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 5 Tips To Prevent Holiday Heartburn & Indigestion //

{Please welcome my good friend Lydia to the site today! Lydia is a Nutritional Therapist and the author of the Divine Health from the Inside Out site. If you’ve followed my site for any amount of time, you know that Lydia is not only a close friend, but she is also my NTP and has been helping me make great progress on my healing journey. Please give her a warm welcome to the site and stop by Divine Health and say hello!.}

Editor's Note: Did you know that  in the United States alone, 60% of the population is dealing with at least one symptom of digestive dysfunction like:

  • gas
  • bloating
  • heartburn
  • candida
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • etc.

Impaired digestive health leads to serious health problems like:

  • autoimmunity
  • asthma
  • allergies
  • mood issues
  • cardiovascular disease
  • brain fog
  • joint pain
  • thyroid disorders
  • adrenal and blood sugar problems
  • and more

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I am excited to welcome my friend, and nutritional therapist, Lydia to Delicious Obsessions! She is sharing a great post on how to help prevent heartburn and indigestion with all of the holiday festivities that are upon us. Lydia has been my nutritional therapist for over a year now and has grown to be one of my dearest friends too. Without further adieu, let's give her a warm welcome! ~Jessica

5 Tips To Prevent Holiday Heartburn & Indigestion

The holiday season is upon us, this means lots of festivities, parties and the potential to ‘overindulge' in the excess of holiday food and drink. I personally love the holiday season for the simple chance to ‘splurge' a little and enjoy rich, delicious foods that I wouldn't normally incorporate in my day to day diet. Decadent desserts, savory appetizers, hearty meat dishes, cheese trays, festive cocktails, warming drinks tempt and delight us all during the most wonderful time of the year. I believe that we can truly enjoy the season, splurge a little and savor the joy of the abundance of delicious food offerings without digestive upset. Wanna know how that's possible?

I remember being at a party last New Year's Eve, where everyone was passing around the acid blockers (now mind you, this was at a progressive dinner, where folks had been eating for 5 hours straight and drinking alcohol). Someone even mentioned that they'd like to talk to me to find out how to not need them (knowing my profession), but at that moment, they just didn't care. The truth is, it would have been pretty easy to have avoided the acid reflux they were experiencing. Personally, I want to enjoy myself without the discomfort of indigestion or potential heartburn, and I believe it's possible. Today, I'm going to share my tips to prevent holiday heartburn and indigestion.


  • Relax When Eating– Holiday stress can easily creep up on you. With the busyness of the season, rushing to finish up shopping and try to accomplish WAY more than we do any other month of the year indigestion is likely to happen. Why? When our body is in ‘stress mode' digestion takes a back seat. Your body has two states, sympathetic mode and parasympathetic mode. When you eat in a rushed state you are in sympathetic mode. Thus, you can’t digest your food, because digestion happens in parasympathetic mode. The body prioritizes stress or survival over the digestive process. It’s critical to actually sit down and relax when you eat, and not be in a rush. Additionally, it’s equally critically to relax and CHEW your food. Many of us wolf or hork down our food, without so much as beginning to chew it. If you don’t take the time to chew your food (gauge on 30 seconds per bite, or 30 chews, yes really!), the brain does not get the message to trigger the proper digestive processes. Therefore, food does not get broken down well enough, this places and undo burden on the stomach. This is all some good ‘food' for thought, remind yourself to slow down, take a breath and really find time to eat when you can relax. Holiday parties are often very busy affairs. Do yourself a favor at the next party you attend, find a comfy place near the appetizers and mellow out with some friends. Hold off on any major activity or dancing for awhile so you can digest your food!
  • Help Your Stomach Out – Heartburn, indigestion and “acid indigestion” are extremely common symptoms. It's obvious it's a huge problem due to the countless TV commercials for antacids and acid blockers. However, the problem is not what it seems. We aren't suffering from too much acid, we are suffering from too little. We are also eating too many foods that are hard to digest, and we are eating TOO MUCH of them. Excess sugars/carbs, caffeine, alcohol, food intolerances and stress will all play a huge role in contributing to heartburn and indigestion. So why not instead of bombarding your precious stomach, help it out instead. Here are several things you can do to support it during the holiday festivities: Try Herbal Bitters before and/or after meals. Herbal Bitters, that include gentian can help to stimulate ones own hydrochloric acid secretion. Keep in mind, we NEED adequate stomach acid to break down our proteins and pull minerals from our food. It's also our bodies first line of defense against pathogens. Pancreatic enzymes work well as a digestive aid and many of us could benefit from supplementing prior to meals with enzymes. Bicarbonate – Alka Seltzer Gold can be taken AFTER a meal, this can help dispel indigestion. This could be a good addition for someone whose body does not produce enough bicarbonate. Also, it’s a good idea to have this on hand or in your purse when you go out to eat in case of gluten-cross contamination or an accidental food-allergy reaction. Sprinkle your food with sea salt, as good quality sea salt is also need to help produce hydrochloric acid. Try an apple cider vinegar tonic 10-15 minutes before meals or even afterwards if you are feeling any digestive discomfort, bloating or belching. 1-2 tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar in water should do the trick. For more information on stomach acid, read; ‘Should You Be Supplementing with Hydrochloric Acid?
  • Create Boundaries – Don't act like you are invincible and know your own bodies limitations. Avoid food intolerances. Plan ahead. Eat on a regular schedule to avoid possible issues with your bowels. Disrupted routines can negatively affect the bowels and lead to constipation. By all means, have fun, enjoy the season and the festivities without compromising your overall health.
  • Limit Alcohol – Enjoy a cocktail or two, but don't overdo it. Especially, if you don't want heartburn or a hangover! (cause who wants to experience either of those?) Did you know that alcohol is absorbed directly from the stomach into the bloodstream (which is not the case with food, which is absorbed further along in the digestive tract). This is why I never drink alcohol on an empty stomach or by itself. Alcohol also directly irritates the mucosa of the stomach. It is well known that it can cause gastritis. If you have health issues related to your stomach skipping alcohol would be wise. I realize that may be a tall order for some, especially during the holidays. If you are going to drink, just keep it minimal. Make sure to have drinks WITH food, and consider eating more healing foods at home during the holiday season. Bone broth, ferments, ginger tea, fresh cabbage juice, slippery elm tea would all be good support for your stomach. You will also want to support your liver – stay hydrated with lemon water and try herbs like milk thistle and dandelion. Beet Kvass or kombucha are great too! Be smart this holiday season, enjoy a drink or two, don't overdo it and take extra care to support your body!
  • Avoid Overeating – While I do allow myself to eat my fill during the holidays with no guilt, I do avoid overeating. What does that look like? If you are relaxed and chewing your food well, you will find you get full when you are supposed to. That's the first key. Additionally, be sure to eat good fats with all your meals to help you get fully satiated. Filling up on sugars, starches, pies, cakes, alcohol will only create a vicious cycle and make you crave more. Next, I've noticed a lot of holiday gatherings go on for hours and hours and hours. This means, people are eating for hours and hours and hours. But guess what? Our stomachs can only handle so much food at a time, then they need to break down the food and actually digest it before we keep piling more on. If we are eating for hours in a row, our stomach will not have the time to properly break down all the food that is coming in. This is the most common reason people get heartburn. Add alcohol to the mix and you are surely headed for heartburn hell.

This holiday season, remember the benefits of eating healthfully, versus focusing on the thought of restriction. I find if I remind myself that I can feel great if I don't overdo certain things, I don't feel it's a sense of loss that I really can't have a second slice of that amazing dessert, or another cocktail. It also helps me to slow down and savor whatever indulgence I may choose to partake of, knowing that I'll just have one or a limit helps me to truly relish each bite! If it helps, remember you won't be the one waking up with a hangover, serious heartburn, fatigue, constipation or the runs because you chose to wisely apply all of these tips! To me, fun is both enjoying the moment and not suffering for it later!

For more reading on how digestion works and how it dysfunctions, as well as information on stomach acid, check out these three posts:

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About Lydia Joy Shatney


Lydia Joy Shatney is a certified Nutritional Therapist Practitioner through the Nutritional Therapy Association. Additionally, she is the chapter leader for the Weston A. Price Foundation in Delaware County, Pa. (Find the group here on Facebook). Lydia is also a member of the Nourished Living Network. Lydia founded Divine Health From The Inside Out in March of 2010. You can find Lydia on Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest. Sign up for the Divine Health From The Inside Out newsletter! Pick up a copy of Lydia’s eBook; ‘Divine Dinners: Gluten-Free, Nourishing, Family-Friendly Meals’.

Lydia offers specialized step by step counseling to transform your health. Personalized consultations to suit your specific needs are offered via phone or in person. Lydia offers a variety of packages offered to suit your individual needs. Lydia also offers 3 online course: Heal Your Gut, Get Healthy To Lose Weight and A Calm Mind. Contact Lydia today to get started as well as to learn more about what she has to offer you!

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About Jessica Espinoza

Jessica is a real food wellness educator and the founder of the Delicious Obsessions website. She has had a life-long passion for food and being in the kitchen is where she is the happiest. She began helping her mother cook and bake around the age of three and she's been in the kitchen ever since, including working in a restaurant in her hometown for almost a decade, where she worked every position before finally becoming the lead chef. Jessica started Delicious Obsessions in 2010 as a way to help share her love for food and cooking. Since then, it has grown into a trusted online resource with a vibrant community of people learning to live healthy, happy lives through real food and natural living.

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