Gut Health as the Holidays Wind Down


A return to comforting routine

We do what we can to stay healthy at this time of year. The beginning of the year may naturally bring our focus inward, to taking care of ourselves and our families. I use the power of routine to make staying well easy. I am grateful for the convenience of probiotics to support my family’s gut health, and root veggie recipes to ground us. The natural rhythm of the season also favors sleep.

Starting the year on track

The strange food combinations, travel, late night snacking, and desserts that get consumed during the holidays can lead to a lingering upset stomach. These disruptions to routine can lead to irregularity and increase the chances of us or our children getting run down, so January is often about getting on track, with regular early bedtimes leading the way.

Get comfortable inside

I want everything to exude comfort and simplicity – from restful living spaces to curl up in, to soothing food choices. As the weather gets colder, it is a great time to get cozy and comfortable, spending the weekends inside nesting. While the heat is turned up, do remember to keep indoor air moist. While probiotics can help reduce respiratory illness, running a humidifier or diffuser at night can make a big difference too.

The impact of stress and sugar

Even if you approached the holidays with a healthy mindset, the beginning of winter is often a slippery slope to digestive discomfort starting with a large Thanksgiving meal, then a necessary bite at the mall or airport, and social drinking. And, if your family is anything like mine, well-meaning relatives have enjoyed pampering the kids with more sweets than they are used to, as well. The activity and sugar can lead to tummy trouble, disrupting the feeling of inner comfort we seek at this time of year.

The importance of gut health

Gut health is a key to staying healthy, but it can be challenging to get family eating habits back in balance after the holidays. One reason? Shifts in our gut health can work against our efforts. Sweets can nurture the types of gut bugs that love sugar and will continue to crave it, making good decisions harder to make. Luckily, fermented foods and probiotics can defend against the bacteria that make it hard for us and our kids to pick healthy foods. I have my family take their Flora probiotics daily after eating dinner, to make it easier to say no to late night treats.

Do you need to make a resolution, or will things resolve on their own?

Luckily, a resolution isn’t likely required. You may welcome the return to routine as school or childcare resume or work picks up. If dining and drinking have been festive and uninhibited, as socializing winds down, the pendulum may be primed to naturally swing back to more restrained eating. Now, simpler foods eaten at home can help us get comfortable again. Root vegetables have been shown to help us start spring with good gut health by feeding our good probiotic bacteria when eaten over the winter.

So, enjoy time together, and enjoy your routines. For best results, look after your gut health.