It’s not just in your head.
Between the stress (so tough on digestion), the large portions, the change in routine, and the less than healthy food, our digestion takes a serious hit during the holidays.
And this digestive disruption and change in routine isn’t just uncomfortable, it can be bad for the waist line. Most Americans gain between 1-7 lbs during the holiday season that they never lose. Eek!
With most American’s getting 10 grams of fiber a day, this may feel like a stretch. But getting in 30 grams of fiber is not only the best thing to keep your bowels moving, it’s also an indicator that you will live longer.
If you are someone that gets a lot less than that 30 grams a day currently, start slow. Check out this blog post about prebiotics and how to gradually increase your intake.
But if you are someone that already gets a good amount of fiber, be really consistent with 30 grams leading up to the holidays and following the holidays. This will keep your gut healthy and your bowels moving.
Not sure how to get to 30 grams? Try this:
Our bowels need help moving south. If we do more sitting than moving, they get a little stuck. So get up and move to help them out.
The day before, day of (if you can), and day after, make sure to get in at least 30 minutes of exercise. It could be a workout class, a run, yoga, hike, or old fashioned game of football on Turkey Day. Make sure you are moving. Even a good walk before or after dinner helps get your food moving in the right direction.
Ok, if you’ve been around here for a while, you might be tired of hearing it, but i’m going to say it again- drink your morning lemon water!
So good for supporting your liver’s detoxing process, warming up your insides, and getting your digestion fired up. Plus you will get a nice boost of vitamin C- perfect for being around a group of people!
How to do it: Warm up 1-1.5 cups of water and combine it with the juice of half a real lemon. Sip it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach and see how it supports your bowels!
It’s always important to chew food well, but particularly when you are eating larger meals, as is typical around the holidays. Larger meals filled with different macronutrients are much harder for our bodies to digest.
If you chew your food well, it will break down the food better and give the food more digestive enzymes from your saliva. The more digestive enzymes you have on your food, the easier time your body has to digest the food. You will also be breaking the food down so that nutrients are more readily available for your intestines to absorb, further supporting digestive and gut health.
The goal: Chew each bite of food 30x or until liquified at the big meals. Take your time, enjoy the company, and chew slowly. You might also find that slowing down your meal keeps you from getting seconds (or thirds) because you will become fuller faster!
When our body is stressed our digestion shuts down. Our hormones are pumping because we are in fight or flight mode. Digestion needs to stop while in fight or flight mode so we can react to the stressor without pooping ourselves. However, if our stressor is just making sure to cook the turkey long enough while dealing with family drama, our body still recognizes it as a stressor and holds up your digestion. This leads to bloating, constipation, and weight gain.
The holidays are synonymous with stress, but do what you can to manage it to keep your digestion moving (and so you can enjoy yourself!). Schedule in meditation, baths, deep breathing, exercise, journaling, time outside, or even time to call someone that makes you feel grounded and happy. Prioritize your self care, even if it’s only for 5 minutes a day the week of the holiday. It can make a huge difference on your stress and digestion.
I hope these tips help you during the holiday season so that it is free of bloating and full of healthy digestion that makes you feel good.
Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season!