Guts, Gratitude (and a Gift!)


As the holiday season progresses even I’ve been tempted to let more of the refined sugars slip into my day. A slice of fresh peach pie? Yes! Of course I’ll take it. A biscotti with my morning coffee? Sure, why not. A second glass of wine at dinner? Absolutely! 

And you know what … I’m not feeling guilty about it. Feeling guilty sucks and the low vibration that accompanies that emotion messes with my vibe. You know what, it’s the Holidays and I’m going to cherish every. single. sweet. Indulgence.  

But here’s the thing … after a few consecutive days of these sugar slips I had to admit to myself that I was feeling it. My joints were a little achier, I came down with a cold and my belly was feeling an unfamiliar (and persistent) bloat. 

As the holiday meals and celebrations arrive in succession over the coming months be conscious of the fact that the additional sugars, fats and proteins (we tend to eat bigger portions at parties and social events) can weigh on the digestive system. 

When we eat extra protein and fat the digestive system has to work harder to break down them down. Also, the extra sugar feeds the “bad” bugs in the gut and together with the poorly digested excess of fats and proteins, the perfect storm is bred for belly bloating, gas, heartburn and other digestive issues. 

For those of us that do notice digestive sensitivity with changes in our diet as mentioned above, it could be an indicator of poor stomach acid (hydrochloric acid). When stomach acid falls above its ideal pH of 2-2.5, then we often experience heartburn. This happens because the lack of acidity triggers the stomach to A) release MORE stomach acid, thus increasing the quantity of acid in the stomach and B) fails to signal the esophageal sphincter (the door that closes between the esophagus and the stomach) to close completely, thus resulting in reflux up into the esophagus. 

A simple food solution could be to try 1 tsp of Apple Cider Vinegar immediately following a high fat, high protein meal. (Tip: add it to a small amount of warm water). 

If that doesn’t quite cut it, then reach for a comprehensive digestive enzyme supplement. You’ll want one with Betaine HCL in it, which will almost immediately increase the amount of hydrochloric acid in your stomach. Additional enzymes I recommend in your enzyme supplement are Protease, Papain (to help further digest proteins), Lactase (for dairy digestion), Amylase and Sucrase  (to help digest carbohydrates) and Lipase (to help digest fats). 

I also like to recommend a cup of hot water before meals to encourage blood flow to the gut, to help it get a jump start on the digestive process. 

If the gas and bloating are of serious discomfort, then reach for Peppermint, Fennel or Ginger (or all three) essential oils. These oils are soothing, calming and the Ginger is anti-inflammatory for the digestive tract. 

If gut stuff has been a long time struggle, then you might benefit from a functional medicine assessment and a personalized gut wellness plan. 

If you have any questions about gut health feel free to reply to this email or start brainstorming your questions. I will be hosting a webinar on digestive health on December 1st! We’ll be talking heartburn, bloating, Candida, sluggish gut, SIBO and EVEN touch on the essential connection between gut, thyroid and metabolism! 

In the meantime, be present when you splurge, enjoy every savory bite and support your gut in the midst of your indulgences. Your belly will thank you. 

Dr. Melissa Esguerra

PS. In the spirit of Gratitude and the upcoming Thanksgiving Holiday, I have included a very special gift for you thanks to my good friends at With A Bow!

These are super adorable Conversation Cards are sure to enliven the Thanksgiving table that can foster connection, belly laughs and an overall memorable evening our family on Thanksgiving this year! 


Melissa Esguerra