HOLIDAY EATING: tips to avoid digestive distress

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The holidays are filled with family and food, but for the roughly 70 million Americans with gastrointestinal conditions such as acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, digestive  distress and gluten intolerance, holiday meals can turn a family reunion into a painful experience – literally.

That’s why it’s important to know how to avoid digestive distress that can ruin your holidays.

Someone who suffers from indigestion or GERD, for example, should avoid alcohol, fatty foods, mint, caffeine and tobacco – these foods loosen the circular muscle called the LES that keeps stomach contents from washing back up into the esophagus.

During holidays many of are indulging in foods they don’t regularly consume, like pies, cookies, cakes, maybe richer foods like mashed potatoes with butter and creams. These types of foods, since they’re not really in one side on a regular basis, it can be common to overeat them or maybe not tolerate them as well. Filling half of your plate with vegetables, they can be full of fiber and fill you up and nourish your body. And if you don’t quite know what you’re going into with your holiday party maybe just bring a side dish of a vegetable so that way I know that there’s something there that you can have in addition to some of those other more richer foods that might be available.

Are there foods that should be on the naughty list?

That is a great question, and I will say absolutely not. I don’t like to put any foods on that naughty list because when we view foods as good or bad, we kind of put this moral value on there. And then maybe we eat a cheesecake and then we feel bad about eating that cheesecake. When we grab another cookie or we grab something else, and it kind of escalates into these eating patterns that we don’t necessarily want.
If we look at food as, okay, I’m going to enjoy this, I’m going to enjoy that, we don’t put this moral value on them as good or bad, then that’s where we can go into the holidays with a more mindful approach. When we’re talking about individuals with things like celiac disease or gluten intolerance or specific intolerance in certain types of foods, that’s where it gets a little sticky and being more strategic going into the holidays with a more strategic approach.

Source: Deanna Dahlinger, RD Vivante Health

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