Are you rushing around yet? It’s the season for holiday plans, schedules, trying to find that perfect gift, and entertaining friends and family. It’s also a time of dietary excess, increased stress, and let’s not forget colds and flu. Statistics show that December is the most stressful month of the year. That and the cold weather alone can wreak havoc on a person. Rest assured! There are things you can do to prepare yourself for the holidays and prevent certain discomforts that can accompany this season.
Growing up, in my family, it was considered impolite to not sample food being offered, especially if Grandma made it. We would eat and eat, sometimes having three to four holiday meals in one day! Some of you can no doubt identify with this situation. To help you avoid overeating during the holidays, here are some tips. First, avoid starving yourself early in the day to “save room” for the holiday meal. The easiest way to overeat is to create maximum hunger this way. Small frequent meals are always better. Second, remember to drink plenty of water. This will prevent you from serving and eating a huge portion which you will “have to finish,” since you “don’t want it to go to waste.” Third, decide on a maximum and reasonable portion size for the meal and stick to it. After eating, drink some hot herbal tea to promote relaxation.
With too much good food comes heartburn. To decrease your chance of getting the discomfort and pain of heartburn, start the meal with apple cider vinegar. This helps increase digestive enzymes and break down foods faster. Another way to avoid stomach upset is to use deglycyrrhized licorice (abbreviated DGL). Licorice is an herb that stimulates the cells lining your digestive tract to produce mucus. The mucus, in turn, protects the stomach and esophagus from digestive acid. DGL can help tremendously with heartburn or food-related excess stomach acid or if you have esophageal reflux (backflow of stomach acid). A typical prescription is to chew and swallow two 400mg tablets 10 minutes before each meal to help keep your digestive tract in order. Talk to your ND to find out what’s best for you.
by Rebecca Dirks, N.D.
Associate Physician, NW Center for Optimal Health
Producer & Co-Host, Healthy Living, KSER FM 90.7