When Christmas is just around the corner, we need all the help we can get! Here are a few great tips to make sure you feel energetic and vibrant after all that Christmas food.
TIP #1: EAT WHEN THE DIGESTIVE FIRE IS HOT – One of the nice things about a Christmas meal is that it is typically in the early afternoon, when our digestion is at its strongest, so this is the perfect time to be eating our largest meal of the day. Your digestive fire is the weakest in the evening, so it makes sense to avoid a heavy meal then.
TIP #2: SLOW AND STEADY – It is a good idea to eat a light and balanced breakfast on Christmas day, so by the time the big feast comes you have fully digested breakfast and are ready to fill up on delicious festive goodies. Be careful though, if you sit down to the table starving, you risk eating too fast and after hours of preparation you are full in under 10 minutes. The trick here is to eat slowly! Relax! Force yourself to put the fork down and chat with your loved ones between mouthfuls.
The more time you give yourself to chew and relax, the more your stomach will gradually expand and allow you to comfortably continue to enjoy your Christmas meal without over eating. If you eat that same meal fast, it will hit like a rock and you will find yourself spending much of the afternoon on the couch asleep instead of enjoying your friends and family.
Studies suggest that slow, mindful eating helps us eat healthier and lose weight. (1)
TIP #3 STOKE THE FURNACE – Use these tricks to jump-start & prepare your digestion before your big feast:
Drink a tall glass of water 20 minutes before starting the meal. This will pre-hydrate your stomach wall, which is lined with an acid buffer that is 80% water. The more water, the better the buffer and the more acid your stomach will produce to enjoy more food. Studies show this helps reduce weight. (2) It’s even suggested that you can add a little salt and pepper to this glass of water to further build the digestive fire.
Alternatively sip some ginger tea while you are eating, or sip it during the 20-30 minutes before the meal to stoke the digestion.
TIP #4 AFTER DINNER TRICKS – You may have heard about lying on your left side for 10- 15 minutes after a large meal. This is not an all afternoon siesta, but a short rest on the left side to allow the stomach to empty effortlessly.
The stomach is on the left side of the belly and empties from left to right into the small intestine. By lying on the left side, you allow the stomach to hang freely and contract naturally to move the food through when it is all properly digested.
If you lie on the right side or get up too soon, the food is rushed and forced out of the stomach prematurely by gravity. This can cause indigestion and after a big meal like Christmas lunch, it can cause gas pains.
After your short lie down on the left side (or some serious table leaning to the left!!) after the meal, it’s time for a nice relaxing stroll somewhere cool and shady out of the Christmas heat. Many studies show that a walk after a meal will help lower blood sugar levels and support healthy weight loss.
TIP #5 DIGESTIVE NO-NOs THIS CHRISTMAS DAY
- Don’t drink cold or iced water with the Christmas lunch.
- Take a few minutes to relax, settle and say some form of blessing or grace before eating. Do not start eating until you are really settled, calm and ready to eat and enjoy each bite with awareness.
- Don’t watch TV while eating.
- Don’t eat standing up.
- Don’t eat bread first. It is heavy and hard to digest and before you know it, you will be full.
- Enjoy your time to with friends and family and most of all be grateful for this special time with friends and family. Expressing gratitude increases your energy and happiness which affects everyone around you.
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