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Un-Stuffed: How Chinese Medicine Can Help You Beat the Holiday Bloat

The holidays are nearly here, and that means one thing: indulgence!

And after the challenging and stressful year we’ve had, don’t we deserve to have a little more fun, celebrate a little harder, and enjoy a few extra treats? But indulgence often comes at a cost – in this case stubborn bloating and weight gain, digestive disruptions, and poor energy and fatigue.

The good news is that there are ways to enjoy ourselves and protect our gut health to stay healthy. Chinese medicine is a system of balance and it offers several ways to enjoy the best of both worlds. Let’s find out how tips and tricks from Chinese medicine can help us manage our waistlines and enjoy the indulgences of the season.

Why Do We Get Bloated or Gain Weight During the Holidays?

Researchers estimate that Americans put on an average of 1 pound over the holiday season. While there is a seemingly obvious answer for why this happens, there are actually several potential causes for holiday weight gain.

Along with enjoying richer and sugar-laden foods, other factors like emotions, sleep, and irregularity are at play. Stress, as usual, is a major culprit. The higher our stress, the higher our chances of bloating, weight gain, and stress eating. During the holidays, many people feel that their stress skyrockets as family, financial, work and personal stressors increase. This elevated stress also raises our cortisol levels. Cortisol is a tricky hormone known for causing weight gain, sleep issues, and irritability.

Eating under stress or on the run is also a sure-fire way to cause indigestion, bloating, and abdominal pain. Consistently stress eating or eating in a rush leads to poor gut health and can eventually cause issues like irritable bowel syndrome.

Another thing to consider outside of the stress and poor diet choices is that we often put our self-care on pause during the holidays. Habits that we stuck to early in the year (like exercise, meditation, massage, or bedtime rituals) often get pushed aside when the busy holiday season hits. We often fail to exercise as regularly and might forget to take our usual supplements. When we miss out on self-care, we rob our bodies of priceless time spent in parasympathetic mode (rest and digest), and our digestive system suffers.

Chinese Medicine Lifestyle Tips to Prevent and Manage Holiday Bloating and Weight Gain

To fight back against the challenges of the holiday season, Chinese medicine offers some simple solutions to overcome holiday bloating and weight gain.

At its root, Chinese medicine is a system of balance. Because of this, it allows for change, shifts, and occasional indulgences. Here are a few healthy lifestyle tips and habits that will keep you feeling great all season long:

  • Fill your plate with the rainbow. If you focus most of your holiday diet on eating colorful, nutritious vegetables and fruits, you will have plenty of room to enjoy a holiday treat or two. The key here is moderation.
  • Make healthy swaps. Instead of feeling completely deprived or completely indulgent, take the middle road by making healthy swaps with a few of your favorite holiday recipes.
  • Eat lots of herbs and spices. Most herbs and spices are highly aromatic and support the digestive system in processing food. Herbs and spices are packed with vitamins, minerals, and powerful antioxidants. Plus, these flavor-boosters will allow you to use less salt in your cooking, which is extremely helpful to reduce bloating and excess water weight. Some of the best digestion-enhancing herbs and spices are cinnamon, ginger, peppercorns, fennel, anise, and mint.
  • Rebound with balance. Did you go overboard? Not to worry. Bring your body back to balance by eating clean and incorporating foods that help fight bloating. Try having a citrus fruit for a snack, lemon water, or enjoying a warm cup of digestion-promoting tea. Take an extra-long walk and stay hydrated.
  • Go slow. Chinese medicine always recommends mindful eating but during the holidays it’s even more important! Stop and enjoy your meals. Avoid eating on the run or working/reading/scrolling social media during your meals. Chew your food thoroughly and take a break between bites. If possible, have a 10-minute break after your meal to quietly relax and digest.

Chinese Herbal Medicine to Reduce Holiday Bloating and Weight Gain

Chinese herbal medicine is such an effective way to manage holiday bloating and weight gain because it goes straight to the source: our stomachs! The following herbal products are safe and simple ways you can either manage your weight, improve your digestion, or bounce back from overindulging.

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Triple Stress Relief Tea

If your holiday stress is high, start fighting it now with a daily dose of calm. Our Triple Stress Relief Tea from Bravo Teas is the perfect way to re-introduce a quiet self-care ritual into your day while benefitting from potent stress-relieving herbs.

Chaga Mushroom

Chaga mushroom has a wide range of health benefits, but it is best known for its ability to heal and protect the digestive system. A daily dose of Chaga powder in a healthy smoothie, morning oatmeal, or adaptogenic mushroom coffee is a great way to care for your gut health through the holiday season and beyond.

Xiang Sha Liu Jun Zi Tang

Feeling tired, bloated, and worn-out? You might need a gentle yet clearing energy boost. Xiang Sha Liu Jun Zi Tang pairs a classic energy-boosting formula with two aromatic herbs to break through food stagnation and encourage healthier digestion. It can help reduce bloating with or without gas, indigestion, nausea, and constipation.

Bao He Wan

Most of us are no stranger to the over-stuffed feeling after a big Thanksgiving dinner or a holiday party. There are more consequences to overeating than simply feeling bloated and stuffed for a few hours. A big meal can lead to a weakened digestive system, constipation or diarrhea, abdominal pain, acid reflux, low energy, and even poor sleep. With Bao He Wan, we can improve our digestive function immediately and help the body process a big meal with ease.

Po Chai Pills

Po Chai Pills are so effective at reducing bloating, tummy troubles, and even hangovers that they are often a household staple in many homes around the world. These tiny pills can be taken for fast relief from overeating, food poisoning, gas, nausea, or a few too many holiday cocktails.

A Healthy, Balanced Holiday with Chinese Herbal Medicine

While maintaining a healthy digestive system is crucial during the stressful holiday season, it’s also important to allow yourself to enjoy a few treats and celebrate the season. Chinese medicine gives us a few helpful tips and simple herbal remedies for balancing our diets, managing our waistlines, and recovering from overindulgences through the holidays. 

Learn more about how you can use Chinese medicine through the holiday season or shop for your perfect herbal remedy.

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About the Author

Kaitlan Downes, MSAOM, L.AC

Kaitlan Downes, MSAOM, L.AC

Kate Downes is a Chinese medicine practitioner with a passion for herbal medicine. In fact, it was her love for plant and earth medicine that first drew her to study Chinese medicine.

Kate has a MSAOM (Master of Science, Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine) certification and practiced acupuncture in Indianapolis, IN for five years before packing her bags to roam the world. In order to stay in touch with the wellness community and continue to help others thrive with herbal medicine, she transformed her work from face-to-face patient care to spreading wellness through words. Her life as a remote herbalist and writer has allowed her to work with a variety of wellness brands, health pioneers, and her wonderful clients. She has a special interest in working with women’s health.

Kate thoroughly enjoys writing educational and useful pieces for Best Chinese Medicine. Her goal is to help the public gain a better understanding of the wonders of Chinese herbal medicine so they can be empowered in their own quest for natural, vibrant health.

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