Ohh, the holidays. This year is going to look a lot different than it ever has before. I find myself reminiscing on past holidays. Honestly, for me, the holiday season used to be like one of those Instagram vs. Reality moments…
I’d expect Thanksgiving to be relaxing: I’d think of a perfectly juicy seasoned turkey with tangy cranberry sauce. Granny’s legendary stuffing. Of course, a variety of scrumptious pies… I’d imagine myself effortlessly prepping for the big day – like that scene in Snow White where she dances around her kitchen with the help of all the cute forest animals.
But in reality, I’d become a bucket of stress. Running from here to there, like a turkey with its head off, simply trying to get the Thanksgiving turkey on the table! And that delicious, mouth watering dinner I dreamed of… It would taste amazing going down, but 20 minutes later it had me bloating out like I was 6 months pregnant… Only to end up passing out on Granny’s couch in a food-coma… And having toilet troubles for the next week…
Does this sound familiar?
Squash Holiday Stress
The holiday season can be stressful. It’s usually a busy time filled with lots of events, decorating, cooking, cleaning, shopping… the list goes on. This year will be different, and it will be stressful for different reasons.
For those of us with digestive issues, this stress, mixed in with potentially eating foods that we aren’t used to, can lead to uncomfortable bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea and abdominal pain. Feeling crappy only leads to more stress, further aggravating these symptoms. It’s a vicious cycle.
As a naturopathic doctor who has struggled with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) for the greater part of my life, I’ve learned how to breeze through the holidays, stress-free, with only the occasional flare-up if I overindulge.
Here I’m going to divulge two simple, fool-proof holiday health hacks I’ve cultivated to support the body through the Thanksgiving season.
Holiday Health Hack #1: The Castor Oil Pack
For me, and all of my patients, Castor Oil Packs are non-negotiable. In fact, a daily castor oil pack practice is the very first thing that I get all of my patients to do. Why?
First and foremost, Castor Oil Packs help to keep our stress response balanced. The soft compression of the organic pack against the skin helps to move our body from the stressed-out state into the relaxed state1. It also promotes hormones that make us feel good, like oxytocin2 (A.K.A. the love hormone) and dopamine3.
They help regulate bowel movements by improving smooth muscle tone of the digestive tract4, and they’ve been shown to alleviate constipation just as well as laxatives – but without negative side effects5!
Castor Oil Packs help you beat the bloat when worn over the liver/tummy, by reducing inflammation6 in your core. They also improve the balance of the bugs in your gut (A.K.A. your microbiome) by breaking down biofilm7 8 9, leading to better absorption of nutrients and less gas!
Plus they help us detox by providing antioxidants like nitric oxide10, glutathione11, vitamin E and omegas12. Castor oil packs are especially helpful to wear overnight if you have a few alcoholic drinks… hasta la vista hangover!
In a nutshell, castor oil packs support the foundations of our health and healing – helping us poop better, sleep better, digest better, cleanse better, bloat less and stress less. This why they’re my #1 Holiday Health Hack.
The Queen of the Thrones® Castor Oil Pack™ Bundle
The Queen of the Thrones® Castor Oil Pack™ takes less than 2 minutes to prepare and ties onto your body, so you can wear it while you do all of your holiday prep work – cooking, cleaning, facetiming your family, you name it. Even better, you can wear it to bed and let it work it’s magic while you dream. My patients say it helps them sleep like a baby!
Do your castor oil pack every day for at least 1 hour to get the most benefit. As with anything, consistency is key!
Get your own Castor Oil Pack™ today.
Holiday Health Hack #2: Avoid Your Food Sensitivities
Food, food – glorious, delectable, irresistible food! A focal point of the holiday season and something that we all look forward to. But if you have digestive issues, it can often be a source of anxiety.
I remember thinking to myself before holiday dinners, “Will there be food options that don’t upset my tummy?”, “Will there be a bathroom close by if I have an emergency?”, “Is this dress too tight for my inevitable post-dinner food baby?”
How do you know if you have food sensitivities? Well, it’s simple… Each of us has unique sensitivities to certain foods, sometimes even healthy ones! (For me it was broccoli, kale, almonds, and rice!) Reactions to eating a food sensitivity can be difficult to pin down, because they can take up to 72 hours to manifest and symptoms can appear anywhere in the body.
Foggy brain, weight gain, fatigue, the confusion of “is this really caused by my thyroid?”. The shame of feeling like you always need to cover up because of your skin irritations. The pressure on your chest & sleepless nights; your mind rapidly flipping between “Am I feeling this way because of something I ate or do I have an undiagnosed disease!?”
All of these symptoms can easily be triggered by food sensitivities. But where do we draw the line between symptoms of disease & symptoms of food sensitivities? Right here! If you don’t know what your personal food sensitivities are, you can use the 5 natural at-home techniques for revealing your food sensitivities that I share in the Queen of the Thrones® Food Empowerment Kit.
The best thing to do is avoid your food sensitivities. When I attend holiday dinners I always make sure to bring some holiday dishes of my own that are free from my food sensitivities, that way I know I’ll have some healthy choices that don’t upset my tummy.
To be proactive, don’t forget to wear your Queen of the Thrones® Castor Oil Pack™ daily. With regular use, castor oil packs help your body to become more resilient – so if you do eat something that doesn’t agree with you – they will help you bounce back better and more quickly! In acute situations of indigestion and bloating, they feel like a great big hug for your belly and immediately help you to relax.
This year, we won’t have the luxury of large holiday gatherings with friends and family. But that doesn’t mean we can’t do something special!! Find out what your food sensitivities are (learn how with the Food Empowerment Kit) then throw on your castor oil pack and whip up some delicious holiday dishes.
Don’t Forget The Love!
These Holiday Health Hacks will help you waltz through the holidays with less stress. And always remember, at the heart of the holiday season is love. It is a time to gather together with the people we care about (whether it be physically or virtually), creating meaningful memories and showing our gratitude toward one another.
Try to infuse love into everything you do this holiday season, it’s the best gift you can give to yourself and those around you! Happy, Healthy Thanksgiving!
1 Löken LS, Wessberg J, Morrison I, McGlone F, Olausson H. Coding of pleasant touch by unmyelinated afferents in humans. Nat Neurosci. 2009 May;12(5):547-8. Epub 2009 Apr 12. PMID: 19363489
2 Walker SC1, Trotter PD2, Swaney WT2, Marshall A3, Mcglone FP4. C-tactile afferents: Cutaneous mediators of oxytocin release during affiliative tactile interactions? Neuropeptides. 2017 Aug;64:27-38. doi: 10.1016/j.npep.2017.01.001. Epub 2017 Jan 19. PMID: 28162847
3 Rolls ET et all. Representations of pleasant and painful touch in the human orbitofrontal and cingulate cortices. Cereb Cortex. 2003 Mar;13(3):308-17. PMID: 12571120
4 Sorin Tunaru,a Till F. Althoff,a Rolf M. Nüsing,b Martin Diener,c and Stefan Offermannsa,d,1 Castor oil induces laxation and uterus contraction via ricinoleic acid activating prostaglandin EP3 receptors. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Jun 5; 109(23): 9179–9184. Published online 2012 May 21. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1201627109 PMID: 22615395
5 Arslan GG, Eşer I. An examination of the effect of castor oil packs on constipation in the elderly. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2011 Feb;17(1):58-62. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2010.04.004. Epub 2010 May 18. PMID: 21168117
6 Vieira C et al. .Effect of ricinoleic acid in acute and subchronic experimental models of inflammation. Mediators Inflamm. 2000;9(5):223-8 PMID: 11200362
7 Andrade IM1, Andrade KM2, Pisani MX1, Silva-Lovato CH1, de Souza RF1, Paranhos Hde F1.Trial of an experimental castor oil solution for cleaning dentures. Braz Dent J. 2014 Jan-Feb;25(1):43-7.PMID: 24789291
8 Badaró MM, Salles MM, Leite VMF, Arruda CNF, Oliveira VC, Nascimento CD, Souza RF, Paranhos HFO, Silva-Lovato CH. Clinical trial for evaluation of Ricinus communis and sodium hypochlorite as denture cleanser.J Appl Oral Sci. 2017 May-Jun; 25(3):324-334. PMID: 28678952
9 Salles MM, Badaró MM, Arruda CN, Leite VM, Silva CH, Watanabe E, Oliveira Vde C, Paranhos Hde F. Antimicrobial activity of complete denture cleanser solutions based on sodium hypochlorite and Ricinus communis – a randomized clinical study.J Appl Oral Sci. 2015 Nov-Dec; 23(6):637-42. PMID: 26814466
10 Mascolo N1, Izzo AA, Autore G, Barbato F, Capasso F.Nitric oxide and castor oil-induced diarrhea.J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 1994 Jan;268(1):291-5. PMID: 8301570
11 Holm T, Brøgger-Jensen MR, Johnson L, Kessel L.Glutathione preservation during storage of rat lenses in optisol-GS and castor oil. PLoS One. 2013 Nov 19;8(11):e79620. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0079620. eCollection 2013. PMID: 24260265
12 Marwat SK, Rehman F, Khan EA, Baloch MS, Sadiq M, Ullah I, Javaria S, Shaheen S. Review – Ricinus cmmunis – Ethnomedicinal uses and pharmacological activities.Pak J Pharm Sci. 2017 Sep;30(5):1815-1827. PMID: 29084706