Soon, many fortunate people will have the privilege to take a pause from the upcoming holiday mayhem and gather with their loved ones. Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on what we have to be grateful for and what really matters in life, beyond the busyness. It is a time to celebrate this year’s successes and reflect on lessons learned. For many, it is a time of great joy.
However, for some, the holidays can also bring unwelcome emotional triggers. Gatherings with certain relatives can be stressful, even without the shopping frenzy and gift exchange. Furthermore, beyond the emotional buttons that family can push so well, if you’re a wellness junkie, worrying about your dinner plate amongst others who don’t have the same priorities can also create anxiety. In fact, some of my clients are already starting to have nightmares which include non-gluten sugar plums viciously dancing around in their heads.
Below are some various tips and tools I want to provide you in time for the holidays to keep them pleasant. These tips will help you remain firm in your health choices while still respecting others hospitality and maintaining your sanity.
Note: Please see the updates on healthism here. Flexibility, social connection, enjoyment of health, and not obsessing on perfection of diet is what makes health a means, not an end.
Tip One: The Dish Trick
Offer to bring a main dish and/or a side dish that incorporates your food preferences. This way, you can comfortably eat with others without worrying about the day or week after effects. Who knows, you may also get the bonus of watching unsuspecting relatives enjoy the deliciousness of organic, gluten-free goodies.
Tip Two: The Sweets Sniff of Genuine Essential Oils
Use essential oils (and therapeutic enzymes) to deal with any turkey tummy issues or accidental exposures of food sensitivities that may pop up on your plate or utensils.
Here is a list of my favorite essential oils that aid digestion and assimilation. These genuine oils are at my dinner table after a any holiday feast. (Click here a longer read on essential oils and digestion.)
Due to its pungent properties, ginger is amazing as a digestive aid and taming tummy distress. In some small rat studies, ginger was even shown to protect against ulcers! Ginger is also a powerful oil that has studies supporting its ability to inhibit the enzymes that lead to inflammation, cyclooxygenase-1 and cyclooxygenase-2. In fact, two recent studies demonstrated its effect in relieving the pain of PMS and migraines!
Click here to read more about some additional benefits you may enjoy with ginger essential oil.
According to the University of Maryland, “Peppermint calms the muscles of the stomach and improves the flow of bile, which the body uses to digest fats.” It has been found helpful to ease symptoms of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) in several trials as well. Perfect for the after effects of gluten-free gravy!
Click here to read more amazing information on peppermint oil.
WebMD reports, “Fennel is used for various digestive problems including heartburn, intestinal gas, bloating, loss of appetite, and colic in infants.”
Click here to read more about fennel.
Cardamom has many similar properties as ginger. It can help to soothe digestive disturbances and may even inhibit parasites. It is good for muscle support and everyday joint aches and pains.
Cardamom has many other benefits that you can read here.
A good oil to have on hand that may protect you from unwanted critters in your belly, food, or the environment is spearmint. In one in vitro study, spearmint oil, along with peppermint and Japanese mint, had constituents which showed inhibition on the proliferation of Helicobacter pylori, Salmonella enteritidis, Escherichia coli O157:H7, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and methicillin sensitive Staphylococccus aureus (MSSA).
Spearmint may also help some to take deeper breathes needed holiday times. . In another study with rats, spearmint was found to be protective against inflammatory induced lung disease.
6. Spicing It Nice & Blending Oils
You can also take advantage of using essential oil blends. For example, one of my favorite digestive support blends combines ginger, peppermint, fennel, cardamom and spearmint.
I also use a blend that combines some of my favorite digestive oils including: tarragon, ginger, peppermint, juniper, fennel, lemongrass, anise, and patchouli. This blend is great for stimulating digestive juices and preventing and kicking out unwelcome critters in your belly.
Tip Three: Making Happy Gut Bugs
If you keep the critters in your gut happy, your digestion will be happy! Support your microbiome and immune function by loading your plate with colorful veggies rich in polyphenols. Also, don’t forget your fermented foods or probiotics to feed beneficial microrganisms that optimize health and digestive function!
Note: Be cautious of consuming oils that aren’t intended for internal use. Use a company which specifies oils that can be taken as dietary supplements.
Tip Four: The Calming Inhalation
Calm any tension or stress with a sniff and a deep breath of your favorite oil. This will assist you with optimizing your vagal response, the part of your nervous system that calms your body and allows you to digest your food optimally. Some of my favorites are sacred frankincense, lavender, and cedarwood.
May you all have a happy, joyous, and peaceful holiday.
I am grateful for all of you!
Thank you for continuing to inspire me to learn more and share what I love in health and wellness!
- Pharmacokinetics of 6-gingerol, 8-gingerol, 10-gingerol, and 6-shogaol and conjugate metabolites in healthy human subjects. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-07-2934
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- Peppermint | University of Maryland Medical Center http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/peppermint#ixzz38cC8KWzK
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- Additional sources in highlighted links
Disclaimer: This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic, Grade A essential oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been AFNOR and ISO standardized. There is no quality control in the United States and oils labeled as “100% pure” need only contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin. This information is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness.
Images courtesy istockphoto.com