We all tend to do it this time of year. Indulging in foods we might be better about avoiding other times of the year and eating far more than usual. Tis the season for being overfull.
A healthy gut is the key to a healthy you.
There’s no reason to deny yourself the good stuff available during the holidays. The digestive distress it causes can be minimized with a few helpful tips.Be good to yourself (and your gut) this holiday season.Click To Tweet
Protecting Your Gut is Vital Year-Round
Every day, your body uses the food you eat to run all the systems inside you – big and small. From growing new cells to repairing damage to generating energy, food is converted to various building blocks your body requires to run.
Some of these tips are harder to follow during the festivities but you don’t have to be perfect. An 80/20 rule can be helpful. If you over-indulge two or three days a week, be especially good to yourself the rest of those days. Make it up to your internal systems whenever you can.Don't deny yourself holiday season treats! Minimize digestive distress with these helpful tips.Click To Tweet
7 Tips for Kicking Digestive Distress
1. Don’t forget the produce. Making sure you’re getting enough nutrients shouldn’t be overlooked during the holidays. You still need adequate servings of fruits and vegetables every day for your body to use as fuel. A great way to get the pop you need is with a morning green shake. Shakes are an easy way to consume a ton of nutrition first thing in the morning. It starts your bodily functions off on the right foot. There are tons of possible combinations for shakes. Find a blend you love and be consistent.
2. Ditch the junk when you can. If you have a slew of holiday gatherings on your calendar, do what you can to eliminate the junk before and after. Avoid fast foods or pre-made foods and opt for fresh choices to offset the influx of fatty, sugary foods.
3. Plan for highly inflammatory foods. You’re going to have access to Aunt Cindy’s “special punch” or your co-worker’s homemade fudge so plan accordingly. Foods high in unhealthy fat, sugar, and alcohol are naturally inflammatory. Scientists have proven through countless studies that excess inflammation aggravates digestive distress more than anything else. Pack your body with real nutrition (before the junk) and hydrate with water between servings of alcohol. The morning after a night of overindulgence, give your body time to recover with light, natural foods.
4. Boost your fiber intake. Many recipes popular during the holidays feature an unusual amount of dairy, meats, unhealthy fats, and sugar that make it harder for your gut to do its job. These foods take a lot longer to process. The result is a system that’s bogged down in heavy foods that aren’t going anywhere (if you get my meaning). Staying regular during the holidays is something most don’t think about until the digestive distress is impossible to ignore. A morning shake with a bit of broccoli, spinach, flax seed, and coconut oil is one way to ensure you’re getting the fiber your body needs to function. Another is to boost your intake of probiotic foods such as live-culture yogurt, pickled foods, and leafy greens.
5. Don’t forget to hydrate. I highly recommend a glass of room temperature lemon water in the morning and at least 60 ounces of water daily (infused if you hate water). A friend of mine replaces some of her “water requirement” with two cups of green tea (hot or iced, sweetened with honey or maple sugar) daily. Green tea and coffee in moderation have incredible health benefits for the human body. You don’t have to be miserable trying to choke down plain water. The key is to hydrate without high-sugar coffees, energy drinks, or carbonated beverages in the mix. Water is critical but infusing it with berries or citrus makes it far more powerful.
6. Slow down during meals. Every meal should be a marathon (not a sprint) to help avoid digestive distress such as cramping and gas. Take your time and chew your food thoroughly to make it easier for your stomach fluids to process what you eat. Avoid drinking too much during meals because it dilutes the natural acids that break down food. Not only is slowing down good for digestion, it also gives your body time to send signals of “fullness” to your brain. That means less risk of leaving the table with a “food baby” that makes you miserable.
7. Give your gut the necessary tools to fight digestive distress. Raw veggies provide powerful fiber, fatty fish and healthy oils (like olive and coconut oil) supply you with important omega-3 fatty acids, probiotic foods boost good gut bacteria, and a tiny pinch of sea salt aids in nutrient absorption. Having a good mix of various food types is always a good idea to provide the necessary fuel to keep your bodily functions going strong.
Chances are high that even normally health-conscious people will over-indulge during this time of the year. Do what you can to minimize the damage to your gut but don’t beat yourself up! You can start fresh after the festivities are over.
Remember, there are 52 weeks in the year…spending 6 of them eating and drinking foods you don’t normally consume leaves you plenty of time to get back on track.
Be good to yourself (and your gut) this holiday season.
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