Burger Week 2018

4 Tips To Surviving Burger Week! 

It’s BURGER WEEK in Halifax! Pubs, restaurants, and diners alike open their doors for food fanatics to feast on their cow, chicken, turkey, or tofu burgers loaded with special sauces, tomatoes, bacon, lettuce, and cheese. If you look closely, there may even be an option for a gluten-free bun. It doesn’t get much better than this – an entire meal that you can fit in your hand for a very reasonable price, and they’re raising money for Feed Nova Scotia. Also, no dishes for you to wash.


I’m utterly embarrassed to admit that I have never participated in a Burger Week, but I intend to continually make improvements in my life and I have just downloaded my 2018 Burger Week passport: 



Yet, despite my excitement at the abundance of sauces and cheeses that lay ahead of me, I can’t help but consider the bloating, heartburn, and burping that may result from a daily meal plan of burgers. However, I’ve come to the realization that my naturopathic medical school education can be put to good use here, and I’ve compiled a list of four necessities that will get me through Burger Week with more enjoyment and less after effects, and I’d like to share it with you.


1. Digestive enzymes

Digestive enzymes are responsible for the breakdown of food into the smallest size required to pass into your cells so that they can be a part of the biological processes that result in energy production. Carbohydrates (ex. buns, fries, and veg), protein (ex. meat, cheese, and tofu), and fats (ex. cheese, sauces, and meat fat) all require digestive enzymes to make fuel for your body.


You’ve probably heard of lactose intolerance? Well that’s due to a lack of lactase, which is a digestive enzyme responsible for breaking down milk sugars (aka milk carbohydrates).


A digestive enzyme supplement taken before a meal can augment the enzymes that your body produces naturally in order to decrease the amount of work that your body needs to perform. Digestive enzyme pills help to decrease bloating, burping, and other forms of upset stomach by improving the breakdown and digestion of the contents of your burger meal.  


2. Get the salad

To be honest, burgers aren’t all bad. They have a lot of protein and often come with a slice of tomato or two. But to really balance your meal, skip the fries or deep fried sides and ask for a salad or veggies. Burger Week is about the burger! Let it shine on your plate next to the shimmer of a French onion salad dressing. Besides, the extra fiber in your vegetables will help to bind up the bad cholesterol and unhealthy fats in the meat and allow you to have a more favourable bowel movement so that you’re cleaned out and ready for the next day.


3. Have a glass of water

Avoid drinking your calories and ask for a glass of water instead of a pop or beer. Water will help to combat the bloating, headaches, and fatigue that often occur due to the intake of a lot of salty food. Water will allow your burger to move smoothly through and out of your digestive tract. In addition, it will cleanse your palate so that you can truly taste your burger.


4. Heartburn

A full stomach stretches the stomach muscle and puts pressure on your LES (lower esophageal sphincter), which is the ring of muscle that keeps stomach acid from entering your esophagus. If the LES can’t close, then acid “refluxes” into your esophagus and gives you that burning feeling that you get with heartburn.


Taking the time to really chew and enjoy your burger, along with taking the digestive enzymes, may help to prevent some of the heartburn. But if that’s not enough, then taking a DGL chew (deglycyrrhizinated licorice) before and/or after meals can help to soothe the esophagus and protect it from the stomach acid. You can pick up DGL chews at a health food store, Walmart, or even most health food sections of the grocery store. As a nice bonus, there are chocolate-flavoured options, which can help to curb your desire for a dessert.


If you find that post-Burger Week your digestive upset will not go away, or if you’ve struggled with digestive problems even before Burger Week, I have plenty more information to share with you. I’ve successfully assisted my patients with managing symptoms of heartburn, IBS, and IBD (Crohns and Ulcerative Colitis) and together we have greatly decreased their discomfort and signs of disease. If you have digestive concerns and are looking for ways to regain control and to improve your quality of life, give me a call at Agricola Holistic Health and we can discuss a plan of action and what you’ll experience under my medical care.


I spend up to 90 minutes with my patients in their first appointment getting to the root of their discomfort and exploring easy ways to start making changes. Still on the fence? I offer complimentary 15 minute consults by phone or in person.


See you at the pub!

Dr Megan Bernard ND

Dr Megan Bernard ND