For good reason, Christmas and New Year are known as ‘the silly season’. Festivities are synonymous with rich food, celebratory champagne, and a few large servings of pavlova.
Abandoned inhibitions can lead us to stack our plates beyond what our belt buckles can cope with, and why wouldn’t we? It’s the break from routine that we relish at the end of a long year.
The digestive system, however, can struggle to keep up. A barrage of different foods and increased quantities can result in belching, bloating, reflux and flatulence - all uncomfortable and often uncomfortable symptoms.
Chocolate for breakfast may not pass any other time of the year, but Christmas morning wouldn’t be complete without a few chocolate coins or Christmas candy under the tree.
When it comes to our body, how we eat is almost as important as what we eat.
Enjoying and savouring food plays a big role in how the body receives it. Taking the time to really chew food properly stimulates saliva, the very first part of digestion, and prepares the stomach to expect incoming food. Eating and drinking at separate times then allow full-strength, undiluted stomach acids and digestive juices to start breaking down food before it moves through to the intestines.
Taking a breather between meals also helps. It can take about 20 minutes for the stomach to process that it is full, but feeling as though we are really ‘done’ comes from having food satisfaction. This highlights the need to slow down and really enjoy that chocolate brekkie rather than snapping it up all in one go.
The Kiwi summer makes Christmas the ideal time to include fresh salads alongside the traditional heavier dishes for balance and a nutrient boost. Topping that salad with a simple vinegarette helps to stimulate food breakdown, particularly if meats are part of the main meal. Including bitters like rocket, kale, and sesame also will aid extra bile production, essential for fat breakdown and utilisation.
An array of fresh fruits then served for dessert brings more fresh vitamins and minerals to the table. This option nourishes the liver and provides plenty of fibre to move the bowels. Take advantage of pomegranate, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and cherries being in season, as they pack a big antioxidant and fibre punch.
When we get a bit carried away, herbal support can help to bring the balance back.
The Chamomile, Lemon balm, Ginger and Rhubarb in Kiwiherb’s ColicComfort formula makes this the perfect option to support digestion in children and works as a gentle formula for adults. Kiwiherb’s Organic Kid’s Calm is another option, using Chamomile to settle stomach discomfort and soothe over-excited and over-whelmed tired children.
When a bit more oomph is needed, Kiwiherb’s Kawakawa Stomach Calm tackles stomach discomfort and helps lessen nausea, helping bloating and calming the digestive tract. Kawakawa, Ginger, and Peppermint are teamed with Mānuka and Kamahi honey in this formula and can be added to hot water to sip as a delicious alternative to herbal tea.
Loving your Liver
The timeless days between Christmas and New Year’s Eve call for lazy mornings, leftovers, and often a merry tipple. Moderation is the key when it comes to boozy celebrations, allowing the body time to process additional wastes through the liver.
If you find yourself enjoying an alcoholic beverage or three, here are some tips to help you rebound like your twenty-year-old self:
A bit of herbal help never goes astray. Kiwiherb’s Liver Cleanse combines protective and restorative liver herbs including Milk thistle, Globe artichoke, Dandelion, and Liquorice to aid detoxification pathways.
The festive season is a time to celebrate and recuperate, slow down and enjoy good company and good food. A few small changes in how and what we eat can make a big difference in how we feel, and herbal medicine is the perfect aid for maintaining digestive wellbeing.