Combating Holiday Bloat: Tips for Flatter, Happier Tummy During the Holiday Treat Season
By Revée “Dr. Ray” Barbour, ND MS
Dr. Ray, ND: The People’s Doctor in Sacramento, CA
The holiday season brings many joys, but among the most loved are the wonderful food and drinks. Thanksgiving is the kick-off for month-long celebrations with holiday parties, massive family-style dinners, seasonal beverages and desserts galore. You’ve just spent 1-2 days eating yourself silly with turkey, high-carb cheesy sides, and a few different pies and cakes. What can you do in 2-3 days to help reset your tummy so you’re not so bloated for the next week? The following easy tips have been tried and tested as my life-hacks so you can enjoy your holiday indulgence without expanding your waist.
What can you do in 2-3 days to help reset your tummy so you’re not so bloated for the next week? The following easy tips have been tried and tested as my life-hacks so you can enjoy your holiday indulgence without expanding your waist.
Cut the Carbs & Salt
Let’s be clear, carbohydrates and sodium are not the devil! Carbohydrates are important macro nutrients, and sodium is a key electrolyte. Both are necessary to give our bodies energy, plus, ensure proper fluid balance within the body. That said, eating excess refined carbohydrates (i.e. table sugar, white flour, etc.) and processed sodium (i.e. table salt) can cause more water retention, thus create bloating symptoms. Try eating a low-carb, low salt diet (i.e. lean protein and steamed veggies) for 2-3 days to help flush out your excess water weight and rebalance.
Drink Water, Plenty of it*
It may sound counter-intuitive but it’s actually quite logical. Excess carbohydrates, salt, and alcohol increases dehydration and water retention. Drink more water, and your body won’t retain as much water and bloat. The day of your holiday meal/event, try hydrating with plenty of water earlier in the day, then limit yourself to only 1-2 holiday drinks. The increased water intake will not only help curb sweet and salty cravings, but also minimize the dehydrating effects of the alcohol. The days after the holiday meal/event, aim for drinking half your body weight in ounces (i.e. 120lbs= 60oz) of water daily. Add fresh lemon wedge or cucumber for extra detoxifying effects. (*Folks with kidney and heart failure conditions, please consult your doctor first before changing your fluids intake.)
Eat Diuretic Foods
Diuretics are substances that help reduce excess water and bloating in the body by increasing urination. Celery and asparagus are great foods for pulling water, plus they offer your gut flora prebiotic fiber, which helps maintain healthy gut flora levels. If you want stronger detox effects, try drinking fresh celery and ginger juice first thing in the morning; it’s more energizing than coffee! Want more drink options? Try sipping herbal diuretic teas such as dandelion, hibiscus, plain green and black teas, hawthorn berry, or parsley throughout the day.
Get Moving & Sweaty
What? Did you think this would be a post where you get to skip the exercise? No way! You want less bloat and a flatter belly? Then you have to work for it! Don’t let the holiday food and drinks leave you in a food coma or stuck on the couch. Get up and take a walk or crank on the music and dance it out among the festivities! Body movement aids digestion and encourages regular bowel movements. Add on sweating and you’re helping to release excess water retention and toxins.
These are simple tips you can incorporate this season and have great de-bloating results. It’s the holidays, so enjoy yourself, but remember moderation is key! If your tummy still is not happy or responding to these tips, then there might be other underlying issues. Consider seeing your doctor, or come see a naturopathic doctor, like myself, where we can test your gut function and rule out other factors contributing to the stubborn bloat.