Helen Adams, founder of Wiltshire’s Oakmead Clinic helps people with a range of issues including weight loss which is often considered by men and women at the turn of the year.
However, Helen advises anyone to look after their digestion over the Christmas and New Year period.
“This can be a time of stress and parties and not enough hours in the day,” Helen said. “If you are on a healthy weight loss programme, have a restricted diet or intolerance of certain foods, it can be even more stressful.
“There is a deep connection between stress and digestion. When stressed we activate the fight and flight response in our brains. Then the last thing that happens is the healthy digestion of food. We are in panic mode and we might have to fight off a sabre tooth tiger so the process of digestion simply stops.
“When we are calm, our body’s resources turn naturally back to digestion – the body then takes all of the energy it needs from the food we’ve consumed and is not distracted by other worries.”
By following a few tips, Helen believes we can all enjoy Christmas and New Year feeling less stressed and less stuffed
Dealing with all of that food and alcohol:
Tip One – When out for a drink always start with glass of plain still water. Then alternate alcohol with one glass of water and one glass of alcohol to reduce the load on the liver.
“Drinking lots of alcohol very quickly makes the liver work very, very hard and sometimes it cannot keep up. This leads to more toxins circulating the body – we know this leads to a hangover but it can also lead to skin issues, digestive problems and fatigue.”
Tip Two – if don’t want to eat all of that gluten, pastry and carbohydrate, eat something at home before you go out.
Helen said: “If you are not ravenous, you can pick and choose foods that can affect you less and it will be easier to avoid those things which affect you without feeling deprived.”
Tip Three – Keep up your vegetables which do help your digestive system operate more efficiently.
“Often there’s a lonely looking bowl of salad at a party which you may be tempted to ignore – but these foods will help you deal with the party food. Salad contains lots of fibre and some of that is eaten by your gut bacteria and that helps get nutrients out of your food. Those good bacteria need to be fed. The rest is insoluble and toxins latch on to it and therefore can be eliminated from the body.”
Dealing with extra stress:
Tip One – ask yourself do you really need to do all of those things such as making your own crackers or flower arrangements? Choose what’s important and prioritise.
Tip Two – relax at the end of a busy day. A bath with Epsom salts which are full of magnesium – the calming mineral – relaxes muscles and takes tension away.
Tip Three – If you don’t have a bath – stick your feet in a bucket of Epsom salts while watching the tv or peeling the sprouts.
Tip Four – try meditation.
“You only need ten minutes. Just close your eyes and concentrate on breathing slowly and regularly – and when you breath out visualise all that stress leaving your body.”
Tip Five – ask for help, particularly from children who are often not involved with the joy of cooking – do little jobs together. See things as family time and not as a task to be done.