Nutrition and Wellness Blog

Notes from a Gut Health Nutritionist

Nutrition and Wellness Blog

Notes from a Gut Health Nutritionist

Reducing Digestive Issues & Staying Healthy During the Holidays

Nov 22, 2022 | Health & Wellness, Self Care, The Nourished & Thriving Show

Do you struggle with staying healthy during the holidays? Especially if you struggle with IBS symptoms, a hot mess gut, or general digestive issues. I completely understand where you’re at… and let me tell you, you’re stressed! On my latest episode of The Nourished & Thriving Podcast, I break down my 3 tips to thriving during the holidays, instead of just surviving.

How can you stay and feel healthy all holiday long when you have digestive issues?

[00:00:00] Holidays are a really good marker of how long you’ve been struggling, because it’s like, oh yeah, I was in the same position last year. Last year, I was stressed out about what to eat during the holidays. And now this year I’m even worse.

[00:00:14] Hey, everyone. Welcome to The Nourished and Thriving Show. I’m your host, Katie Lovitt. I’m a registered dietitian on a mission to help you increase your impact and legacy on the world while healing your gut and reducing your IBS symptoms. I’m so grateful to have you here. Each week I’ll inspire you to live vibrantly and provide valuable resources and information that empowers you to take bold action towards your health goals. Before we dive in, make sure you follow or subscribe to my show wherever you’re listening so you never miss an episode. Ready? Let’s go!

[00:00:53] Okay today, we’re going to talk about how to holiday with a hot mess gut… This can be one of the most joyous times of the year.

[00:01:05] And it can be one of the most stressful times of the year, too. And if you have a hot mess gut, it’s just another added layer of stress and unease and more things to think about and consider, right. But other people who aren’t struggling with a hot mess gut, they’re not having to think about this. And it’s busy enough for people who aren’t even having to deal with a hot mess gut during the holidays.

A woman at a holiday office party lifts a bottle of champagne off a table, staying healthy during the holidays

Three Tips for Navigating Your Hot Mess Gut During the Holidays

[00:01:31] So. You know, during the holidays we have increased stress, increased commitments. Different foods. We’re out of our routine travel. It’s just like walking through a minefield if you’re already dealing with digestive issues. But it doesn’t have to be, so I’m going to give you guys three tips… And then a very kind kick in the pants at the end.

[00:01:56] So buckle up. Don’t stop this podcast early just because you don’t want the kick in the pants, because you probably need it. And I promise to be kind. It’s for your own good. So the tips for navigating the holidays – I think it’s always great for everyone. Even if you don’t have a hot mess gut, which if you’re listening to this podcast, you probably do, but this can be a great tip. You can share with your family and friends too.

A family decorates their Christmas tree together during the holidays

1. Have a plan for staying healthy during the holidays

[00:02:24] Have a plan going into the holidays, know what your priorities are, know what you really value. And I’ll say that this is important all the time. But it’s especially important going into the holidays because if you don’t know what your priorities are and you don’t know what you value. You’re probably going to end the holiday season feeling frazzled and exhausted.

[00:02:48] And maybe even a little bit disappointed that you didn’t really even get to do the thing you wanted to do. It’s just so easy to get pulled into a lot of different directions. You know, in the holiday season and before you know it you’ve over committed yourself. Doing things you really don’t even care that much about, leaving no time for the things that you do care about. So for example, for me, our kids are really young and this is such a wonderful, magical time of the year for them.

[00:03:18] Something we love doing is the little traditions of, you know, reading the little Christmas story and doing advent staff. A little bit every day maybe with some crafts or activities together. And that is one of the easiest things to get pushed to the side, because it requires some quiet family together time.

[00:03:38] And during the holidays, when you are scrambling to go from one thing to the next, it’s just easy to get left out. So we know that that’s something that’s really important to us. So if saying “yes” to something else means we are going to give up this other thing, that’s actually a higher priority. We’re going to think about it really carefully and probably say “no” to that other thing.

[00:03:57] Going in serving at the food bank or volunteering or doing the Christmas tree angels or singing in your church choir or making, you know, gifts for your neighbors or shopping with a family member at a certain place and having a certain tradition or going to a concert, whatever those traditions are, things that you really enjoy are.

[00:04:27] Start thinking through it now and really carve out the time to make sure that those are going to get done, and then check in with yourself regularly and see how you’re feeling about those commitments. You know, really know what the priorities are, and what’s the extra that you can let go of and it’s going to be okay.

[00:04:45] And if you do let those things go, the world won’t end. If you say “no” to something during the holiday season, I promise you. No matter how much someone might say it will, it won’t, it’s going to be okay. And you’re going to be that much better for it. And you’re going to be able to be more free to show up more fully on the things that you are saying “yes” to.

[00:05:03] So that’s the first – really know what your priorities are, say “yes” to them and say “no” to other things if it feels like you’re getting overstretched.

Two kids in Santa hats and gloves peer out of a car window at the snowflakes falling outside

2. Have a plan for traveling during the holidays with digestive issues

The second tip I’m going to give you is have a plan for travel. If you are traveling during the holidays, sit down and think through how your symptoms are typically triggered on trips. Do you tend to get more constipated? Do you have traveler’s diarrhea?

[00:05:29] What’s the deal? And make sure that you have a care packet ready to take with you. If you’re flying, take it into your carry-on, so that you have it with you. Include some snacks, supplements, you know, whatever it is that you need to feel comfortable with, maybe some peppermint tea, if that helps, you know, with bloating or helps improve the way your digestion feels. Have your little care package of creature comforts that can help reduce your symptoms and help you feel better and reduce your digestive symptoms when you’re traveling this holiday season.

[00:05:59] This is something that I help my clients do a lot. So if you’re like, “I don’t know what helps me feel better. I just know, I feel horrible and I haven’t really mastered this.” This is part of whenever I work with my clients in my gut rehab program: we have a long-term plan and that’s what’s going to create that better gut environment for the long term, so that you have reduced risk of these symptoms coming back.

[00:06:23] That’s the people I work with.. Those who do something, feel better for a while, and then it comes back as soon as they stop, because they didn’t really have a great long-term plan in place. But we also have a short-term plan and those are the things we can do right now to get you feeling better while we wait for this long-term plan to really take effect.

[00:06:50] So if you’re needing help creating that short term plan to help get you through the holiday season. Reach out, send me a message on Instagram, go to my website, contact me there. I respond to all my messages personally, and I would love and be so honored to just have an open conversation with you about really getting you some help.

[00:07:09] I do what I do to help people just like you, and I want to help you. I have the tools and skill set and wisdom to be able to help you with this. So reach out. So that’s my second tip is make sure that you really do an assessment of asking yourself, “What are my symptoms? When I travel, what makes me feel better and what should I have that in a care package, ready to go?” If you’re traveling for the holidays, this can even just be for a day or a quick overnight. It doesn’t have to be a huge cross country trip.

A birds-eye-view of people eating and passing food around a festive table setting

3. Know what you can eat and aim for variety

[00:07:37] The third tip, and it’s going to look a little bit different if you are traveling, but that is if you are really dealing with this situation right now, you’ve probably eliminated a lot of foods from your diet in order to reduce your symptoms. And you haven’t been able to successfully add them back in.

[00:07:55] If that’s the case, first thing you should be doing is sending me a message so that we can fix that as a more long-term solution. But you should be definitely sending me a message so that we can talk about how to actually add foods back into your diet, because science has shown when you have a wider variety of foods that you’re eating (a study showing like 30 plant foods a week) reduce your risk of gut health symptoms. So the more variety you have in your diet actually reduces your risk of having gut issues long-term.

[00:08:26] But I know you’re not there yet right now. If you’ve cut these foods out and you have a list of five things you can eat. I’m not saying go eat 30 foods tomorrow. It would probably not go great. Again, that would be a long-term plan that you need help with, but, you know, short-term, right now to stay healthy during the holidays, ask yourself, “What are the foods that you feel good eating? Are you going to have access to those wherever you’re going for whatever holiday?” If yes, great. If no, take a dish. Think through, “What would I really enjoy eating and not feel like I’m missing out on at the holidays?” Because I always say social health, social enjoyment in relationships are a marker of overall health. So if you’re sitting there in the holiday feeling really left out, isolated, alone, because you’re not able to enjoy the food with everyone else that’s even worse. Right?

[00:09:13] Like you already are struggling with a hot mess gut. You’re already not able to eat when everyone else is eating, but then you also have this relational suffering on top of it. And I don’t want that for you. So what are a couple of dishes that you can take with you that you really enjoy eating, that you could easily take with you and maybe even share with family? You know, where you could feel like you’re more involved instead of a spectator on the sidelines? Because I hear that a lot…

[00:09:46] “I just feel like I’m watching my life go by.” If you’re like I’m watching the rest of my family enjoy life and I’m just kind of over here struggling. If that’s you, if you’re kind of feeling that, think of a few things, come up with some meal ideas.

[00:10:07] That’s what I’m great at. I’m really good at coming up with some ideas based on a really short list of foods. It’s actually kind of a weird challenge I do. If we’re running low on groceries, and I’m not ready to go grocery shopping yet, I’ll look and see what all we have and see how creative I can get. And make a really gourmet food meal with like super limited food options.

[00:10:28] I really love doing stuff like that. So if you have really limited options of what you can eat, that’s something I could help you with as my client. Where I’m helping you come up with some ideas for the holiday and really helping come up with a personalized plan. So, you know, taking all three of these tips and some other tips, as well that I share with my clients and creating a personalized, robust Holiday with a Hot Mess Gut Plan…

[00:10:52] So that you can thrive and enjoy yourself and create memories and participate in all of those wonderful traditions, because that’s what it’s all about at the end of the day.

A family clinks wine glasses around a dinner table meal

Staying Healthy During the Holidays When You Struggle with Digestive Issues

[00:11:14] So, if you have been dealing with this for awhile, holidays are a really good marker of how long you’ve been struggling, because it’s like, “Oh yeah, I was in the same position last year. Last year, I was stressed out about what to eat during the holidays. And now this year I’m even worse.” If that’s you, get some help. You do not need to be going through years of your life suffering and struggling and missing out.

[00:11:38] The other part of that is what is this doing to your long-term health? You know, that’s a big reason I do what I do – I really care about your digestive symptoms and I want you to feel better and I want you to show up fully today. But I also really care about your health 30 years down the road.

[00:12:01] If you have a lot of inflammation and chronic gut issues right now, how are those going to be in 30 years? And how’s the rest of your health going to be in 30 years? Probably not great if nothing changes. To get different results, you’ve got to take some different action. If you’ve been trying to do this yourself, make, do, get by, you know, as women especially, it’s probably mostly women listening to this because we know.

Take care of yourself first!

[00:12:26] I’m a woman and I speak a lot to women. It’s mostly women struggling with IBS. We tend to put ourselves last and we tend to put ourselves on the back burner, and we elevate other people’s needs over our own. But that’s not serving anyone, including those who we love. So that is your kind kick in the pants is care about yourself. As much as you care about other people. Care about yourself as much as your family cares about you.

[00:12:51] They want you, well, they want you to feel good. They need you to feel good and well, and just show up. So stop sitting on the sidelines, do something, take some different action, take a fresh perspective. If you’ve been dealing with this for a few years now or, you know, the holiday season is a really big reminder of another holiday season of not feeling good. Let’s talk, let’s get you some help. Again, reach out. I would love to talk with you. I hope that kick in the pants wasn’t too painful. And it gave you the nudge. I am still accepting clients through the end of the year. I’m going to take some time with my family during the holidays too.

Next Steps to Stay Healthy During the Holidays and Reduce Your Digestive Issues

[00:13:27]  But if you’re wanting to get started, we need to talk now. So reach out, send me a message. It’s not going to be pushy. You know me, I’m not like that. It’s not going to feel slimy. I’m here to serve you and I can help you. You know, let’s talk about what that looks like. I hope I gave you all some things to think about.

[00:13:51] And share your holiday plans, share your fun traditions. I always love hearing what other people value and what people enjoy doing during the holidays. So. We will talk soon.

[00:14:02] Thank you so much for listening to the entire episode. I hope you are feeling inspired and empowered to take bold action towards your health goals. If you enjoy what you heard, don’t forget to follow my show so you never miss a new episode. And it would mean the world to me, if you left me a review, so others know what to expect from my show.

[00:14:26] Last, get in touch. Let me know what bold action you’re taking. Let me know how you’re inspired. Follow me on Instagram @the_healthygut_dietitian. Come say hi, I respond to all my messages and I can’t wait to get in touch.

Katie's 4 step method

Take the First Step in Reducing Your Gut Symptoms

Stop the suffering already! Eating, traveling, being outside of your house, going to work… all of these daily tasks should be stress-free! Let’s get you to a place of comfort and joy.

Access my 4-Step Proven Method for Lasting SYMPTOM ReLIEF

Let’s Connect!

Purchase products through our Fullscript virtual dispensary.

Get access to my Free video training

Take the First Step in Reducing Your Gut Symptoms by Understanding Digestion and Following a Step-by-Step Guide to Analyze Your Symptoms

Stop the suffering already! Stop living in leggings or maternity jeans because you’re constantly bloated. Stop stressing about relentless constipation or urgent diarrhea. Stop suffering from heartburn every time you eat. Eating, traveling, being outside of your house, going to work… all of these daily tasks should be stress-free! This training includes an informative video on digestion PLUS a comprehensive instructional e-book and symptom tracker for you to work through on your own.