We all know what happens with grandiose New Year’s resolutions: they aren’t usually very lasting. The desire to become a happier or healthier version of ourselves inspires many of us. We take the opportunity of a fresh start at the new year to commit to new habits. This drive is natural—biological, even. It is the desire to grow, and it constitutes the very core of what it means to be alive. Every living thing, at its essence, is here to grow. It is the deep rooted life force that miraculously propels tiny seeds into germination; to somehow defy gravity and push themselves up through the weight of the heavy earth; then to weather storm, drought, grazing animals, nibbling insects, and more; to grow right through it all and each year produce fruit. We humans are equipped with the exact same drive which makes us, and life, nothing short of spectacular. And so we do things like setting goals at each new year to continue growing into the best version of ourselves.
Sometimes, it may seem like we’ve got a lot stacked against us. All of the elements to weather, all of the storms and unpredictability. However, that we survive and thrive despite it all is testament to the fact that there is a whole lot in our favor. There must be more that supports us. And the challenges that do exist must push us to grow. When reaching for your New Year’s resolution, remember that undeniable, powerful life force that lies at your core and shine your light on what supports you in your growth. Remember what’s in your favor. To make your New Year’s resolution lasting, even if you do choose grandiose, go straight to the small, tangible habits that will sustain the changes you’d like to see.
One such habit that happens to support a remarkably broad swath of New Year’s resolutions is, you guessed it, taking bitters. The compelling thing about bitters is that they’re a simple habit with far reaching benefits. They support our digestion in innumerable ways, and by now most of us know the innumerable ways that healthy digestion in turn supports the rest of our health–not just physical health, but mental and emotional as well. The bitter flavor is actually a necessary challenge to our digestive system, and it encourages healthy tone and proper function at every step of the way. Bitters soothe gas and bloating, relieve nausea and occasional heartburn, and encourage digestive secretions that help ensure we absorb the best nutrients from our food and then rid of unhelpful byproducts efficiently. They also support liver function, which leads to clearer skin. All in all, bitters challenge our digestive system and by doing so prompt it to work at its best, promoting strength and resiliency. If challenge taunts our life force to step up to the plate, then bitters make an excellent metaphoric ally for bringing out the best in us.
Bitters are also helpful in moderating our appetite and helping us make healthier food choices–something many of us aspire to when making health-centered resolutions. They even have the ability to curb sugar cravings. As Dr. Andrew Weil perfectly sums up in his article Why Bitter is Better, “There is an appealing logic to consuming bitters for health. Just as sweets cause blood sugar, insulin, and hunger to spike and then dip—often leading, long term, to obesity and Type 2 diabetes—research indicates bitter foods can have the opposite effect, moderating both hunger and blood sugar.”
So, when you find yourself pondering the changes you’d like to see in your life this year as you set out on a new course, remember three things. First, that it is your very nature to grow and evolve into the best version of yourself–so remember and notice all the ways the world has your back as you reach toward your goals. Second, that the challenges themselves bring strength and resiliency. And third, that it’s the simple, small habits that are what actually get you there. When it comes to New Year’s resolutions that evoke positive changes in physical and mental health, bitters are a small habit with an immense benefit. They are a challenge that buoys you along as you aspire toward being the best version of you. The small self-care ritual of taking them around meal time feels good and it supports you in achieving your goals. So this year, don’t just bring bitters to the table for the holidays. Bring bitters to the table for every meal–and stride toward your New Year’s resolution with confidence knowing these herbal allies have your back.