Holiday parties and food can really lead to digestive nightmares as we overindulge in food that we normally do not eat. Or, we eat too much – after all, it is the holidays, right?
Appetizer parties and cookies often replace normal meals. And pretty soon we are in the bathroom more than we like to be. Or, we have overindulged with a rich meal followed by a heavy dessert. Then comes the bloat, gas, heartburn, and diarrhea.
How do Holiday Meals and Parties Lead to Poor Digestion?
First, we tend to eat food that is overly rich in fat and sugar. Which is in all of those Christmas and Holiday cookies, baked goods and desserts. Not to mention that ham, meat, gravy, fried foods, and mashed potatoes. All rich in saturated fats which are harder to digest.
And, what do not eat during the holidays – foods high in healthy fiber, vegetables, and healthy fats. We also tend to not consume enough water. As we overindulge in wine, beer, punch, or sweetened party drinks. Or, for some of us we drink too much coffee – ugh!
So How Can You Avoid the Common Digestive Woes This Holiday?
Make Sure to Drink Plenty of Water
If there is one that that will help out with GERD, bloat and constipation are making sure you are drinking enough water. With the stress of the holidays and the party food, we tend to forget to drink water and that can lead to digestive issues.
Make sure the water that you are drinking is filtered and drink between meals. Drinking too much water during a meal can actually slow digestion down as it reduces stomach acid which is crucial for breaking down our food.
How Can You Avoid Heartburn During the Holidays?
One of the major causes of heartburn or GERD is meals heavy in fat and sugar. Holidays meals with heavy desserts are the perfect recipe for heartburn. Heartburn is also a sign of food intolerance and hormonal imbalances.
So how can you avoid GERD this holiday?
- Avoid lying down after a heavy meal.
- Make sure you are drinking enough water between meals.
- Limit the usual suspects like dark chocolate and red wine.
- Watch foods that are high in histamines like wine, preserved meats, and fermented foods.
- Make sure that you eating vegetables with your meals as this will actually help to reduce heartburn. We tend to forget the veggies like kale salad during the holidays.
- Limit stress by saying, “NO” once in a while.
But, if you are struggling with heartburn, I like to recommend Alka-Seltzer Gold as it does not contain aspirin or any other NSAIDs.
Don’t Skip on Fiber-Rich Foods
Don’t skip on healthy fiber or everything will slow down and this can lead to constipation. Add in healthy fruits like apples, kiwi, and berries. Make sure to always get some root vegetables like beets for additional fiber. Load up on salads at that potluck instead of rolls and bread.
Add color to your plate with vegetables and fruits. This can be difficult in some cases – at my last holiday meal, everything was white, beige, and brown except for the asparagus. So I loaded up on the asparagus.
Still, Struggling with Digestion After the Holidays?
After the holidays and we get back to normal eating, most digestive conditions resolve themselves. But if you are still struggling with IBS, heartburn or gas and bloat then it might be time to try something different.
One of the causes of digestive conditions is hormonal imbalances which can also lead to food intolerances. This makes things worse and creates a vicious cycle.
Both estrogen and thyroid can become imbalanced leading to heartburn, constipation, diarrhea, bloat, and gas. This also can eventually lead to disruption in our microbiome – our healthy bacteria garden.
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Eileen Schutte, MS, CN, FMN – One of my biggest passions is to help clients overcome autoimmune skin conditions like psoriasis, naturally. My other passion is nutrigenomics, speaking to your genes through nutrition, and providing a truly personalized nutrition approach. I hold a master's degree in functional nutrition from the University of Bridgeport, Connecticut graduating Summa Cum Laude. After completing my masters I went on to get my certification in functional nutrition medicine, and am a Certified LEAP Therapist (food sensitivities program).