You are probably ready for Christmas, but not looking forward to dealing with your IBS and your digestion. Here are a couple of things you can do to make Christmas more comfortable for yourself over the Christmas period.
What you can do for your digestion starting today
Start getting your body ready for some sugar excess now. A small amount of good old lemon juice can help support your digestion during this time.
As IBS sufferers have delicate digestive tracts, I suggest going very easy on the quantity of lemon juice.
Put just a slice of an organic lemon in a mug and add some warm water – and ideally some cinnamon (known to encourage healthy gut flora). For best results, avoid adding any sugar (as this just feeds any unhealthy gut flora).
If you find lemon upsets you, try just infusing half a teaspoon of cinnamon or a sprig of rosemary in hot water – or having an organic green tea instead.
It is often recommended to drink this half an hour before having breakfast. But as many IBS sufferers have particularly delicate stomachs in the morning, I would suggest having this later in the day. Try drinking this half an hour after your evening meal, and see how that feels.
Consider starting this now and continue it over Christmas, especially after any rich or heavy foods.
Note: If you suffer from GERD then lemon juice is probably not a good choice. Also, it is not recommended to drink lemon juice for long periods or in larger quantities as it said to attack teeth enamel and can disrupt digestion.
Enjoy it – but don’t overdo it (your digestion with thank you for it)
At Christmas it is great to be able to treat ourselves to things we don’t usually have. But we don’t need great quantities of these to enjoy the taste.
Having a little bit of what you fancy and really enjoying the taste– rather than stuffing yourself full – can be the best way to look after your digestion.
For some of you, you might find just a taste is enough to start a flare-up.
So you need to decide:
- Am I going to have it anyway for once in the year, and enjoy it (and not worry about the consequences)?
- Or am I going to say no thank you, and mean it.
You and I both know that you can never be certain whether you will have a flare-up anyway, even if you don’t take any risks. So it could be worth enjoying yourself and having the flare-up. At least you’ll have got some enjoyment out of it.
Get the enjoyment out of Christmas – not just the flare-up
If you spend time worrying about your digestion and feeling OK, you probably won’t.
If you tense yourself up (consciously or subconsciously) every time you eat something that may affect you, this doesn’t help your body relax and digest.
Just the opposite.
Back in the summer I posted this article on having a flare-up action plan.
Hopefully you won’t need this, but it could be wise to set one up – and then forget about it and enjoy yourself. When you are having a flare-up you can’t think straight about what you need to be doing. So having this in place may significantly reduce your pain – or at least help your recover more quickly.
My advice is that for once in the year, forget food as much as you can and allow yourself to enjoy the Christmas spirit.
If you concentrate more on having fun and the warmth of being with loved ones, you may well find that your body actually digests better than you might think. Fun and laughter are powerful and positive sensations – and what life is really all about.