of animals and the environment. Either way, standing all day in the kitchen really doesn’t help you with your back and your foot pain whilst working to make such delicacies. I definitely need to watch out for my sciatica but don’t want to miss out on doing what I love during this festive time of year.


Nigel and I went home to my parent’s house for Christmas this year and my mum said she didn’t have time to make mince pies. Yes, you heard right SHE DID NOT HAVE TIME TO MAKE MINCE PIES!!! What kind of a mother is she???? So darling daughter, MOI, said I would get onto it and make some for my poor ‘ole dad who must have been starving by this point.

I spent the 2 whole days cooking and preparing the mince pie filling (BTW this does not actually contain meat but cranberries, raisins and sultanas soaked in either brandy, port or sherry). Then once they had soaked the cinnamon flavors and alcohol overnight, I let it cook on a low temperature. Then it was time for the pastry. Now, Nigella makes the pastry without sugar so I made a batch using her recipe and another batch using Paul Hollywood’s (the gorgeous blue-eyed judge in the Great British Bake Off) recipe with loadsa loadsa butter!!!

My father says no fat no taste. The rest of us are a little aware of our bulging waist line and fitness at Christmas.

So, I wanted to make people happy but I really needed to make sure that my back was OK whilst standing for so long. Did you know that back pain is the most common injury suffered by us “chefs”?? 😉 Being on your feet for long hours at a time and lifting pots puts immense strain on your back. When you’re standing cooking, your spine receives most of the repercussions. Even when you go home to rest, your back can be aching for days, weeks or even longer.   

Now I use our exercise ball, not just after I’ve been cooking but all the time. It helps strengthen my core and back. And don’t forget   – it helps to stretch and flex your hips and upper legs especially after you’ve been stood upright for so long. The benefits are numerous - flexing on the fitness ball can help keep your hips in proper alignment, which will make your back feel better. Just lay back on it and stretch it all out!

Another thing you need to do is to start squatting instead of bending!!

Whether you’re bending down to get a saucepan from a cupboard or picking something from the floor, you want your legs to do the work of lifting, not your back. Plant your feet shoulder-width apart, bend your knees, and squat while keeping your back straight. This will this put less strain on your back, and help tone your legs, that beautiful booty, and keep your core strong whilst you work! Who would have thought you'd be working that booty of yours whilst cooking...and you thought your partner was just lingering for the cookies!! 😉

That’s why the Pioneer woman has got a good figure! She never told you the tricks of the trade did she?? That along with the fact that she has hair extensions in too!! 😂

Now that I have made my pies I am off to enjoy the festivities with the family!

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Fantastic New Year! 

Love from the Mantra Team!





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