Whether it’s the large Thanksgiving dinner, the large array of leftovers or the high carb desserts, sooner or later your stomach let’s you know that it’s not happy. When it comes to the holidays, everything seems to taste better than skinny feels. Whether it presents itself as bloating, indigestion, flatulence or excess abdominal fat, it’s both uncomfortable and unhealthy. Here are few of the main culprits that can be behind your season-specific bloating and digestive woes:
• Food allergies – At no time is this more common than during holiday season, when we consume ample amounts of some of the most common allergenic foods, including: wheat, corn, dairy, eggs, nuts, and soy. While these foods can trigger bloating, unfortunately holiday season isn’t the most ideal time to start a two week detox to identify the items that don’t agree with you. However, it can be the first activity on your resolution list so this time next year you know what to avoid and what to enjoy. The most valuable part of a two week elimination detox, such as the one outlined in The Hormone Diet, may be the end, when you will reintroduce the foods you have been avoiding one at a time. If something triggers the bloating – you’ve found your culprit food.
• Low levels of stomach acid – Low stomach acid may be the cause of your bloating if you feel full after eating or if you experience heartburn, indigestion, constipation or see undigested food in your stools. If you are searching for a simple way to determine your stomach levels – take a peek at your fingernails. If you have vertical ridges, it’s a key sign of low stomach acid. You can also download the instructions for the stomach acid challenge from the “book extras” page on www.thehormonediet.com.
• Lack of digestive enzymes – A supplement of digestive enzymes taken at meal times can often provide relief as they assist with the proper breakdown and absorption of the nutrients in your foods. Look for a brand that includes pancreatic enzymes, plant-based enzymes, papaya, bromelain or pepsin.
• Lack of Fiber – Ensuring proper fiber intake may also help bowel function, and in turn help you to debloat your belly. High fiber foods include whole grains like oatmeal and rye, lentils, chickpeas, vegetables and fruit. You may also want to consider a fiber supplement. Simply adding ground flax seeds or a psyllium-free fiber combo to your smoothies twice daily will ward off constipation and improve your bowel habits.
• Add a probiotic – If you have recently ran a course of antibiotics or are having an abundance foods containing sugar, you may benefit from supplements containing probiotics such as acidophilus and bifidus. Probiotics are the healthy type of bacteria living in our digestive tract. They can help reduce bloating, optimize digestion, improve immunity and add a nice glow to your skin. If you experience digestive upset, probiotic supplements taken daily on an empty stomach may bring you some relief – even once the holidays are over.
• Chew it out – Remember that proper digestion begins in the mouth with good chewing habits and choosing the right types of foods for you. By taking your time to enjoy and chew each bite, you will not improve digestion, but you will get full faster. Avoid eating while you are in the midst of other activities, such as watching TV, working, surfing on the computer etc. Instead, focus on chewing your food and relaxing during meal time. It’s a small change but it will make a world of difference.