Tummy Cheats: 4 Keys To Improving Digestion During The Holidays

Bring on the (free-range, heritage) turkey! Thanksgiving is no time to hold back, but we’re equipping you with a wide range of tools that’ll help you get really thankful without losing your digestive cool.

Keri Glassman is a registered dietitian and wellness author that has just the right tips for us to eat well without the cliche stomach ache. Her tips for mindful eating and improved digestion come just in time – some take a little planning: we love the idea of an annual post-feast hike or nature walk for growing families and for friendsgivings! Here’s Keri…

Healthy living can include some hard-core days of clean eating, but it can also include a little solid indulging – and that is absolutely alright in my book! You love your detox days, but you can also love your indulgences – the trick is the balancing part.

In order to successfully get through Thanksgiving (and, yes, this applies to Halloween, Christmas, Easter and Valentine’s Day, too!) you need to indulge in the stuffing, cornbread, pie and bird just enough to trigger your happy place, but not so much that you trigger the need for medication and an emotional eating escapade. Balance, friends. I’m offering these tips to get your digestion on point so you don’t wind up feeling like a gassy, stuffed, uncomfortable and regretful Pilgrim this year. Here they are:

4 keys to improving digestion during the holidays

eat MORE of the right stuff:

Yes, eating more of certain foods can help you prevent bloating, which is a condition of water and gas getting trapped in your bowels, causing discomfort. Slices of ginger in your tea, a sliver or two of fennel in your salad and by all means, the yogurt you had at breakfast (don’t skip!) will help balance all the yang of the egg nog with the yin of bloat-fighting properties. Don’t forget a bite or two every day of probiotic-rich foods like kimchee, kefir and sauerkraut that will help keep your GI juices running smoothly every day.

Make Thanksgiving ONE meal:

Thanksgiving is a day, not a week. And certainly not a month. Turning one holiday into a season of festivities will fast track you out of your skinny jeans and into weight-gain mode – something you can avoid by keeping Thanksgiving restricted to one great meal. Mindfully enjoying one meal that is decadent and rich is something your body can handle and process, even in the name of you getting all of your favorite nostalgia on one plate. If you’re usually a pretty clean and healthy eater, odds are, you will notice that you don’t feel as great as you do when you eat your go-to salad. If you’re not such a clean eater, you may be used to feeling somewhat bloated and lethargic after a feast (that can almost be chalked up to a benefit for the slow converters to healthful eating out there), but is certainly not a great game plan. Plan for the outcome: If you go hog wild, because Turkey Day comes but once a year, expect to feel gassy, uncomfortable and lousy for a few hours after the meal. It will take your digestion a few hours of intense labor to recover.

Balance and slow down:

Load up most of your plate with roasted veggies, steamed green beans, turkey and anything else that can be classified “healthy” as far as Thanksgiving goes. Use the candied sweet potatoes, gravy and stuffing as a condiment – meaning, have a heaping tablespoon of each, not a cup. Your digestion will thank you if you choose fiber-rich, plant-based foods because they are digestion promoting. They slow you down, fill you up and are loaded with properties that promote satiety. Give yourself a chance to enjoy your beautiful, colorful plate by savoring each bite slowly. Nobody is going to steal it away, so linger (you may just get in an earful on some family secrets) over it longer than usual.

Take a hike:

The reason I want everyone to take a walk, hit the gym or toss the pigskin around on Thanksgiving isn’t only to burn calories. The digestive benefit you get from exercise is increased blood flow. Boosting your circulatory system with some good old fashioned cardio improves gastric emptying and elimination. Exercising in the morning is the best way to guarantee you’ll get some activity in, and sets you up to feel healthy all day. Besides that, it’s not recommended to exercise on a full stomach, which can lead to nausea or reflux; and no, you can’t “burn off” the calories from your feast, if you over-indulged.

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