Holiday Overindulgences- Tips For A Happy Holiday Belly

 In Easy, Healthy & Nutritious Recipes, General Health, Guelph Naturopathic Doctor

Holiday Overindulgence-2

Who doesn’t love the holidays? Gatherings with friends and family, yummy and delicious treats, parties and festive foods, it’s the perfect recipe for overeating!   Usually as a result we feel gassy, bloated and uncomfortable for days after our holiday get togethers. So how can we make it through this festive season with less belly bloat and tummy aches?  Try these 4 tips to to save you the digestive discomfort of overindulgence!

  1. Bitters–  Not like the Grinch!  Bitters are a class of herbs , that taste exactly how they sound…bitter.  Herbal bitters enhance digestion and stimulate gastric juices and prep the stomach for meal time. We’ll use a car analogy to understand how bitters work, because let’s be honest, all good health explanations have at least one car reference.  In the winter, we usually warm and start our cars before driving on the highway.  This gets rid of the frost and allows the car to heat up so it can drive at it’s best.  Digestive bitters work similarly…they are the ‘warm up’.  When you taste apple cider vinegar or digestive bitters, your mouth starts to salivate which is a signal to the brain that food is coming.  If you take the bitters 15 minutes before food, your brain and body have time to do the prep work.   The stomach starts to produce acid and the pancreas and small intestine mobilize enzymes.   So now when you have your meal 15 minutes later, your digestive capacity is at it’s max!  This will reduce  gas, burping, bloating and indigestion and enhance your digestive capacity.  Best time to take them is 15 minutes before meals, however if you forget, you can take them after meals if you have overeaten.  One of the most famous bitter herbs is Gentian or you can find combo herb blends.  My all time favourite is Canadian Bitters by St. Francis Herb Farm to get the best digestion possible.
  2. Digestive Enzymes-  can help assist the body in the breakdown of fats, carbohydrates and proteins.  This is especially helpful for those who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome and food sensitivities. If you’ve been reducing or cutting foods out of your diet because they aggravate you, cause gas, bloating, joint pain, brain fog or skin issues, the holiday season can be especially tricky.  One of the biggest issues is that you are usually the one cooking.  Could be a relative or family member who isn’t as adept in cooking with alternative.  So for those special occasions, try taking a digestive enzyme with your meal to reduce indigestion and the negative effects food sensitivities such as dairy, gluten and eggs can cause.  Your belly with thank you!
  3. Carminatives–  are a class of herbs that are traditionally used after a meal to sooth the tummy.  Herbs such as peppermint, fennel, chamomile and ginger help to relieve indigestion by breaking up gas and help reduce gas formation.  They also help with tummy cramps as they can alleviate smooth muscle contractions.  So brew a pot of tea after your big Christmas dinner and sip on delicious herbal teas to beat the bloat of overeating.
  4. Slow downIt takes roughly 20 minutes for appetite-related hormones to kick in and tell your brain you’ve had enough food. After every bite, put down your knife and fork, chew thoroughly and sip water. Do not pick up your utensils until your mouth is empty.  Then determine how hungry – or satisfied – you feel before you eat, halfway through a meal, and after you finish. Stop eating when you feel about 70% full.

Stick to these 4 tips this holiday season and stop paying the price for holiday overindulgences!  Want more tips to stay healthy this holiday season?  Check out my Top 5 Tips

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