Whatever your feelings and expectations of the upcoming holidays, you will probably agree that the fall and winter holidays can wreak havoc on our best nutritional intentions and stress management strategies. Fortunately, there are things you can do to mitigate the damage to your well-laid plans to eat well, feel well and be well. Here are five of my favorite simple and easy tips to make it through the holidays with your health intact.
- When you know you will be eating rich foods or tasty treats that upset your digestion in the past, make sure you have some digestive enzymes with you. Most of the enzymes come in a pill form that is easy to carry with you in your purse or pocket. They will help tremendously with breaking down the foods that might have a tendency to sit heavy in your stomach, and will help you to avoid digestive problems such as gas, bloating, stomach upset and acid reflux. If you don’t have any digestive enzymes you can also use raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar. Just mix a couple teaspoons with a little local raw honey in a glass of water and drink it down after your meal.
- Start yourself on daily probiotics as soon as possible. Probiotics are the organisms that are supposed to be living in your intestinal tract that help to break down food, keep harmful organisms in check and help your intestinal tract to produce vitamin K and immune cells. We would normally get our probiotics from eating foods grown in healthy soil, chock full of organisms. Since foods are no longer grown in healthy soil, plus after harvesting they are irradiated, processed and cooked before we eat them, they no longer contain the organisms we need to have a healthy digestive tract.
- Schedule time in your day for one or more of these important health-savers:
- Soak 30 minutes in an Epsom-salt bath.
- Spend 15 minutes in an infrared sauna.
- Get 20 minutes of vigorous exercise to sweat out toxins and use up some of the pent-up energy from the stress response.
- Devote 15 minutes to stretching tight muscles.
- Plan and schedule a liver detoxification program for January or February. This will help your liver recover from all the holiday cheer, sugary treats and food additives you ingested. As an added benefit, it will also help you lose those extra pounds you may have gained and rid you of symptoms such as allergies, headaches, joint pain, low energy, poor sleep, hot flashes, sinus congestion and many other symptoms your body manifests in response to toxic overload. I recommend sticking to programs that have been proven effective by your healthcare professional.
- Enjoy the moment! Focus on what is enjoyable and meaningful to you each day and stay present to the little treasures and miracles the holiday season creates in our midst. Maybe even pick one thing each day to do for yourself, even if it is only 10 minutes of listening to your favorite music or admiring a particularly splendid holiday light display.
I maintain that we can have fun and enjoy the food and festivities the holidays have to offer without blowing all of the gains we have made to improve our health and well-being. It just takes a little planning, a little knowledge and a good deal of focus on the plentiful blessings of the season. Wishing you a happy, healthy holiday season!