Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks for a bountiful harvest. It is also a time for eating a huge feast in celebration, which means the table will be filled with lots of delicious food and tempting treats. And we all know what follows after a great Thanksgiving feast – overly full bellies and sleepiness! Most people accept that this is how you should feel after a holiday feast (stuffed to the brim and in need of a nap). After all, isn’t it tradition to feel this way? There is a way to enjoy your holiday meal without the need for a buffet belt and a nap. Let me share some holiday dinner survival tips with you.
Before I get in to the tips, it is important for you to understand a little bit about the digestive process first. Our stomach needs to create hydrochloric acid (aka, stomach acid or HCl) so that we can break down and digest our food when we eat. If we are eating in a hurry, not chewing our food thoroughly, or are eating during a moment of heightened stress, our stomach is not able to make enough HCl to digest the food. This means our digestion is going to take longer and require more energy from the body. This is one of the reasons we feel tired after a heavy meal. If the food cannot be properly digested, it is passed through to the small intestine for further processing in its undigested format. This food now becomes an irritant causing inflammation and allows bacteria or yeast to ferment the undigested food, resulting in the uncomfortable symptoms we experience such as bloating and gas. Additionally, the bacteria and yeast start to overgrow leading to ongoing digestive problems. So how can you improve digestion?
Wishing you and yours a very happy and healthy holiday.
Submitted by Michelle C. Heighington B.A., RNCP ROHP
Registered Holistic Nutritionist at Greystones Health