The spirit of Christmas generally encourages us to spend, eat, drink, be merry and engage socially with those we love, like and some times even those we find it difficult to be around. Basically a lot generally goes on over the holidays and most of my patients return to see me in the New Year heavy with guilt over holiday excess. Here are some proactive tips to get through the holidays so the New Year isn’t’ quite so tainted with regrets from late December.
1. Eat Whatever!
In moderation – of course. If you are on a therapeutic diet required for serious illness then skip this one or talk with your health care provider managing your diet. Otherwise, ditch the restrictions and consume what you are craving. Often people are intolerant to certain foods like wheat or dairy, ingredients of traditional Christmas foods and in abundance at most post luck scenes. They find that avoiding these foods results in health benefits however retesting intolerances can provide clues to digestive health. So the holidays may be a great time to re-challenge certain food items. Go ahead and try! Aim for a targeted reintroduction whereby you increase your exposure to a food group successively over the course of 3 days then don’t consume anything from that food group for 3 subsequent days and check in with how you are feeling and how your digestion is.
2. Eat Fat!
If overindulgence or carb addiction keep you anchored to the sweet tray all night with stomach pain the next day, aim for some fatty foods to help satiety your body and mind and cut the compulsion that can come with come with the sugar train! Of course think healthy fats (avocado, coconut oil / butter, extra virgin olive oil). Bring fat bombs (like this one!) or an avocado pudding to a potluck and consume those in conjunction with the nanaimo squares.
3. Drink & Be Merry!
Be it judiciously with alcohol filled drinks, of course. Cocktails are super hot right now and you can mix many that are delightful, without the alcohol in them. Or alternate one with alcohol and one without. I can’t get around this one, alcohol especially in large amounts + successive days are just not good for ya. It increases toxic compounds like acetaldehydes and free radicals in the body as a result of its detoxification (1), which can damage liver cells and affect other organ systems (ie the stomach). Plus it reeks havoc with our prefrontal cortex, reducing inhibition which may lead to undesired behavior. Luckily the liver is robust and can often bounce back. Support with foods (like this recipe!) and or herbs like milk thistle and n-acetyl cysteine might also help with liver support but may not be indicated depending on medication you might be on. Otherwise let your body / Liver recover and drink lots of water!
Hope this helps! Be Merry & Mindful and lessen Holiday Guilt for a great beginning of 2016!
Dr. Sarah Kent is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor specializing in your health. She blends traditional knowledge with current scientiﬁc understanding to generate wellness within her patients. She has received specialized training in naturopathic sports medicine, applying the principles and tools of naturopathic care in treating athletes.
Maher, J. MD .Exploring Alcohol’s Effects on Liver Function. ALCOHOL HEALTH & RESEARCH WORLD. VOL. 21, NO. 1, 1997 .