Christmas is right around the corner.
Orchard Road in Singapore has long been decorated and Christmas trees deck the malls around town and in homes. Even if you don’t celebrate this religious holiday, it is difficult not to be caught up with all the excitement and energy. It seems like the whole city is abuzz, busy with people out shopping for gifts or seeing the beautiful light works.
When so much is going on, it can get overwhelming, even if it is jolly and fun. This is the time family most often travel back home for reunions. The calendar gets filled up with parties and gatherings, and many take the opportunity for their much-deserved holiday.
In the midst of all the merrymaking, something tends to give and that is usually our digestion.
It is not only the rich food or increased alcohol intake that force our digestive system to work harder than usual. And yes there are many delectable temptations abound. Digestion is also the processing of emotions, thoughts, and beliefs as well. A myriad of feelings arise, for example, from spending concentrated family time or not having the opportunity to do so. For many people, a twinge of sadness is felt as the year draws to an end.
In short, even though Christmas is a time of goodwill, peace, and love, it can bring up many varied emotions. Combined this with more erratic sleep, increased alcohol, travel stress, and indulgent diet, the digestion can become overtaxed and grumpy.
Here are some tips for boosting your digestion and staying healthy through the holidays, without being the Christmas Grinch or Scrooge (aside from eating your greens and veggies and saying no to heaping seconds):
Pay attention to what you are eating. Eat mindfully and simply.
It’s exciting to meet up with old friends and connect with new ones. When our focus is on chatting, it’s not on eating. When we don’t pay attention to the act of eating, with all our five senses, we tend to overeat or eat incorrectly for our body. The signals of satisfaction or rejection are more easily missed.
One tip is to eat one or two foods at a time. The body, as it digests food, can be taxed as it tries to break down different protein chains.
Try food combining to ease digestion.
Some foods digest easily in combinations with others but some don’t.
The primary one is fruit. Eat fruits and drink your juices separately – 20 minutes before or 2 to 3 hours after meals.
Combine that Christmas turkey or ham with vegetables, and pass on the bread and potatoes. If you are a carb lover, go ahead and just don’t include meat with it. Your body will thank you later.
With water that is. Up your intake of H20 to balance out the extra servings of your neighbour’s best eggnog. Dehydration compromises digestion. Best to avoid fizzy drinks which are acidic and can cause bloat. Drinking water will also give you that natural glow, the best accessory for parties.
No matter if you are spending time with family and friends, keeping an active social calendar, or having been called in to work by your boss, make sure you stay active. Movement does us good!
Start the day with a run or some sun salutations. Do it early in the day before the indulgences hit.
Or take after-dinner walks, to keep things “moving”.
Exercise is a great mood-changer and stress buster.
With family and visitors in town, we may feel obligated to do more, and make their stay outstanding. But everyone needs time to kick back and do nothing. The consummate host recognizes this balance. Doing less helps put a lid on the stress levels, making it easier for everyone to stay more relaxed and open to enjoying each other’s company.
[Editor’s Note: If you already have a rebelling tummy, try a simple Jin Shin Jyutsu trick – put your hand on your last rib. Move along the rib to find your own “sweet spot”. This area helps to connect the top and bottom halves of the body. And a great point for digestion!]