| Ariella Blank

4 Hacks to Keep You Healthy This Diwali

It's easy to stay on track when you're following your routine... but when festival season hits? You might be thrown out of whack.

Prepare for this Diwali season with the following hacks to staying healthy.

1. SLOW your meals down

Diwali is a time of coming together with family, sharing food and lots of sweets. This can unfortunately stress our guts out and cause us to feel heavy and bloated.

To support your digestion - SLOW it down:

S: Stress less. Clear your mind before beginning your meal. Forget about that work assignment, that phone call; just allow yourself to be in the moment, relishing in the company of loved ones.

L: Lounge. Eat while sitting, cross legged or whatever position you find the most comfortable. Support your back with some pillows. Make sure your clothes aren't too restricting.

O: Observe your breath. Breathe deeply. Take just one minute to slow down your heart rate, activating that parasympathetic response so your body is prepared to digest. 2 breaths in, 4 breaths out... practice this until you feel significantly calmer.

CheW: More. Our carbs are actually broken down in the mouth, while we chew. Thoroughly chew each bite before swallowing, savouring the delicate flavours. You'll actually find you enjoy your food more and find more pleasure in the whole experience.

2. Stimulate digestive fire for heavy meals

Our stomach needs a certain level of acid, or digestive fire, in order to break down a certain meal. For meals meals where we will be having large amount of carbs and/or protein which we often do during the holidays, we actually need an increased amount of stomach acid in order to break down this combo. So stimulate those digestive juices by adding in the acid before your meals. You can do this by taking a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar or fresh-squeezed lemon juice mixed in a glass of water 15-20 minutes before your meal. This will prepare the stomach by lowering the pH before the food begins to arrive. A lowered pH will not only protect you from any bad bacteria, neutralising it as it hits the stomach, but it will also aid in the production of enzymes needed to break the food down further. Heartburn is caused by not having enough stomach acid for a given meal, so this hack will help avoid the unpleasant feeling of acidity. Give it a try and let us know what you think.

3. Find new ways to be active

The cooler weather this Diwali season can work to your advantage because now that it's pleasant out, going for a stroll anytime of day is just so much more doable! So after a heavy meal, grab a handful of your friends and get them to join you for a walk around the block. You'll feel better in seconds, just breaking the routine of sitting around all the time and instead getting into your body. The more active you are, the more active you feel like being: it's a ripple effect. Have relatives visiting from out of town who want to share with you their routine? Join them for a workout session in something new. Who knows, you might just like it! Do you want to feel more active but you don't really like exercising, per se? Try an impromptu dance party. Blast some music, shake your body to the tunes, let go of caring what you look like, and have a whole lot of fun. Try a salsa or zumba class for a change. Check out that martial arts class at the gym. Pick up some weights and "swing them around", putting your muscles to the test. It's scientifically proven that we actually feel better when we move more.

4. Load up on probiotics

Did you know that your body houses more bacteria than it does cells? Make sure it's the right ones by being sure to up your probiotics in this festive season. Because there isn't anything that makes you feel instantly brighter than a fresh dose of probiotics to energise your gut. Plus, adding probiotics helps to balance the ratio of good bacteria to bad bacteria in the gut, reducing the side effects of bacteria imbalance, such as sugar and carb cravings. Not only that, but when our gut has enough beneficial bacteria, our body starts being able to synthesise its own B vitamins, those elusive energising vitamins that most of us are deficient in. Sound good to anyone else? Sip up, friends!