The holidays can be rough, especially on the gut. The usual talk about weight gain has begun. Then come the New Year’s resolutions about hitting the gym and eating a healthier diet. What the heck does eating healthier even mean?
The phrases “you are what you eat” and “food is thy medicine” are some of my favorites and are very true. The healthier you eat, the less health issues you will have on many different levels. The happier you will be because you feel better and so on. It’s a win-win situation.
Eating too many carbohydrates, sugar, caffeine and alcohol over the holidays can set you up for feeling fat, bloated, depressed, constipated and just plain awful. So, what’s the best way to bounce back after a stressful holiday season?
Try drinking hot lemon water first thing every morning. Warm water is great for waking up the digestive system first thing. Lemon juice is an effective way to reduce weight and increase the body’s metabolism naturally. It’s a gentle detox for the liver and a way to alkalize the body. Sugar, coffee and alcohol all make the body more acidic. Lemons help protect the body’s immune system, and act as a rich source of electrolytes, helping regulate bowel movement.
During the holidays you are eating more sugar causing an imbalance of the bacteria in your gut, so consider taking probiotics to help restore the balance. Especially if previous sickness has led to taking antibiotics, you are even more prone to digestive issues. The microbiome of your gut needs to have good bacteria and if there are too many bad bacteria due to poor diet, antibiotics, or illness this can lead to digestive issues, nutritional imbalances and skin problems. Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus casei and the Saccharomyces boulardii are the most helpful with diarrhea and loose stools.
According to a study in the journal Current Opinion in Gastroentrology, probiotics decreased the therapeutic potential for diseases, including several immune response-related diseases, such as allergy, eczema and viral infection.
Decrease your sugar intake, and if you’re a soft drink or sugary-drink person, consider cutting back now. Decreasing the intake of sugary drinks can aid in weight loss rapidly.
Avoiding high fructose corn syrup, white sugar, and cane sugar is important. These types of sugars can cause fatty liver, heart disease and added body weight. If you’re focused on reducing sugar intake, try to drink more water, sparkling water, or add cucumber, lemon and lime to your water to make it more palatable.
You would be surprised by how much sugar is in the sauces we add to our food, such as ketchup, barbecue sauce and chili sauce. Instead, try dried herbs and spices, homemade dressings and sauces, vinegars, mustards and pestos. Artificial sweeteners and “sugar free,” is a big red flag. According to the Harvard Medical Blog, in the Multiethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, daily consumption of diet drinks was associated with a 36-percent greater risk for metabolic syndrome and a 67-percent increased risk for type 2 diabetes.
Dr. Andrea Wick is a chiropractor and applied kinesiologist. She graduated from Life University in Marietta, Georgia, and now practices in Big Sky. She has a passion for holistic health care and being active in the outdoors. Her practice, Healing Hands Chiropractic, is located in the Meadow Village Center. Visit drandreawick.com to learn more.