When visiting a string of office parties and family gatherings during the festive season it is hard to stay true to your body. The abundance of food and drinks offered at every party is difficult to say no to… Usually they are not the healthiest kinds of foods either. After a few of those parties your digestion can be really messed up.
If you grab a mojito as aperitif, your starter is a shrimp cocktail (I heard they are back in fashion) followed by deer stew or stuffed turkey, followed by chocolate mousse with strawberries and all that mixed with more alcohol, is it really that surprising that you get acid reflux and belly bloating? Hmm, that was a rhetorical question, yes.
So how do you beat the bloat, avoid feeling lethargic, and start 2018 fresh? Try these ayurvedic tricks to support your digestion during the festive season and give yourself some relief!
How to support your digestion during the festive season?
Be clever with what you eat
Avoid combining dairy with anything
Dairy (milk, cream, cheese) and animal foods (fish, meat, seafood) combined is B.A.D. for you. They are digested in a different way, they are both heavy foods, and both animal products. Truly they are a bad food combination. The easy fix? Decide whether you will eat vegetarian or meat beforehand and stick to your choice for the entire meal.
Avoid eating fruits with or after your meal
Eat fruits on their own or at least 2 hours after you last had a meal and 2 hours before the next meal. Eating fruits too close to your meal makes you bloated. The fruits ferment in your belly which creates gas and can contribute to yeast overgrowth. Fruits make a good light breakfast post luscious dinner the next day, but skip the fruits at or after the big dinner.
Avoid eating hot and cold foods together
Ice cream as dessert is a no-no. It will extinguish your digestive fire, leaving all that half digested or undigested food for your body to clean up, but not before it starts fermenting and forming gas. Eat ice cream the same way you would eat fruit – wait 2 hours before and after eating something else.
It’s hard to not overeat during these days but do try to leave a little bit of each course on your plate. Really decide beforehand what you will eat or won’t eat based on the recommended food combinations. Pile on the veggies!
Don’t drink carbonated drinks
It’s especially hard now to skip the bubbles but it’s proven carbonated drinks make you bloat. Planning to wear a tight dress or buckle that belt tightly? Skip the bubbles! That includes Diet Coke and sparkling water, yes. I’m sorry.
Drink lukewarm water
Avoid drinking cold water. Drink water that’s at least room temperature and drink it especially before your meal to avoid overeating. Usually it is recommended to not drink anything between bites and after your meal, but if you do, make sure your drink is not ice cold!
What to do if you ate too much anyway?
Uh-oh. It happened. Ate too much. Waaaay too much. *instant regret* We’ve all been there too. many. times. But what can you do when you find yourself in this situation next time?
Drink ginger tea
Try drinking small sips of ginger tea (avoid adding sugar and honey).
Making fresh ginger tea is super simple. Boil some water in a pan and add some sliced or grated ginger. Leave it to simmer for at least 10 minutes to get a strong tea. For one cup I would use a knob of ginger at least the size of your thumb nail.
Chew fennel seeds
Eating a teaspoon of fennel seeds (a household staple in India) after your meal will also help with the digestion of your food. They are a bit crunchy to eat like that, but it’s very effective.
Walk it off
Go for a short walk around the block to let the food settle in your stomach.
Sit in veerasana pose
Sit in veerasana pose (hero pose) for a while. Get into the pose like this: sit on your knees first. Then open your feet and sit between your legs. You can sit on a block or a pillow if you feel too much strain in your knees. Keep your back straight. Allow your hands to rest on your thighs or on the floor.
I hope these tips help you handle the festive season better :)
Happy Christmas everyone!
Related: Read more on what ayurveda recommends in terms of food combinations