There is a table full of delicious, festive indulgent food. It feels awfully naughty, but we give in, willingly. It’s the holiday season after all, it’s been a long year, and we want to enjoy ourselves and feast. But how do we avoid feeling stuffed like a turkey and as bloated as Santa.
Here are my naturopathic health tips to prevent and treat post-holiday bloat:
1. Take enzymes combined with Betaine HCl to digest your food with ease. Take one before or with each meal 3 times a day.
2. Drink digestive bitters and carminative teas. Bitters work by enhancing the whole upper digestive function and improve the assimilation of nutrients, relieve wind and discomfort. Chamomile, cinnamon, aniseed, cardamom, fennel seed, dandelion root, ginger root and clove are your best bet and easy to come by. Drink a couple of cups before or in between meals. Steep for 5-7 minutes to extract their therapeutic goodness.
3. Chew food slowly. This helps digestion and may lead to less food consumption.
4. Take the load off your digestive system, post holiday festivities, by implementing a “Vegetable juice, broth and herbal tea fast”. Herbal teas aid digestion, absorption and cleanse the bowels. Vegetable juices systemically cleanse and offer easily digested nutrition. Broth heals and nourishes the mind and body. Avoid fasting if you are taking medication or ask your health practitioner whether this fast is suited to you. I recommend implementing this fast for 2-3 days.
Celery (include the leaves), carrot, cucumber (keep the skin on), lettuce and beetroot juices are low in sugar, high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Choose organic or chemical free vegetables. The addition of herbs and spices add more nutrition as well as diuretic, anti-inflammatory and detoxifying properties. The best kinds are parsley and coriander (include the stalks), ginger root, lemon or limes with the skin, turmeric root and chili. Blend 2 vegetables at one time to obtain enough nutrition and health benefits of each kind. Avoid juicing spinach, silver beet and beet leaves if you are low in iron and minerals generally as the oxalates bind to them. Avoid juicing raw kale and the brassica family if you are low in iodine as they contain goitrogens, which interfere with the uptake of iodine. Drink four glasses of juice combined with herbs & spices per day.
Broth made from bone stock, vegetables, herbs, spices and seaweed helps heal your gut and promotes healthy digestion. It helps ward off infection, reduces joint pain and inflammation due the minerals, chondroitin sulphates, glucosamine, and other compounds extracted from the boiled down cartilage. Broth also promotes strong, healthy bones, hair and nails. Learn how to make broths here. Drink four mugs of broth with the addition of herbs & spices per day.
Drink bitter and soothing carminatives herbal teas before or in between each meal 3 -4 times a day. Choose from the herbal teas listed above.
5. Walk after each meal to aid digestion and give yourself a break from eating. Walking is also a great way to connect with self and regroup or connect and catch up with loved ones whilst burning off those excess calories.