Did you pig out during the Thanksgiving holiday? If so, then what’s your plan for the rest of the holiday season? The good news is that if you avoid these common holiday pitfalls, you can enjoy the holidays without having to go on a joyless, strict diet.
Thanksgiving should be considered the start of the New Year. That’s because lots of people make a resolution weeks before Jan. 1 to not overindulge during the holidays. Like most New Year’s resolutions, however, the conscientious effort to eat healthy during the Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas season is a failure.
But within reason, you can be a little gluttonous this time of year, especially if you take this advice. (Wait until the end of this article to see if a grain of salt is necessary).
#1: Drop Acid, Not an Antacid
Approximately half of all Americans have taken an antacid at some point during their lifetime. Now, taking an antacid once in a blue moon probably won’t do much harm. But heavy use of antacids can create serious problems. For instance, the bacterial infection, H. pylori is associated with an increased risk of long-term antacid usage.A study in Integrative Medicine says that extended use of antacid proton pump inhibitor (PPI) drugs, which 15 million Americans take can cause “A decrease in absorption of some key vitamins and minerals, gut dysbiosis, rebound stomach acid hypersecretion, increased reflux-like symptoms, and hypergastrinemia.”
You may not know what hypergastrinemia is and neither did I before I looked it up, but it’s not good; it can lead to stomach cancer.By blocking the release of acid in the stomach, antacids taken chronically produce chronic low-stomach acid. Good luck digesting that turkey leg, stuffing, green beans, and pumpkin pie with insufficient stomach acid.
The takeaway: don’t take antacids. Instead, to better digest your food, you actually need more stomach acid, not less. You can help your stomach out by supplementing with betaine hydrochloric acid (HCL). Betaine HCL helps to lower the pH of the stomach, which helps increase the production of stomach acid.
#2: Don’t Fall Into A Food Coma
What’s the first thing you want to do after stuffing your face? Head to the closest couch, turn the TV on and pass out, right? Well, make sure you don’t do that. In fact, eating a ton is permissible if you do one simple thing right after eating.
Sure, it’s bloody cold outside this time of year. But as the saying goes, there’s no bad weather, only bad clothes. Bundle up and walk it out.
A 10-15 minute walk is all it takes to help bring blood sugar levels back down to earth and reduce the amount of glycogen that will get stored in your liver. And the less glycogen stored, the less unused sugar will be stored as body fat.
Some people set an intention (another word for resolution) to eat only once at Thanksgiving or other days during the holidays. But if the holiday meal is over early in the afternoon, and after an early evening of drinking and charades (or whatever it is your family does to embarrass you) the temptation is too overwhelming to not eat late at night. So you do what millions of other people do and eat a second feast late at night.
#3: Two Meals Isn’t Twice As Nice
Now, obviously, eating until you’re absolutely stuffed isn’t approved by health gurus. But if you do want to feast like it’s your last meal on earth, make sure you take your time eating and don’t eat any other main meals during the day.
The next morning, you hate yourself and swear you’ll never do that again. Then, in another futile attempt to exert will power, you do it again at Christmas dinner.
So if you’re done eating by 4 p.m., hold out until 8 a.m. the next day. This is the beauty of intermittent fasting: you can eat how much you want and as long as you fast for long enough to give your digestive system a metabolic reboot, all is forgiven.
A very light snack before or after is fine. But for maximum gastric emptying and digestion, try your best to stop eating completely after a big meal and then have your next bite at least 14-16 hours later.
What do you do to make sure your digestive system isn’t completely shot during the holidays? Got any tips? We’d love to hear about it. Post a comment below.