The holiday season is probably one of the biggest enemies of the digestive system I have ever experienced. However, no matter what mistakes you make during holiday event there are remedies to help your digestive system survive the season!
There are so many websites that tell you about how “this or that herb” will heal you or this new miracle natural cure will help you but often it is the very basics of life that we need to recall and remember. That is what I like to focus on in this blog – how we can all heal and feel better using natural methods that are free and basic. I often find with clients that are these basics that will heal them rather than an expensive herbal formula or the newest craze in nutritional supplementation.
I know so many people who have spent hundreds of dollars are vitamins, herbs and supplements to help their digestion. I’ve had bouts of bad digestion myself. However, most of those could be directly related to a poor food choice. But digestive issues can also happen when you eat healthy foods. I recommend that you start with the bare basics and work up from there:
1. First, remember that ANY change in diet will cause your digestive system to adapt, and thus you may have “poor digestion” for a few days to a week. It is well known in raw food circles that raw food is very healthy, but someone who is not used to eating all their food raw will have trouble digesting it during the first week of their transition to a raw food diet. If you are vegetarian and have a hamburger you will have trouble digesting the meat. However, if you eat meat daily, you will not have as much trouble.
2. Secondly, any food can cause you to digest poorly. Don’t be fooled by the name “natural” or by the fact that the food is directly from your garden. Some people just don’t digest some foods well and some foods can naturally cause gas. For example, broccoli and beans are famous for causing gas. However, they are very healthy and natural foods.
3. Third, digestion can be improved by combining foods in better ways. A few beans can be combined with a cup of rice instead of someone eating an entire bowl of chili or black bean soup. There will be a siginifcant increase in the ability of your body to digest when you reduce the beans and add the rice.
4. Make sure you are chewing your food 12-18 times. This may seem a bit crazy or a bit obvious but it is very rare to actually find someone who chews their food properly – we are all used to chewing our food about three times and then swallowing. However, science has proven that this causes all sorts of health problems as it is actually your salivary glands that have all the ingredients you need to digest. Additionally, by chewing slower and more frequently you will reduce the amount of air in your system, which can cause the gas.
5. Eat in moderation. The buffet set out for the holiday meal may look inviting but your digestive system will appreciate it if you have a small dish to start with, have a larger serving later and then desert about an hour after that. You will still be able to eat all the same foods – your body will just be able to digest them more readily.
6. Enjoy some herbal tea. My favorite after-meal mixture is nettles, spearmint and alfalfa. This mixture helps digestion after a large meal. Prepare the herbs as an infusion and drink one cup immediately after the meal and/or with your desert an hour later.
After using these tips you can then go on to explore other options in healing without reaching for the antacids first. If you would like a personal consultation you can contact Kristie Karima Burns, MH, ND, Ph.D. for a balancing temperament consult.