So it is pretty standard for most people this time of year, for the diet to go out the window. There is so much more rich food, processed food, more alcohol and just MORE!
Along with all of this MORE comes the inevitable indigestion, feeling blah and feeling sluggish. Not to mention the pressure all this food and grog has on our liver which is having to process more chemicals and constituents in food as well as probably more stress hormones. 'Cos lets face it,even though this is meant to be a merry time of year, it can also be a stressful time of year.
So our poor adrenals are probably making more and more adaptive hormones just to keep us going until we can pass out on the couch after Christmas lunch and wake up just after New Year.
But a big one that takes a hard knock at this time of year is the poor old gut microflora. For some people, health is all about the microflora in your gut. For others, when I say gut flora or microbiome, they don't know what the fig I am talking about.
For those who are already friends with their microflora, you probably understand already the repercussions of fatty foods, alcohol and low fiber food over the Christmas break can have.
For those who have yet to realize they have a microflora let alone make friends with it, sit down and let me drop some knowledge on your be-hind.
So news flash, you are more microbes than you are human (I know, freaky right?). As in, I am more microbes than I am Jaz. Don't get me wrong, there is a lot of Jaz here. About a trillion cells worth of Jaz. But there are about 10 trillion microbes (10 trillion!!) on and in us (talk about up close and personal).
In this article we are primarily focusing on our gut flora. Because these are the microbes that take the hardest knock this time of year) Our gut microbes (i.e. gut flora) are pretty rad and are responsible for modulating a lot of stuff.
More and more studies are showing the link between good gut flora diversity/density and the health of the immune system, mood, weight modulation and even our tendencies towards certain kinds of behaviour (my fav study showed that changes in gut flora could induce subjects to be more risk taking and others more cautious - so the next time someone you know tries to do something risky, tell them to take a multi flora probiotic - it's probably just their gut flora being rebellious B) ).
Anywho, our gut flora are happiest when we are chill and when we aren't taking antibiotics all the time and most importantly when we feed them right.
Lots of alcohol, rich foods and overeating can make our gut flora stroppy, hence discomfort after eating and feeling yuck.
Feeding them right is all about probiotic foods and lots of fiber!
In the King-Ancora household (my household) we get cartons of bottled kombucha so we can have one everyday (see cover image). Love love love Happy Hippie brand as they add hemp seed oil which is a great source of essential fatty acids (their Mixed Berry flavour is the bomb yo).
Kombucha contains lots of happy little microbes that help to replenish your gut flora.
If you are not a fan of Kombucha you can also get happy flora from:
So those foods help to replenish good flora in your gut, but you also have to feed the good flora to keep them happy (like a tamogotchi or a neopet - does anyone remember them??).
So flora loves fiber (hey, some great alliteration there!). So upping the high fiber foods is the way to go. Think:
So the moral of the story is, this time of year can be rough on our flora, and they do so much for us, we should at least try to have their back too.
So even if its something as simple as making sure to have a bottle of kombucha everyday over the silly season; every little bit counts :)
Jaz is a Naturopath, Pathology Testing Adviser and educator. She practice as a Naturopath in Melbourne, Australia and via skype worldwide. She teaches fellow practitioners on pathology testing and educates pracs and the public on the bridge between Naturopathic care Biomedicine.