7 Tips to Beat the Holiday Bloat

by Vincent Pedre, M.D.

The Holidays are upon us and once again food, drink and sweets will be plentiful. The mere presence of these holiday treats in the office can challenge your willpower and lead to bloating, constipation, indigestion and heartburn.

Often this leads to the kitchen-sink mentality. You've already done it, so why not throw all vestiges of willpower out the window and continue to indulge, vanishing all hopes of that 'bikini' body with each tasty morsel.

Before you resign yourself to Holiday bloating, heartburn and a ten pound weight gain, try these simple tips to keep your taste buds pleased without feeling it in your waist.

1. Eat first, not last. When you're going to holiday parties, never go hungry. Don't drink alcohol before you eat. By eating small, healthy snacks like an apple, carrot sticks or hummus before the event, you will avoid being ravenous when you get there.

2. Plan ahead for a big meal. Pace yourself. Try a little of everything. You don't need to rush. Take your time and enjoy each course. By slowing down, you allow time for the food to digest and for the 'I'm full' signal to reach your brain, so you won't overeat.

3. Take plant-based digestive enzymes, as an added precaution. If you think you will eat more than usual, take a digestive enzyme approximately 20 minutes before you start eating. SerenAid ® by Klaire Labs ® is a broad-spectrum plant enzyme blend that contains Dipeptidyl peptidase IV (DPP-IV), which also helps break down gluten for those with Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.

4. Test for food sensitivities. Often, undiagnosed food sensitivities play an underlying, indolent role in bloating, constipation and irritable bowel syndrome. Food sensitivities are slow immune reactions to food, unlike typical food allergies (e.g. peanuts), which are sudden and can lead to dangerous swelling of the windpipe. A Functional Medicine provider can help you test for these and design an eating plan based on the results.

5. Start the day off right. Start your day with a lemon squeezed in eight ounces of room-temperature water. A glass of lemon water helps your liver prepare for the day's eating. It's a great way to keep the system cleansed while engaging in holiday festivities. Follow this with Dr. Pedre's Super Energy Smoothie, rich in fiber and natural enzymes, healthy omega-3 fats and antioxidants.

Dr. Pedre's Super Energy Smoothie

1 cup Filtered water
1 cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond milk
¼ cup Organic Spinach ¼ cup Organic Blueberries
½ cup Papaya
1 Tbsp. Chia seeds
1 Tbsp. Almond butter

In a blender, combine the ingredients in the order listed and blend until smooth. Enjoy in the morning, while you get ready for work. You can be creative and invent your own smoothie by varying the fruit or substituting ground flax seeds for chia seeds.

6. Take a magnesium supplement to stay regular. Magnesium citrate 200 - 400mg at bedtime not only can help you stay regular, it has the added benefit of calming the nervous system. The worst cause for holiday bloating is several days of eating with a constipated system. Keeping your bowels moving will help you feel lighter and happier.

7. Drink tea. The party is over and you did it. You overate! Your stomach is distended, and you feel nauseous or simply may feel like regurgitating your food. Try ginger, chamomile or fennel teas to soothe an upset stomach. My favorite is Yogi ® Tea Ginger blend. Steep for 5 minutes with 1 teaspoon of agave.

Vincent Pedre, M.D. is an integrative, Holistic General Practitioner and Board-Certified Internist in private practice in New York City. Follow Dr. Pedre on Facebook and Twitter.

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