Happy 2017, Friends!
If you are anything like me, you are ready to jump off the holiday train and get back to the sensible life. Russ and I had such a fun week off from work which included a night away in Providence, Rhode Island complete with some festive cocktails, a trip to Portsmouth, New Hampshire for beer tasting and street food and a whole lot of lazing around on the couch! Needless, to say, I am ready to get back to a little structure: work, more water, running, and lots of vegetables. How about you?
Today, I thought I would share with you a few tips to help calm your gut symptoms after the post holiday celebrations!
- Lay off the alcohol. If you enjoyed an extra cocktail or two during the holidays, perhaps its time to give your liver a break and sip on more water instead! Alcohol is a GI irritant and your gut might need a little reprieve! Alcohol will aggravate reflux and can pull water into the gut when over ingested…leading to urgent trips to the loo.
- Pull back on the cookies and treats! So hear is my deal with treats… I love them! Sweets can help increase our body’s serotonin, a neurotransmitter that makes us feel relaxed. Women start with only about 75% of the amount of serotonin that men do—and this is likely part of the reason, women crave treats. No need to give up all sweets! I am not at all about ‘black and white’ eating rules!…but perhaps its time to pull back from the holiday sweet overload. Did you eat sugar cookies for breakfast like me during the holidays? oops.
- Scale back on the fat. As you know, if you follow my blog, I am a big nut and seed fan. I love healthy fats and use them generously in my daily diet. Healthy fats (nuts, seeds, olive oil, salmon) are part of a balanced diet. But…when fat intake is over done it can lead to distention, bloating and diarrhea for some who suffer with a sensitive belly. No thanks. Add a smattering of fats at every meal…just keep the portion in check.
- Get moving! I have 2 buttons: on and off. I tend to run around all day…then crash in bed at the end of the day. But during the holidays, I can be found scrolling through Instagram on the couch next to my dog, Lucy for hours. And, although the relaxation this holiday season was well needed, I am ready to get back to a bit more activity. Exercise is important for gut health, it encourages peristalsis and can aid constipation. It helps the gut move, like it should.
- Eat more veggies! This is my mantra for 2017. Add veggies to breakfast with a handful of spinach or kale in your egg white omelet, take a side of baby carrots, bell peppers, or cucumber slices with your lunch, and always add a veggie or two to your dinner plate. Voila! You can do this too!
- Maximize nutrition in every bite. This is my second mantra for 2017. Russ and I add a smattering of good nutrition on top of our toast or morning oats: chia, sliced bananas, blueberries, pepitas OR whirl up a fruit, yogurt and nut infused smoothie post work out. Every bite can be nutrient rich!
- Hydrate. Like a plant, our body is made primarily of water. Don’t forget to add water. Try to drink water at every meal and bring a water bottle with you when you leave the house. It’s really just about establishing some good hydration habits…and you will be good to go. Add some fresh fruit for an appealing fruit-infused flavor.
- Add yogurt and a little ‘culture’ to your life! If you can’t tolerate too much lactose (like me), try lactose free yogurt or small amounts of Greek or strained yogurts which contain less lactose. Choose yogurts with live and active cultures for your probiotic boost.
- Check your vitamin levels and supplement as needed. This time of year (especially in the Northern States), our Vitamin D can take a nose dive. The sunshine vitamin, needs sunshine to create enough Vitamin D for your body. It is common for Vitamin D to be low this time of year…but even more so for those with digestive health issues. Iron, B-Vitamins & Zinc can be low too in those with disrupted digestion. Talk with your doctor and assess your levels based on your history. And don’t forget to re-check levels after you supplement your diet to ensure you are able to replenish your needs!
- Go back to low FODMAP elimination if you have IBS and your symptoms peaked during the holidays! When I travel or go overboard, one or two days of the low FODMAP diet helps quell my symptoms and I am then able to liberalize my diet to my baseline diet of a modified low FODMAP diet and get my symptoms back in check. Talk with your health care provider if you think this approach may help you too!
Here’s to a wonderfully fun, healthy and rewarding 2017.