It's Christmas time and keeping your gut health doesn't have to be difficult, especially on Christmas day when historically it may have taken a bit of a beating.
You've been sticking to a nice healthy diet. Your health is good, you may have even lost a bit of weight recently. Or perhaps you have sworn off sugar and are super proud of yourself. But now there is Christmas just around the corner. All that sugar ladened food. Eating till you can't move then suffering that night and all the next day. What can you do to limit the damage?
These are my tips and YES organisation is a key part of keeping healthy.
Tackle the Stress First
Stress is the number one bad boy for your gut health. I've talked about it a lot in posts on this site. Pain, bloating, and even nausea are not something you want to be experiencing at this time of year so be organised to help keep the stress to a minimum.
If you want to know more about how stress can affect your digestion and health read this post first.
Ideas for what you can do to be prepared:
- Do as much prep as you can the day before.
- List everything you need and check the day before so there is no last-minute dash to find the only shop that is open.
- Make a food preparation list the night before.
- Cut vegetables up ahead of time.
- Put your meat into the roasting dish and put in the fridge ready to take out first thing in the morning to bring to room temp.
- If you are having a special breakfast prepare it the night before.
- If you can, prepare your dessert the day before.
- Have snacks ready to go.
You will get up on Christmas Day and just enjoy the day knowing that all the prep is done. I remember my mum running around like a headless chook on the morning of Christmas day and certainly not being open to queries from young ones on when the presents could be opened.
Watch your alcohol intake over the day. Help to counteract its effects as much as possible by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Make sure to have non-alcoholic alternatives on hand for yourself and others that may not be drinking.
Beware of anything that may contain trans fats. They have no known health benefits and that there is no safe level of consumption. Unfortunately in Australia, they are not yet banned and there is no legal requirement to include them on the label. As a general rule, they are found in fast food, cookies and cakes all things we would avoid for good health anyway.
Try sweet potato or pumpkin instead of potato. Fill up on plenty of vegetables and cut the fat of meat or eat a lean cut.
Slow It Down
Eat mindfully and chew properly. Savour each mouthful. Give your brain time to know when it is full so you don’t overeat. Don’t forget to leave room for dessert!
Cut The Sugar
Cut down on as much sugar as possible especially in your dessert. Sugar is the enemy of gut health and the good bacteria that keeps everything moving. The more you eat the less balanced your gut and the more chance you have of bloat and poor digestion.
Use dates, rice malt syrup or a little stevia as the sweeteners. There are many beautiful recipes using these ingredients on Pinterest.
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As with any health regime
it is standard to include exercise. When you start exercising, the thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate the body’s temperature, heart rate and blood pressure. The pituitary gland releases human growth hormone while exercising, which tells the body to increase bone, muscle and tissue production.
Your take-home – eat healthily and exercise regularly.
So what happens when these hormones get themselves out of balance?
Go for a walk after lunch to help you digest your food. Get the whole family involved and maybe stop in the park for a bit of play.
Most importantly have a happy, gut balanced Christmas time
For more strategies on creating good gut health see this post by Mark Hyman:
My Probiotic-Rich Christmas Breakfast Parfait with Berry Compote
- 4 Tbsp of low carb muesli toasted.
- 4 Tbsp of low carb Berry Compote
- 1 Tbsp of sugar-free dark chocolate cut into small chunks
- 2 Tbsp of Greek Yoghurt
- 2 Tbsp of Coconut Yoghurt
- Layer the ingredients into nice glasses keeping some fresh berries and chocolate to decorate the top.
- Refrigerate until ready.