Published by Kerry Meath-Sinkin
The holidays are filled with lots of eating and merriment. Of course, sometimes this can take a toll on our physical health. A large part of this is the state of our digestive fire. A strong digestive fire properly transforms everything that comes our way, i.e. food or emotions, causing us to feel alert, vibrant, and hungry for our meals. A weak digestive fire causes us to feel sluggish, cloudy, and weighed down.
It might come as a surprise that our digestive fire is actually the strongest in the winter, especially in Minnesota. The body requires more fuel to stay warm and healthy in the winter. The cold weather encourages our fire to ignite deep into the core to keep us warm. Our body therefore craves a more substantial diet this time of year, and we will likely find ourselves eating more food. Unfortunately, many of the holiday sweets work against us when it comes to keeping our internal heat and circulation strong. What are some simple tips that everyone can incorporate to keep your digestive fire strong, especially through the holidays? Feel free to introduce a few that feel do-able for you, and see if it helps!
Limit Those Fire Busters
- Ice-cold drinks
- Too much cheese, meats & mushrooms
- Avoid or minimize the processed “white stuff”– sugar, white flour, overly processed dairy. (At my house we still love sweets, we just favor the natural stuff like maple syrup and honey. You can even bake many cookie recipes with maple syrup and it works great!)(please see some attached recipes here??)
- Leftover foods (more than 1-2 days old)
- Excessive caffeine (tea is better than coffee)
- Don’t forget about other triggers such as overeating, emotional eating, and excess sleep
- Too much water during meals or directly after
Keep Everything Moving
- Eat a ginger pickle 15 minutes before eating: sliced ginger sprinkled with lime juice, rock salt & honey
- Favor simple, hearty diets with soaked or roasted grains, cooked vegetables, and well spiced meats
- Get your circulation moving through mild to moderate exercise
- Chew your food
- Sit while eating
- Sip CFF tea while eating or ginger tea (see recipes below)
- Add a pinch of salt to meals
- After eating, chew roasted fennel seeds or roasted digestive seeds (sesame, fennel, cumin, coriander, pomegranate). Chew 1 teaspoon after each meal. See recipe below.
- Keep in mind at mealtime we should take in 1/3 food, 1/3 liquid, and 1/3 should be empty! Don’t get bogged down with too much!
- 1 cup brown rice flour
- 1 cup arrowroot starch
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger (use 1 teaspoon if you don’t like a heavy ginger taste)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoons guar gum
- 1/2 cup dark, unsulfered molasses
- ⅛ cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup softened butter (1/2 stick)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 F degrees
Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or lightly grease
- Sift all dry ingredients together and set aside.
- Cream butter and sugar, beating on high speed for 3-5 minutes until light and fluffy.
- Add molasses and vanilla and beat until combined.
- Slowly add dry, sifted ingredients to butter mixture and beat just until a stiff dough forms.
- Place dough between 2 sheets of plastic wrap lightly dusted with sweet rice flour. Roll out to 1/8 inch thick.
- Dip gingerbread cookie cutter in sweet rice flour and cut out gingerbread men. Use a flour-dusted spatula to transfer cookies to baking sheet. If the dough should get too soft while you are working with it, just place it in the freezer for about 5 minutes.
- Bake for 10 minutes in preheated oven, or until cookies are firm to the touch. Cool and decorate with Royal Icing and Chocolate Buttercream Frosting.
Ginger pickle kindles the digestive fire, helps digestion, absorption and assimilation and helps to dissolve toxins in the gastrointestinal tract.
- 1 t lime juice
- ¼ t rock salt
- ½ t raw honey
- Peel and slice an inch-long piece of fresh ginger into a small glass jar.
- Take 1 slice of the ginger 10-20 minutes before each meal
After Meal Seeds for Digestion
- ¼ cup toasted coriander seeds
- ¼ cup sesame seeds
- 1 T cumin seeds
- 1 T Ajwan Seeds
- 2 Pinches salt
- 1 T hot Water
- Dissolve salt in 1 T of water.
- Heat heavy cast iron frying pan on medium heat.
- Put in the fennel seeds and roast, stirring constantly, until slightly brown, about 2 minutes.
- Sprinkle on the salt water and stir and toast until dry and fragrant. Pour into a dish. Roast the remaining seeds, each kind separately, for a minute or so, until fragrant and slightly brown.
- Add to the dish of fennel and mix well. Store in glass jar.
Digestive tea to alkalize, burn toxins, remove gas, and kindle digestion.
- ½ t cumin seed
- ½ t coriander seed
- ½ t fennel
- 3 c water
Directions: Bring to boil, simmer for 10 minutes, strain and serve.
- 1 T grated ginger
- 1 ½ c water
- ¼ – 1 t honey
- Place grated ginger into a 2-cup glass measuring cup.
- Fill to the 1-1/2 cup line with boiling water.
- Set timer for 10 minutes.
- When timer goes off, strain into a large mug. Once the temperature becomes cool enough to dip your finger in, you can add a touch of honey.
Kerry Meath-Sinkin is a registered investment advisor and financial planner based in Minneapolis. Kerry is an honors Brown graduate, and works with clients not only in the Twin Cities, but nationwide. Kerry believes in a holistic approach to finance. She works with her clients to develop a practical plan with their finances, while also working on their inner relationship with money. Together, these aspects allow clients to feel healthy, abundant, and free. Kerry also has a passion for healthy living, is a certified Ayurvedic practitioner, and public health educator. Click here to learn more about Kerry.