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Gut loving Labor Day – How to!

BY: Andrea Nakayama

DATE: 2019-08-29

A potluck or barbecue, like those held every Labor Day, can trigger surprising digestive explosions (similar to what you might see in the sky on the 4th of July!)

Maybe you’ve experienced this, but not put any rhyme or reason to it. Over the years it’s just become a part of your independent right to both celebrate and suffer.

Today, as we lean into the Labor Day weekend here in the states, I’m sharing my top 4 tactics for loving the Labor Day levity (and letting it love you)…


Make or bring a dish to your holiday festivities that will both captivate your culinary cravings (as well as quenching the appetites of those around you), while also soothing the potential for digestive distress.

My trick when attending parties is always to bring both a sweet and a savory dish. That way none of my hankerings are neglected and I’m not tempted to eat too far off my self-designated self-care path.


If you’re going to drink alcohol during your bash, take these pointers to heart:

  • If you drink your spirits on an empty stomach, about 20% gets absorbed right through the walls of the stomach , and reaches your blood and your brain within minutes. This causes not just a spike in blood sugar but a decreased sense of perception. My directive: .

    (not even making it to your small intestine, where absorption takes place for most of what we consume)

    Eat before you drink

  • The hotter your body, the drunker you’ll feel. Booze impairs your ability to control your body temperature. If it’s hot where you are,

    go slowly and be sure to tune-in to your body’s wisdom!

  • Aim to your distilled drink of choice with a non-alcoholic beverage to slow your pace and aim to stick with just one libation.


Your blood, your brain, your body, your belly and your slumber will thank you!


If you’ve been adopting a new way of eating that feels good to you, know that you don’t have to jump ship just to please others. This is your temple we’re talking about!

In the words of our FxNA nutritionist Megan Liebmann:
“One way I like to look at opting into social situations, even with a more custom (I like to use the word custom rather than limited), way of eating, is through the lens of exercising a new social muscle. Just like training for a marathon, it can take some time to get those muscles good and strong. For me, looking at it this way shifts my mindset from the “I can’t have this”, to “I get to work on flexing my new muscle!”.

I’d say those flexed muscles look pretty sexy in a late summer sundress or surf shorts. Don’t underestimate their appeal. At the same time, if the peach cobbler is calling, and the call won’t quit, have some, savor each bite, and see how you feel.

(Alternatively, make a peach cobbler that fits your dietary needs and requirements! That’s what I do!)


Have fun and don’t complicate things! This is a time for celebration.

Digestion is a complex chemical and physiological process. It can get easily confused. And for some of us that complexity will result in digestive distress when we complicate the feeding court.

Eating foods that we don’t usually consume, ingesting a wide variety of foods that require different digestive enzymes and processes, as well as overeating can all inspire tummy tumult.

Knowing this is half the battle. Enter with the power of perspective and you’re bound to enjoy not just Labor day but the day after as well.

To a Labor Day filled with celebration of all the hard work you do every day, and in honor of the challenges that bring us here today!


fennel carrot slaw

This is a great recipe to feed a crowd and support your digestive flow. Fennel is used medicinally to nurse indigestion, gas and digestive spasms. The recipe is easy to prepare, and can be served as-is or with added fresh herbs, radishes, or other seasonal shredded vegetables. Try sprinkling some sunflower seeds on top for added protein and crunch.ingredients

  • 3 large fennel bulbs or 4 medium-sized bulbs, sliced thin with a mandolin slicer

  • 2 medium-sized carrots, shredded

  • 3 Tbsp olive oil

  • 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1 tsp honey or other liquid sweetener

  • ¼ tsp sea salt

  • Optional: sunflower seeds (raw, sprouted and dehydrated, or toasted)


In a large bowl, combine fennel and carrots and toss well to combine. Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, garlic, honey, and sea salt. Add the dressing to the fennel and carrot mixture and massage the slaw with your hands. Top with a handful of sunflower seeds, if desired. Best served chilled.

Serves 4-5 (double or triple to feed a crowd)
recipe provided by Andrea Livingston for the Functional Nutrition Alliance

Andrea Nakayama

By: Andrea Nakayama, FxNA Founder & Functional Medicine Nutritionist

Functional Nutrition Alliance provides the comprehensive online Functional Nutrition training in the Science & Art of the Functional Nutrition practice. Learn to address the roots of your clients’ suffering with client education, diet & lifestyle modifications.


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