During the holiday season, my clients are always complaining about bloating, gas and indigestion as well as heart burn, and they can’t seem to understand why.

By focusing on supporting your body by giving it a little extra love with some enzymes and eating clean whole foods, your body won’t have to work as hard to digest your food (and you won’t end up tired after you eat)—I know you know that feeling of feeling full and exhausted after the holiday buffet!

By eating clean whole foods -- and a few raw fruits and veggies or sprouted nuts, seeds and whole grains, which are full of enzymes -- you'll notice dramatic improvements in your digestion.

This time of the year everyone is busy and stressed out with holiday parties and family gatherings. We end up eating more decadent, heavy and rich foods that often leave many of us with a stomach ache.

Before Christmas, we're running around buying holiday gifts and often snacking on unhealthy foods or reaching for a meal in the food court of the mall, which leaves many people feeling awful just a few hours later.

Eating clean, whole foods and getting to the root cause of your belly issues is the only way to ensure you’ll fingure out what the problem is without blindly taking a band-aid approach to cover up your symptoms.

I personally spent the first 20 years of my life covering up stomach pain symptoms- not knowing why I was bloated or uncomfortable after eating. Once I started to look at the bigger picture as to what was going on inside my stomach, I realized I was lacking enough of the right enzymes to help my poor, little body break down my food.

I can still remember my doctor giving me a bottle of enzymes and feeling like a million bucks -- without bloating -- as soon as I started taking them. Now, I take enzymes with my meals every day and take them with me when I travel and eat out in restaurants because it's not worth forgetting about them and then have to deal with bloating or being uncomfortable for the rest of the day.

Whether you have heartburn, bloating or gas, you can work with your doctor to figure out what's going on inside and help support your body by breaking down those foods as soon as you bite into them.

Occasional heartburn goes hand in hand with indigestion. When we don't have enough digestive enzymes to break down our food, it begins to ferment in the digestive tract, generating all sorts of uncomfortable reactions, like gas, bloating, etc. This can happen with anything we eat, but it especially happens with those who suffer from food intolerances, or enzyme deficiencies, such as gluten, dairy, casein, etc. These individuals, myself included, don’t have enough of, or the right enzymes to break down the food that they consume, and negative reactions result. 

Here are a few tips to help with your digestion during the holiday season:

·         Chew your food well. The enzymes in your mouth start your digestion process; chew at least 20-30 times before you swallow. I know this can be hard to do but try to be mindful!

·         Reach for Fiber. High fiber foods such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables are great for digestion and keeps everything moving smoothly.

·         Know your Triggers. Tomatoes bother you? Dairy make you bloated? Know what foods bother you and make you feel bloated and tired. Remove those foods and see how you feel.

·         Remove the Alcohol. Many people get bloated or suffer from other stomach issues when they drink alcohol. Try removing the alcohol from your lifestyle and drink water with fresh lemon and lime to see if that helps.

Eating clean whole foods (whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruits, veggies, organic proteins such as beans, legumes, chicken, turkey) and supplementing with a general digestive enzyme like Enzymedica’s Digest Gold, you can help your body break down your meal and actually feel amazing after you eat.

If food intolerance is a challenge, which it has been for me for years, remove the problem food from your lifestyle and ask your doctor about Digest Spectrum which is targeted against all of the major problem foods such as gluten, dairy, casein, etc. Of course, for strict heartburn, Acid Soothe offers an all-natural alternative to some of the other solutions on the market. Be sure to check with your doctor before starting any new supplements.

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Amie Valpone is a celebrity chef and nutrition expert who healed herself from a decade of chronic illness. She is the author of the new cookbook Eating Clean: The 21-Day Plan to Detox, Fight Inflammation, and Reset Your Body and the founder of TheHealthyApple.com. Amie has been featured in numerous magazines and TV. Visit Amie on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.