Holiday Meal Survival Guide

  • Fresh ginger tea, CCF tea or lime and honey water in the morning or in between meals
  • Hibiscus, rosehips, mint, tulsi, chamomile, cardamom, clove, and cinnamon, are all also great digestive spices you can use to make your own tea
  • All other meals light/easy to digest, but filling/satisfying; veggies for meals, no salads, stick with clear broth soups (barley vegetable, minestrone, pho, kitchari, dahl e.t.c.)
  • Exercise everyday for at least 15-20 minutes-- a walk is great, especially after meals!
  • At night rub your belly with sesame oil-- do NOT do this if you are experiencing heartburn, diarrhea, or any burning sensation

For the Big Nights

Drinks:

Choose wine or hot tea instead. Wine is an appetizer, to a point! Beer contains yeast, so just like thick wheat products it will cause bloating, gas, indigestion, heartburn, belching, and a very heavy feeling in the gut. Cider is better than beer but still contains a lot of sugar and carbonation, which will also create those effects. Hard liquor is very harsh on the system, but if you must you must.

Appetizers:

If you can, try to avoid them all together. It is VERY difficult on your digestion to be snacking for 1-2 hours before your actual meal because it takes 3-4 hours to digest the first thing you ate. A lot of times there will be lots of fruit on a cheese plate; fruit digests very quickly (30 minutes) so that is a great option. Olives or anything pickled are good options as well because they are salty and salt is an appetite stimulator. You could also plan on digging into the appetizers right away to give your body ample time to digest or wait until you absolutely can’t stand it anymore as close to the main meal as possible.

Main Course:

Choose one protein, lots of veggies, and… no salad. Each type of protein, even type of meat, digests at a different rate than each other (turkey, chicken, beef, pork, egg, cheese, yogurt, beans, e.t.c.). If you know you definitely want turkey, avoid the cheese and charcuterie plate. If you can’t keep your hands off the cheese, have very minimal amounts of meat--a small taste of each at best.

Salad is raw, cold, not an appropriate winter food, very difficult to digest, and will add lots of gas and indigestion to your system. No salad.

Dessert:

Don’t wait 30 minutes to an hour to eat dessert if you can; your body will already start digesting your main meal and if you pile on more food in the middle of the digestion process, you won’t be hungry until dinner the next night.

Choose pumpkin pie for dessert!! Look for the desserts that have lots of spices in them because they will aid digestion. Pumpkin is also a laxative so it will help your digestive system to clear it faster-- try to avoid the whip cream and ice cream. Most pies are already made with milk and cream so by adding more heavy dairy (and freezing cold for that matter!) instantly you will feel weighed down.

What to do you if you go overboard because you couldn’t help it!

Fast.

DO NOT wake up and eat right away. It may seem like you are hungry but that is a false craving. If you ate ice cream on a cold day your body would crave spicy food to heat it back up---that is an intelligent craving. IF you ate ice cream three days in a row when it was snowing because you ignored your body’s intelligent craving, you committed prajnaparadah or a “crime against wisdom.” Your body will then start to crave cold and heavy things as false cravings because you taught it to do so. With heavy meals, your body produces extra bile in order to handle the overload. Therefore in this case the extra bile is not telling you to eat, it’s telling you it’s still trying to digest your meal from last night.

Fast in the morning until lunch time. Ginger tea, CCF tea, lime and honey water, and fruit are all suitable substitutes for a meal. Unless you are diabetic or have an intense acid imbalance in the stomach, fasting for a meal (breakfast) is sincerely one of the best practices through the holidays. (Not Ayurvedic.... popcorn is a great way to soak up all the extra mucus in a heavy stomach BUT ONLY if you are not experiencing lots of gas).

Herbal Remedies

Every night: drink triphala or amalaki tea before bed on an empty stomach. Steep ½ tsp. in one cup of boiling water, drink until you get to the herb matter. This will add extra protection for your digestion, cleanse the liver, calm inflammation, and remove anything stuck in your G.I. tract.

Photo by Gabriel Garcia Marengo on Unsplash