Holidays mean late nights filled with parties, and of course, food! It's easy to stray from your usual healthy diet during any holiday, which can leave you feeling bloated and sluggish.
Here are some simple tips and recipes that will help you beat the bloat.
What not to eat:
1 - Excessive amounts of liquids while eating. When you think of bloating it's easy to just focus on foods. But what and how you're drinking can have a big impact as well!
Don't consume large amounts of water and liquids when you are eating! They will impede the digestive process by diluting gastric juices, such as your HCI. You also dilute the digestive enzymes your body needs for the effective digestion of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. You will definitely feel bloated!
So just sip on water and other liquids at meals, but no chugging.
Hydrate between meals- at least 30 minutes before, and wait at least 45 minutes after eating to start drinking large amounts of liquids.
Avoid soda. If you are going to be eating some favorite treats over the holidays (which is okay to indulge in occasionally) you don't need to top it all off with soda. Soda is one of the worst culprits of bloating. Not only does it create an acidic metabolic state in your body, but it's loaded with chemicals and contains HFCS (regular soda), or artificial sweeteners (diet soda). Both have been shown to cause weight problems.
Carbonated soft drinks have air bubbles that travel to the stomach and release carbon dioxide within the digestive tract, creating an uncomfortable bloating sensation.
On top of all that, excessive caffeine can cause belly bloat.
2 - Hard to Digest Foods. Anything that is hard to digest will leave you feeling bloated, plain and simple.
Dairy is known to particularly cause bloating since it lacks all its enzymes and is one of the hardest foods most people can digest. So avoid it or cut back altogether.
3- Strictly monitor your salt intake. Avoid all table salt, and avoid processed foods that contain table salt.
Table salt is really de-natured sodium chloride salt. Table salt is dead, kiln-dried, highly processed, and will also create "false fat", making you look bloated and up to 9 pounds heavier than you truly weigh. Throw out your salt shakers, and avoid processed foods that contain it. Small amounts of high-quality sea salt can be used in strict moderation when a salty flavor is desired.
I've been using a lot of herbs, as well as cayenne and black pepper lately, and not really using any straight salt at all.
What to eat:
1 - Cranberry. Cranberry juice can also act as a de-bloating agent.
Cranberry acts as a natural diuretic by flushing excessive fluids out of your body.
Since you may inadvertently consume more sodium than usual during the holiday season, keep concentrated cranberry on hand (not sugar-filled Cranberry Cocktail!), and pour into a glass fresh water with some stevia to drink in the evenings.
2 - A Good-for-you Refreshing Drink. Just because you're avoiding soda, it doesn't mean that you can't add something equally refreshing to your day, that won't leave you feeling bloated.
Try some Rooibos Tea with fresh mint or couple drops of peppermint essential ol added in, which is high in antioxidants and flavonoids, which also helps to promote youthfulness and great skin. Mint is great for promoting better digestion. Using mint, you can also blend yourself a green smoothie when wanting something cooler.
3 - Raw Apple Vinegar Cider. Add some raw apple cider vinegar to your diet. This will help promote optimal digestion and encourages the growth of healthy bacteria in our bodies.
It's extremely high in minerals and potassium, which promotes cellular cleansing. It also has antiseptic qualities that can help cleanse your digestive tract, and promote bowel movements to rid your body of waste!
Since you only need 1 tablespoon a day to prevent bloating, it is easy to incorporate into your diet. Just replace other vinegar's you currently use in your salad dressing with it.
Oh, and be sure to eat that fiber-filled big salad first, with raw apple cider vinegar in the dressing, which will help to naturally balance portion size of heavier foods that follow (one okay, two, alrighty, this time of year. But you don't really need that third portion of grandma's mashed potatoes do you?).
The 5 Best Essential Oils for Digestion
If you suffer from digestive upset, essential oils may provide some relief! Start with these 5 essential oils for better digestive health:
1 - Ginger. Warm and spicy, this fragrant oil is derived from a rhizome (root). The root itself has been used in kitchens all over the world for centuries for its ability to reduce symptoms of common stomach upset including nausea, bloating and gas. Also known to stimulate digestion, soothe and comfort.
2 - Tarragon. The unique abilities of tarragon oil include lubricating the intestinal walls to support the digestive process. Able to promote digestion and absorption of nutrients, it is also involved in the elimination of toxins. Also provides powerful anti-fungal properties to help keep intestinal parasites away.
3 - Peppermint. One of the most well-recognized and widely used essential oils for digestion. Peppermint is wonderfully fragrant, stimulating and refreshing. Also, a potent oil that effectively eases common nausea, indigestion, and gas and stimulates the digestive process.
4 - Clove. Soothing and comforting to the entire digestive system, clove oil is known to reduce inflammation within the intestinal lining. This may help to relieve stomach upset. Also alleviates discomforts by relaxing smooth muscle tissues of the digestive tract to relieve spasms, nausea, gas and bloating. One unique compound called eugenol, found in clove oil is known to effectively treat yeast infections and candida (intestinal parasite) overgrowth.
5 - Oil or Oregano. One of the most powerful essential oils for digestion. This oil contains potent antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-parasitic healing compounds that rival over-the-counter remedies for maintaining a healthy digestive tract. Able to kill off pathogenic gut bacteria that live in the digestive system, oil of oregano is best when used only during times of distress to get regular digestion back on track.
How Essential Oils Work to Soothe Digestive Upset
Essential oils contain plant-based chemical constituents responsible for the powerful healing benefits. Those compounds trigger a response in your nervous system, sending signals to your brain. These signals can include calming and soothing the intestinal tract or stimulating digestion by encouraging parasympathetic activity. Each oil is different, but just a few drops of any essential oil makes a BIG impact.
There are 2 ways to use essential oils to support a healthy digestive system:
1 - Aromatically. When used in your essential oil diffuser, the vapors carry active chemical molecules into your body through the nose. They stimulate the olfactory nerve, located in the nasal cavity. This nerve contains fibers that send signals directly to your central nervous system - the system by which digestion is governed.
2 - Topically. Your skin absorbs everything that you put on it. When applied as a rub, lotion or in massage the active compounds found in essential oils enter your bloodstream to support the digestive system.
Digestive Massage Instructions: Starting at the belly button, apply the oil and then gently massage into the skin using an upward circular motion (apply gentle pressure with the pads of your fingertips, circling to the right). This can also be done in the back, over the liver and stomach. Remember to always dilute essential oils in coconut or sweet almond oil.
NOTE: Please do not use any essential oils for stomach upset or any other health problem without first consulting your health care provider.