Survival Guide for Festive Feasting – Dr Sebastian Liew

Survival-Guide-for-Festive-Feasting
By Sebastian Liew

How can we enjoy ourselves while minimising – or even avoiding – the discomfort and fatigue associated with all the visitations and feasting?

With the onset of festivities, the ‘sin’ of gluttony tempts us once again. Our affluent lifestyle turns every festive season into an overindulgent affair.

I am not implying that we should not enjoy ourselves with nice food. The real problem is overeating.

As mentioned in my book Leaf to Life, moderation is the first step to good health.

How can we enjoy ourselves while minimising – or even avoiding – the discomfort and fatigue associated with all the visitations and feasting?

First of all, abide by these eating habits:

Do not drink water during and immediately after a meal. If you wish, drink water an hour or so after the meal.

Eat the protein part of the meal first.

Do not eat heavy protein dishes like pork, chicken, eggs, or cheese together with concentrated starches like bread, rice, or noodles. When you cannot avoid mixing the two (as in much of Chinese dining), eat plenty of raw vegetables to assist with digestion.

Do not take dairy-related products with heavy proteins such as meat. Milk is a food and not a drink. This is why cheese with oysters is a bad combination.

Do not eat more than one type of protein in a single meal. You’re asking for stomach trouble if you eat chicken, fish and pork all at the same meal.

Fat and protein taken together is a poor combination; one such example would be meat fried in oil. Drink fennel tea or Chinese pu er if you need to eat them. Fennel will aid in the digestion of fat and protein.

Try to avoid sweet and starchy desserts immediately after a large meal of carbohydrates (rice or noodles) and concentrated protein (fish, eggs, chicken, pork or beef). However, if this situation can’t be avoided, include digestive herbs such as fennel tea in your meal.

Eat fruits as a separate meal and not together with the main meal.

Don’t eat too fast; chew your food.

Laughing and singing after meals is good for digestion.

Following these rules may be difficult for many of us, as we may not have control over the meals served during the celebrations.

Hence, herbs to the rescue!

Fennel 

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(pixabay.com)

My number one choice for good digestion is the humble fennel.

Crush the seeds into a powder, and make a tea infusion by adding ½ teaspoon of powder per cup. Take it with or before your meal to stimulate the secretion of digestive enzymes.

Fennel helps to digest protein and fats. It can be taken with rose petals, another useful digestive herb, for even better results. A fennel infusion with ginger will also help in easing hangovers.

Fennel tea gargle is also good for treating bad breath as a result of too much heavy protein and processed foods.

Rosemary 

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(pixabay.com)

Rosemary is wonderful for the heart and the stomach. It can help in easing digestive headaches that result from heavy meals.

Place 100g of dried rosemary leaves in white wine and let it sit for 7 to 15 days. Take a tablespoon of it during a meal.

This is a healthier wine to serve your guests.

Ginger 

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(pixabay.com)

Use fresh ginger as an infusion (steeped for an hour in hot water) and drink it to ease cramps, indigestion, and nausea. Ginger is especially suitable for those with a ‘cold’ stomach.

Cinnamon

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(pixabay.com)

If your stomach is working overtime, it is time for some cinnamon tea.

Use six bruised cinnamon sticks per 500ml of boiled water, steeped for about an hour. You may add some honey to taste.

Basil 

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(pixabay.com)

Make an infusion of 1 cup of fresh leaves in 500ml of boiled water.

Basil uplifts your spirit and dispels moodiness.

Add the fresh leaves to your noodles and rice dishes to aid digestion.

Garlic 

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(pixabay.com)

Garlic is my favourite natural ‘antibiotic’ and anti-bacterial agent.

If you are suffering from suspected food poisoning, don’t hesitate to use our friend garlic. Take fresh, peeled, whole garlic cloves.

For that matter, it can save your life before the doctor arrives.

Note: don’t use garlic honey as worms love sugar.

Onion 

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(pixabay.com)

If you suffer from a cold with white, runny mucus as a result of overeating, put a few drops of onion juice in hot water and inhale the aroma. Taking a garlic clove before bedtime can also help ease the symptoms.

Contributor: 

Sebastian Liew is the first Singaporean medical herbalist and doctor of naturopathy accredited with the Naturopaths and Herbalists Association of Australia. (Courtesy of Sebastian Liew)
Sebastian Liew is the first Singaporean medical herbalist and doctor of naturopathy accredited with the Naturopaths and Herbalists Association of Australia. (Courtesy of Sebastian Liew)

Dr Sebastian Liew is an Australian registered medical herbalist and a doctor of Naturopathy. He also holds a Masters degree in health science from the University of New England. He has been practicing phytotherapy for the last 15 years in Singapore, and is the author of the book Leaf to Life (http://slnaturopath.com). He is also the co-founder of Seeds Garden, a plant-herb based café/bistro situated in the historic city of Malacca (http://seedsgarden.com.my).

 

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