Come all ye faithful and eat ’til your full


Dear Pharmacist,

I celebrate Hanukkah and my husband celebrates Christmas?
Why am I telling you this? We both have big families and the food doesn’t stop
for two weeks solid!  I have worked
hard all year to lose 24 pounds and I’m scared to gain back all the weight. Any
ideas? — P.D.  Hollywood, Florida

Answer: Since you’ve
had years to practice juggling holiday buffets (just like me) you can hoard the
matzoh balls like a gerbil while you drive to the next house for some holiday
For sure, the makers of
Tums, Prilosec and Imodium are delighted this season because everyone has
indigestion, heartburn or diarrhea.

I think it’s the holiday stress that causes us to indulge in
feel-good foods.  Eating rapidly is
another contributor to the development of holiday love handles. When we eat
fast, we don’t give our body enough time to release leptin which is an extremely
important hormone released by fat cells. It acts like an appetite suppressant
because it helps us feel full. Leptin tells you when to stop eating.  But some people -especially the
overweight- have resistance to the leptin signal.  If your body doesn’t recognize leptin, you will keep eating
and eating.  So rule number one is
to eat slowly, and wait 15 – 20 
minutes after the first plate. 
Hopefully, you will feel full (thanks to leptin) and you won’t need a
second helping. Here are a few other suggestions:

  • Avoid
    fried food.
  • Only
    have a ‘bisel’ of the potato latkes or mashed potatoes because the carb
    rush will send your pancreas (and insulin levels) into a tizzy. Elevated
    insulin can lead to memory loss, heart disease, inflammation and
  • Eat
    one desert only, don’t nosh on everything. Eating sugar makes you crave
    more sugar and contributes to poor GI function.  Honestly, after all your hard work, I would pass on the
    Christmas cookies.
  • Bring
    your own natural sea salt because it provides healthy iodine, magnesium,
    selenium and other minerals not found in table salt.
  • Don’t
    stuff yourself to please the host. I totally relate here. To this day, my
    mom will tap the window of my car as we’re backing out of the driveway,
    just to give us a To-Go bag. 
    What I really want is a barf bag. And when I get home, there’s a
    message from dad on my answering machine, “You will make your mother happy
    if you come for breakfast and eat all the left-overs.” Oy Vey! 
  • Wine.
    Hmm, one glass if you must — make it red.
  • A few
    supplements that are good at busting food/sugar cravings include chromium,
    glutamine, B-complex, probiotics, digestive enzymes, 5-HTP and
  • Exercise.
    It helps you make cellular powerhouses (mitochondria) which burn fat and
    sugar for you.   

Did You Know?

Proton-pump acid blockers — used for ulcers and reflux
disease — increase a person’s risk for developing pneumonia according to
several studies.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to treat,
cure or diagnose your condition. 
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