Gut Health in the Festive Season

We are in December and the festive season is well and truly upon us! At this time of year there are more functions and events to go to, which is a lot of fun, but can also be a cause of anxiety if you are concerned about your digestive health.

In particular, if you are getting bloating, diarrhoea, constipation, flatulence or reflux and aren’t sure what is causing it, then how do you know what to eat or drink to avoid this happening at an event? Or maybe you have suspicions but aren’t sure how to ask what is in the food being served? Knowing what to wear when you get bloating is always a difficult issue as well!

The flow on effect of this is that you feel more stressed and anxious about going, which affects your gut and so it turns into a bit of a vicious cycle. Your digestion is impacted by the stress response in the body, which can cause digestive issues. 90% of serotonin (our ‘happy’ hormone) is also made in the gut, and it communicates with the brain.

Suddenly you aren’t enjoying yourself at the event because you are worried about having a reaction or whether your bloating will show. This is not fair when everyone else can just relax!

If you don’t know what might trigger your symptoms, or you are unsure of how to enquire about the food, then here are some things to try:

  • Eat before going - not a huge meal but enough to tie you over. Then you can eat a smaller portion or avoid the food altogether if you like

  • Choose plainer dishes as you are less likely to react, like salad with no dressing, meat and vegetables with the sauce on the side, plain rice dishes

  • Eat slowly and chew thoroughly to lessen the load on your digestive organs

  • Ask for lemon wedges in your water as this stimulates stomach acid to break down food properly

  • If you have a sensitive stomach, alcohol is very likely to upset it. Ordering a soda water with lemon and lime looks a bit like an alcoholic drink and is refreshing! If you are going to drink, pace yourself and don’t go overboard

Also work on some stress management to reduce the impact of stress on digestion. Spend time in the days leading up to the event doing some deep breathing, guided meditations and affirmations. These take as little as 5 or 10 minutes per day but are very powerful for balancing the nervous system.

I am currently running free strategy calls to help you navigate through the festive season with digestive issues. During the call we discuss your symptoms, any events you have coming up and work out a plan to give you some short term relief and a strategy long term, so that you can feel more calm and relaxed this Christmas! Click below to learn more and book your call today.