• Jaclyn Casiero

How to Avoid Dreaded Holiday Digestive Upset

We’re in the thick of the holiday season. With Christmas parties happening almost every weekend, festive cocktails circling us and food overload all around us, it’s easy to get wrapped up in over-indulging in rich foods and drinks. Big turkey dinner, cookies and eggnog … oh my! Now, it may be the most wonderful time of year, but it may actually be a grueling time of the year for those who suffer from tummy troubles. Listen - I get it! It’s hard trying to eat healthy when your surrounded by your favorite holiday foods. From cheesy appetizers to lavish dinners and finally topping it all off with the dessert table of cookies, cheesecakes, brownies, the list goes on. So here’s the thing, I'm not telling you not to have your favorites, but there are ways of having your taste indulgences and not overdoing it, so your digestive system doesn't feel like the Grinch that stole Christmas.

Eat your favourtie holiday foods without digestive upset.

Here’s some practical advice to put comfort and joy back into your celebrations, without the heartburn, upset stomach, and/or constipation.

Eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly. This is the first and single most important thing to remember when you take your first bite into that creamy, hard crusted appetizer. Digestion starts in the mouth. Simply slowing down your meal may also help you to savor your food. Did you know that you can reduce bloating simply by chewing your food slowly? When you overeat, it's very common to become bloated and uncomfortable, which makes you feel sluggish and tired quite quickly.

Avoid large portions. It’s anywhere you go, whether you're out for dinner at a restaurant or you’re at someone’s house. What’s worked for me is dividing up my plate in half or in portions and take half your lunch or dinner home for leftovers. I like to think of it as a 2-4-1 deal. From a digestive perspective though, It’s simple. The more food you ram down your mouth, the more full you’ll get, and the more pressure you’ll put on your esophageal sphincter. This is the muscle that keeps your food down in the stomach - where it belongs. When there is too much food in your stomach this causes your food to come back up which creates heartburn. Digestion is ultimately slowed down because there is too much food to breakdown, which can also lead to a stomach-ache.

Go for the greens. Start your day with a loaded green shake, and include fiber containing vegetables and fruits like collard greens, kale, broccoli, avocado, apples, pears, oranges, etc. This will set the tone for your day, and provide you with the fiber you need to prevent constipation throughout the day. At holiday gatherings, try to fill your plate up with mostly vegetables. Remember to drink lots of water throughout the day. Moving on.

Stay hydrated. Drink lots of water! Period. This is another simple tactic to remember when wining and dining during the holidays. Have your drink, but remember when you consume lots of alcohol your body loses control, and increases your ability to make bad food choices. When you make bad food choices, and overindulge in rich foods this can lead to acid reflux, and GI (gastrointestinal) irritation. Keep it safe and drink water. It's a huge contributor for a normal working bowel. Water and other liquids help break down food so that your body can absorb the nutrients. Water also softens stool, which helps prevent constipation.

Make a move. After you've eaten a heavy meal, five cookies plus two glasses of wine. Get moving. Even a short quick walk after a meal can help stimulate digestion, relieve bloating and gassiness. Most people will head to the couch - well that’s the wrong thing to do peeps. When you lie down after a heavy meal and you’ve had a few glasses of alcohol, it's very common to experience heartburn, and indigestion upset. Food needs to go down the pipe, but when you lie down your food is almost forced the opposite way, which again will lead to heartburn and acid reflux. The more you move, the less stress you put on your digestive system. Let’s face it, exercise is an all round fantastic way of busting digestive stress. Speaking of stress, let’s dive in.

Bust-Stress! Still looking for that special gift for someone? Worried about keeping your house clean, or what’s on the menu for Christmas dinner? Let’s take a deeper look at what happens to digestion when we’re stressed. When our body is stressed, our heart rate increases, muscles become tense, and regular blood flow is shunned away from our gut. When blood flow is not prominent, muscles work less vigorously, digestive enzymes are less, and the transit of food is in slow motion. This leads to constipation, bloating and gassiness. This is not good! Look for ways to limit your stress during the holidays.

Here are a few simple ways to bust-stress:

  • Try to plan ahead

  • Make lists

  • Sleep better

  • Walk away from worry

  • Learn to say No!!!

  • Lastly, do less and enjoy more.

Tip: Keep calm and sip some tea.
Some herbs contain medicinal properties, and are traditionally used to help ease digestion, such as peppermint, ginger, cinnamon, fennel, and caraway. In my option, it's the perfect excuse to sip some delicious peppermint tea after your meal! However, if you’re suffering from heartburn, avoid the mint tea, as mint can worsen heartburn.

The holidays are not suppose to be stressful for you or your gut. For most people, it is normal to suffer from the occasional stomach ache, or heartburn during the holiday season, don’t stress out! Being mindful, and making smart food choices, is the best way to keep your gut healthy this holiday season.

If your symptoms are severe or ongoing, it may be time to schedule an appointment with Jaclyn Casiero Nutrition. With my Holistic Overall program I will help you reduce Inflammation, overcome food intolerances and help heal and restore your microbiome within your gut. Find out what foods relate to conditions such as heartburn, indigestion, and other abdominal pain. Reduce skin conditions, such as psoriasis, eczema, acne and dry, flaky skin. With so many internal conditions impairing our ‘pipes’, we will work together to help overcome the various conditions that relate to your main health concern.

If you feel any of these systems, this is the package for you. You can book this program with me by directly emailing me at Today.

In health and happiness,

Jaclyn Xo