Advertisement
Ad revenue keeps our community free for you

The 5 Things You Need in Your Holiday Recovery Toolkit

Managing IBD

January 11, 2024

Content created for the Bezzy community and sponsored by our partners. Learn More

Photography by Goodboy Picture Company/Getty Images

Photography by Goodboy Picture Company/Getty Images

by Alexa Federico, FNTP

•••••

Medically Reviewed by:

Debra Sullivan, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., CNE, COI

•••••

•••••

by Alexa Federico, FNTP

•••••

Medically Reviewed by:

Debra Sullivan, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., CNE, COI

•••••

•••••

Whether you’ve overindulged in holiday treats, abandoned your workout routine, or just need some “me” time, these tools can get you back on track with better gut health.

When the high from the holiday season is over, your body might be feeling a bit low if you live with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). You might find yourself with a grumbling gut, an achy body, or a disrupted sleep schedule.

With a solid regimen of healthy food, supplements, and self-care, you can fast-track back to normalcy. As an IBD nutritionist, these are my go-to suggestions.

Join the free IBD community!
Connect with thousands of members and find support through daily live chats, curated resources, and one-to-one messaging.

Gut-supportive herbs and plants

Some herbs and plants lend soothing and anti-inflammatory effects on the digestive system — just what you might need after the holidays. These can be taken in their whole food form, as well as in teas, tinctures, capsules, and more.

Try my favorite gut-supportive herbs and plants. Some, like peppermint and ginger, can even help you extend the flavors of the holiday season, but with better results for your belly.

If you’re not sure where to start, try a tea. Herbal teas taste great and come with the coziness of a hot beverage. If you’re looking for stronger support, a capsule or tincture is the way to go.

Advertisement
Ad revenue keeps our community free for you

Bone stocks, soups, and stews

When digestion feels off, sometimes no foods seem to go down comfortably. This is a good time for bone stock, soups, and stews.

There’s a reason that we’ve historically eaten chicken soup when sick. The slow-cooking nature of soup helps to break down the protein and veggies before you even have a taste, giving your gut some digestive assistance and providing some minerals.

Plus, the abundance of amino acids in bone broth is believed to be healing to digestive tissue, as shown in animal models. And as winter sets in, a nice warm mug or bowl of soup can also offer a sense of comfort.

Try this basic recipe for bone stock:

  • Add 2–3 pounds of bones to fill a stock pot and cover with water.
  • Add chopped carrot, onion, a pinch of sea salt, and a splash of apple cider vinegar.
  • Simmer anywhere from 4–12 hours.
  • Let it cool, then strain and store it in the fridge or freezer.

You can use your bone stock as the base for any soup or stew. You can also use it for cooking rice, or simply sip it.

Probiotics

Taking probiotics can support bowel regularity that may be thrown off from holiday festivities. Probiotics are helpful bacteria that keep the gut microbiome balanced and functioning properly.

In a meta-analysis of 27 studies, researchers found that people with UC achieved significantly higher rates of remission when they took probiotics plus a UC medication (aminosalicylic acid) versus aminosalicylic acid alone.

Food sources of probiotics include fermented foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir.

If you don’t like or tolerate these fermented foods, you can always take probiotic supplements.

Advertisement
Ad revenue keeps our community free for you

Bath bliss

When was the last time you had a peaceful bath? It’s the perfect excuse to take 20 minutes to just be.

Picture it: You light a candle, have no distractions, and put on some meditative music. Soon you have a self-care paradise and the perfect reason to slow down after the holiday hustle.

You can add Epsom salt to potentially boost the relaxing nature of your self-care soak. Epsom salt has long been used for reducing stress, soothing sore muscles, and more. Try adding 2 cups of Epsom salts to your running, warm bath water. Soak and enjoy.

Another option is to add a few drops of essential oil, like eucalyptus or lavender, to really feel like you’re in a luxurious spa.

Movement

You may have lost your exercise mojo while celebrating the holidays, and it may contribute to your post-holiday slump. A recent meta-analysis concluded that moderate exercise can help lessen fatigue and increase energy and vitality, even more so than pharmacological treatments or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

If you don’t already have an exercise routine, try one of these gentle, low risk forms of movement:

  • Take a 20-minute walk.
  • Do beginner flow yoga.
  • Do simple strength training exercises that use your body weight, such as planks, lunges, and squats.

Getting started is often the hardest part, so if you have trouble, try inviting a friend to join you. It’s more fun moving together, and you can hold each other accountable to stay consistent with your practice.

Advertisement
Ad revenue keeps our community free for you

The takeaway

There’s nothing wrong with fully embracing the holiday season, even if that means replacing your usual workout with family time, or enjoying a holiday cookie instead of a veggie. But you’ll likely feel even better when you have some tools in your toolbox to counteract the excesses of the season.

Try out these holiday recovery tips and see what works best for you!

Medically reviewed on January 11, 2024


Join the free IBD community!
Connect with thousands of members and find support through daily live chats, curated resources, and one-to-one messaging.

Like the story? React below:


Have thoughts or suggestions about this article? Email us at article-feedback@bezzy.com.

About the author

Alexa Federico, FNTP

Alexa Federico is an author, nutritional therapy practitioner, and autoimmune paleo coach who lives in Boston. Her experience with Crohn’s disease inspired her to work with the IBD community. Alexa is an aspiring yogi who would live in a cozy coffee shop if she could! You can connect with her on her website or Instagram.

Related stories

Advertisement
Ad revenue keeps our community free for you