We want to provide you ways to continue supporting your health over the 2020-2021 holiday break!
It definitely has been a unique year for us all but borders are open and holidays have started so enjoy your time off work, time with family or time relaxing and rejuvenating yourself.
Supporting yourself when drinking and indulging, making time for movement and mental health as well as keeping your energy up and detoxification supported will benefit all aspects of health.
Let’s not pretend there isn’t going to be some form of alcohol intake for a majority of us this holiday season, and for many, it may be quite a significant amount more than any other time of the year. Work Christmas parties are well underway, birthday celebrations for some, picnics outside in the lovely Melbourne summer with friends, family Christmas celebrations, New Years Eve parties and New Years Day festivals.
It’s not news that alcohol is harmful to the human body. Don’t just think of the liver but also our gastrointestinal tract, to our mental health and nutrient profile. As the liver tries to metabolise and clear out alcohol from the body it uses up key nutrients and at the same time produces toxic substances in the body. Not fun at all!
Zinc is one of the main nutrients used up with alcohol clearance by an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase. Sluggish activity of this enzyme produces a backup of a toxin called acetaldehyde, which is what drives the symptoms of alcohol intoxication and hangover. Supporting natural detoxification processes in the liver means there is less inflammation, better functioning channels of elimination and better processing of acetaldehyde. Some other ways that support liver detoxification include milk thistle, turmeric and fresh dark green vegetables as they will provide your B vitamins, specifically B3 which is a cofactor for alcohol dehydrogenase.
It’s the season of indulgence, there’s no doubt about that. We are out at Christmas parties, summer gatherings and the new year is just around the corner. Most of us may be feeling a few cases of the heaviness and fatigue from over eating and over drinking.
Supporting your digestion can really help the processing of meals and relieve certain symptoms like indigestion, heartburn, nausea, cramping, bloating, and gas.
Use traditional methods when planning your menu or filling your plate like ensuring your entree or main has bitter greens and aromatics like rocket, fennel, radicchio, radish, or dandelion greens.
When sitting down to eat, the first thing you can do to aid digestion is mindful eating. Taking time to simply chew your food properly. The enzymes in your mouth are the first stage of chemical digestion for food on its journey throughout the gastrointestinal tract. Other tricks include a shot of Apple Cider Vinegar, Swedish Bitters or Floradix Gallexier 15-30 minutes before your meal. What this does is prompt your digestive juices in the stomach and intestines to get ready for incoming food, easing the process of digesting that big Christmas meal.
Additionally, supplementing digestive enzymes is a great way to strengthen your digestive capacity and reduce those feelings of fullness, bloating and difficult bowel motions.
Post-meal, we can utilise herbal teas like fennel, peppermint, ginger, dandelion, licorice and chamomile to ease gastric spasm and cramping.
Proper hydration is always important, however, it becomes more important when the weather gets warmer, when we are drinking and eating more, and if we are exercising more.
Maintaining our hydration in the warmer and festive months ensures our body is working to its best ability; start your day with a big glass of water, keep a glass of water or a water bottle on your desk or kitchen to sip throughout the day. You can also include hot or cold herbal teas.
Fluid intake throughout the day will help prevent feelings of fatigue and assist detoxification to flush out natural waste from your system.
When drinking, aim to have a glass of still or sparkling water between each alcoholic beverage.
The mornings and evenings are significantly brighter and warmer for those in VIC & NSW and it is such a great incentive to get moving and utilise the extra daylight that we are given. For those in QLD an early wake up with the birds before the weather gets too warm is the best time of the day!
Getting up earlier and getting out of the house or workspace earlier, may seem harder as the end of the year draws near, but getting moving at either end of the day can mean extra time for exercise and movement, an opportunity to get fresh air in your lungs, break a little sweat, and begin your day with a rush of feel good hormones - endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine.
Rising with the sun, and resting with the moon can also work absolute wonders for our diurnal rhythm - our internal clock. This can mean improved sleep quality and decreased stress, just by acting N’sync with our environment
For those staying indoors, utilize fitness apps on your phone such as 7-minute workout varieties, Nike run or fit club or any others that work with your surroundings and access to equipment. Free trials are a great way to get started, remember to set a reminder in your phone before you are charged a fee in case you don't want to commit!
We know this year has looked different in many aspects, especially for those down in Victoria. As the end of the year quickly approaches, it is okay to feel overwhelmed and as if this year has weirdly gone so quickly, but also seemed to have dragged on forever. Christmas can be a difficult time even without a global pandemic, but it is what you make it. This year, try not to pour from an empty cup, take your mind off things by making sure you allow plenty of time for the things you enjoy.
Holidays may also look a little different due to COVID and travel restrictions. It might mean that the day will be spent on FaceTime calling loved ones.
If you are going to spend this time alone or separated from your people, this is permission for you to take a minute for yourself; do something that you have been putting off, buy yourself that gift, have that weekend away with a friend, go for a walk, meditate, put your feet up and rest.
Other ways to fill your cup during this time is to use a morning walk as an escape and have some alone time, use apps to practice meditation or breathing exercises, use music (calming or your favourites) to escape from chaos.
And don't forget to support others when you can, a quick call to check-in on friends and family, especially grandparents can mean so much!