The holiday season is a wonderful time, but let’s face it, it can also be super stressful, physically taxing, and can leave us with that post-holiday belly bloat. Ugh !
There is nothing worse than starting the new year with your digestion in a funk. When you’re not able to digest your food you're not able to digest your life either, and when we can’t digest our life things start to get really gunked up. This can lead to a number of problems like disturbed sleep, mood disorders, hormonal imbalances, adrenal fatigue, weight gain, and many other unwanted winter-time stressors.
So, how do you create EASE during the holidays?!
Stoke that digestive fire (Agni)! Cultivating strong Agni pre-holiday season will have tremendous benefits during the festive season and the months to follow. In order to keep your Agni strong do what you can to create ease on your digestive system and lower the intake of anything that is more toxic or inflammatory. Another key element for maintaining easeful digestion is eliminating any stressors that may be causing adrenal upset. Your adrenal glands play a huge role in regulating your stress levels. They help to regulate your blood sugar, your blood pressure, help you burn fat and protein, and they also determine how you react to stress.
Here are some helpful tips to eliminate stress and help you prepare a strong digestive fire pre-holiday feasting:
*Mung bean cleanse (pre and/or post holiday) - leading up to the holidays (and also after the holidays) can be a great time to eat a more simplified diet. A kitchari (ayurvedic mung bean) cleanse helps to clear away any excess sludge in the body, it strengthens your digestion, and will leave you feeling light and clear as you go into the family and eating frenzy. It’s also an appropriate cleanse to do during the cooler months because you aren’t depriving yourself of foods, but rather eating enough food that is warm, nourishing, AND cleansing. This is also a perfect cleansing protocol to do at any time of the year, especially for the working woman who needs to be fueled throughout the day! A mung bean cleanse can help to keep your vata balanced and will give you loads of energy for all the events on your holiday calendar.
*Tulsi-Ginger tea - This is a great tea to help keep you calm while also aiding in digestion. Ayurveda’s “Holy Basil” is an all around beautiful tea to soothe your mind, boost your immunity, and calm your belly. I love the addition of ginger in this tea for the added “debloating” effect that it has. Try using this in between meals while you are out of your normal routine and watch how it creates more stability in your mood and in your tummy.
*Float Tank- This could be a hard one to find, but Float Tank spas are popping up all over the place and if you’re lucky there might just be one located near your holiday destination. A float tank is a sensory deprivation tank that is filled with water and epsom salts. It is meant to be a meditative experience helping to reduce external stimulation and create ease on your neurotransmitters. It can be extremely helpful when we are traveling, out of our normal routine, or if we are just looking for a targeted way to unwind. You could even suggest doing this as a family event! If a float tank isn’t available, try adding some time for some sort of mindfulness and meditation practice. This will help you to stay present and enjoy each moment through the holiday season.
*Take a walk with the family before/after meals- The holidays are all about togetherness, but this doesn’t mean that togetherness always has to happen lounging on the couch. Of course wintertime is a great season for rest, but it’s just as important to expose yourself to the elements and move your body as it is to relax. Doing some form of exercise in the open air to fuel your lungs and stretch your body will keep you from sinking into that holiday slump. It’s also a wonderful way to have more intimate moments with the people you love.
*Try to stay away from dairy- It can be difficult to keep to our healthy eating habits when we travel great distances and visit people that may not have our same dietary needs. Please be gentle with yourself no matter what you’re eating (your mind plays a huge role in your digestion). However, if you can limit the amount of dairy you take in this holiday season it will significantly aide your digestive system. Dairy is often overused ingredient in holiday cooking. Even if you normally do okay with dairy, it is still best avoided during the times when excess Kapha can start to clog up your digestive tract. So, maybe this means you politely pass on the heavy whipped cream and gravy.
Or, take your digestive enzyme and choose the dairy dish that you just can’t pass up! 🙂
*Take it easy on the alcohol- I know that alcohol can sometimes help to ease the tension that may come from stressful holiday gatherings, conversations, or family members you don’t quite tolerate as well, but it’s not always the best choice. When misused alcohol can make you feel worse. It also slows down your metabolism and wrecks your digestive fire. If you do decide to drink try to drink moderately, drink lots of water in between, and maybe try adding in some supplements for additional support. Activated coconut charcoal, vitamin C, and digestive enzymes will help aid in your liver’s ability to detoxify the alcohol. It’s also best if you can try to have your last drink earlier in the evening and the next morning add a dash of celtic salt to your water to help replenish any minerals you might have lost.
*Hack your sleep: Getting plenty of rest is so important for the body’s ability to repair itself. This is crucial during the times when we are overloading our system with different foods. It’s not always easy to sleep outside the comforts of your own bed, but I’ve found that earplugs and a face mask can really help in keeping my sleep consistent. Try using some essential oils like lavender, geranium, frankincense, and cypress to lead you into a more restful state. I love adding these essential oils to a carrier oil like sesame or coconut oil for a little self massage pre-bedtime. My favorite oil to use is the Vata Balancing Massage Oil from Banyan Botanical.
*Bring your non-negotiables with you! For me whenever I travel I have to bring a few essential items that I know will help keep me close to my routine and will also help to keep me sane. These items include my morning beverage (right now it’s matcha green tea with oat milk), triphala for healthy digestion, heavy amounts of leafy greens (a green liver powder works great), and my essential oils for body love! I also find it crucial to bring my stash of supplements. I may look a little cookey on the plane, but if it works, it’s coming with!
Supplements We Love
Triphala - Shakti School insiders get 10% off at Banyan! Use promo code SHAKTI10
Oil of Oregano (for immunity)
Maca - Chaste Berry - Ashwagandha powder (healthy hormone balance)
Lipotropic Complex (liver support)
Quinton Water (mineral replenish/post drinking remedy)
Kettle & Fire Bone Broth (digestive aid)
Banyan Vata Balancing Oil
Essential Oils: Frankincense, Geranium, Lavender, Cypress, and Eucalyptus.