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Getting Your Digestive Tract Ready for the Holiday Season

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Author: Dr. Verna Hunt, BSc DC ND Toronto ON

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Getting Your Digestive Tract Ready for the Holiday Season

North Americans start with Holiday food at Thanksgiving, then Halloween and on to Christmas ending with a New Year’s Feast. Celebrating is great but not if it wrecks your digestive system and leaves you with increased health problems i.e. suppressing the immune system just in time for winter colds and flus. You are thinking, “But it all tastes so good”. Yes it does and that is mainly due to the drug, yes drug, sugar!

Refined sugar is an addictive drug and eating it only makes you want to eat more and more sugar. Why is that? Once refined, sugar is stripped of naturally occurring minerals and other nutrients, which are in the original source. Think about this. You can eat a bowl of sugar without stopping but not a bowl of molasses, maple syrup or unrefined honey. Why is that? The latter three contain these minerals and other nutritional properties that make you stop eating after a few spoonfuls because your brain found what it was looking for and is satisfied with the taste. Minerals make things tasty. During the feasting season, limit the amount of sweets you eat as if it were a condiment or to about ¼ cup and make sure the sweeteners in it are fruit or a minimal amount of natural sweeteners such as unrefined honey or maple syrup. Corn syrup (a.k.a. high-fructose corn syrup) is as bad as sugar because it is refined and contains many contaminants including mercury!

Sugar suppresses the function of the immune system leaving you unable to identify and kill off microbes like viruses and bacteria. Sugar feeds any yeast or candida albicans that are already in your digestive tract and can leave you with a yeast overgrowth with many nasty symptoms, i.e. rectal gas, itchy skin, foggy brain, sore joints, sore throat and ears. This is the reason many people feel like this on Boxing Day. One of the most important supplements you can take for preventive healthcare is a good probiotic which supplies the proper bacteria that should be in your digestive tract to ensure good digestion and good immune system function.

Where do you find Christmas ‘treats’ without refined sugar?

Try your health food store or make your own with the recipes like Pumpkin Chai Bread or Dark Chocolate Almond Biscotti. Have your children help you make them so they know what good ingredients are.

Other things you can do to assist in healthy digestion are:
  • Decrease all refined foods especially refined wheat flour
  • Increase fibre by eating 4 cups or more of raw or lightly cooked vegetables per day, this will assist your bowels in moving normally or at least twice per day
  • Chew each mouthful 20 times until it is almost a liquid state with no lumps of food
  • Drink water at room temperature or warmer following the rule of thumb: half your weight in pounds in fluid ounces per day i.e. weight is 140 pounds then drink 70 ounces of filtered water
  • Limit amounts of carbohydrates i.e. bread, pasta, starchy vegetables to 1/3 or less of your food intake
  • Use healthy oils that are cold pressed like olive, sunflower, coconut

For more information about Dr. Verna Hunt, BSc DC ND, and the Centre for Health and Well Being, visit:

20 Holly Street, Suite 200, Toronto, ON M4S 3B1
Tel: (416) 496-8633   Toll Free: 1-800-551-4381