My family left this morning after 4 days of pure Christmas excess. It was sinfully delicious but OMG -- I don't know if I'll be hungry until 2017. I wake up and I'm not hungry. And then at bedtime, I still feel like I'm digesting dinner.
The problem of course is that New Year's Eve looms with the expectation of more alcoholic and gastronomic abandon. And just the thought of having to wear spanks with my NYE outfit upsets me because - truth be told - they give me gas.
Why can't I be a sensible nutritionist and do things like portion control and skip dessert?
Because I too am a mere mortal and enjoy coupling laughter with wine & good food. So from one mere mortal to another - here is a realistic plan that even gluttons can use to thrive and not just survive the holiday season.
DRINK WARM WATER ONLY THROUGHOUT THE DAY
Why warm? Cold fluids exhaust our digestive system and slow down digestion. Our stomach actually needs to be warm in order to digest food and facilitate the production of enzymes that help with digestion. If our stomach is too cold to digest efficiently, then the food mass will just sit there for far too long, causing smelly gases, bloating and indigestion.
Traditional Chinese Medicine also says that if our stomach gets too cold, then it won't be able to supply our kidneys with the much needed warmth they need to function. That is bad news for anyone struggling with slow thyroid function, water retention, detoxification and blood pressure regulation. Plus, our kidneys house our "life force" - that essence which is essential for healthy ageing.
I like to start off the day by drinking 500 mls of warm water with lemon. That warms me right up, hydrates my bowels, wakes up my liver and helps me keep my morning poop date.
GO VEGGIE FOR ONE MEAL A DAY
Big family celebrations inevitably mean that your plate is going to be filled with succulent seafood, juicy lamb & turkey, velvety mash, stuffing and not much by way of veggies. Plus, let's not forget the gingerbread biscuits, nougat, chocolate truffles and festive log cakes. As a result, it's hard to keep regular. And even when you feel like going to the toilet, it's a hard squeeze and strain to release even a little pellet!
Now that you've got a few days off, how about opting for a veggie meal - and when I say veggie, I don't mean a tomato sandwich. I mean, a big hearty veggie casserole. I am rekindling my love affair with Angela Liddon's Oh She Glows cookbook and the glutton in me is LOVING her rich and creamy Life Affirming Nacho Dip. We love to serve this with a side of green beans and some baked sweet potato chips.
Thank you Angela for re-inventing this classic comfort food dish! Having all those awesome flavours in one satisfying dish also helps massively to curb those post celebration cravings for rich food and sugar.
N.B. We make the Dip without nutritional yeast and it tastes perfectly delicious.
POWER YOUR COLON WITH TRIPHALA
Whilst we're confessing gluttonous sins, I feel like I have to share that I fell in love with Fortnum & Mason's Stilton cheese this Christmas. Damn the British luxury goods purveyor for infiltrating this mucous-ridden dairy deliciousness into our healthy home! That tangy, creamy smooth finish on the palate is all I can think about. Who cares about the gas and indigestion!
Whilst that devilish temptation is in my home, I'm enlisting the power of a traditional Ayurvedic herbal formula called Triphala. This stuff is amazing! It tones the bowel and is designed to restore the muscular function of the intestinal wall. Basically, it naturally sloughs off old digestive mucus from the gut, supports intestinal repair & strengthens the intestinal muscles so that they contract more efficiently. Better peristalsis means easier, smoother poops.
If you do your own research on triphala, you'll see that it's also recommended for constipation. But don't confuse triphala for a laxative. It is not an irritating, habit forming herbal formula.
The added benefit of triphala for those of us indulging in a bit more alcohol than usual this holiday season, is that it helps removes toxins from the liver and gently stimulates bile production. This is great news for anyone with mucous in the stool or those of us with a tendency for floating poops. Floating poops are symptomatic of an inability of our body to digest the fats in our food. Undigested fats cause poops to float.
I really like the capsules from Organic India sold on iherb.com and amazon.com.
Enjoy your wonderful celebrations with friends and family! That joy and laughter also builds health and wellness. But these simple tricks can also help make that joy even greater!
Cristina Tahoces is a holistic nutritionist and owner of Thrive Nutrition Practice. Need help to stay regular and improve digestion? Contact her now.
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