Holiday Eating For Healthy Mind, Body + Spirit by Fran Allen November 22 2018
The holiday season can be a hard time of year. Despite the joy and connection many of us experience during this time, the holidays can also be a very stressful and triggering. For many, stress experienced around the holiday season is intertwined with our relationship to food. With the holidays just around the corner, I think it’s important to address this connection head-on and give you the tools to help you navigate this season free of guilt, restriction and shame. Here are a few things to consider if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed:
- As with anything in life, being prepared always helps. Whether it’s mentally or physically, preparing yourself for what’s to come is an important stress-minimizing tool. For example, if you have a restrictive diet due to health or ethical reasons, preparing a side dish to bring to your work party or holiday dinner is a great way to ensure there will be something accessible for you to eat. There’s also nothing wrong with reaching out to your host with your dietary restrictions. Offering help with recipes or making suggestions that align with your needs can go a long way. This can minimize stress for both you and your host, ensuring you both feel good about the time and meals you enjoy together.
If you struggle with eating rich foods, be sure to bring digestive bitters or enzymes to help you properly digest your meal.
Digestive bitters are a bitter tonic derived from plants to help aid in digestion by increasing stomach acid, enzymes and bile. Bitters are usually taken just before a meal, just a few drops on the tongue, and are available at most health food stores.
If you notice a lot of bloating after eating or are finding a lot of undigested food in your stool, digestive enzymes are a great supplement to add to your meals. These add additional help to you digestive system and help your body break down and absorb food properly.
- Make sure you eat and enjoy the time you are spending with loved ones. Don’t hold onto guilt and shame of the quality of food you're eating. Let go of the stigma that you have to eat a certain way every day and recognize that this time of year is not an everyday event. Let go of the negative self-talk that can overwhelm us this time of year. Do not hold yourself to restricting, trust your natural hunger cues and let your body fall into balance. Each time a negative thought passes through, try and ask yourself, “who benefits from this belief?” More times than not, the answer will be no one.
- Establish healthy boundaries and ask for support when you need it. This time of year can be wonderful but sometimes the pressure of being around family can be really hard. People who are close to you may think it’s appropriate to talk to you about your body and that’s not okay. In turn, intercede if you’re watching a situation like this unfold. Reach out to loved ones and offer support however you can. Even just letting someone know you are thinking of them can be so uplifting.
- It is important to remember to have gratitude and enjoy the time you spend with the people around you. Appreciate the changing of the seasons and how we all naturally slow down to connect with this time of year.
If you struggle with anxieties around food and want to learn to break the cycle of obsessive eating, book an appointment with our Holistic Nutritionist Fran.