|It’s that time again and usually it’s a joyful time of gifts, eating, drinking and family time but for people with food intolerances is totally different. It can be an added stress and can feel very isolating and restrictive. Lets try to make it be a better Christmas this year with some options.|
Belly breathing – Stress is a big factor and adds to poor digestion so its important to keep it under control as best as you can. Deep belly breathing will help to calm the mind, the heart rate and allow you a few minutes of downtime each morning to get your head straight. Try 10 deep belly breaths in through the nose, pushing your belly out and out through the nose (longer than your in breath). Put one hand on your chest and one on your belly to make sure they’re belly breaths. Perform this upon waking, lying on your bed and notice what you notice. Just think about your breath when you do this.
Intermittent Fasting – Probably the most useful nutritional strategy you could implement this Christmas for gut healing abilities and boosting metabolism. Giving your gut a rest over a period of time will help it before its about to eat a lot of food. There are a few ways you could do this. The triple 8 rule – Eat for 8 hours, stop for 8 hours, sleep for 8 hours, the 5/2 fast that most people have heard of by only eating low calories 500 max on 2 days. Or try stopping eating after dinner then don’t eat for at least 12 hours, for example; 8pm till 8am.
Eat smaller meals – I can appreciate its Christmas but that’s why I am telling you and your gut will thank you for it. Eating smaller meals more often will again not add pressure to your already stressed out gut. Eat a little of your main meal, stop for a couple hours then eat some more. You’ll find its actually easier to graze over the Christmas season as there is always food everywhere.
Dairy free Egg nog – www.larajezeph.com/dairy-free-eggnog
Skip the carbs – I am never one for telling people to remove carbohydrates from their diets as they are important for energy however over the Christmas season you’re not doing much and tend to sit most of the time. By not eating the potatoes, crisps and Yorkshire puddings you will not only stop the weight creeping on but your gut will thank you for it as you wont be consuming the trigger foods that will cause you discomfort.
Make alternatives – There’s nothing worse that feeling limited and isolated by missing out on the treats at Christmas just because you have intolerances. I made alternatives last year and my family ended up eating them, as they were tastier. Yorkshire puddings, replace the flour with gluten free and the milk with your favourite dairy free alternative. Gravy, use proper meat juice and bulk out with organic gluten free stock/ bone broth.
Gluten Free Mince pie recipe:
· 90g (3oz) brown rice flour.
· 90g (3oz) potato flour.
· 90g (3oz) fine cornmeal (polenta)
· 1 heaped tsp xanthan gum.
· 150g (5oz) dairy-free spread, in slivers.
· 60g (2oz) caster sugar.
· 1 medium egg, beaten.
· 410g jar mincemeat (check ingredients for gluten and dairy products)
Use coconut yoghurt to serve with. Yummy!
Exercise – Exercise is a great way to aid digestion but you need to do it right, otherwise you could be adding to the stress on your body. I’m talking about doing a walk outside, in the fresh air upon waking up, on an empty stomach. Boosts metabolism and kicks starts digestion without freaking it out doing a HIIT session. This can be done even before you start opening your presents and spending time with the family. Why not get the family involved as well.
Another option is a digestion and energy boosting yoga pose is best for actual digestion of food, after a big meal: Diamond Pose (vajrasana)
Boost your metabolism – Drinking lemon water first thing in the morning gives the body a chance to absorb the vitamin C effectively and can provide a little immune boost. Lemon water is a powerful and inexpensive way to improve your skin and aid in digestion. Not a fan of lemons, drink plain old water. Especially around the festive time you will need to be drinking at least 8 large glasses of water everyday to boost your metabolism and keep hydrated around all the food and alcohol.
Eat your Veggies – Greens apart from adding vital nutrients will aid your digestion and help to alkaline your body after eating more acidic foods. Greens will add another layer of damage limitation to your Christmas and aid in faster recovery. They are also great roughage for those suffering with constipation.
Alcohol – We all know that alcohol is a toxin, which is why over consumption causes us to shake when we are hungover, effects your body temp making you feel cold and tired so your best bet is to remove it. Alcohol also contains yeast and is one of the most common food intolerances next to gluten and dairy. It also causes us to put on extra pounds especially over the Christmas season because your body uses its energy to purge the toxin rather than processing the food it eats. However, it is the festive season and if you’re going to consume it go for better options like spirits as they do not contain yeast and you can add them to hydrating mixers like soda water. Or try an organic red wine that doesn’t contain the sulphates that cause hangovers.
Coffee – Coffee as well as alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it removes fluids from the body as well as nutrients, so drinking too much can lead to dehydration and slow digestion, low energy and poor sleep. Another important factor to note is that it adds stress to your body making you have loose poo. We all know that Christmas is a stressful time for people with intolerances so trying to limit that stress as much as possible is key. Stick to 2 cups max and not past midday. Replace it with herbal tea or water.