5 TIPS TO GET YOUR DIGESTION BACK ON TRACK AFTER THE HOLIDAYS
It is easy to overindulge over the holiday season. This is the time when our busy lives get even busier! By mid-November most people find themselves going out for dinner more often, attending holiday parties, ordering more takeout, and finding it challenging to refuse the treats coming into the office. It’s no wonder that by the time the New Year rolls around, most people are ready to make a change due to their increasing waist size and/or digestive disturbances that just don’t seem to go away!
In January, I start to hear, “everything was going so well until Christmas break, and now I can’t seem to get back on track!”
Sometimes, getting back on track after overindulgence isn’t as easy as simply going back to what you were doing when things were going well. This is because overindulging actually changes hormone signalling in the brain, leptin and ghrelin that helps us to know that you are full or be satisfied by your food. Stress from lack of sleep and busy lifestyle increases cortisol levels which, affects blood sugar control and makes it easier to gain weight. In addition, large amounts of sugar, processed and unhealthy foods can negatively affect your healthy gut bacteria resulting in more gas, bloating, and even changes in bowel movements.
So, what can you do!?
Depending on the extent of the damage, some people need more healing than others. But here are 5 ways that you can get started no matter where you are at!
- Get hydrated: To truly be hydrated, it isn’t as easy as just increasing fluid intake. It also means:
- Increasing electrolytes– This can be done with citrus fruits, coconut water, and dark leafy greens and unsalted nuts, that are rich in potassium, calcium and magnesium.
- Increasing hydrating foods- like fruits and vegetables that contain high water content such as celery, watermelon, cucumbers, lettuce, zucchini and tomatoes. (but really you can’t go wrong with any fruits and vegetables!)
- Cutting out dehydrating foods and drinks- such as caffeine, and salty/processed foods.
- Intermittent Fasting: When it comes to gut healing, often one of the best things we can do is simply giving it a break. When your body is constantly digesting something, it isn’t able to repair. A 12-14 hours window overnight is a great amount of time to your gut a break, enhance digestion, and allow time for repair.
- Clean up your diet: eliminating sugar is the best way to start gut healing, but if you really want results it is best to eliminate dairy, gluten and eggs as well. This gives your body a break from foods that are difficult to digest, prone to causing inflammation, and more likely to cause blood sugar spikes.
- Sleep: Sleep deprivation can actually change your gut microbiome and create inflammation. In order for your digestion to heal it is imperative to put away your electronic devices and get to bed, ideally by 10pm at the latest.
- Introduce Bone Broth: The nutrients contained in bone broth, especially gelatin, glycine and glutamine help to heal the lining of the digestive tract and decrease inflammation. It can also help with hydration and boost the immune system! Have 1-2 cups of rich, homemade bone broth daily for best results!!
Like I said above, these tips will help you get started but might not be enough for everyone. If you are noticing symptoms that you have not had in the past, or a flare up of a previous condition, such as irritable bowel syndrome, irritable bowel disease, heartburn or reflux, or diverticulitis, you will most likely need more individualized support!
I am here to help! Book your appointment online.
Dr. Lisa Maddalena, ND