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Health Tips for the Christmas Holidays

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Healthy Christmas Holiday Tips

It’s a busy, holy jolly time of year and most of us are looking forward to seeing our family, friends, having an extra long holiday, a glass (or several) of red wine and best of all the yummy food we know we can count on! But before we dig right in and indulge in that ‘all-you-can-eat-buffet’ we should think about what we are actually doing first. I’m not suggesting that you starve yourself or deprive yourself from enjoying your food or even your drinks, I’m just asking you to be mindful about the food and drink you choose to put into your body this weekend for some darn good reasons. Being mindful is all about being prepared.

It’s really easy to over burden your digestive system with a multitude of different foods all at once causing bloating, gas and often indigestion, all symptoms of which are highly toxic reactions that put extra stress on your liver and digestive organs. Based on food combining research our digestive systems are designed to digest simple meals the best. That means that the fewer different types of foods we combine together in our stomach during a meal – the better it will digest and the less discomfort we will have. Your Christmas meals should make you feel energized and nourished – not feeling bloated, fatigued and ill. You can’t expect your body to digest and metabolize an unrealistic amount of foods without a huge strain on your body. Especially when combining slow digesting foods with fast digesting foods. Basically, meats and high protein foods are slow digesting foods and when they are mixed with fast digesting foods like sweets (in the form of delicious desserts or tasty beverages) it often causes undigested proteins to putrefy and create a toxic and gassy intestinal environment leading to bloating, gas, possibly even diarrhea or other uncomfortable digestive problems. The worst of it is when that happens - you are not getting the nutrients from those foods and instead your body is using up energy in dealing with the unnecessary toxicity caused by combining the wrong foods together in too short of time. Now if you’re like me – you’re gonna bend those rules a bit over the holidays, but the good news is that there are some shortcuts that can save your guts while still allowing you to enjoy without the nasty symtoms. So be prepared with some guidelines, so here’s what I do;

  • I use a digestive enzyme supplement with those large meals. This will aid in the breakdown of my food and reduce all of those potentially nasty symptoms you get from over-eating. My favorite is Digest Best because it has lots of protein digestive enzymes which are great for when I eat extra meat…and I love meat!
  • Wait at least 1 hour between the meal and dessert. Yes, that’s right dessert! Special occasions call for dessert, but only special occasions. My mom makes absolutely irresistible pies. By waiting at least an hour you give your stomach acid (and your enzymes) time to digest your meal prior to eating something with sugar. Sugars should never be consumed immediately following a protein rich meal. That brings me to my next point…
  • No sweet drinks during or after meals. Only bitter drinks such as wine or herbal tea, which can be an aid in digestion. Sweet beverages cause fermentation and putrefaction with undigested proteins which is just bad news!
  • Use a high quality probiotic supplement to keep you gut bacteria in check. This will help to reduce gas and bloating. There are many different probiotic products on the market, but trust me - using a high quality product pays off. A few of my suggestions to excellent quality probiotics are; HMF IBS Relief, HMF Intensive, Flora Adult Probiotics or Flora Seniors Probiotic. 

It’s important to set your intention this for the holidays and eat with purpose. Try to eat and serve food that has a story behind it and is nutrient dense. The best way to do that is by purchasing some of your food from local farms and local food producers. Focus on what the holidays are really about and enjoying it surrounded by family and friends. Let’s enjoy the foods for what they are, why they are here and be thankful for who grew and produced them for us to enjoy! 

Here are my Healthy Eating Tips for Your Christmas Holidays:

  • Don’t go to Christmas dinner starving! You will eat faster and you will eat more when you’re hungry. Be sure to have a nourishing breakfast and lunch. This will help you to avoid overeating at dinner.
  • Don’t eat EVERYTHING! The more different types of foods that you combine in your stomach during your meal – the more strain it has on your digestive system.
  • Try to pick only a few foods to fill your plate. Make sure you look at the food choices available to you and ensure that 1/2 of your plate is veggies!
  • Pay attention to your portion size. Choose 1 or 2 side dishes you are looking forward to and again moderation is key!
  • Don’t overindulge in bread and pastry (they increase blood sugar and can result in bloating)
  • Eat slowly, mindfully and STOP when you are full. Your body will let you know when it’s had enough so pay attention!
  • Since you can’t always control the ingredients that go into a dish, choose carefully and keep your portions smaller. 
  • Drink plenty of water leading up to your meal with stop about ½ hour before to allow you digestive juices to accumulate without being diluted by water.
  • Limit alcohol and caffeine as they dehydrate you.
  • Don’t pile your plate, choose foods you truly enjoy 
  • Eat your calories and don’t drink them! For example, beer, sugary punches, commercial juice cocktails. Stick to water or some red wine and herbal tea if you need a beverage during a meal.
  • Make sure you don’t eat right before going to bed; this will stress out your liver, destroy your ability to have a good sleep and can lead to lots of extra weight gain.
  • Enjoy your food - Especially if it’s homemade
  • Taste your food! Food is awesome and it makes life possible…just make sure it’s actually real food and not a bunch of fake ingredients.
  • Avoid Tums, Rolaids or any ant-acids as they reduce stomach acid which inhibits food breakdown and digestion, which leads to more bloating and intestinal toxicity. 
  • Use a quality digestive enzyme supplement when eating larger meals, when eating desserts and when combining meals with more than 1 cup of a beverage of any kind. 

If you have any questions or would like more information about digestive troubles and how to get to the solutions you need to address the root cause of digestive troubles you can drop by Health Street and have a chat with me, you can email me directly at rick@healthstreet.ca or you can book a nutritional consultation by calling Health Street Wellness Phone: 403-507-4488. Have a very Merry Christmas and a very joyful holiday season!


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