written by: Elysia Arseneau, staff writer
The fastest way to ruin a family function is by developing digestive troubles like gas, bloating, sluggishness, and nausea due to overeating. In addition to the obvious "don't overeat," here are ways to help keep your digestive system happy this Thanksgiving without sacrificing on the foods you enjoy.
1. Be thankful and mindful.
With all the hustle and bustle of preparing for this feast, we often forget that Thanksgiving is meant for giving thanks! Before you sit down to enjoy your meal, take a moment to be grateful for your friends, family, food, and anything else that gives you joy. Studies have shown that eating in a positive mindset will improve your digestion and reduce overeating.
Eating slowly also helps to prevent overeating, so eat mindfully while you savour your meal. Digestion starts in the mouth, after all, so it's best not to rush that important first step of the digestion process!
2. Consume beverages away from your meal.
Drinking any liquids with meals will dilute your body’s natural digestive enzymes, which could make them less effective at their job of digesting your food. Therefore, aim to consume all drinks (including water!) 15-30 minutes away from eating. This means stop drinking 15-30 minutes before you plan on eating, and don't drink again until 15-30 minutes after you finish eating.
3. Eat your veggies first.
Speaking of enzymes, did you know that fruits and vegetables contain enzymes that are important for our health? When eating a meal, we should be consuming our vegetables first: not only do they take a shorter amount of time to digest, but also any enzymes they contain can be used to help digest the rest of your meal. So this Thanksgiving, be sure to fill up on the colourful vegetables on your plate before digging into the heavier foods like turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy.
4. Supplement with digestive enzymes.
This is our third point about enzymes, so you know they're important! Digestive enzymes are an integral part of the digestive process, but often we can't get enough from food alone, especially cooked foods. Even when you eat your veggies first, there may still be meals where we require a little extra help from a supplement. NutriChem makes a fantastic digestive enzyme called MegaZyme Pro: take 2 capsules before your Thanksgiving meal to help ensure proper digestion and absorption of nutrients.
5. Lay off the sugar.
We all know that the dessert table at family gatherings can be a nightmare when we’re trying to stay healthy. A much better option is to bring your own healthy dessert! We strongly recommend Pumpkin Spice Snack Bars or Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Loaf to bring to your next family function so that you can indulge in a sweet without all the added sugar.
6. When in doubt, walk it out.
Maybe you ate one too many servings of your favourite side dish this Thanksgiving? Are you feeling a little bloated or foggy headed? A great remedy for this is getting up and going for a relaxing walk in nature. Not only will it calm your digestive system, but it will help ease your mind too.
A version of this article originally appeared in our October 2015 newsletter.
Share with your family members so they know what to expect from you at the Thanksgiving table this year!