Welcome To My Culinary & Holistic Lifestyle Blog!

In Pursuit of Optimal Digestive Health

Thriving Through the Holiday Season!

Moving through the hustle and bustle of the holiday season...

WHILE trying to stay on top of your professional career...

WHILE tending to your household/family responsibilities, sneaking in some movement and getting to bed at a decent hour each night...


All of these are naturally stressors on our body and mind, yet bad news for our gut!

The holiday season can be made a WHOLE LOT EASIER when we set ourselves up for success by having a PLAN and HIGH-IMPACT STRATEGIES in place.

These 2 things can COMPLETELY TRANSFORM the experience of this time of year, if we find ourselves OPEN and WILLING to approaching things differently than we have in the past.

If you’re struggling behind the scenes with an autoimmune gut disorder (e.g. Celiac Disease, Crohn's or Colitis), and the holidays feel pretty daunting as a result, you’re in the right place!

Are any of the following thoughts always creeping into your mind when the holiday season (or another special occasion) nears?

  • What am I going to eat when I head over to _____’s house?
  • What am I going to prepare that my guests will love, that I can also stomach comfortably?
  • What am I going to order when I’m out for dinner for my staff holiday party?
  • How do I resist indulging in all the bready, cheesy and creamy, rich things that taste so good, but destroy me in terms of the aftermath of them?
  • How do I not spiral with all the desserts/alcohol on the table?
  • How long will the digestive aftermath last? (bloating, constipation, diarrhea...)
  • Will my autoimmune condition flare? If it does, what do I do?

The struggles are REAL.

Often, we can end up approaching these situations in one of a few ways, which ultimately sabotage our success:

  • Pulling out all the stops with willpower, and hoping for the best!
  • Not eating all day, so as to ‘save ourselves” for the bigger, evening meal instead (because it will all even out in the end!)
  • Telling ourselves “I’ll do whatever during the holidays and start focusing on my health in January”, which is basically giving ourselves permission to feel like sh*t leading up to then

I realize this is the unpopular opinion here, but I stand my ground when I share with you that our habits and behaviours (and how we feel in our gut + body as a result) have absolutely NOTHING to do with willpower, intentionally  fasting, etc.

Willpower is B.S.

I think we can all think of a time in our lives when we tried to rely on willpower, and that lasted a whole 2 days! ;)

Delaying a meal when your body needs fuel means a spike in your stress hormone cortisol, which interrupts balanced blood sugar levels as well - cue the irritability, edginess and that 'hangry' feeling!

Delaying fuelling yourself ALSO slows your metabolism down, leading to overdoing it at a festive meal and packing on the extra weight that feels impossible to then lose.

This is all very hard on your gut, hormones AND adrenals if you find your body is already showing signs of struggle and inflammation thru a laundry list of symptoms.

As a result, already-existing gut issues, including autoimmune gut disorder flares, seem to implode for several days, and we end up right back where we started.

When our body is being supported in the ways it needs to be, inflammation starts to come down, our gut starts to settle down, cravings/indigestion start to melt away, and better-balanced blood sugar levels mean that our hormones, mood and energy levels can start to level out too.

And, when our Nervous System starts to feel more calm and safe as a result, weight can far more easily start to shift as well!

When we're in a far better state of balance and functioning, from head to toe, the holidays (and any day of the year, for that matter), begin to look and feel VERY DIFFERENT.

  • We’re no longer phased by things we USED TO BE distracted by
  • We’re IN CONTROL of how we feel every day
  • We DON'T end up overdoing portion sizes, guilt-eating/stress-eating, or eating items we didn’t even want in the first place!
  • Our gut issues or active flares DON'T become worse
  • And, we can actually ENJOY ourselves! As we should!

Nutrition and lifestyle have become WAY MORE complicated than they need to be, which is why it can feel daunting to 'get started' with change in our lives.

The fundamentals are, believe it or not, quite simple. When our mindset has us stuck in a frame of thinking of thinking “it’s too complicated” or “it’s too much effort”, etc., we stay stuck.

What do we need to release:

  • Any B.S. info we’ve come across on the Internet - there’s a lot of junk out there!
  • The limiting beliefs that this is just how it is, or that we’ve tried "EVERYTHING!"

Instead, we need to have SOLID advice in our lives...because solid advice breeds CONFIDENCE and REASSURANCE with what we're doing.

ANYTHING is capable of being turned around.

Let's start keeping the following tips in mind, as what’s coming into our body largely fuels our choices, actions and behaviours…

My Top 10 Tips for Navigating the Holiday Season with SUCCESS!

1. Hydrate as you normally do throughout the day

  • Minimum ½ your body weight in ounces of FILTERED water, consumed APART from meals as much as possible
  • Avoids unnecessary feelings of hunger (dehydration can be disguised as hunger if you're dehydrated!)
  • Avoids filling up on water alongside a hearty meal, and feeling bloated, gross, overfull and fatigued after a meal

2. Time your meals as you usually do, or as closely as possible

  • Enjoy a hearty, protein-powered breakfast within an hourof waking up
  • Ensure you enjoy breakfast, lunch AND dinner (approx. 4-6 hours apart)
  • Enjoy a light snack (protein/fat/fiber) between meals IF needed, to keep blood sugar balanced and to avoid energy lulls throughout the day, as that's often what leads to reaching for things you’ll regret later!

3. Avoid skipping/delaying meals in preparation for a large dinner meal, by "Saving yourself"!

  • This strategy only backfires on you, leading to pigging out with huge portion sizes and feeling over-stuffed and over-full rather quickly!
  • This is hard on your hormones and adrenals, let alone your gut needing to process so much food volume at once!

4. If eating elsewhere, eat something BEFORE YOU GO, so you’re not overly hungry or 'hangry' by the time you get there, and by the time you eat!

  • Arriving hungry leaves us in a really vulnerable state - we've all been there!
  • This is when we tend to pig out on the appies before we even eat the meal, and our gut ends up feeling like an utter mess for hours that follow
  • By eating prior, you’re already feeling satiated and content and blood sugar levels are intentionally more balance
  • In the event food wasn’t even there, you’d be ok!

5. Bring a dish or two with you, to ensure you have something that you know will sit well with you

  • Try to learn in advance that the menu will be
  • Compliment the menu so as to not duplicated it, with enough servings for everyone to enjoy - they'll love it!

6. Take any digestive supports with you (as guided/directed by your practitioner).

  • Examples: digestive enzyme capsules, liquid digestive bitters, Betaine Hydrochloric Acid, etc.
  • Pack what you need in your purse so you're never without!

7. For bigger meals, use a smaller plate to help with portion control

  • Seek out protein, fat and fiber, as you would for any main meal - if anything, seek out protein FIRST!
  • By consuming your protein FIRST, you immediately start supporting balanced blood sugar levels and become more satiated, to mitigate overeating

8. Time dessert in a way that SUPPORTS your gut!

  • Give you gut a head start of at least an hour or more to start processing the volume of food from your main meal
  • This also gives you time to really assess whether you have room for more food, and how much, without feeling overfull and uncomfortable as a result

9. Take a walk between dinner and bed to support good digestion

  • Movement following a meal not only supports digestion of your food and stimulates your bowels (to pass older food matter/waste), it increases the sensitivity of your body to insulin, which is helping to shuttle sugar from your blood into your cells where it belongs (stabilizing blood sugar levels as a result)

10. HAVE FUN!!!

  • If you’ve kept yourself fuelled and hydrated throughout the day as best as possible with your 3 macros (protein/fiber/fat), and you’ve put supports in place to be rebalancing your body to begin with, you're far less likely to have a wild and crazy food escapade!

Over time, I have come to approach the holiday season in a way that mirrors my approach to food/bev fuel ANY day of the year.

In my mind, I do not view this as a period of indulgence, where I then “get back on track” after it has passed...keeping your habits as consistent as possible to your everyday is key. As a result, an indulgence here or there shouldn’t really impact you too much.

Where many women struggle is with not having the fundamental habits dialled in and in place to begin with...the type of empowerment and sustainable habits are inevitably part of your gut health transformation with the guidance and support of a professional coach.

If this blog post has highlighted the fact that you need some direction, structure, and a stronger sense of confidence, because you’re not sure how to accomplish this independently, nor know where to start, please CONTACT ME and we'll have an invaluable conversation together!

Looking forward to connecting!

Know Your Practitioner

Jess Headshot 2021 - Under 2MB
I'm Jessica Pecush...

Culinary Nutrition Expert, Certified Holistic Nutritional Consultant™ & AIP Certified Coach®

Learn More


Subscribe To My Mailing List! Receive My Resource 'Critical First Steps for Gut Pain Relief'!


© 2024 Jessica Pecush Nutrition | All Rights Reserved.

Leave a Comment