The holiday season means lots of quality time with friends and family, getting into the holiday spirit, and of course — amazing food. We tapped our friend Chelsea Haines, a gut health coach, to share some of her best tips for supporting your gut so you can feed your appetite, without upsetting your body.
Whether you are traveling this year or not traveling, maybe you are seeing family or not seeing family, it can all be very stressful and triggering. No matter what, that stress leads to low hydrochloric acid in the stomach and makes food difficult to break down. Stress also leads to potential emotional eating, overeating, and binge eating.
There are all kinds of triggers for gut health issues and they’re different for every single person, but it really all comes back to: how are you managing stress and who are you being while you are eating? Are you enjoying your food, are you eating slowly and mindfully? Go into the meal with the intention of wanting to feel satisfied, but also wanting to feel good after your meal.
I love to use herbs and spices to help promote digestion—one of my favorites is CCFT (cumin coriander and fennel tea). This is great for all body types at all times of the year, and it's especially delicious during the holidays. Curling up with a nice warm cup of CCFT will help to promote movement through the digestive system and break down your foods.
Making sure to stay hydrated has really helped move the needle for me. Throughout the day a general rule is to drink half your bodyweight in ounces of water. If you weigh 200 lb, you need 100 oz of water throughout the day to help move everything along.
When it comes to gut health and traditional holiday dishes, I always recommend cooking from scratch, so put love into your food. Real, fresh food is probably going to be more nourishing for you (and more nutrient-dense) vs. buying it in a box that might be high in preservatives and include potentially harmful ingredients like gums and fillers.
If you're really feeling uncomfortable, I always love a belly massage. Try going in clockwise circles from the right hip up across and down to help really move all of that yummy food through your digestive system.