“Eat, drink and be merry” is the slogan of the holiday season, and there’s plenty of opportunities to do just that, with parties and festive dinners featuring eggnog, chocolate, and cocktails as just a few of the festive favourites. It’s easy to get swept up in the celebratory eating and drinking part, but digestive disturbances can leave you feeling not so merry.
With the abundance of decadent dishes and sugary snacks over the holiday season, overindulging is considered by many to be part of the fun! However, even the healthiest of us can suffer some uncomfortable consequences, including tummy aches, gas, bloating, constipation, and nausea. And the celebratory fare isn’t the only thing to blame – holiday stress also interferes with healthy digestion and is difficult to avoid in all the social obligations and merry-making.
But there are some great digestive-protective strategies that can help see you through the busy holiday season with minimal discomfort. Here are some helpful tips to help keep digestion running merrily along.
There’s no joy in saying no to all your favourite traditional holiday treats. Enjoyment in moderation and stocking up on some digestive-supporting natural health products can help.
Digestive enzymes. These are helpful if you anticipate some harder to digest foods in your near future. Adequate stomach acid ensures we digest proteins adequately. Most people I work with have weakened stomach function and therefor digestive distress, also known as hypochlorhydria. A good digestive supplement containing Apple Cider Vinegar, HCL and Betaine taken at the beginning of a meal, can go a long way to easing digestive discomfort when indulging in those extra-rich foods.
Soda water with lemon or lime is great to have on hand as celebratory beverages, and are a healthier alternative to alcohol which can be disruptive to the gastrointestinal tract as it can irritate the stomach lining and pulls nutrients from your Healthy Body.
Plenty of fibre keeps digestion moving smoothly and helps to stabilize blood sugar levels. Keep fibre-rich foods stocked up at home and on hand for on the go snacking including raw vegetables, small amounts of whole grains or even a fibre supplement.
Ginger tea or natural ginger chews can help to quell nausea and soothe an upset tummy.
Also – plan ahead! Stress plays a huge part in our digestive health and how our Healthy Body processes food! Filling out the calendar and to-do lists ahead of time can help manage stress, and prepare you and your family for parties, parades and potlucks by remembering to pack water bottles or contribute a healthy dish.
Stress, alcohol, too many processed foods and sugar can upset the balance of intestinal bacteria which doesn’t just lead to bloating, it can also affect our immunity, which can make or break our holiday plans (as they happen to coincide with prime cold & flu season). Fermented foods provide an excellent and easy way to help keep the good bacteria plentiful in your gut, such as sauerkraut. A great immune balancer that also supports gut health is colostrum – use only one from grass-fed, drug-free cows. Keep your adrenals healthy and fully nourished with Adaptogenic herbs such as Astragalus and Schizandra, Rhodiola and many more. Your Healthy Body needs support during busy, high-stress periods. Your mood can be improved as well as your sleep.