Optimal Digestion for the Holidays, Avoid Reflux and Bloating!

Optimal Digestion for the Holidays, Avoid Reflux and Bloating!

Optimal Digestion for the Holidays, Avoid Reflux and Bloating!

Most health bloggers on the Internet are going to blog about eating healthy during the holidays. What to eat, what not to eat, how to lose excess weight after the holidays, blah, blah, blah. I do not care what you eat during the holidays. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, New Year, Hanukkah are about eating special meals and spending time with our loved ones. Sometimes we need to take a break from all the over-analyzing we do to stay healthy. However, if you suffer from specific food allergies or medical conditions that require you to avoid different foods (celiac disease), I am not downplaying your issues. You should avoid ingesting food that will make you ill even during family holidays and special occasions. Do not take my above statement as carte blanche to eat foods that can make you extremely sick, but if you are healthy and are avoiding gluten because you are trying to be healthy if you slip up and eat some during the holiday’s do not get angry with yourself.

The following are general tips for those who are not suffering from food sensitives or gut issues to help combat some of the woes of holiday eating and improve digestion.

Tips for Healthy Digestion Around the Holidays

  • Chew your food well. A lot of people forget about this crucial tip that well improve your digestion significantly. The longer we masticate our food and mix it with saliva the easier it will be to digest. You should follow this advice firmly if you are eating carbs since one of the main components of saliva is amylase that helps us break down carbs. Finally, the slower we eat, the less chance we will overeat, since our stomach has time to fill up and signal to our brain that we are full.
  • If you are planning on eating a large meal, consider taking digestive enzymes or digestive bitters to try to facilitate proper digestion. If you are dealing with elevated stomach pH consider ingesting one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar mixed in with your vegetables (as long as you do not have histamine intolerance) or betaine HCL (if your meal is going to have fat and protein and as long as you are not suffering from silent reflux or have an ulcer) to help support your body digesting a large amount of holiday food. Salt your food as well; chloride is important for proper stomach acid production and taste (as long as you are not Th-17 dominant). DPP-IV can also be taken as a digestive enzyme to possible help with the breakdown and digestion of gluten peptides (the enzyme supplement with not help you if you are suffering from celiac disease, you still have to avoid gluten). Finally, proper bile production is important to help digest all the extra fat in the holiday meals.
  • Take some activated charcoal a few hours after your meal. The charcoal might help absorb some of the questionable ingredients in the food you were consuming, reduce gas and bloating, and might help reduce the endotoxin load produced by the Gram-negative bacteria in the gut after they are helping to break down your questionable meal. Glutathione use may help reduce toxin load and help improve an overburdened liver’s from the large meal efficacy.
  • Increase your omega 3 fatty acid intake (Atlantic sardines [Season brand], Atlantic tuna, Atlantic salmon, Atlantic cod, Atlantic flounder, Atlantic shrimp/scallops, Ultimate Omega softgels are all good choices) before and after the holidays to help offset the increased omega 6 intakes from your holiday meals.
  • If you find yourself suffering from gastritis after the holiday meal, taking a couple of zinc carnosine capsules with a little food might help settle your stomach. If you end up having acid reflux, loosening your belt or pants, stand up and walk around for a few minutes, and taking a D-limonene softgel might help reduce your GERD. Sleeping on your left side at night might help prevent reflux. If your GERD is severe ingesting some plain milk of magnesia (one tablespoon) or baking soda (one teaspoon) mixed well in six ounces of filtered water might help bring you relief.
  • Drink a little liquid with your meals but try not to ingest too much liquid (multiple beverages for example). Waterlogging your stomach can put excessive pressure on the LES and slow down digestion. If you are consuming water, tea, or any other liquid it should be room temperature to improve digestion. For most one cup of liquid with the meal and/or one cup of coffee or tea afterwards is enough. You want to fill your stomach up with delicious food, not liquid.
  • Try to maintain proper motility during the holidays to help your digestive system combat the stress of having to break down extra food. Cayenne (sprinkle a little on your food) and ginger (drink freshly grated ginger tea thirty minutes after your meal) can help increase stomach emptying if you are feeling bloated in that region. I would slightly increase your magnesium intake during the holidays to try to speed up motility. Eating three meals daily during the holidays or fasting a meal or two before the big holiday meal might increase motility to help digestive the extra food. No snacking! Finally, make sure when it is time to use the bathroom that you sit on a Squatty potty to relieve your digestive system of excess pressure and distension when having a bowel movement.
  • Exercising during the holidays, even walking thirty minutes a few hours after a meal, can help increase motility and lessen digestive issues.
  • Do not lay down after eating your holiday meal, which will increase abdominal pressure which may lead to dyspepsia or reflux. If you must lay down or are sleepy, loosen your belt, try to rest in a reclining chair or couch, and lay on your back.
  • Chewing a couple of pieces of healthy xylitol gum after your meals can help improve your digestion during the holidays. Chewing xylitol gum may help protect your oral microbiome and improve your oral health by increasing saliva which will help to neutralize acids that you ingested with your meal and reduce its enamel degradation effects. Chewing gum might also relieve reflux because saliva neutralizes stomach acid within the esophagus when swallowed.

I hope these tips help keep your digestion stable during the holidays. Happy holidays as always to you and your families from all of us here at Fix Your Gut.


  1. Hello John

    I read your book, and I’m very close to solving my gluten and sleep problems.
    Your advice to avoid SBOs was spot on. With SBOs I always have trouble sleeping. I get surprised each time someone recommends it.

    Anyway, there’s something I would like your counsel on. I have this really usual sweating condition. I don’t sweat profusely like other people. My sweating only begins once the surrounding temperature gets warm enough, usually from around 11h00 to 16h00 each day. I develop a thin film of sweat all over my body (scalp, face, chest, back, butt and legs). My palms don’t sweat though. The sweat is enough to dampen my clothes and this is very unappealing.

    Do you perhaps have any idea what the root cause of this is? I’ve suffered for 30 years with low stomach acid production thus I may have been mineral deficient my whole life.
    Could it be a mineral deficiency? Could candida or other fungus be causing this?

    Any help would be appreciated.

    • To be honest, I have never heard of anything like that. Is there any visual rash like Tinea Versicolor?

      • The skin around the front area of my elbow joint (antebrachial) is darker than the rest of my skin. My forehead as well. In general my skin tone is very uneven but no rashes are present.
        My legs are quite hairy however the hair on my chest and abs seems to be stuck in puberty, it doesn’t grow long and thick.

        I had severe runny nose (rhinitis) but since I started adding molybdenum and boron to my supplement regime the rhinitis has stopped completely! I tried everything else, the runny nose was so embarrassing.

        I’ve had the rhinitis and sweating problem since I was a kid but I’ve only begun to notice now (3 years ago) that others don’t have this problem. I assumed that since those mineral helped with one secretory disorder (rhinitis) perhaps other minerals with help with the sweating. I supplement with these minerals now:
        Calcium 4 g/d
        Magnesium 2 g/d
        Manganese 8 mg/d
        Copper 2 mg/d
        Zinc 50 mg/d
        Selenium 200 mcg/d
        Chromium 200 mcg/d
        Boron 12 mg/d
        Molybdenum 2 mg/d

        No potassium and no sodium though.

        I’ve found this about a sulfur deficiency in Prescription for Natural Cures by Balch and Stengler.
        Physical symptoms: People who require this remedy are prone to getting skin rashes
        and have bad body odor. ……. They get overheated and sweat easily.”

        I do get overheated and sweat easily if I’m doing strenuous work. Just the other day I helped a colleague change a tire, when done, I was covered in sweat but he didn’t break a sweat at all. We did virtually the same amount of work. Sweating profusely only begins once I exert myself. If I’m siting at my desk all I get is a thin film of sweat all over my body during the day (if the air-con is off).

        Is it possible that I could have a sulfur deficiency?
        I’ve been taking 1 g/d MSM for months now though.

        • BTW I signed up for updates twice, but never receive any updates from this site.

          • Having not started releasing a newsletter yet. Did you get the e-mail about the forum update?

          • No emails at all from your site.
            You’ve got to send automatic emails out once you’ve added a new article.

            Subscribe to your site and see for yourself.

          • I believe you because I have not set up e-mail being sent when new content is put up on the site yet. Working on that. I did send an e-mail on Mailchimp for all who have subscribed a few days ago. Check your spam folder please.

        • Molybdenum would have helped by up regulating detox of toxins produced by yeast and molds (aldehydes) and sulfites.

          Possibly, have you had your MTHFR status checked? How is your testosterone, pituitary, adrenal glands, and thyroid?

          • I’m going to have my adrenals checked (imaging to look at the size).
            I think I have Addison’s Disease (severe adrenal exhaustion)

            Here are the symptoms I have:
            1. Low blood pressure
            2. Dizziness upon standing or waking up
            3. Darkening of the skin at certain areas
            4. Abdominal and facial fat gain

          • If it is Addison’s disease then lifetime cortisol replacement is needed. I hope it is not and just severe adrenal fatigue. Addison’s disease can cause severe lower back pain.

        • I would look into B3 defficiency

  2. Thanks so much for responding John! It means a lot. And also, the Immodium article was very good. (I can’t remember if you wrote that) My sister uses that from time to time. I’ll have to let her know its possible dangers in hindering the bodies ability to get rid of endotoxins.

  3. Hey guys, quick question if you have time. There are some studies/articles that say hot peppers (including cayenne) causes intestinal permeability. I’ve started to include cayenne in my foods and sometimes drinks because I’ve read its good for a lot of things including digestion. Now I don’t know if I shouldn’t use it anymore…Everything is so confusing isn’t it? You can find opposing views on pretty much everything…But your opinion can shift me lol. Make my decision for me! lol I want to believe that when I ingest it it’s only doing good things.

    • I cannot promise you that haha. I can tell you that it does modulate the TRV-1 receptors which are fine if you have a healthy gut, and it can reduce inflammation. It does draw water into the colon by activating these receptors os it is possible that it could increase permeability.

      This is the one and only study I can find on it: http://jn.nutrition.org/content/128/3/577.full.pdf+html.

      The study is in-vitro and is unknown if this would correlate to the human digestive tract. They also used pure extracts of capsaicin and piperine.

      So is it possible, yes. Is it likely to cause issues if you have a somewhat healthy gut, no. If you are suffering from SIBO-D or dairrhea, then yes you may not want to use it.

  4. I’ve been suffering from GERD (from SIBO I imagine) since november of last year. (Ive had digestive issues my whole life) In my efforts to diagnose and cure myself, this blog has been one of my staples. I’m not fixed yet, but these articles are freakin priceless! I can’t thank you guys enough. I’ve read almost every single article if not all of them at this point. I have problems retaining information so I reread a lot…Thanks so much for your research and dedication. Mr. Brisson, and Mr. Hooper that it. The podcasts I haven’t listened to but to be honest I don’t have time. Reading about GERD and SIBO have consumed me..I was just about to order that Bifido Maximus supplement that costs 100 dollars (wholy crap dude..) cuz I’m desperate and it sounds so good! I don’t ever want to take antibiotics, and I’ve tried the protocols but using Norm Robillard’s Fermentation Potential stuff works pretty good. Problem is, I’m a big dude and I work hard, and I need a lot of carbs to maintain weight, strength and energy…

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