We all know the feeling. An hour ago, you were sitting at the dinner table with the family, celebrating. Since it was a special occasion, you indulged in some turkey and gravy…and mashed potatoes and casserole and pie. Oh my! Now, you’re seated in the living room and things are feeling a lot more grim than those few moments of culinary bliss. Overeating is an all-too-common affliction during the holidays, when it seems like there are treats and goodies hiding around every corner. And boy, can a big meal leave you feeling puffed up and miserable when all is said and done!
As far as avoiding that signature holiday bloat goes, the best advice you’ll get is to simply eat less. An obvious choice, but not so helpful after the fact, once you’ve stuffed yourself to your limit. If you find yourself at that point and you’re looking for a solution to your gastrointestinal woes, why not give digestive bitters a try?
Digestive bitters work by fortifying the stomach and stimulating the process of digestion. One of our favorite bitters brands, Urban Moonshine, explains that “When you taste the challenging flavor of bitterness you strengthen your digestive response and enhance the secretion of the body’s natural digestive juices.” [Read More Here] And as perennial Smallflower customer favorite Underberg says, “The careful balance between the herbal ingredients and premium-quality alcohol give Underberg its digestive properties.”
If that sounds like a solution worth trying to you, here are a couple of our favorite digestive bitters available on Smallflower:
Fight fire with fire with this traditional European remedy for over-indulgence. These herbal bitters have been used as a digestive aid to follow a big night of eating and drinking for over 150 years. Convenient, practical and always exactly the right quantity for well-being.
This 250-year-old formula has been attributed to a Swedish doctor named Samst, who lived to the age of 104 before he died—from a horseback riding accident! In the manuscript, the formula was called Elixir ad longam vitam. Was this the same ancient elixir painstakingly passed down from antiquity? Many herbalists believe it was. Today, this formula is known as Swedish Bitters™.
Herb Pharm’s Better Bitters are formulated with a delicious extract blend of organic orange peel, anise seed, burdock root, allspice fruit, ginger, cardamom, and gentian rhizome. It comes in a convenient spray form, making it easy to add bitters to your daily routine. Organic coconut nectar adds a touch of sweetness.
Urban Moonshine’s hand-crafted Digestive Bitters are a well balanced, aromatic, non-laxative update to traditional bitters formulas. Maple Bitters have a hint of Vermont maple sweetness added to Urban Moonshine’s traditional, organic contemporary version of an old world classic. Great for the bitter beginner!
If you’d like to try your hand at making your own digestive bitters, check out our house brand of Swedish Bitter Herbs. All it requires is an alcohol base, several large containers, and a little time and you’ll be on your way to a cost-effective batch of bitters.
Looking for some more tips to help keep your belly in tip-top shape this holiday season? Here are a few that might prove useful during celebratory feasts and cocktail parties galore:
Keep it Regular
Constipation is one of the leading factors that causes bloating. Not eating enough fiber, drinking too little fluids, and not being physically active can contribute to constipation. A high-fiber diet (25g daily for women, 38g for men) includes foods such as whole grains, fruit, vegetables, and nuts. (Hello, sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts!) Aim for 30 minutes of physical activity every day—yes, even when you’re filled to bursting after all that Thanksgiving turkey!
If you’re scarfing down seconds like there’s no tomorrow, chances are that you’ll swallow a good deal of air. Remember, digestion begins in the mouth. You can battle the bloat just by taking more time to chew and enjoy your food. Meals should last 30 minutes minimum (awkward conversation notwithstanding.) Plus, if you take time to savor your food, you might find that you end up eating less, which also helps avoid that bloated post-meal feeling.
Don’t Go Overboard with Fizz
It’s fine to indulge in a soda or beer here and there, but too many carbonated drinks can cause gas to get trapped in your stomach. If you’re looking for an alternative, try making your own flavored waters to go with the meal at hand. If you’re looking for an alcoholic indulgence, try swapping beer or fizzy cocktails for some red wine.
Easy on the Salt
Highly processed foods generally contain high amounts of sodium, which can really contribute to post-meal puffiness. As a guideline, try to stay below the threshold of 500mg of sodium per product. Or, better yet, use this as an excuse to make your favorite holiday recipes from scratch!