Artemis share their six top season survival tips to help us find balance over the festive season.
While socialising around the silly season inevitably brings about meals, snacks, and drinks with it, part of our self-care routine is to enjoy the holidays, without letting all this “sometimes food” derail our health and wellbeing. It's important to feel well enough to actually enjoy the holidays and to find balance, allowing ourselves to indulge now and again (guilt-free), while supporting our body’s natural functions so that we can bounce back from that day of too-much-chocolate-and-wine!
1. Listen to your hunger cues.
When eating socially, many of us ignore whether or not we are actually hungry. Eating too much when you’re not hungry can lead to bloating, indigestion, feeling tired and sluggish, never mind the expanding waistline. When someone offers you a snack, take a moment to focus on your belly. Are you actually hungry? If not, try saying something as simple as “no thanks”.
2. Get your veggies in, no matter what.
One of the best tricks is to eat something healthy and delicious before you go out, especially if you know healthy options are going to be limited. Make yourself a big green salad or a smoothie with some kale or spinach thrown in. You won’t be ravenous when you arrive, and you can have a few bites knowing that you’ve started the day with something nourishing and nutritious.
3. Plan ahead.
Make a plan for the week or month. Choose events that you know you will want to have a wine or two at, and don’t beat yourself up about it. Then, figure out how you are going to feel festive, without feeling left out, at the other events. The key is to do this BEFORE someone comes to fill up your glass.
4. Make a mocktail.
Bring tasty, non-alcoholic alternatives to BBQs and dinners with friends. Home-made iced tea or sparkling water with a lemon wedge in a wine glass still feels like a “treat”, without the side-effects. Kombucha (fermented tea) is another great alternative, and has the added bonus of containing beneficial probiotics and enzymes to support digestion.
5. Plant medicine daily.
Certain plant medicines can help to optimise your body’s natural ability to digest, detoxify, and eliminate. This is especially helpful at a time of year when we are putting an extra load on these systems.
Modern research shows that St Mary’s Thistle (Silybum marianum) can help support healthy liver function and help protect liver cells from harmful substances such as alcohol, drugs, poor diet, or exposure to chemical pollution.
Globe Artichoke (Cynara scolymus) also supports detoxification and elimination, due to its bitter plant compounds. The bitterness stimulates bile production, making it useful for supporting digestion, bowel regularity, bloating and queasy feelings.
Supporting the kidneys is also important, as they help to clear the body of water-soluble wastes. This can be enhanced by plant medicines such as Golden Rod (Solidago virgaurea), Horsetail (Equisetum arvense) and Nettle leaf (Urtica dioica). These plants have been shown to help clear the body of metabolic wastes like excess sodium and uric acid.
These plants can be used daily throughout the festive season as a medicinal tea to maintain good digestion, detoxification and elimination. But what if you’ve already overdone it and are left feeling bloated or unwell?
Plant medicines such as Peppermint (Mentha x piperita), Lemonbalm (Melissa officinalis), Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla), and Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) contain compounds which help to calm the digestive tract and ease gas, bloating and discomfort. Tea is again the best way to ingest these medicinal plants as the hot water extraction helps release the therapeutic volatile oils which help with digestive complaints.
6. Do your best, and relax the rest of the time.
No one’s perfect, and this is hardly the time of year to beat yourself up for eating or drinking something less-than-healthy. Follow the above steps, and if you happen to overdo it once or twice, know that it’s not the end of the world and you can simply have a salad and a smoothie tomorrow.
Always read the label and use as directed. If symptoms persist see our healthcare professional. Artemis Ltd, Dunedin.
Author: Emily Bose, Naturopath, and Medical Herbalist.