Fall is associated with transitions of all kinds, many of which inspire nicknames for this time of year, such as “cold and flu season” and “sweater weather”. If your household is anything like ours, the Fall also unofficially kicks off “over-eating season”.
Gathering with loved ones and sharing a fulfilling meal is one of the greatest joys in life, and there is no reason to miss out on all the upcoming holiday festivities just because one is being health conscious. Here are some basic tips to help you navigate your options when preparing for a feast:
- Help with the Cooking – the process of digestion engages all of your senses, and it begins with your eyes and nose. Seeing and smelling good things to eat triggers your brain to begin the process of digestion, releasing hormones and enzymes in preparation for food. This ensures that what you do end up eating gets properly digested.
- Pace Yourself – The sensation of satiety – or the feeling of being full – is dependent on timing as well as quantity of food. In Chinese medicine, we talk about the importance of taking the time to thoroughly chew food, and modern science shows that this aids the release of digestive hormones and enzymes. So, if you have a little something 20 minutes before the “real food” comes, you will more likely be able to recognize when you’ve had enough.
- Start with Savory and End with Sweet – there is wisdom in ending with dessert, and not just because of taste preferences. The body responds differently when sweets are consumed on an empty stomach versus in the presence of other foods, specifically fiber-rich foods.
- Speaking of fiber… Eat More Fiber – not only does fiber change the absorption rate of sugars and carbohydrates in general, it also helps aid in digestion overall.
- Smile – your emotional state has a strong effect on your digestive health. So eat, laugh, and be merry! and leave the family feuds and politics at the door.
- Take a Walk – after all that food and beverage, take the whole gang outside for a little post-prandial constitutional. A fifteen minute walk is all it takes to burn some calories, regulate blood sugar, and aid in digestion.
If you have more specific questions regarding what to eat this Thanksgiving, don’t hesitate to reach out to us here at Evolve Health + Wellness. Our team of doctors, licensed acupuncturists, and nutritionists are here to help!
My first time receiving an acupuncture treatment was quite remarkable. My digestion was terrible and I suspected I had IBS. I was leaving the next day on an airplane from Australia to North America and was becoming desperate. Anyone who has done that trip knows that it’s a 24-hour flight you do not want digestion troubles on. Plus, I usually can’t resist those little white dinner rolls wrapped in plastic that I would never eat in any other context. They inevitably give me more trouble than it’s worth, but I was vegan at the time, so my plane-food choices were pretty limited. The idea of a little bread roll was actually quite exhilarating.
The first time I tried acupuncture I went to a community acupuncture clinic where I was treated in the same large room as other people. We sometimes have community-style treatment events at Evolve Health + Wellness, but generally, treatments are conducted in allocated private rooms. For my first time receiving acupuncture, there was a gigantic, athletic man next to me who was experiencing pain in his knee. He was quite vocal as the acupuncturist inserted needles into his leg. He made acupuncture sound painful. I thought, if that burly guy can’t handle it, how will I?
After a lengthy discussion of my health history, dietary and lifestyle habits, I lay down on the treatment table. I was quite nervous. However, as the acupuncturist inserted needles in different parts of my body – forehead, stomach, arms, hands, legs and ankles – I felt variations of stimulation, gentle shoots of energy in my body, and waves of relaxation. It felt so good.
As I lay there for about twenty minutes with the needles in me, I felt gurgling in my stomach. I knew that something was working. And then a popping started in my right ear. An incessant, strange, but not unsettling, popping. Things were moving and clearing in my body – what I have come to learn is acupuncture’s stimulation of qi. This ancient, extraordinary form of healing made immediate sense to me through the experience of it.
I have not seen grown men flinching in pain at Evolve Health + Wellness, perhaps because we are not always a community acupuncture clinic. Whether or not that happens behind closed doors, I’m not sure. What I do know is that the feelings of stimulation, energy flow and relaxation are paramount effects of my treatments here. I see these effects in patients, too, in my role at front desk. Since receiving regular acupuncture treatments at Evolve, my digestion has never been better. I’m looking forward to my next flight to Australia so I can eat as many bread rolls as I want.