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Keeping your gut healthy during the holidays

Keeping your gut healthy during the holidays

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Sponsored by and developed in part with support from Ferring Pharmaceuticals.

I’ve got a love-hate relationship with the holidays. They bring me joy, but at the same time, they can easily bring misery to my body. I’ve struggled with gut health issues for a while now and just this past year started focusing on healing my gut.

If you know me, you know I love to talk about health and wellness. A few years back I started to really notice what my body struggles with and specifically my gut issues. I didn’t consider trying to heal my gut until much later, I just sort of dealt with the attacks when they came. It wasn’t until about a year ago I started learning what foods my body was having a reaction to and worked on eliminating them. Dairy is a huge trigger for me and during the holidays you can find it in so many dishes.

The holiday season can be difficult because it revolves so heavily around food and food traditions. Being together and enjoying a meal with your loved ones is what makes the holidays wonderful. However, if you’re someone with gut health issues or C. diff infection, the holidays bring on all the stress and make it very difficult to participate.

People with C. diff have a hard time finding foods they can actually eat during the holiday season that won’t give their body issues. You can learn all about C. diff below, along with some food tips to help you enjoy the holidays.

What is C. diff?

C. diff is the short name of the germ that causes the infection, Clostridioides difficile.

C. diff is a type of bacteria that takes hold deep inside the gut microbiome (intestines) and causes not so nice symptoms like watery diarrhea, nausea, stomach pain or cramps and that can last for days. If not treated right away, it can lead to serious medical problems.

C. diff is also very contagious and can become a serious health threat to others in the home and community. Many people may not realize that getting a relapse of the infection is highly possible — anywhere between two and eight weeks after the first infection. This is called recurrent C. diff.

Not only can recurrent C. diff cause physical pain, it can trigger depression and other mental health concerns. Please talk to your doctor or mental health professional for support and guidance.

Who can be affected by C. diff?

Although anyone can be affected by C. diff, certain people have a higher risk, including those who:

  • Are taking or have recently taken antibiotics
  • Have spent time in a hospital or in a long-term care facility
  • Have a weakened immune system
  • Are 65 years of age or older

If you believe you contracted C. diff, seek medical treatment right away. 

Helpful Gut-Friendly Holiday Foods

When you suffer from any type of gut health issue, including C. diff, your diet is very important. Get familiar with what foods you should avoid and which ones are good to consume and be sure to talk to your doctor about what you can eat during and after C. diff. Some tips are:

  • Limit oils, as greasy and oily foods are hard to digest and can cause diarrhea
  • Try to steam or boil vegetables until they are soft to help break down the fiber
  • Drink at least 10 glasses of water per day – space out water intake into smaller amounts throughout the day
  • Eat smaller meals, this always helps my gut when I don’t stuff myself
  • You may experience loss in potassium, magnesium, sodium and calcium so be sure to eat/drink foods high in those minerals
  • If you’re going to a party, bring something to share that you know you can have
  • Consume good bacteria every day, I eat about a half cup of kimchi daily. It tastes good and is great for my gut. If you aren’t a fan of kimchi, try greek yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, pickles, tempeh
  • Get in daily movement or exercise. Some form of exercise will help with your stress and anxiety levels
  • To avoid sugar eat a peeled fruit or greek yogurt
  • Avoid dairy products heavy in lactose
  • Eat lean proteins
  • Avoid caffeine and spicy foods
  • Avoid processed foods

Although I have not experienced C. diff personally, I experience gut health issues daily. It’s so important to practice standard health and safety measures like hand washing and to recognize the symptoms of C. diff to know when to get help. Find more about C. diff and treatment options here.

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