Horseman’s Health: Digestive Help for the Holidays

It’s holiday time again and even with the Covid-19 precautions many of us are taking that restrict social engagements and travel, a big part of the holiday fun revolves around food. Maybe even more so this year since we are missing out on those social and family gatherings that define the holidays. But why is it most of the holiday goodies from my childhood memories that I look forward to each year seem to be in the less than healthy category? I know I shouldn’t eat all that extra sugar and simple carbs and fats, but it is the holidays and an occasional splurge can be okay. Especially if I prepare myself to partake without over indulging and give my digestive system some extra help to prepare for and recover from holiday eating.

Here are some tips to give your digestive system a hand and to cut down on how much splurging you do.

Sampling: Instead of pigging out on a variety of sugar filled, fatty foods, take a sample of several of your favorites. A spoonful or two can help curb your craving for certain holiday treats without over-doing it and leaving yourself miserably full at the end of the meal. A good rule to follow is the richer the food, the smaller the sample.

Save the Best for Last: Start your meal with the healthiest items on the table like veggies, fruit salad, or a slice of lean turkey. Once you have “filled up” on those you can move on to sampling your less healthy holiday treats and be less likely to need as much of them to feel satisfied. This also works if you do go out to a holiday party or have one at work. Head for the veggie tray first or if you don’t think those types of foods will be offered, then have a light healthy meal or snack at home before heading to the party.

Enzyme Therapy for Good Digestion: Many people wait until after they eat too much and are experiencing stomach or intestinal distress of some type before taking something for it and they usually reach for antacids. Try taking a high quality digestive supplement right before a rich holiday meal and in between holiday meals to avoid those digestive problems in the first place. Antacids work by neutralizing stomach acid which the digestive system needs to break foods down so you are really impeding digestion using that solution. Digestive enzymes help break down food into a form small enough to be absorbed and used by the body and are found naturally in many foods. Most of us don’t get enough from the foods we eat however and supplementing to get extra during the holiday season is a great way to help your digestive system deal with rich holiday foods. The digestive enzyme supplement I recommend has a blend of 15 natural, plant based food enzymes that are microblended with organic wild microalgae. This makes them very powerful as the algae supplements the enzymes with a wide array of vitamins and minerals. It also works within different pH levels making it effective in dealing with the varying acidity and alkalinity levels between the stomach and intestines. Another factor that distinguishes this supplement as a high quality enzyme supplement is the types of enzymes it contains. When comparing supplements make sure you look for these to be included:

  • Amylase – breaks down starch and carbohydrates for the body to use as energy and to relieve mental fatigue.
  • Protease – breaks down proteins into amino acid peptides used to make healthy cells, muscle tissue, skin, hair and for energy production.
  • Lipase – breaks down fat in the small intestine to get vitamins from foods, support cellular structure, and for healthy skin and hair.
  • Lactase – breaks down lactose and milk sugars to get nutrients from dairy for energy production.
  • Glucoamylase – a type of amylase that is used in breaking down starches and carbohydrates.
  • Cellulase – breaks down cellulose, the indigestible fiber in fruits and vegetables.

Supplement Your Meal: Having a supply of healthy friendly bacteria, or probiotics, in your intestines is important all the time, but during the holiday time this is especially true. A good supply of probiotics in your intestines keeps your digestive system healthy and working well. They also help you cope with the stress of the holidays by being a key factor in the production of B vitamins that the body needs to deal with stress. The strain of probiotics known as lactobacillus also help you produce digestive enzymes. You can get probiotics from fermented foods, but using a high quality supplement helps you make sure you are getting the strains you need.

More Talk, Less Action: By that I mean take your time enjoying the people you are with and visiting more with them instead of making the meal all about the food and eating. If you take your time eating and savor each bite and take the time to interact with others at the table or party in between those bites, you are less likely to overeat. This also gives you the time to check in with your stomach and brain to see if maybe your hunger is satisfied and you don’t really need that second piece of pie or fudge. When we rush through meals, we often don’t take the time to distinguish between our hunger being satisfied and being “full” and we end up stuffed and miserable feeling. Take the time to check in with your body and let it tell you when it is time to stop eating or to just take a small taste of some foods.

I hope you find some of these tips help you have enjoyable holiday meals without the intestinal and stomach distress that can follow. And most of all I hope you have a peaceful, safe, and joyous holiday season.