Episode 113: Supporting Your Digestive System Plus All About Balsam Fir


doTERRA: Around the holidays, many of us put more strain on our digestive system than normal, and that can come with some pretty unpleasant consequences. Supporting your digestive system through the holidays is incredibly important. And today, we're going to share some tips and tricks on how you can do that naturally.

Welcome back to Essential Oil Solutions with doTERRA, the podcast where you'll hear exciting, useful, and simple everyday uses for essential oils from experts in the field. If you like what you hear today, rate, review, and subscribe wherever you listen. We always appreciate hearing from you.

Today, we're excited to talk to Samantha Lewis, a member of the doTERRA product marketing team, about supporting your digestive system through the holidays. Samantha, thank you so much for being back here with us today.

Samantha Lewis: Thanks so much for having me!

doTERRA: So as we approach the holidays, our digestive system becomes kind of a big topic, we're doing a lot of eating and different things. Can you tell us a little bit about why the holidays can be so treacherous for our digestive systems?

Samantha: Yeah, I think that's a great question. Like all body systems, the digestive system thrives on homeostasis, so finding that happy middle ground that your body can just run on. So anything out of the ordinary can cause discomfort.

Holidays can be super hard on the digestive system, like you mentioned, because we generally don't follow our normal eating patterns. The holiday celebrations are accompanied by a larger than normal consumption of sweets and super fatty foods, eating at abnormal times, when we don't eat regularly, and really just more food overall.

I don't know about you, but I just thought that whole Thanksgiving plate with all the turkey, the ham, the rolls, the potatoes, all the good stuff. And it's super rich too, right? Richer food is harder to digest, and with a lack of fiber, it can totally disrupt your bowel movements, disrupt how everything works down there. Excessive consumption of these heavier foods can also cause bloating or other digestive-related discomfort. So it's really just keeping an eye on all of that.

doTERRA: Now, we don't want to deprive ourselves of these fun holiday meals, so are there precautions that I can take to prevent problems from coming up?

Samantha: Yeah, absolutely! And I totally agree. I love to have a good slice of pumpkin pie, all the delicious mashed potatoes. We even in my family have a really fun tradition of making what's called Danish noodles that you put over the mashed potatoes and with the turkey. I don't want to miss out on any of that, and I don't want to tell anybody that they have to miss out on that.

Be Aware of Portion Sizes

But really, the key to preventing these digestive issues is to just be prepared, be cognizant of portion sizes. So go in and take a little bit of everything, and then go back for seconds if you really want to. Just because it's there, though, doesn't mean you have to eat all of it. And the closer you keep your holiday eating proportions to your normal proportions, the less digestive discomfort you'll experience.

Keep Rich, Fatty food to a Minimum

You can also try to keep consumption all those rich, fatty, sweet foods to a minimum. But if you're really diehard for pumpkin pie, there's no reason to skip out on that slice. Just don't eat the whole pie, you know?

Eat Slowly

And then eat slowly. So one thing to keep in mind and that my parents have told me my whole life, too, is the receptors that your brain telling your body that you're full take some time to kick in. The faster you eat, the more likely you are to overeat and experience the digestive discomfort later. So thoroughly chew your food and get those receptors the time they need to do their job, take breaks between each plate, take breaks between each course. You know, just talk and visit with your family.

Have Natural Products on Hand

But if you know that you're going to overeat, I’d really recommend keeping some go-to products on hand, like TerraZyme, and Peppermint Softgels, and DigestZen, and Tamer. I love to take TerraZyme before a big meal because I feel like it really helps settle my stomach.

doTERRA: I think those are absolutely incredible suggestions and definitely things to keep in mind as we approach the holidays. Now, Samantha, if I do end up indulging a little too much and I am dealing with some digestive discomfort, what essential oils can I use to help?

Samantha: Well, fortunately, there are a number of essential oils that can help with the digestive discomfort you might be experiencing.

Peppermint

Peppermint is one of the most researched essential oils in regards to supporting GI discomfort. The enteric coated Peppermint Softgels that we recently launched are great, but in a pinch, you can also add a drop or two of Peppermint oil in a class water.

DigestZen

DigestZen was formulated specifically to support healthy digestion. And actually, as a little teaser, it has been recently revamped, and it launches this month to target digestive upset even more. So we've taken that formula we know and love and improved it even more to help settle your stomach when you’ve indulged too much on that Thanksgiving pie or the Christmas sweets and everything like that. The combination of Ginger, Fennel, and the new added Cardamom is ideal for easing digestive discomfort when taken internally.

Lemon and Celery Seed

Also, essential oils like Lemon and Celery Seed are great. Just at a drop or two in a glass of water and drink before the holiday meal to just help your body move things correctly.

doTERRA: Well, those are some absolutely fantastic options and gives a lot of variety and choice as we head into this time where a lot of our activities focus around eating and we might be dealing with some digestive discomfort. So, Samantha, thank you so much for giving us these tips and tricks of how to help our digestive system.

Samantha: Yeah, thank you! And make sure you guys don't forget to eat that pumpkin pie. Just treat yourself with some essential oils before or after.

doTERRA: Next, we are excited to talk to you about a beautiful oil that is perfect for this holiday season.

Deep in the North American forests lives a special evergreen tree. The epitome of resilience, it thrives in cold temperatures. Its dense green needles provide shelter and food for a variety of animals, moose, chickadees and white-tailed deer, among others. And its seeds helped nourish grouse, squirrels and mice. Beavers sometimes rely on this tree to construct their dams. This tree is Abies balsamea or the balsam fir. Other names for this tree include balm of gilead, Northern balsam, silver pine, and balsam fir.

Balsam fir is native to Eastern and Central Canada, as well as the northeastern United States. It prefers growing and moist soil and usually measures between 46 and 66 feet tall. However, at times, it's been known to grow up to a towering height of 89 feet.

Now, balsam fir tree needles are a beautiful shade of dark green. In its youth, the tree's bark is smooth and gray, but with time, it breaks into irregular brown scales. Purple cones adorn its branches that darken into a deep brown and disintegrate, releasing a flurry of winged seeds. It's truly a beautiful tree to behold in modern day, balsam firs are often farmed on plantations. Many of these farms are family owned and techniques for caring for these trees have been passed down through generations. You may be surprised to learn that balsam fir trees are actually one of the greatest exports of Quebec and New England. Why, may you ask?

Well, this species of fir tree is a popular pick for Christmas trees, due in large part to its rich fragrance, classic shape, and long-lasting green needles. In fact, these trees have been used six times as the US Capitol Christmas tree between 1964 and 2019.

Of course, this hasn't been balsam fir’s only use. For thousands of years, Native Americans used the tree for a variety of wellness and medicinal purposes. They also sometimes combined the tree's resin with grease to make a fragrant hair oil. Additionally, its needles were used to brew tea and even served as a source of food.

In Ayurveda, the traditional Hindu medicinal system, the tree's essential oil is considered sacred and is referred to as the forest healer. It's often utilized in abhyanga, the art of Ayurvedic massage.

With its incredible history and beautiful fragrance, we know you’ll love Balsam Fir. It's the perfect essential oil to capture the spirit of this holiday season.

Thanks for joining us and congratulations on living a healthier lifestyle with essential oils. If you liked what you heard today, rate, review, and subscribe wherever you listen. Also, if you want to try any of the products you learned about, go to doterra.com or find a Wellness Advocate near you to place an order today.