7 Ways to Improve Digestion During the Cold Winter Months.

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This post is for all of those on the slow digestion team.  As many of you know I have very slow digestion and my gut is sensitive to certain foods and stressors.  During the winter months I also find my digestion and gut health need some extra love and attention.  Over the past few years of really paying attention to my triggers and how I can assist my sluggish bowels, I’ve come up with a few tricks that keep me feeling good and helps the food move along smoothly through my body while giving the rest of my body the proper nutrients it needs.

  1. Drink warm/hot water. This is my absolute number one suggestion. Drinking more water in general will aid in proper digestion. Drinking warm water is key especially during the colder months because it too helps with digestion.  Our insides are warmer then room temperature and when we consume anything cold it can shock the bowels and slow down digestion. Think of what happens when a river starts to freeze, it slows right down but when it warms up in the spring it melts and it flows beautifully.  

  2. Eat heated/cooked foods. Again as mentioned with the water, consuming warm things will aid in proper digestion and help those bowels to move things along.  I love a good salad but during the winter I switch to more stir-frys so the food is heated and cooked.  Eating raw vegetables does provide more natural digestive enzymes so often I’ll add a few pieces of raw spinach or kale to the top of the stir fry.  

  3. Avoid over eating.  Give your gut a break and consume less foods during the winter.  Obviously I’m not saying not to eat enough nutrients, however I try to avoid eating too many snacks and I stop eating just before I get full.  It’s a lot of work for our bodies to process food and often in the winter we’re not as active so we don’t need to give our bodies extra stress with too much food.  

  4. Drink Herbal teas. Many herbal teas are known for decreasing bloating and aid in digestion.  You can find teas that have a combination of great digestive spices but some of my favourite include peppermint, ginger, chamomile, hibiscus and I often add a sprinkle of cinnamon too. My girl Taylor just recently launched her loose leaf tea company www.cupofte.com and she has many of these great options and so many more. Stay tuned for a collaboration we might be working on. 

  5. Limit liquids when eating. Our bowels have a powerful digestive acid which breaks down the food we consume. When we dilute it with other liquids, it’s not going to be as affective and it may cause for less food to be broken down. Drink your water and teas 20 minutes before or after your meals rather than when you’re actually consuming the food.  

  6. Take your time. With our busy schedules these days, sitting down and taking your time to eat a meal can be easily pushed aside. It’s important to take the time to chew each bite properly as well as enjoying food in a comfortable low stress environment. Stress of any kind causes less digestion so find a nice cozy spot, sit back, relax and enjoy the nutrients you’re consuming. 

  7. Get active. Get outside or head to the treadmill and get a 20 minute walk or workout post meals. I find movement the best way to help things move along. I’ve been known to dance and jump around (even in a restaurant bathroom stall) to help move along a meal. 

So there you have it, my 7 favourite digestion tips I use during the winter months. Many I also use all year round but I definitely incorporate these more while it’s cold.  I can honestly tell you that it’s been helping me soo much and I feel much less bloating, and no pain or other IBS symptoms compared to previous winters.  Cheers to happy healthy digestion!

Michelle xo 

Delicious "Healthy" Chocolate Bar Recipe (vegan)

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Halloween just passed and I was so proud when I didn’t eat any of the mini chocolate bars and sweets. I made the choice weeks in advance that I couldn’t eat even one because if I eat one, I’ll eat 5 bags (I’m not exaggerating). So, to help satisfy my craving, I created a healthier version. These sweet treats have lots of healthy fats, chocolate and sweetened only with natural sweeteners. I’ve also made you all a video demonstrating how easy they are to create. I hope you take a look and give these sweet treats a try. Be sure to let me know if you do and if you like them.

Healthy Chocolate Bars (Vegan)

Makes: 20

*click on blue text to buy ingredients

prep time: cook time: total time:

ingredients:

Nougat
Caramel Filling
Chocolate Goodness

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Combine the nougat ingredients together in a medium size bowl. Due to the natural oils in many nut butters the consistency can vary. You want the nougat to move but stay formed when stirred. Add more coconut flour if needed.
  2. Place this on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spread out roughly 1/4-1/2 inch thick and 30 cm long. (see more in my YouTube video).
  3. Place this in the freezer while you work on the caramel filling.
  4. Add all the caramel filling ingredients in a blender and whip well till it's blending smooth.
  5. Then spread this mixture evenly over the nougat and place back in the freezer to set over night. 
  6. Cut them into 20 pieces when they are set and ready to be dipped into the chocolate. 
  7. Melt the chocolate and oil in a sauce pan on low. 
  8. Dip each piece into the chocolate and surround it with the chocolate. Leave it to set on the pan and place it back into the freezer to set. 
  9. If you'd like to enjoy them the same day, you can just drizzle the chocolate on top of the entire batch before you cut them. They will be a bit gooey inside but they're also still very yummy! 
  10. I store mine in the freezer although you could also keep them in the fridge.  With the natural oils, its best to keep cool so they stay together. 

calories

150

fat (grams)

8.1

carbs (grams)

17

protein (grams)

3.7

sugar (grams)

13.6
Created using The Recipes Generator

My 7 Day Sugar Detox

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I recently completed a seven day detox where I eliminated all natural and refined sugars with the exception of 1-2 servings of fruit a day. After a long summer with too many indulgences, I knew it was time to complete the dreaded sugar detox to get back on track. My body gives me signs when it’s not happy with how I am eating. The signs are feeling lethargic, irritable and itchy. I will find patches of eczema on my skin; I will suffer from a variety of allergies; and I will feel super bloated. These symptoms are a total drag but they are simply a sign that my body is communicating, such as "wake up! It's time to heal your gut." This is when I know a detox is in order along with some extra TLC. It can be challenging to keep myself accountable to a detox. This is why I told my followers and made a YouTube video. Just like a child, I needed a good reason to follow through and not succumb to the dangers of cravings. I couldn’t let you all down!

In order to complete the full 7 days of the sugar detox, I first removed all temptations from my home. I made sure that my boyfriend knew what was up so that he could back off the desserts this week too (he has a sweet tooth like me.) I made lots of delicious meals ahead of time so I could fill up on nutrients, and I prepared meals to go when I was heading out the door to start my day. The first three days I was tired and more irritable then usual. My head felt “full” on day two, like the beginning of a headache. I took it easy and I didn’t push myself too hard with my workouts. On day six and seven my energy level was really high. I crushed through some tough workouts and my mood was so positive. I experienced no itching nor allergies at this time.  

I’m not saying I’ll completely eliminate sugar for life (although that would be super healthy) but I will strive to be consistently mindful of how I consume unnecessary sugar. I’ve cut back on my daily cookie intake to less than 1 cookie per week (which is a big deal because I’m a total cookie monster.) Sadly my typical “healthy” cookies do have lots of sugar so it was time to cut back. I know my long term health will improve greatly from eating less sugar and I’m happy to know that when I put my mind to it, even when it's hard, I have the power to say NO to sugar! 

If you're wanting to try a sugar detox and interested in knowing the food I ate and more information about the process, you can watch my videos below. Grab a friend and give it a try! Your body will love you!