Christmas is a great time, if we’re one of the lucky ones, to be with loved ones, friends/ family and eat, laugh and be merry!
However, it’s also a time when we can overindulge, feeling bloated, overweight with a stomach ache! 🙁
Here’s a few tips to have a good time and be merry, without overdoing it.
Apple cider vinegar
Taking apple cider vinegar first thing in the morning with some lemon and warm water is a great kickstart to the digestive system as it gets the enzymes working so they can digest that big lunch that is coming its way.
It’s also great for the morning after as it’s really alkalising for the body.
Add some apple cider vinegar to your salads as this acts as a great digestive enzyme helping your stomach acids to kick in to help to break down and absorb the nutrients from food.
Line the stomach
If you are planning to drink a bit on Christmas Day and Boxing Day and well, let’s be honest, over the whole silly season…, take some Slippery Elm powder (1tsp in water) beforehand. It’s great to line and protect the stomach from all that acidic, gut-irritating alcohol and sugary foods and helps prevent heartburn or gut issues into the new year.
Drink hot water or herbal tea throughout the day
Hot water and herbal teas like chamomile and fennel are great to help to digest all that seafood or turkey and mince pies you are planning to indulge in.
Hot water is really cleansing and herbals teas helps to release toxins and aid digestion and also help to keep you hydrated if you’re also consuming wine, whiskey or mulled wine or that lovely sparkling you’ve been saving for a special occasion.
Spice it up
Add warming spices like coriander, ginger, cinnamon to your roast potatoes or salads to aid digestion as they help to ignite the fire in your gut helping you to process all that yummy food more easily
I know easier said than done, however, try to slow down your eating by chewing your food a lot, and putting your fork or spoon down between mouthfuls and taking a rest. By taking your time, your brain also has more time to communicate with the gut and tell you that you are full instead of shovelling the food down before you know you’ve overdone it.
Take a break between courses and allow the food to digest before eating the next course too. Your gut will definitely thank you for it as the body copes better with just a few types of food at a time. For example, the French had it right by eating fruit first as this is digested more quickly, so when eaten after a big meal, it can get stuck in the intestines fermenting, causing bloating and gas.
Eat big at lunch
Try to eat the biggest meal in the middle of the day when your digestive fire (agni) is at its highest. Try to avoid snacking too late into the night as then the body doesn’t get a good healing sleep as all the energy goes to digesting those hard-to-resist midnight snacks and not on healing the body.
Don’t overdo it!
Ensure you are hydrated before you go to a party so you’re not downing vodkas because you’re thirsty. And sip water between alcoholic drinks to stay hydrated and full so you will have less cravings for salt and sugar and minimise the hangover.
If you’re going to a party and know there’s going to be a lot of fattening, sugary foods, try to have a bone broth or protein salad or substantial smoothie to ensure you get some nutrients first and hopefully dampen your hunger so you don’t pick on less healthy snacks at the party.
If you do really overdo, try to do a liquid fast the next day of juices, broths and smoothies to give the liver time to recover. 🙂
Go for a walk after your big Christmas lunch to aid digestion and get some oxygen to the cells so you don’t feel so heavy and groggy. Exercise also boosts the immunity, helps digestion and reduces stress.
Virasana pose in Yoga is also great for digestion. Sitting on your knees with buttocks on the heels when you feel uncomfortably full can help get the digestive juices flowing. A few gentle stretches a few hours before or after eating can be good to stimulate the metabolism so you more easily break down food over the holidays.
Yoga stretching is also a great stress reliever in the build up to Christmas, which will help your digestion immensely.
I know it’s Christmas, but where possible, try to find gluten free alternatives as they are less irritating and heavy on the gut, especially when you’re probably already overdoing the eating and drinking and putting strain on the liver and digestion.
Quinoa, buckwheat are all nice grains that you can use instead of wheat. I also use coconut and almond flours in my baking too that are yummy.
I want Chocolate!
It’s Christmas and don’t we all love chocolate. Try to eat small amounts of dark chocolate in place of the heavily processed, sugary, milky Cadburys. Dark chocolate is full of nutrients and richer so you’re more likely to eat less.
Sugar can be really addictive and lead to headaches and reduce immunity and gut integrity. Where possible, reduce added sugar in drinks and desserts and try to reduce the amount used in recipes and instead sweeten recipes with cinnamon, vanilla and fruit.
I find drinking a little kefir/ kombucha and adding sauerkraut at most meals really helps to digest big meals as they act like a digestive enzyme and increase the good bacteria in the gut that helps us to digest food and absorb nutrients.
Try having a sparkling water with rosewater, strawberries, mint and a bit of kefir… yum!! It’s fizzy so feels like you’re drinking champagne. Even if just substitute the odd glass of champagne with this, your head and gut will be grateful in the morning!
But mostly, have an amazing time, try not to stress as this can play havoc on the gut no matter what you’re putting into your mouth and is a huge cause of candida regardless of your diet!!
Take time out even for 5 minutes for a stretch or meditation! It’s a full moon so emotions can be high so be kind, breathe and spread the love! 🙂