Eat, drink and be merry! (Merry that is until you’ve eaten too much, you’re belly is bloated and your head is pounding from those oh so sweet holiday cocktails.)
Yes, ‘tis the season of over indulgence and we’ve all suffered the holiday-hangover-food-binge blues. But, wouldn’t it be nice to take part in the merry making without wrecking our digestive tracts and feeling toxic overload the morning after?!
I’m a firm believer that we can’t just quit doing things, we must replace them with something else (ideally healthier). So, here are a few things to add in to the holiday cheer that will keep your body truly merry.
1. Drink a glass of water for every glass of alcohol consumed.
All that extra sugar, alcohol and food means your liver, kidneys and digestive organs are working overtime. Drinking more water and staying hydrated will keep these organs (and your brain) functioning optimally, ridding your body of unwanted toxic bi-products. Plus, if you drink a glass of water between each naughty beverage it’s very likely you’ll simply drink and eat less.
2. Put down your fork between bites.
Over eating is so easy to do at holiday parties with so many delicious dishes and tasty morsels (believe me I know), but it also leaves us feeling heavy, lethargic and even boated, constipated or with heartburn. Not the kind of jingle bells I’m looking for. A simple trick to help slow down and listen to when the body has had enough: put down your fork between each bite.
3. Get plenty of sleep.
Since we’ve added more to the digestive workload that means we require more energy for absorption and assimilation of our food. When we sleep energy is available for this work and our body undergoes repair and detoxification. Sleep is clean up time, and adequate rest ensures your digestive organs have time for rest and repair. Lack of sleep also makes us more susceptible to stress, which negatively impacts the digestive system.
4. Exercise and sweat more.
Our skin is our biggest organ and sweating is one of the major ways we remove wastes from our body. So, it only makes sense that if we’re adding more waste to the system we need to increase waste removal to avoid a build up. The build up of waste is what makes us feel bad, sluggish and dull. So sweat it out! Moving more also increases circulation to the digestive organs.
5. Put more salad on your plate.
Back at the party with all the tempting trays of treats. Fill your plate with more salad and there will be less room for the other, not so healthy, stuff. Eating those fiber filled greens will fill you up and reduce your hunger for the cheese filled bacon wrapped something or other, provide you with more nutrients and keep the bowls nice and regular.
6. Chew your food longer and really taste that amazing cookie!
If that sweet pecan ball tastes so wonderful, why rush it? Chew your food longer and really enjoy the flavors. Chewing more keeps you from stuffing your face, and you may get even more pleasure from those baked goods without the guilt.
7. Make it about your friends and family.
All this eating and drinking is really about getting together with people you love and spending quality time with them. Make that the focus over Christmas diner, focus more on the conversations and connections and you may forget to ask for a second helping.
8. Bake your own holiday treats that cut out the crap.
The biggest diet related problems in the Western world come from an over consumption of refined sugar, refined wheat flower, overly processed food and chemical additives. But, these days many people are on to the poisonous tactics of the industrial food system and any number of blogs have amazing recipes for sugar, dairy, gluten and chemical-additive free foods. Bring these treats to the party or office and give yourself and people around you the gift of a healthier alternative.
9. Finish eating at least two hours before bed.
As mentioned before, sleep time is repair and detoxification time, but if we eat and then straight away lay down, it takes longer for the food to get to the stomach. We want gravity to work with the downward flow of digestion, not against it. Eating too close to bed can also cause insomnia, and bad sleep means bad digestion, bad moods and bad times.
10. Take digestive walks, enjoy the fresh air and Christmas lights.
A short walk after a meal and small increase in circulation can really get the metabolism going. This is especially important to do first thing in the morning so that your digestive fire is stoked and burning for the whole day.
Indulge with more awareness and you’ll have a truly happy holiday!
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Editor: Bryonie Wise