Inside scoop: If you always leave the holidays feeling bloated and run down, here are our favourite tips on how to feel less bloated during the festive season.
Everyone loves a good holiday meal. How could you not?
You have turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce, side dishes galore, desserts and our family’s favourite part… the stuffing (which is gone within 5 minutes of sitting down). Holidays can be a wonderful time. It’s about being with family, giving thanks for what is important in life and also a time for food.
The past couple years we’ve been diving into the holidays with more of an intuitive eating approach. We know that our eating habits don’t necessarily need to change, we know the foods that make us feel a bit run down, the foods that can make us feel bloated and heavy and the foods that we can embrace with balance.
But we didn’t get to this way of eating overnight.
As a matter of fact, we’ve spent so many years binge eating throughout the holidays, only to feel guilty and really really heavy afterwards.
So this year we want to pass on some of our favourite tips on how to feel less bloated throughout the holidays while still listening to your body and your body’s natural hunger cues.
OUR TOP TIPS FOR FEELING LESS BLOATED DURING THE HOLIDAYS
You know you’re going to your in-laws and they always have a feast. There’s butter on the meat, gravy, potatoes and you can’t avoid the inevitable sugar-laced drinks and desserts. We’re all for these foods, but some of these foods don’t make us feel very good afterwards and can definitely contribute to feeling bloated and run down. So one of our favourite tips to feel less bloated post-heavy meal is to lighten it up during the day and maybe the day before. Instead of having a big heavy breakfast or lunch, opt-for smaller veggie loaded meals throughout the day, like this Skin Glowing Avocado Rush Smoothie, or this Simple Kale Salad.
WHY TURKEY IS YOUR FRIEND
If your family loves to bake a big bird over the holidays then be thankful because it’s a great option.
Not only is turkey a leaner meat option, but it is high in B6, niacin and vital minerals, all of which support energy production and healthy metabolism. We know you’ve heard that turkey makes you sleepy (which you may think is contradictory considering we just told you it can give you energy), and this is true. It is high in the amino acid tryptophan.
Tryptophan has a calming effect on the body because it is a mood regulator. It is a precursor to 5HTP, which helps the central nervous system promote feelings of well-being. So, while the high concentrations of tryptophan might make you want to sit down and relax after dinner, you may feel a little bit happier and more energized the next day.
Because of its calming effect on the body, tryptophan may also help promote a deeper sleep, which we all know keeps us alert and focused the next day. So take your sleepy turkey as a cue that you need to relax and have a good night sleep. Some of us might need to do it all over again the next day!
LOAD UP ON SIDE VEGGIES
One of our favourite ways to help us find balance on our plates (and how to feel less bloated) is by filling up on veggies. We always hit up the salad dishes first, and then find some room for the starchy or fat heavy dishes last. Veggies are light, filling and easy for your body to digest. They also help to reduce the tendency to over eat.
BRING YOUR OWN DESSERT
For us, we know that too much dairy or white flour can have us leaving the table feeling bloated and uncomfortable. That’s why we always suggest bringing our own dessert to the party to help us feel less bloated by the end of it all. We usually opt for a dessert that is low sugar, gluten free and dairy free, but yet totally satisfying nonetheless.
Crumble, chia pudding, cookies, muffins – these are always a hit! We’re not saying that you should avoid nan’s famous pumpkin pie, or your aunt’s amazing shortbread cookies. But, if you know that those foods make you feel really bloated and you’d be better off with something that doesn’t have the ingredients that contribute to bloat, we would highly recommend checking out these 5 Delicious & Healthy Dessert Recipes For The Holidays.
REDUCE THE DAIRY
Yes, grains are a huge culprit for bloat and digestive upset, but the sugar + dairy combo can be lethal too. We’re talking to you about apple pie a la mode. It is definitely the combo that makes everything in this world delicious, but it may be contributing to that end of the night uncomfortable feeling.
One thing that we try to do around the holidays is manage our dairy intake (which helps us to feel less bloated), and we always suggest that if you know you have a dairy intolerance, to take a digestive enzyme.
PORTION CONTROL GRAINS & STARCH
You have stuffing, dinner rolls, mashed potatoes, hor d’oeuvres, cakes, and pie. The holidays are undoubtedly grain and starch heavy, which often times can cause a lot of bloat.
It’s not that you should be avoiding grains; it’s that you need to find balance with the rest of the foods. A plate that is half stuffing, a quarter turkey, a quarter mashed potatoes all drizzled in gravy is a plate that might just end up making you feel heavy. Add variety, add healthier options and make that a priority… then head over to the bird.
EAT SLOW & DRINK PLENTY OF H20
This is very self-explanatory. Let’s try to enjoy the holidays rather than blinking and all the food is gone.
The more you add into your belly, the more likely it is that you will leave the table wishing you hadn’t. So go slow. Savour. Enjoy every bite you put into your mouth and appreciate the flavours. Enjoy the conversations, the company and atmosphere. That is, what Thanksgiving is all about. Water, as well, is a friend. It fills you up, it detoxifies and it helps stuff move through your body. Oh yeah, and if you are enjoying a drink or two it might just help beat your morning after headache.
VAMP UP YOUR DIGESTIVE CARE ROUTINE
There are a few things you can do to strengthen your digestive system days to weeks in advance in order to feel less bloated throughout the holidays. This is a mini protocol that could help to vamp up your digestive care prior to the holiday season:
- Lemon water. A glass of warm water with lemon is the perfect way to start your day. Lemon benefits bile formation which helps with metabolizing fats and regenerating the liver. It also helps with peristalsis, helping to keep you regular in the morning.
- Probiotics. Introducing probiotics, in the form of supplement or food, can help strengthen good bacteria and kill the bad guys. Fermented foods, BioK, kefir or even just probiotics from a health food store will keep those little buggers in line. Sugar, on the other hand, helps bad gut bacteria proliferate. Ditch the refined stuff to keep the bad guys out. Here is a wonderful brand of probiotics to add to your daily care >> make sure you check out the Youtube video at the end of this post to find out if probiotics are right for you.
- Fiber. Do you know how long your digestive tract is? Would you believe us if we told you it stretches around 8 meters long? Believe it! Fiber is your digestive system’s friend. Think of it as the little aid helping push food all the way through the system. The human gastrointestinal system cannot digest fiber, so eating a diet heavy in fibrous foods helps give that little extra ‘roughage’ to get things moving nicely along and out.
- Veggie days! In the days or weeks leading up to the holidays, why not go vegetarian for a few of them? A lot of the times people think that taste gets compromised when you eat vegetarian, but this is just not the case. Crockpot, a veggie curry or chili, do a stir-fry, nice veggie soups, pasta etc. Just try your hardest to make the main thing in the dish vegetables. Your body will thank you.
- Antioxidants and cruciferous foods are a wonderful concoction for liver health, which means whole body health. These foods include:
- Brussel sprouts
- Dark leafy greens
Those are just some of our favourite tips on how to feel less bloated over the holiday season.
Trust us, feasting is an amazing way to get the people you love and care about together for great times, and especially over this specific holiday season to show appreciation to what you care about most on this planet. Enjoy it. Give thanks. Eat good food. Enjoy great company. And then leave the table feeling satisfied, relaxed and happy to be alive.
And if you’re looking for some amazing healthy holiday recipes, be sure to download our Ultimate Healthy Holiday Cookbook here: