By Bex, Supplements Buyer & The Naturalist Contributor
Some of you count down the days to Thanksgiving all year long, and are excited to gobble up a meal that brings together family, friends and tantalizingly decadent dishes. Others dread the massive feast and that heavy, sluggish feeling that follows it - particularly, when you have to undo that top button of the pants you wore specifically because they were loose. Ugh!
Regardless of which Thanksgiving camp you fall into, the day can be loaded with foods that make you feel, well, loaded. Sugar. Alcohol. Starches. Fat. Oh my! How do you avoid ending the night feeling like a stuffed turkey?
Now, some Thanksgiving survivalists suggest feasting with your eyes, rather than your mouth, but what if you are a Thanksgiving enthusiast (and pragmatist) who wants to indulge a little? How about enjoying the meal in a mindful way that supports your digestion, your taste buds and your waistline? Here are five Thanksgiving dinner survival tips to get you and your belly through the day! (And not to mention, the rest of the holiday season.)
1. Digestive bitters, digestive bitters, digestive bitters - and digestive enzymes.
The typical western diet is lacking in bitter foods, which help to jumpstart the production of digestive enzymes, bile and other digestive juices. Bitter tastes literally tell your entire digestive system, "Food is coming! Get working!". "Digestive Bitters" like those made by Urban Moonshine are traditionally used to support indigestion, nausea, gas, bloating, and balanced blood sugar levels. They encourage everything along the track - from our salivary glands to our intestines - to get the digestive party started. Consider grabbing a spray bottle of Urban Moonshine Bitters to stash in your purse or pocket Thanksgiving night. Take them about ten minutes before the big meal - and consider taking more after your meal if your gut needs a little extra love.
For those of you who need something that packs a little more punch, you may want to give digestive enzymes a whirl. Digestive enzymes support the process of breaking down food into smaller, more absorbable and digestible molecules. On Thanksgiving Day, we tend to eat more food in general, and often consume more fat, sugar, dairy, gluten and alcohol than usual. Enzymedica’s Digest Spectrum is specifically formulated to support those who suffer from food intolerances. Digest Gold is a high-potency enzyme formula, great for supporting your body in breaking down carbohydrates, fats, protein and fiber. Lypo Gold is a fantastic choice for those who aren’t used to consuming the richer foods on the Thanksgiving table and could use a substantial dose of lipase to support efficient fat digestion. Digestive enzymes are most often taken right before or during a meal, but many people find them to be effective within 30 minutes of a meal.
2. Eat a wholesome breakfast and drink lots of water!
It may seem counterintuitive to start your day with food when you know there will be so much more of it on your plate later. However, fueling your body in the morning can help you stave off some of the hunger pangs and low blood sugar crashes that can lead to overeating. Drinking enough water throughout the day can also support normal hunger levels and help your body process the high amount of salt that often comes with a heavy Thanksgiving meal.
3. Joy Tonic by Urban Moonshine
For those of you who are terrified about your crazy in-laws imposing their political beliefs upon everyone at the dinner table, we understand. For those who feel uneasy when there is enough food on your table to feed your family for a week and there are people starving in this world, we understand. For those who feel conflicted about the very origins of this 'Thanksgiving' tradition, we understand. Whatever may be causing your Thanksgiving Day anxieties, Urban Moonshine’s Joy Tonic could be the stress support that turns your day around. Formulated with uplifting herbs that promote peacefulness, inspiration and positivity, just a teaspoon of Joy Tonic can help provide that gentle emotional boost necessary to make it through the feast with a smile.
4. Plant Sterols
If you are at all concerned about the high cholesterol in turkey, not to mention other heavy foods weighing down your plates (and stomachs) this Thanksgiving, taking plant sterols might be a worthwhile investment in your health. Since plant sterols have a similar structure to cholesterol, they support the absorption and metabolism of cholesterol so that it is eliminated through your stool. As you have probably heard us say, we are not doctors or pharmacists, but clinical studies and customer experiences demonstrate that plant sterols can lower total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol. We recommend Plant Sterols 500 mg by Blue Bonnet.
5. GIVE THANKS! And, start those New Years Resolutions early.
Get into the spirit of the holiday and express your gratitude for the people, experiences and transformations that have positively impacted your year. Alternatively, make some proactive commitments for how you will support your community (global or local) and honor your values in the year ahead. Share these with the table - positive affirmations can ease anxiety and bring joy to those around you in difficult times.
As a thank you for reading this entire article, here are some extra credit tips:
- Probiotics can be a great way to support the optimal environment for your gut. Cambridge Naturals Brand (including our line of Probiotics) is still on sale 20% off through the month of November!
- If you end up feeling bloated or gassy, Gaia makes a great formula called (seriously): Gas and Bloating. It includes some pretty remarkable digestive herbs.
- Get outside! A Thanksgiving hike will help burn those calories and get your digestive system humming along. Plus, you can avoid the crazy in-laws for another hour or so.
- And of course… come by the store or give us a call if you have any other nutritional questions!
This blog post is for general health information only. This Web site is not to be used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any health condition or problem. Users of this Web site should not rely on information provided on this Web site for their own health problems. Any questions regarding your own health should be addressed to your own physician or other healthcare provider.