4 Tips for Holiday Headaches and Indigestion

December 19, 2014
Tips for Holiday Headaches and Indigestion

Holidays can throw your rhythm off–here’s how to maintain your health.

This time of year I find myself eating goodies from co-workers and friends who SWEAR they are within my dietary guidelines. I am still working on saying no to everyone (people pleasing issues). More than often, I find myself indulging, and shortly thereafter getting a headache, sore throat and/or a tummy ache.

Prior to healing my digestive system through plant-based diet, I was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Diverticulitis. There were certain foods I had to stay away from. Though I am healed from these conditions, I still make it a point to stay away from these foods because of the excess mucous they cause in my body and how they make the PH in my body more acidic than alkaline.

1. Reduce headaches and cravings with fresh lemon. When I eat something that is too sweet for my taste buds, I will immediately eat fresh organic lemon, typically with the rind. Lemon reduces the sugary taste and onset of a headache go away and reduces the urge to go back for seconds.  Though they taste acidic, lemons are actually alkaline-forming, and they therefore will help balance the PH in your body.

2. Drink ACV or kombucha. When I get a stomachache, instead of reaching for a carbonated drink, like Sprite or Ginger Ale, which are typically made with sugar, corn syrup and  chemicals, I will have a tablespoon or two of Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) or drink Kombucha. Most people will mix ACV with a cup of warm water and maybe even some honey to make it more palatable. I have been taking it for so long that I can tolerate it straight. Kombucha is a good alternative to a carbonated drink; like ACV, it  aids in digestion and helps detoxify.

3. Embrace healthy fats to move things along. With irregular mealtimes and decadent foods, constipation is also a common issue during the holidays. Besides eating high fiber foods and drinking a lot of water daily to ensure regular bowel movements, my typical daily ritual includes drinking a tablespoon of Olive Oil (EVO). I may also take one Cascara Sagrada pill or tea at night. Around the holidays I may increase the EVO or take two pills to ensure I am not constipated from eating off my typical diet.

4. Stay away from chemicals and allergens. It is also not unusual for people to have more headaches during this time of year. Common culprits are alcohol, chocolate, caffeine, aged food and dairy. Many people are unaware of their food sensitivity, but try to keep track of your diet to identify a connection with headaches after consuming certain things. Below is a list of chemicals people should avoid not just during the holidays but always:

Sulfites are typically used as a preservative and is found in most dried fruits, wind and many processed foods

MSG (monsodium Glutamate) was approved in 1998 to be used as a fertilizer spray on vegetables fruits and grains still growing in the field. These products are not required to be labeled and are approved for use on all agricultural products. Glutamate reacts within the hypothalamus of the brain and makes you want to eat more. Most people do not know that MSG is the substance given to rats and mice in the laboratory to make them obese, so researchers can complete studies on obese-related diseases. MSG is often included in products as a salt substitute because of its savory flavor. It is often included in diet food because it alters the brain’s chemistry and gives the person eating it a sense of satisfaction. Glutamate has been shown to impair or destroy certain brain receptors, and this damage is cumulative.

Aspartame is a very sweet substance used as an artificial sweetener, chiefly in low-calorie products. It is a derivative of aspartic acid and phenylalanine.

Nitrites and nitrates belong to a class of chemicals called nitrosamines that are created by a chemical reaction between nitrites or other proteins. They’ve long been shown to be harmful to both humans and animals. In fact, more than 90 percent of nitrosamines have been shown in tests to be carcinogens.

It is also important to note that the chemicals listed above are also known to cause other medical problems, including cancer.

As we celebrate with family and friends during this holiday season, we should be mindful that we are what we eat. 🙂 Cheers to your health!

How do you deal with indigestion during the holidays?

Also by EnJunaya: My Juicing on a Budget Tips and Recipes

More holiday healthy eating tips:

10 Ways to Maintain Healthy Eating During the Holidays

5 Tips for Staying Fit for the Holidays


Photo: Helga Weber via Flickr

EnJunaya has been working as a clean eating and fitness coach since 2007. With a background as psychotherapist, she uses the tools from her training to engage, partner and coach clients on nourishing their bodies through whole plant-based foods and exercise. Find out more about her work on her website and Youtube channel.


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