On discovering the wonderful world of macrobiotics as a teenager, one of the things that excited me most was the revelation that embedded in the yin and yang system was a cure for a hangover! It was the hook I used to try to convert my fellow Irish folk to my newfound lifestyle, and for the most part it worked like a dream.

In my early days with macrobiotics, I did a stint working in a bank in Ireland, in an environment where in those days, if you didn't put sugar in your tea you aroused suspicion. When I produced my stainless steel lunch box and sat in a meditative state among my colleagues chewing my brown rice, beans and seaweed, using my newly honed chopsticks skills, I was regarded as a freak of nature. However, ears perked up when I used my hangover hook, and I managed to make a few converts along the way.

With age and experience has come the awareness that there's nothing quite as effective at winning people over to a healthier way than sitting them down to a delicious plate of food—no words need be spoken. I don't tend to go for shock value quite as much as I did in those early days when I was defining my identity and caught up in the thrill and excitement of discovering a whole new way of eating and living.

As well as my old standby hangover cure, I have integrated many pearls of macrobiotic wisdom into my life, and there's no time that they benefit me more than during holiday season. Macrobiotics is an acknowledgment of the obvious—what goes up must come down and every front has a back—the bigger the front, the bigger the back. At its extreme, every phenomenon turns into its opposite. There's only so far we can go with our greed and excesses before we experience the flip side. Finding and maintaining balance is the key.

December is upon us once again, and already I can feel the frenzy begin. Believe me, I love the excitement and festivities of the season just as much as everyone else and I welcome any excuse to don a little red dress and some sparkle, and I'm sure to be cooking up a storm. I will attempt, however, to welcome the new year with a spring in my step.

If you're concerned about being stricken with "Decemberitis," I've got a few tips that may help you tip the scales toward a healthy one.

Aine's tips for a healthier holiday season and her cure for hangovers


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