Charcoal: More Than A Stocking Stuffer

Dr. Giselle Lefebvre, ND

Most people overextend themselves during the holidays. The energy and stress of holiday shopping, combined with the overindulgence of food and drink, can have a negative impact on your body. Social commitments double, food intake increases, gifts and alcohol pushes your budget to the limit. All the excitement, excess sugar and late nights are a recipe for an inflammatory explosion. This inflammation can lead to digestive upset, chronic pain and skin outbreaks, which doesn’t make for a happy holiday season.

How do you navigate special events that encourage drinking, socializing, eating and staying up later without throwing your system out of whack? Even if it is the season for giving, the first person you need to give to is yourself. Here are three ways to survive the holidays:

  1. Reduce your impact on the environment. It’s an odd tradition we have of buying fancy wrapping paper to cover up a gift, only to have it eagerly ripped off and thrown away/recycled. Instead, focus your energy on gifts that can be enjoyed together and have the least amount of waste. This year, I’m buying magazine subscriptions for my nieces and making homemade beeswax food wraps for my family. Simple but useful. Buying tickets to a concert for a friend you want to spend more time with is another wonderful, low waste gift idea.
  2. Learn to say no. When you feel overwhelmed, stay home, put on something comfy and curl up with a cup of your favourite herbal tea. If you have to go out, choose your events wisely. What do you have to go to? Which ones will be the most fun? Which of your events are you going to really connect with your people? The season is for spending time with your loved ones, real true connection is the key. Make these people a priority and if you can balance it with activity, even better.
  3. Keep your body healthy.
    • Digestive support – Probiotics and products containing L-glutamine help to soothe your digestive system when you’re feeling bloated from overeating and excessive drinking. Add an extra dose of Probiotics at bedtime to support your immune system or a scoop of GI Fortify (my personal favourite) into your morning smoothie for when your stomach is irritated.
    • Antioxidant – Chlorophyll supports the liver function, decreases hunger and cravings and acts as a natural body deodorizer and it helps to reduce inflammation. Add it to water or your favourite juice and it’ll look like you’re drinking a fun cocktail. It’s easy to slip in your bag to be used daily. I recommend Genestra brand because it’s concentrated and has no added flavouring.
    • Avoid hangovers – If you can’t stay away from late night parties and drinking, activated charcoal pills can help remove the toxins found in alcoholic drinks and foods to which your body has an adverse reaction. Take three charcoal pills before bed. If you’re stilling feeling rough in the morning, take three more.

Staying healthy through the holiday season takes effort. Using the tools that work best for you can support your immune system while you enjoy the festivities. Realize that the season is about drawing our energy inward and take stock of what is important by prioritizing your commitments. This is a great time to make a plan on what you would like to improve for the next year. In the meantime, talk to your doctor today to create a healthy holiday plan.



Staying Healthy with the Seasons by Elson M Haas

The Complete Natural Medicine Guide to Women’s Health By Dr. Sat Dharam Kaur ND

The Seasonal Detox Diet by Carrie L’Esperance