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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 critical 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 an 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 a while 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 one’s 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 needed to help produce hydrochloric acid. Try an apple cider vinegar tonic 10-15 minutes before meals or even afterward 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 a 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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Supporting Your Detoxification System Through Herbs

When it comes to supporting your body’s natural detoxification pathways, caffeine may not be your best friend. While those with sluggish adrenal glands and a slow thyroid tend to feel run down and in need of a regular pick-me-up (like coffee and other caffeinated beverages), in the long run, caffeine can do more harm than good while you are healing. Typically those who suffer from dysfunction in the endocrine system are also doing to deal with issues in their detoxification pathways as well (i.e. a sluggish liver, slow-moving lymph, etc.).

I go into the “whys” around caffeine and its effects on the body in this detailed post here. In addition to the caffeine, there are other constituents, molds, and mycotoxins that can show up in coffee that some people find they react to and can put an extra burden on the liver to clear out of the body.

When I was diagnosed with autoimmune disease and adrenal fatigue (and sluggish detox ability), one of the first things that had to go was coffee. To be honest, I never drank coffee because of the caffeine. I drank coffee for the taste and aroma, as well as the emotional experience I felt to my morning cup of joe. For me, it was a ritual that I looked forward to every day (and sometimes multiple times a day). Whether I was brewing it at home or going to my local coffee shops, the experience was one that I clung to tightly.

But, when I was faced with new health struggles, I knew I had to do whatever I could to support my body and give it the tools it needed to heal. Giving up coffee and caffeine was one step in this direction.

And it sucked.

I turned to the coffee substitutes on the market in a desperate attempt to recreate the ritual I had grown so fond of, but nothing ever tasted the way I wanted it to. Nothing ever gave me that same experience that my cup of “real” coffee did. I knew there had to be something better, but I simply could not find it on my health food store’s shelves.

Necessity is the mother of invention so that is why I created my own coffee substitutes. They were made with organic, sustainably harvested herbs with zero grains, zero gluten, and zero caffeine. Just herbs. Herbs that not only tasted delicious but supported my body’s function, like liver detox, bile production, digestion, etc. In my mind, if I can get something to not only taste amazing but do amazing things for my body, then it’s a no brainer!

I sold these pre-made blends on Etsy for a while and the demand was more than I could keep up with. People literally LOVED these blends and were stunned at how much like coffee they actually tasted. Customers who had been dealing with a variety of chronic illnesses had given up coffee to heal their bodies, but like me were deeply missing their morning cup of joe ritual.

After careful consideration and work with some highly experienced advisors, I decided to stop selling the pre-made blends and instead share my proprietary recipes in the form of an eBook. That way I could arm people with the knowledge and recipes they needed to make their own caffeine-free, gluten-free, grain-free blends in the comfort of their own home. 

That is why I created the best-selling DIY Herbal Coffees eBook: A Complete Guide To Making Delicious Herbal Coffees to Support Healing & Stress Relief. Now in its second edition, this ebook features all of my proprietary herbal blend recipes to you can craft a homemade herbal cup of “coffee” at home.

In addition, you get a ton of researched information about coffee’s impact on the health of those dealing with issues like adrenal fatigue, blood sugar dysregulation, autoimmune disease, thyroid disease, and any other chronic illness.

Lastly, you get access to your own personal coffee shop. I show you how to recreate your favorite coffee shop drinks and pastries with wholesome, nourishing real food ingredients. No junk here.

This book truly is a comprehensive guide to supporting your health, reducing your stress, and bringing a little something special back into your healing journey. You can learn more and download your own copy of this revolutionary wellness guide here, or simply click on the image below.

Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle 2015 // deliciousobsessions.com

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