7 Tips for a Gut-Healthy, Stress-Free Holiday Season
It’s here! The holiday season kicks off this week. It’s a wonderful time for family, friends, and celebrations. However, this time of year can do a real number on your stress levels — especially if you’re not prepared. I recommend my Adrenal Support for everyone at this time of year. It’s a cutting edge blend of adaptogenic herbs that supports optimal stress response, adrenal health and stress hormone production.
Meanwhile, to help you enjoy the season and maintain your health, I’ve come up with 7 helpful tips to get you through everything the holidays bring, from avoiding dangerously tempting treats, to promoting optimal sleep. Let’s dive in!
1. Commit to Your Health
I hope that this year you have made great strides to take back or maintain your health and reverse chronic illness. I know firsthand that this takes hard work and dedication, so now is the time to make a promise to yourself that you will continue to put your health first during the holidays.
Despite the time of year, you don’t have to let yourself get off track, or get completely derailed. If you do happen to slip, then it’s time to recommit yourself — just one “slip” could do serious damage to your gut!
However, I don’t want you to cause yourself undue stress, which may lead to more inflammation in the body. To help make it easier for you during this time, I put together The Myers Way® AIP & Paleo Holiday Recipes eBook. It’s filled with incredible recipes packed with traditional holiday flavors and gut-healthy ingredients. They’re delicious and satisfying, and they’re sure to be hit with the whole family and any holiday guests.
Preparing these recipes for friends and family, and encouraging them to pick up healthier habits during the holiday season is a great way to commit to your health and empower others to do the same.
2. Be Mindful of Sugar, Starch, and Alcohol
It’s easy for your gut to become out of balance if you’re indulging in sugary treats, starchy foods, and alcoholic drinks all season long. I know that if you’ve finished a 30-day protocol and reintroduced some foods, then maybe your body can tolerate small amounts of these foods. However, they’re still toxic to your body!
At this time of year, moderation is key when it comes to sugar and alcohol, and that is only IF you completed reintroducing foods into your diet. Otherwise, sugar and alcohol remain big “NOs.”
Additionally, with all of the changes going on in your life, including dietary habits and stressful schedules, you leave your body open to conditions such as Candida overgrowth and SIBO — which are fed by high-carb foods such as sugar, starches, and alcohol.
If you’re prone to these types of infections, you may want to supplement with Candifense® and my Caprylic Acid. They are both made from plant enzymes that have natural antimicrobial properties, which simply serve as an added bonus during flu season to protect yourself during a time when you’re gut can easily become out of balance.
I also encourage you to prepare “mocktails” like this delicious cucumber drink instead of sipping on Candida-feeding alcoholic beverages, and offering to bring homemade goodies to gatherings for sharing so that you know exactly what you’re putting in your body.
3. Be Prepared
If your holiday includes travel time, whether by car or by plane, plan for these times by staying hydrated (most airports have filtered water stations) and packing plenty of snacks. This way, you’ll avoid being caught off-guard by hunger pangs and digestive issues (such as constipation), and you’ll never have to settle for food that could derail any of your progress.
To dive deeper into preparing foods for snacking, you may want to consider planning ahead for any events you’re attending — whether you’re going to a friendly gathering, or heading out for a day of sale-shopping at the mall. My go-to snacks include homemade energy bites and AIP or Paleo trail mix. If I have time, I’ll prepare a smoothie before I leave the house using my delicious Paleo Protein. This is also a great option to choose before you head out to a party where you know there will be a lot of food that does not fit into The Myers Way®.
Know Your “No” Foods
You’ve got your water, you’ve got you’re snacks, and now you’ve got to prepare a mental list of all your “no” foods. These are the foods you know for a fact you cannot tolerate. Make sure you’re informed about what you’re putting in your body. Feeling healthy and energized is important, and you don’t want to risk being knocked out of action by an inflammation flare-up from something you ate. Don’t be afraid to ask what’s in the food on your plate so you can avoid your “no” foods and enjoy the rest.
4. If You Accidentally Get “Glutened”
Even if you’re cautious, there’s always a chance you could be exposed to gluten or other foods you are sensitive to by accident. Maybe one of your family members unknowingly used a spice mix that contained gluten, or perhaps you ate something that shared a skillet with something breaded. It’s always a good idea to have a backup plan just in case. You can read all about how to recover after getting “glutened” — in the meantime, here are some quick tips:
- Supplement with digestive enzymes and activated charcoal to help break down food molecules and bind the toxins.
- Use probiotics and collagen to help rebuild your gut cell wall and support digestion.
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated; the fluids will help flush your system.
- Eat inflammation-fighting foods such as ginger and turmeric.
5. Make Time for Yourself
Although the holidays may be a time to gather with loved ones and spend the season in the company of others who make you happy, it’s also important to make time for yourself.
Do something every day to relax and relieve stress. However, I’m not recommending you plop down in front of the television or spend too much time scrolling through social media. These activities may actually have a negative impact on your health (which I’ll address in a minute). Consider these options instead:
- Take a walk by yourself to gather your thoughts
- Fill up the tub and take a hot bath with Epsom salts (my personal favorite!)
- Practice yoga with a soothing Hatha flow
Sometimes relaxation and stress relief practices are one and the same; occasionally they require individual attention. Stress relief comes in many forms and could include time spent at the gym, while relaxing your body and your mind may be reading a book or meditating. Just remember that there is no one right way to relax. Do what you enjoy and what works best for you.
6. Prioritize Sleep
It can be tempting to stay up late and keep the party going, however, getting a good night’s sleep is so important! Sleep is your body’s way of rejuvenating itself after a long day and many people find that they need extra sleep in the winter when days are shorter.
Remember to limit your use of electric lighting after dark, as your sleep hormone production responds to light. I wear amber glasses in the evenings to block out certain wavelengths of light that prevent melatonin production. You can also put amber light bulbs in a few lamps and use those after dark. When working on a smartphone, tablet, or computer make sure it’s in ‘evening mode’ which adjusts your screen lighting to the time of day and creates an amber hue on the screen after dark. Another way to support healthy sleep patterns is to incorporate a supplement to support a calm and relaxed mood, such as Rest & Restore™.
It can be difficult to put your work down, turn off the TV, or take a break from social media — trust me, I know! Despite our frequent use of electronics, detaching yourself from these for the sake of a healthy sleep pattern is just one of the reasons to take time away from social media. You could use the time away from screens to relax with the family and friends you don’t see at any other time of the year.
7. Appreciate Your Body, Your Health, and the People Who Support You
Be mindful of your blessings, the wonderful and supportive people in your life, and everything that brings you joy. This is yet another great way to relieve stress! And knowing you can’t avoid stress entirely, be kind to your body with Adrenal Support.
Consider all of the steps you’ve taken or the ones you intend to take on your journey to optimal health. It takes so much courage and perseverance to keep up with a protocol or continue to institute dietary changes long enough to turn them into a habit, but you and you’re body are doing it — and you can be proud of yourself for it!
You can also take this time to be thankful for all of the people in your life who love you unconditionally and support you through challenging times in your life. This season is all about being grateful for what life has given you! Your family and closest friends will always be there for you whether you have digestive issues, a chronic health condition, or you’re on a journey to achieve a healthier lifestyle for you and your family.
Additionally, we have The Myers Way® Community. It’s a wonderful community of supportive people who gather together to discuss their health and the strides they’ve made to reverse their conditions. I’m so grateful to each and every one of the people in the community who put their all into supporting others to achieve optimal health.
Finally, I know it can be hard to take the road less traveled and choose a different path than your family, friends and even conventional doctor — and I appreciate you for taking a stand and doing what you know is right for you and your health. So you should appreciate you and your body all the more for it as well.
Giving and receiving an appreciation is one of the best gifts you can give someone — it’s simple and meaningful in all the ways that matter most.
My entire team, Xavier, Elle, Mocha, and I are wishing you and your families a wonderful holiday season!