The liver loves bitter…tips for dining out this festive season

As many of us celebrate the holiday season as a time ‘let go’ and enjoy magic moments with friends and family across an abundance of celebratory meals, we can also remain mindful not only of ‘what’ we are eating but ‘how’, without spoiling the festive spirit. Join Gaia’s expert Naturopath for a few tips that will promote healthy digestion to ensure we are feeling our best as we savour exquisite food and drink, and embrace traditions with the ones we love.

From Gaia’s Naturopath… 

Ancient wisdom and modern-day dietary principles help us to unravel the traditions of maintaining wellbeing and vitality. According to Ayurveda, all tastes should be present on the plate to stimulate digestive processes, for example starting the meal with a bitter element, such as lightly fried melon slices. Bitter tonics, such as the turmeric shot served here at Gaia, kick start our digestion first thing in the morning, supporting better digestion of eggs and mixed vegetables for breakfast.

When we see, touch, and smell food during the preparation of a meal
we are talking to our digestive system and stimulating digestive function. However, when we eat our meal which we have not prepared ourselves, this initial step of digestion is missing, and we don’t prime our digestive system to receive nutrition.

We can however promote digestion when dining out by starting the evening with a lemon water to support carbohydrate digestion and begin the meal with a dark green bitter leafy salad and mustard seed vinaigrette, or by eating any bitter food on the plate such as olives or artichokes, before eating the main proteins or fats in the meal. 

This is common in a Mediterranean-style diet where good fats and healthy easily digested proteins are a part of everyday meals. A diet rich in fibre, whole grains, sour fruits and vegetables, and all the colours of the rainbow promotes vitality and longevity. Australian and New Zealand soil are low in selenium and zinc, therefore it is important to obtain these nutrients from clean ocean sources. Deep sea oily fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Consider including more mackerel, wild salmon, sardines, oysters, herring, anchovies, in your diet. Vegetarian zinc, selenium, and omega 3-fatty acids include hemp, flax, pumpkin and chia seeds, legumes, activated Brazil nuts, pecans and walnuts, and red algae, Dunaliella salina.

During the summer months, cellular hydration is super important, and we may be prone to dehydration during the festive season with an increase in alcohol consumption and increased outdoor activities. Try adding 1/8 coconut water to your filtered water for the natural electrolytes to improve cellular hydration.

Recommended daily water intake for a female is between 2-2.5 litres, and male is 3-3.5 litres, and every hour of exercise requires an additional 1 litre of water. If it is hot and you are perspiring also consider adding a pinch of Himalayan or mineral salt to your water. 

From all of us here at Gaia, we wish you a happy and healthy holiday season. 
Tracey, Gaia Naturopathy & Nutrition Team 

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