With Christmas just days away, being kind to your gut may sound impossible considering the pre-Christmas carb-laden lunches, boozy festive parties and snacking on pies (yum!). And it’s only going to get deliciously complicated, as parties ramp up and that much anticipated visit from the man in the red suit draws nearer.
We tend to celebrate by overindulging on festive treats and for some, the stress that comes with Christmas can also aggravate the gut.
Here are some worthy tips to make sure you and your gut can both enjoy the festive season this year!
Beat the bloat
Enjoy your dinner, eat slowly, chew your food well and don’t overdo it. When we’re stressed we tend to hyperventilate. The extra air we inhale turns into trapped bubbles in our gut that may cause pain and a swelling sensation. Trying to find ways to relax and calm down could be the key to not just feeling better but also reduces bloating. Try breathing exercises like taking a deep, full breath while counting slowly to four. Then exhale slowly and completely, again counting to four. Doing this three times, several times a day may help. If you’re feeling really full and bloated after dinner you might find drinking a cup of peppermint tea helpful.
Prepare in Advance
You can tick off that to-do list and save time by preparing ingredients such as vegetables the night before. Some salads can be made the night before, even if it needs to be assembled the next day. For example, you can roast the pumpkin for a roast pumpkin salad. You can also make dressings and dips beforehand, marinate meat if needed or toast nuts that are required for dishes, and store in airtight containers.
Reduce alcohol consumption
With all the Christmas parties and festive markets selling mulled wine, it can be hard to say no to alcohol this time of the year. Christmas favourites such as mulled wine, sherry and Irish cream are loaded with calories; alcohol can also make some conditions of the gut worse. Stay hydrated by opting for alcohol-free drinks, if possible. Trade sparkling water in for still water and fizzy drinks and mixers for flat, low sugar juice drinks.
Check out our concoction for an amazing (and healthy!) drink for Christmas; a Malaysian Lemongrass punch!
- 1 ltr of lemongrass juice (make ’em fresh)
- 2 sticks of cinnamon
- Slices of lemon (for that extra zest)
- 4 cloves
- 3-star anise
- A wee bit of brown sugar and/or mint leaves
Place all the ingredients into a large saucepan and simmer for about 5 minutes on low to medium heat. Pour into a glass and enjoy!
Even gentle exercise like walking each day can help to keep your digestive system working well, speeding up ‘transit’ times which may reduce bloating, thus easing your gut. Try to incorporate some physical activity into your daily routine; whatever suits you, your body and your schedule. Practising some mild exercise post-Christmas lunch can help with digestion and stress levels, too.
So here’s to a healthy gut. Indulge intelligently for a Christmas to remember. As Oscar Wilde so eloquently put it, “everything in moderation, including moderation”. #Celebrategoodness