We all know the holidays come with eating a little extra, exercising a little less, and feeling rather uncomfortably full and heavy. Here are some tips for how to make the holidays less of a train wreck to the digestive tract...
-Eat a snack(higher protein) before a holiday party so you are not arriving starving. Then once you arrive, eat slowly so that you can tell when you are 2/3 full and then stop eating (this is where self control comes in). It is good to also drink a full glass of water before you head to a party with adult beverages. We should fill our belly with 1/3 water and 1/3 food and then rest is to be left empty. Try taking smaller samples of lots of the offerings so you can taste more but stuff less. Chew slowly and try to avoid cold beverages with lots of food. The cold drinks slow digestion.
-If you know you will be eating foods that do not agree with you, cut a slice of fresh ginger and sprinkle it with salt and some lime juice and eat it or chew on it. This will start your digestive juices flowing. Another easy option is to pick up some papaya enzymes at the grocery and eat these with the meal. These are usually chewable and do not have a bad taste. They will help you digest your food easier. You can also make a bay leaf tea ( 1/2 tsp crushed bay leaf in hot water for 10 min with a pinch of cardamon) and drink the tea after eating.
-If the damage is done and you get home and get that "not so great tummy feeling" here are some natural ways to help with indigestion:
Chop up a clove of fresh garlic and and a pinch of salt and a pinch of baking soda and eat it. It is quite strong but it truly works (I had done this many a time) or squeeze juice from a 1/4 lime into a cup of warm water and add 1/2 tsp baking soda and drink this quickly. Yoga asanas like twists are great for sparking the digestive fire. You can also lay on your back and squeeze your knees to your chest. Another not so comfortable release after it has been 2 hours since you have eaten is to take a yoga block and place it between your ribs and pelvis and lay on it. (We have done this in my class before). Try to lay here for about 5 minutes.
-Try to take walk or move around after a big meal. You will feel better and rest easier.
-Enjoy each bite and ask yourself if each bite is worth another. Some experts say that after 3-5 bites of something the intial desirable taste of a food diminishes rapidly. So eat and savor a bite and say "Was that so wonderful that I want another bite?" If so then try another if it is not then save the calories for another delicious bite of something else or for later. Whatever you eat, bless it and enjoy it. No sense it spluging and beating yourself up over it all day. Eat mindfully.
-Never forget the cleansing effects of plain water. :)
Happy Holidays and Happy Healthy Eating!