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Even when people try to eat a healthy Thanksgiving meal, overindulgence becomes part of the holiday ritual.
What happens when we eat too much?
Our digestive tracts can become overburdened. When this happens, oftentimes food doesn’t move quickly enough through the intestines and it ferments.
Bacteria and other microorganisms feed on stagnant food and generate gases. Other repercussions of undigested food in the digestive tract are heartburn, bloating, congested sinuses, fatigue, sleepiness, lethargy, grogginess, brain fog, or sore joints.
While there are many wonderful treats during the holiday season, here are some tips to allow you to enjoy food while keeping your digestive system healthy and your immune system strong!
1. Think Delicious AND Healthy We often think delicious means unhealthy. Not true. I often wait to see if people compliment a meal I serve before telling them it is gluten-free. Or that desserts are sugar-free. There are tons of resources online. If you would like a Body Ecology approach to Thanksgiving, you can download an entire holiday menu with recipes and a shopping list from the Body Ecology website.
2. The 80/20 Principle. Make sure your plate is 80% vegetables and 20% grains or protein. When you food combine properly, your digestive tract has an easier time breaking everything down.
3. Stop and Digest It often takes a little time, some say 20 minutes, until the brain receives signals from the stomach that you are full. Eat until you are 80% full. Then rest. If you are still hungry in 20 minutes, you can eat a little more. Do not EVER eat until you feel stuffed!
4. Eat Healthy Sweets By Themselves I usually recommend something naturally sweet, like berries, but over the holidays I know people have a harder time staying away from treats. So, if you’re going to cheat, make it a healthy treat. Body Ecology’s website has suggestions for sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free recipes and chocolates.
5. Probiotic Beverages and Fermented Vegetables Probiotics and the active enzymes in probiotic beverages and fermented vegetables will assist in the digestion of food and help off-set undigested food that may be fermenting in the intestines.
6. Enzymes I keep a small bottle of digestive enzymes in my purse at all times. Over the holidays, I find myself handing them out to everyone in my family. Supporting the digestion in the stomach and small intestine is crucial to surviving a rich meal!
7. Be Grateful As you prepare for the holiday season, remember how blessed and rich your own life is. Look around you, and realize how much opportunity and greatness surrounds you and others.
You may find that these simple moments of gratitude actually take away your desire to eat more than you can handle during family festivities.
Have a Happy and HEALTHY Thanksgiving!!
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