Holiday gut health – You win, turkey… no, I’m not talking to you, I’m talking turkey to the poultry that maybe you felt powerless against during Thanksgiving, slathering it in gravy or cranberry sauce and everything else that goes with the holiday. With repeat right around the corner (leftovers and Christmas dinner), you may run the risk of overwhelming your digestive system. So follow these 5 tips for a healthy gut during the holidays…
Holiday Gut Health Survival Guide Tip #1: Eat one big meal a day
If you love to pig out during the holidays, I have great news for you. Feasting like a Roman gladiator is totally doable, if you know how to do it right. And here’s how.
Step #1: When you wake up in the morning, don’t eat anything. Instead, first drink a tall glass of water. If you have electrolyte drops, add them to your water or sprinkle a teaspoon of sea salt and stir. The minerals in the salt or drops will help give your cells a zero-calorie energy boost. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon to give your liver a little helping hand in the detoxification process.
Step #2: Roughly 30 minutes after you chug some water, break your fast with a low-calorie, low-sugar Organic Green Drink. If you’re not getting enough green leafy veggies in your diet, this is the easiest way to get ‘er done. There’s no excuse not to consume enough veggies when you get them delivered to your front door in cold-blended juice form!
Step #3: Eat a light meal or have a plant-based protein drink about an hour or so after Green Drink.
Step #4: Eat one huge late lunch. At around 2 or 3 in the afternoon, eat whatever you want and as much as you want. Just make sure to avoid high-sugar junk. For dessert, treat yourself to some berries and a piece of dark chocolate.
Step #5: You can have a very light snack no later than 7 p.m. A small portion of nuts, a piece of fruit or yogurt. Then don’t eat anything or drink anything with calories until 11 a.m. or later the following day. The beauty of combining one main meal a day and intermittent fasting is that you can eat as much turkey and stuffing as you want. Your digestive system will have plenty of time to work. For even better results, exercise in the morning before breaking your fast.
Tip #2: Don’t Take An Antacid
Holiday gut health – If you have acid reflux because you ate way too much, taking an antacid may offer immediate relief, but it comes at a price. If you’re going to take an antacid once or twice a year, most likely that’s fine.
But frequent use of antacid creates chronically-low stomach acid. If you don’t have enough stomach acid, you’ll have indigestion all the time; the very problem that antacids are supposed to eliminate. (And don’t get me started about Zantac, the most popular antacid of all time. It was pulled off the market because it contained a cancer-causing chemical.)
Tip #3: Take Digestive Enzymes
Instead of taking an antacid to help eliminate symptoms of indigestion, solve the root cause of indigestion. And what’s the root cause? You can blame it on sluggish digestive enzymes.
Your body contains several kinds of digestive enzymes, starting with amylase. Before your food even enters your stomach, your eyes and nose spring digestive enzymes into action. Your sense of smell and sight sparks your salivary glands into action. Spit (saliva sounds so much nicer) contains amylase, an enzyme that breaks down carbohydrates.
There’s also lipase to break down dietary fat and pepsin for protein and several others. But if your digestion is sluggish, your digestive enzymes need outside help. Enter digestive enzyme supplements. Now, I’m not in the supplement business so I’m not going to recommend one brand. But I encourage you to do your research (read product reviews) and start taking digestive enzymes with every meal—especially the massive holiday ones.
Tip #4: Walk It Out
Holiday gut health – Been there, done that. Before I became a certified nutritional therapist, I would celebrate the holidays by overindulging. But then I read research studies that said walking right after a meal was a great way to control blood sugar and lose weight.
It’s so easy not to do anything after a big holiday meal. The furthest people want to walk after a big meal is from the dining room to the living room where the couch and TV are.
But if you can just force yourself to go for a walk immediately after a meal, it’s really the simplest thing to do to prevent excess blood sugar from getting stored in the liver and eventually as body fat. See if you can get someone to join you. If not, listen to some good tunes or a podcast to make the time go by quicker. Even just 10 minutes will do your body and your gut some good.
Tip #5: Make Perfect Poop With These Helpers
Holiday gut health – In this article I wrote about preventing food poisoning while travelling, I mentioned a probiotic yeast that’s the best for preventing diarrhea. It’s called Saccharomyces Boulardii. Buy it and take it before you eat a huge meal. It’s always good to have on hand.
This probiotic is the only one that’s a fungus. (Yeast is a fungus.) That may sound gross to take a fungus. But remember that edible mushrooms are the fruiting body of fungus and they are one of the best things to consume for immune support. Anyway, S. Boulardii is the best probiotic if your poops could use an image makeover.
Tip #6: Have A Great Healthy and Safe Holiday Season!
That about says it all!