The holiday season is about to commence and we all know that means quality time with a few of our favorite things… Family, Friends and FOOD! The fall and winter months are a marathon of eating deliciously decadent meals. And let’s be honest, we look forward to holiday meals all year. What would Thanksgiving be without mounds of creamy mashed potatoes and stuffing yourself stuffed with stuffing. Now, with these indulgences, despite how good it feels to eat them, comes the all too familiar feelings of fatigue, bloating, discomfort and the infamous sugar crash. All these symptoms can also impact your sleep and even your mood. These feelings tend to continue for quite some time after the main event and before we know it we are ringing in the New Year, frantically setting resolutions to “get back on track” or “lose the holiday pounds”, without a plan on how to do so.
Now, with that being said, I am not here to tell you that you can’t or shouldn’t indulge in your favorite holiday treats, but I am here to offer some advice on how to prepare your body and digestive system for the high carb, high sugar feasts ahead of you, as well as some post-holiday regimens that will make those resolutions less of a chore and more of a success!
Before you start cooking for Thanksgiving or start attending those holiday parties, it is a good idea to boost your immune system and strengthen your digestion ahead of time. A great way to do this is to up your supplement game.
Vitamin C- Eating heavy comfort foods and even a few cocktails can lower your immune response, making you more likely to feel run down and get sick. A lowered immune response means more susceptibility to viruses and bacteria, so a good dose of Vitamin C can boost immunity and help protect against harmful bugs you may catch during this season. Vitamin C is an excellent way to prepare for this time of year and keep you feeling your best with all the stress and running around during the holidays. I recommend C-Flav from our Natural Pharmacy at WFH.
Liver support- Speaking of indulgences, a lot of us like to get in the holiday spirit with some spirited beverages. While cocktails are yummy and great for a celebration, the holidays can kick up our alcohol intake more than normal. This increase can put extra stress on the liver and without proper support, you may start feeling less then spirited. A liver supporting supplement can help the liver cleanse more efficiently and reduce the symptoms of a hangover the next day. Our Liver Support at WFH is a perfect option.
Fiber- Adding some extra fiber to your daily routine leading up to the holidays can help get your digestive system ready for what’s to come. Picture fiber as a cleaner for your digestive tract, pushing along build up and helping remove waste. No one loves potty talk so I’ll keep it simple… with all you are about to enjoy, help make it a little bit easier for your system to process and remove it! My personal favorite is Clearly Fiber by DaVinci Labs
Digestive Enzymes- Meet your new best friend. Digestive enzymes are an excellent way to help ease digestive distress ahead of time. Take a digestive enzyme supplement before eating a rich, heavy meal and you’ll notice less bloating, gas, and stomach pain after you eat. Comfort foods just became more comfortable… you can thank me later! At Whole Family we carry a few great options from Integrative Therapeutics- Similase and Similase GFCF
The Big Day:
There are a few things that can be done the day of a big holiday meal or a night of indulgence to help manage all the negative side effects that come along with it. Add some of these recommendations to your daily routine.
Lemon water- The morning of a big holiday meal, start your day with a cup of warm water with 1/2 the juice of a lemon. This cup of zesty citrus helps prepare and flush your digestive system as well as rehydrate the body. You can enjoy a cup of lemon water every morning if you choose to help start your day off right.
Get Moving- If time allows, it is a great idea before and after a holiday meal to get a little exercise in. Now, there’s no need to break a sweat or take an hour-long trip to the gym. Beforehand, try some easy stretches, basic yoga positions and twisting poses to stimulate the GI tract. Even a simple walk after dinner aids in the digestive process and will keep you from feeling that after dinner slump.
Herbal Tea- A cup of hot tea can be both a pre-and post-savior if your tummy needs it. Ginger, peppermint, fennel and anise are just a few of the wonderful herbs that help soothe the stomach if you’re not feeling well. These herbal remedies will also help aid in the digestive process.
Modify Recipes- If you feel like changing things up this year, some simple swaps can be made in your holiday recipes to make them easier to digest. Replacing heavy cream, milk or other dairy based ingredients with a plant based milk like coconut milk is a great option. You will get the same richness in your recipe with this cleaner alternative. For those with gluten intolerance, stuffing can be made with cornbread or quinoa instead of traditional wheat flour based bread for a delicious swap, if I do say so myself. For some unique recipes, click here.
As you’ve conquered every holiday party, family gathering and New Year’s Eve celebration, you may find yourself needing a kick start to get back on track. Cleansing your body is the first step to feeling great in the new year! Check out our Clean 14 Program as well as some other great boosting options.
Juicing- Whether you choose to juice at home or purchase juices from a juice bar, drinking your vitamins and minerals is a great way to heal your gut and balance your body. You can juice for 1, 3 or 5 days to reap the benefits of a jump start type of cleanse. Here is a link to some great juice joints in the area http://www.edibleorlando.com/5-orlando-juice-joints-youll-love/
Clean 14– Here at Whole Family we have an excellent cleanse program that is great to heal digestion, reduce inflammation and help aid in weight loss. This program consists of a powder and 2 supplements as well as a diet plan for 14 days. If you are interested in starting the program, please contact the office to make an appointment with me and we will get you on the way to feeling great!
Food Sensitivity Testing- During the holidays you may have realized that you didn’t just have the typical reactions to food like your other family members. Maybe you felt extremely nauseous, had a skin breakout or rash, your throat felt scratchy or maybe you just felt very tired and grumpy after eating? Symptoms like this may indicate a food intolerance; an antibody response to a particular food group. At Whole Family, we have 2 different food intolerance tests that can be conducted with a simple finger prick or blood draw. In a few weeks, we have your results and can get you started on a new diet plan to improve your quality of life!
If you are interested in learning more about these recommendations or getting started on a program now, contact us at Whole Family Healthcare and schedule an appointment to see me! Let’s take your health to the next level!
Alexa Schmidt, MS, BCN
Nutritionist & Neurotherapist
Whole Family Healthcare