No More Topsy-turvy Turkey Tummy This Holiday Season
Do you fear developing your own little round belly, that gurgles like a bowlful of jelly this
holiday season? So many good things come with this time of year, especially when it
comes to food. Turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes made into magical sugar covered
dishes, decorative cookies, pies, and tarts. So many mouthwatering foods to choose
from, how could one possibly say no to any of it! Let’s be honest here, it would just be
rude to not try out all the tantalizing dishes people have taken time to lovingly prepare.
So what’s a person to do to make it through the holiday season with a healthy digestive
Obviously, moderation is the key. Why not try out a variety of foods, but dial back on
your serving sizes of each dish, so you won’t feel stuffed like the Christmas bird when
you’re done the meal. If there are foods that you know reek havoc on your digestive
system politely bow away from those dishes and save yourself the agony later.
Athletes wouldn’t head to a big sporting event without preparing their body before hand
to ensure they perform at their best. If your holiday feasting feels like a test of
endurance for your stomach, then spend some time preparing your system before hand.
No, this doesn’t mean eating multiple large turkey dinners leading up to the big day to
get your stomach used to the larger meal size.
All of the following suggestions are great to do on a daily basis all year round and are
especially helpful to use during the weeks leading up to and including the holidays.
For starters – begin your days with a mug of hot water with fresh lemon juice. This
simple drink gives a kick start to your digestive system. The bitterness of the lemon
juice stimulates the release of digestive enzymes and prepares the organs to
breakdown the food you eat. Lemon also helps the liver to detoxify.
Herbs are a great way to help support the digestive system on a daily basis and are
very beneficial when used in the form of a tea. Teas such as Ginger, Peppermint and
Fennel are all great ones to enjoy after your meal. They each have their own unique
qualities to help you digest better and reduce post-meal gas and bloating. Fennel helps
to decrease fullness and flatulence after eating. Peppermint improves digestion overall
and eases nausea and gas. This great tea choice also fights bad breath! Ginger tea
helps to settle an upset stomach, along with helping the digestive process by reducing
In general, it’s good practice to avoid drinking while you are eating, since the extra liquid
you’re taking in will dilute the hydrochloric acid your stomach is producing, as well as
your digestive enzymes. Stomach acid and enzymes are needed to breakdown our
food into the smallest pieces possible. Our food needs to be in this tiny form in order for
the body to access and absorb the nutrients found in the foods we eat. When we don’t
have enough enzymes, or they’ve been diluted by liquid, our food remains in large
chunks as it goes through the digestive tract leading to gas and bloating as our
intestines try to deal with food in a form that it’s not used to. Save the liquids for later!
A digestive enzyme supplement can be taken before eating to help ease the burden of a
large meal or you can stimulate your digestive organs to produce more of their own
enzymes by using apple cider vinegar. Ask your ND about this one!
Another great practice leading up to the holidays was the sole topic of my last article in
“Nourish” magazine – probiotics. These beneficial bacteria help keep the tissues of the
digestive tract healthy and functioning optimally. Probiotics reduce food sensitivity
reactions and they also are an important part of a strong immune system – an added
bonus at this time of year!
Lastly, the simplest way to significantly improve digestion is to thoroughly CHEW your
food. Food should be in a liquid state before you swallow. Give your digestive system a
gift this holiday season and slowdown when you eat, enjoy the company of those
around you and chew!
For more information about digestive health contact Jennifer at Balance Point Health Care in Oakville 289-291-0254. To read more articles written by Jennifer please visit www.balancepointhc.com.