Optimizing Holiday Digestion

Optimizing Holiday Digestion

By Dr. Teri Jaklin ND, IFMCP

Have you ever eaten something you regretted over the holidays? or maybe thought – “why did I eat so much?” Any holiday provides enough temptation to affect even the best digestion. So, here are a five tips to optimize your digestion so that the fall off the wagon won’t have such a hard landing.

Include ‘bitter foods’ as appetizers. Green olives, sesame seeds, radishes and raw cruciferous veggies like cauliflower and broccoli served with a healthy dip are all considered ‘bitter’ and it’s that the bitter flavor on the taste buds of your tongue that sparks up the digestive cascade beginning with gastric acid secretion!

Help digestion with aids like a teaspoon of raw apple cider vinegar or digestive enzymes. Getting digestive help when needed helps to ensure foods, especially more aggravating ones like gluten and dairy, are broken down enough that they don’t create sensitivities or cause other GI problems like SIBO. A couple of capsules of a good digestive enzyme before or with a meal may be just what is needed to fully digest a large meal.

Relax when you eat. Digestion begins in the head! The sights and smells are the first message to your digestive system that something good is on the way. Pause, take a deep breath, give thanks and enjoy your meal chewing slowly and completely.

Add Fermented Foods

Enzymes play a huge role in breaking down food. A single beneficial bacterium (like the ones in your gut) can produce over 100 different enzymes to assist in healthy digestion. Water kefir, coconut/almond yogurt or pickled veggies are easy to prepare and make a big contribution.

Carminative Herbs for Digestion

As an aperitif (before dinner) or digestif (after dinner), sip on some bitters or peppermint, ginger or fennel tea to support digestion. They will work to regulate small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), and help with any gas that’s formed in the intestines after your meal. Try our Rest & Digest Bitters – 1-3 tsps before and/or after meals as a shot, sip or in hot water as a tea.

In the end I encourage you to stay as true to your healthy diet as possible, help it along with some of these tips and remember when all is said and done, and you still need some relief there’s always your castor oil pack!