One word comes to our mind around the holidays – indulge. Whether your guilty pleasure is green bean casserole or pecan pie, we all have something that we may give in to because it’s the holiday season. However, these choices may have consequences when it comes to our digestion, which can mean gas, bloating, and discomfort. Plus our digestive systems may need a bit of a boost to help us break down the quantities of food we can tend to eat during the holiday season.
We’ve rounded up our favorite, trusted, natural ways to improve your digestion before and after your meal below:
- Start your day with a large glass of warm water and lemon or apple cider vinegar. The acid will help to alkalize the body, as well as help your stomach break down food throughout the day.
- Probiotics are your friend! Drinking a probiotic rich drink like kombucha throughout the day, or snacking on fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi will enhance your digestion by naturally balancing your gut flora. Taking a probiotic each day will also improve digestion!
- Eat slowly, and really enjoy that indulgence! You may only allow yourself a few “cheat” meals a year, so there is no need to rush through it! Take small bites, chew your food thoroughly, and visualize the nourishment and love radiating from your food. Read our tips for Mindful Eating here.
- Drink ginger tea before and after meals. Using either fresh grated ginger, or a ginger tea bag, let it steep for about 5 minutes in hot water, then enjoy. Ginger aids in digestion while soothing gas and bloating – it’s also a potent immune booster! Peppermint tea is also great to sip on due to its ability to ease gas and bloating.
- Cook your foods with digestive spices. Coriander, Cumin, and Turmeric are a few of our favorites. Coriander contains oils that can relax the digestive muscles that cause discomfort. Cumin helps to relieve gas, and turmeric has potent anti-inflammatory properties that can also help treat indigestion! Sprinkle these tasty spices on your potatoes, green veggies, or add them to soups.
- Get moving! On days where you know you have a big food lineup, move your body to spark your circulation. No matter what form of exercise, breaking a sweat before a big meal can reduce any form of guilt you may have later, and will get your blood flowing to reduce inflammation later. Want some tips on how to incorporate exercise into a busy holiday schedule? Check out our post here.
- If your guilty pleasure is something that you know irritates your stomach, but you make the enlightened choice to eat it anyway (because let’s face it, we all love a good gluten-filled pie from time to time!) activated charcoal can help ease your symptoms. Taking this before a meal can reduce your chances of bloating, gas, and diarrhea. Or check out these natural remedies for after if you’ve been “glutened” either intentionally or accidentally. Obviously if you’re celiac or have severe allergies this doesn’t apply to you.
- The most important tip of all is to listen to your body. If you feel full and like you’re going to burst, don’t take that extra piece of pie. Tune into your body to make conscious decisions about your health. The holidays may be a stressful time for some, but don’t allow this emotion to grab hold over your food decisions!
We’re big fans of allowing yourself to indulge from time to time, and not feeling guilty about it, because let’s face it, a sense of deprivation can lead to stress, anxiety, and can even cause you to overeat. Following the 80/20 rule is a good guideline when it comes to food – 80% of the time you’re eating healthy, and you allow that 20% to enjoy those not-so-healthy indulgences. What steps do you follow to give your digestive system a pick me up?