Christmas is a time to come together with family, friends and colleagues; give gratitude, show appreciation and compassion. And of course, to take time out for ourselves for much needed rest and reflection. It’s also a great time to give gratitude to your guts.
We might all be a little guilty of taking our gut for granted. You are forgiven, but Christmas is a great time to give thanks—to the trillions of busy bacteria that are hard at work, digesting food, making nutrients, defending the gut from invaders and keeping the brain up to speed.
With only one month left ’til Christmas, put your gut bacteria on top of your appreciation list with these tips and remedies. See our special Christmas Bundles to share the love and prepare or indeed recover your gut for the wide variety of indulgences of the season.
Gut savvy food and drink ideas
Cut the simple carbs, sugary treats and fruit platters that feed unhealthy bacteria, mould and yeasts like Candida. For entertaining, focus on foods that feed good bacteria with resistant starch and prebiotics. Think asparagus, artichokes, beans and lentils, rice, healthy fats and vegetable fibres:
- Raw veg platter with white bean garlic/sweet potato and cashew/guacamole dip with flaxseed crackers
- Edamame (available from Asian supermarkets look for non GMO) and pickled ginger
- Spiced chickpeas, plantain banana chips
- Lentil, rocket, artichoke and pomegranate salad
- Asparagus wrapped with smoked salmon
Cheers to some non-alcoholic alternatives
- Kombucha for a spritzy, gut boost
- Rooibos iced tea, garnished with berries and fresh mint
- Pomegranate juice with orange and festive spices cloves and cinnamon stick
Some recipes to release your inner festiveness!
What should I do if I overindulge?
Perhaps you’ve eaten a little too much or had one too many drinks for your body’s liking this festive season. Rest your digestion with a fast for a day. Probiotic Foods with its easy to absorb nutrition and beneficial bacteria to support digestion is a perfect way to recover on the couch. Add Probiotic Foods to filtered water and vegetable juices. A green smoothie with barley grass and Probiotic Foods for Gluten and Fructose Intolerance is a great remedy to get you back on track. Sip digestive herbal teas like peppermint, fennel, ginger, cinnamon, cloves or just a slice of lemon and mint in water.
Alcohol is a direct channel of sugar to your bacteria; it has the biggest impact on your balance of good and bad bacteria, tipping it in the wrong direction. Best remedies for excess alcohol are coconut water for rehydrating, kefir and diluted kombucha to restore beneficial bacteria. Try 5mls of Fermented Papaya diluted in water 3 times a day as an unbeatable digestive aid. The enzyme papain and beneficial bacteria help digest fats, protein and carbohydrates; your perfect Christmas overindulgence remedy.
For the ultimate detox, sign up for a course of colonic hydrotherapy treatments or DIY with a coffee enema to help squeeze the accumulated toxins out of the liver.
If you are feeling bloated and sluggish from too much food and want to reset your digestion, try intermittent fasting. Consider a day when you only consume vegetable juices or reduce the calories you consume by 25% as in the 5:2 Fasting. Increasing your fasting window from 12-14 hours, from the evening meal to breakfast the next day is a great way to cleanse the intestines. Fasting maximises the cleansing waves of muscular contractions that move bacteria, digested foods and waste from the stomach and small intestines along to the colon.
This beautiful in built mechanisms of the digestive system is called the Migrating Motor Complex (MMC) and can often be heard as a growling stomach. It’s the street sweeper of your guts. MMC stops when you eat. So no more intestinal cleaning happens. If you can increase the fasting window, as well as extend the time between meals to 4 hours or more and avoid snacking, you can make the most of this natural cleansing process.
Stress and digestion
Try taking it easy at Christmas and watch everyone else running around madly. The net effect of constant busyness and stress is to switch on the ‘fight and flight’ nervous system and switch off digestion. Chronic stress reduces stomach acid, stops the street sweeper (MMC) in its tracks, reduces blood flow to the intestines and impacts on leaky gut.
So take a moment to breathe in, and reset your stress levels. Switch on your rest and digest nervous system with a swim, a herbal tea, a walk. Try and prepare things in advance to ease the rush and ask family and friends for help. Do Christmas differently this year with gratitude to your gut bacteria, the top of your Christmas list.