Around this time of year my patients usually confess to me that they have been indulging in one too many holiday treats — and that their stomach is not as happy as usual.
Here are some quick and easy tips to help your tummy more easily digest your food during this treat-filled time of year. Or anytime of year!
1) Lemon with warm water or apple cider vinegar in the morning. Drinking a mug of warm (not hot) water with fresh squeezed lemon first thing in the morning will enhance your digestive enzymes and warm your Spleen and Stomach Qi (“chee” or energy), both of which will settle your stomach and help it to efficiently digest your food for the rest of the day. You can also try a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar in warm water, which will accomplish the same thing. (Though I prefer lemon. :-))
2) Probiotic. Find an excellent probiotic that is guaranteed to deliver exactly what’s stated on the label (in other words, a probiotic that is guaranteed to stay alive) and take it every morning or every other morning as directed. I carry an excellent brand in my clinic, contact me for more info. You can also incorporate foods rich in probiotic organisms such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, miso, and kimchee.
3) Digestive enzymes. I recommend a wonderful digestive enzyme product in my clinic that contains Spirulina, or you can find one at your local health food store. Digestive enzymes are great to carry with you, especially to a party or out to dinner when you’re not exactly sure what you’ll be eating. These are not to be taken regularly, but will sure come in handy if you find yourself in an unsavory situation.
4) Chew your food. This may sound simple, but it’s actually hard to do! A huge amount of digestion occurs in the mouth, but most of us are eating so fast that we expect our stomach to do most of the work. Saliva contains an important digestive enzyme called amylase, so it’s important that food stays in our mouth long enough liquefy. Try chewing your food 30-50 times before you put in another bite. This will not only help your digestion, but you will also eat less because your brain will register that “full” signal before you’ve overeaten.
5) Prepare your own food. In Dr. Libby Weaver’s book, Accidentally Overweight, she explains the subtle process that happens when we take the time to prepare our food versus eating something on-the-go. Simply smelling the aroma of your dinner on the stove actually awakens your digestive processes to more easily receive the food. Chopping the garlic, sauteing the onions, letting sauce simmer, will actually encourage a more harmonious digestive experience than suddenly introducing something to your mouth that you hadn’t smelled or experienced in the making.
Spots are filling up for my New Year’s online nutrition program! Click here to reserve your spot today. Registration closes on January 3rd at midnight MT, or when spaces are filled. I want to see YOU in the program! 🙂
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Photo: Rob Qld