Christmas time is the most wonderful time of the year where we get to enjoy precious time with our loved ones and indulge in all sorts of nice. However, this time for some can be accompanied by constipation, a bloated stomach, feeling sluggish, heavy and a little irritated. Can you relate?
Between the Christmas parties and traveling, your usual diet and exercise routine has probably been thrown out the window and you’re feeling far from fabulous. Let’s take you through our top tips to help beat the bloat and get you back to feeling merry in no time.
Increase your daily water intake
Late nights and a few too many glasses of bubbly can leave your cells crying out for hydration. When your belly might be looking and feeling like you’re five months pregnant, the last thing you may want to do is drink more water. However, when your electrolytes become out of balance, the body tries to overcome this imbalance by holding onto excess water, halts your digestion and leaves you feeling puffy and bloated.
- Upon waking, drink a cup of room temperature filtered water.
- Sip on warm lemon water in the morning to keep your digestive fire strong and help to discard any toxins.
- Aim for 3 litres of water throughout the day, and more if you are exercising.
- Add a drop of pure citrus essential oil to your water for flavour enhancement, this will keep you coming back for more.
Low inflammatory foods
Mince pies, Christmas ham, chocolate, and baked goods are just a few of the foods we like to devour this time of year. However, these foods, unfortunately, contain a lot of inflammatory properties, causing havoc to our insides. To counter-balance our intake of these sorts of foods we must up our antioxidants from mother nature.
Try adding a greens powder to your morning smoothie, limit your exposure to gluten, dairy, and refined sugars and instead fill your plate with plant-based goodness. If you can, choose organic produce as commercial produce can be loaded with all sorts of nasties that play havoc with your hormones, digestion and mental cognition.
Practice Mindful Eating
We think that it’s fair to say that mindful eating is basically non-existent in our lives right? Scrolling through Insta, watching the news or eating on the run now seems to be the norm. However, these ‘ingrained’ practices around meal times are doing more damage than we know.
When we practice mindful eating, we begin to eat with more awareness. Our rate starts to slow, we chew each mouthful multiple times to ensure it turns into a mushy like substance and take note of the depth of flavor of each ingredient. This process helps to improve our digestion as we let our teeth do the work and allows our saliva to mix with our food and begin the digestion process.
Space between meals
One of the best ways to improve our digestive capacity can be to fast between meals. For some, five meals a day works really well. However, for others, three meals a day can be a better fit. What we eat and how many times we eat varies dramatically from person to person. If you are struggling with poor digestion, try aiming for three meals a day to promote gastric emptying.
Avoid eating fruit after heavy meals. Fruit can dampen your digestive system and interferes with protein absorption which can lead to nutrient deficiencies. Aim to drink water 30 minutes either side of a meal, rather than at mealtimes to assist digestion.
Mother nature has provided us with a number of digestive aids, which illustrate the beautiful notion of ‘food as medicine’. Our top 3 natural digestive aids are:
- Apple cider vinegar (with mother) – try having 30 ml of AVC with 30ml water 30 minutes before meals.
- Peppermint tea – enjoy a small mug of organic peppermint tea at least 30 minutes after dinner.
- Fennel seeds – chew on a few fennel seeds or brew them in hot water if your belly is giving you trouble to reduce flatulence and relieve bloating.
A glorious self tummy massage can help to stimulate our digestive system and get waste moving out of the body. Simply place 2 – 3 drops of fractionated coconut oil in your palms with 2 drops of doTERRA DigestZen essential oil. Rub your hands together and work your way around your abdomen, starting just above the right side of your pelvis and work in a clockwise motion. Be gentle, be mindful and breathe deeply to strengthen the intention and result of this self-love practice.
We also love to place a drop of doTERRA Peppermint or DigestZen essential oil underneath our tongue after meals or even on the soles of the feet to provide the body with extra support when it needs it most. You can learn more about pure essential oils here.
Move yo’ body
Although after your Christmas lunch you’re feeling like you could go for a nap a.k.a food hangover, put your walking shoes on as you’re going for a walk. A light 15-minute walk after meals (especially Christmas lunch) is super important to get that lymph moving and stimulate any gas to move through your digestive tract. Try putting on a podcast or some relaxing music to make this experience more achievable and enjoyable.
Up your Soluble Fibre
Fibre is our best friend to get our bowels moving. However, try to increase your intake slowly as if you increase your levels of fibre too quickly gas, additional bloating and even constipation can set in. If you’re confused about what soluble fibre is, think of foods like oats, psyllium husk or chia seeds. A great way to start the day after your mug of warm lemon water is to add ½ tsp of psyllium husk to a glass of room temperature water, stir and leave it for 2 minutes and then sip slowly. You can build yourself up to a teaspoon but we suggest taking it slow as ‘more’ doesn’t equal ‘better’ in all cases when it comes to nutrition.
Another great way is to introduce soluble fibre into your diet is a bowl of oats soaked in a little Apple Cider Vinegar and filtered water overnight, or try making chia seed puddings for an afternoon snack. The options are endless, have a play and see what your body likes best.