No, this is not the name of the latest action movie, starring Vin Diesel, the Rock and lots of car wrecks. This is about the overindulgences we all succumb to at the holidays.
Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day are always food and drink-laden events in my family. How about yours?
Right now, you probably feel like I do. In a word, “stuffed”.
That is because most likely you have had too much spicy, sugary, starchy, and fatty foods lately. Add fried foods and a pinch of salt and you have the classic food hangover. Yep, that bloaty, sluggish feeling coupled with gas, slight nausea and maybe a good old-fashioned tummy ache.
This time of year, it is hard to escape this feeling, because let’s face it. There is just too much of all the stuff you really enjoy, am I right? We are on an eating frenzy and probably ingesting much more than normal as we try everything.
Constant eating causes our digestion to slow down. And the food culprits all have their special part in this cocktail. For example, high fat foods like baked brie stick around longer in the digestive tract. The extra salt we take in causes the bloat as we retain water. And all that sugar (cakes, cookies, pies, chocolate) causes our blood sugar to shoot up, before quickly dropping, making us feel tired and foggy-brained. Did you know it also slows down the motility in your digestive tract?
Worse, fatty, sugary and starchy carbs can actually change the bacteria in your gut. Gas attack! And sometimes much worse.
Everything slows down but most people do feel better within 24 hours of overindulging.
You can do things to mitigate the uncomfortable feelings though and speed things along. Drink plenty of water. Fresh ginger helps with indigestion. Keep a jar in the fridge or a frozen piece of ginger root in the freezer. Its better than Alka-Seltzer, believe me. Ginger, peppermint or chamomile tea all help with bloat and digestive distress, too.
If you are feeling particularly bad the morning after, eat a healthy breakfast like oatmeal with some fresh fruit. Or a green smoothie is an excellent option as well (recipe below).
Take your probiotics to relieve diarrhea, constipation, and bloat. Greek yogurt, kefir or a supplement can be taken; just make sure it has active cultures.
Another step you can take is just that – steps. Get outside and take a brisk walk, run or any other activity that gets you moving. Trust me, it will help get other things moving too!
In the meantime, there is re-do coming up at New Year's Eve. So, plan ahead, and consider having other choices on hand, like pre-cut vegetables and some clementines handy to snack on. That way you won’t be hungry and overdo it with all the other temptations that are in front of you.
Speaking of indulgences, nothing wrong with that. When you have that piece of delicious mince pie or special holiday cookie, take a moment to really enjoy it. Sit down, take a bite, put it down, as you chew slowly. Often when we are in a social situation, we are standing and chatting, and mindlessly eating. Try to bring some mindfulness not only to what you are eating. Just savor the moment. Your waistline will thank you. And so will your tummy!
Here is the Smoothie recipe that I love to make to help speed up the
“food hangover” recovery.
(2) handfuls of greens (kale, spinach, arugula)
1/2 avocado or 1/2 banana
½ cup of frozen pineapple
I also like to shave off about 1 tsp of frozen gingerroot into my smoothie.
Blend until smooth.
If you are ready for even more change to your diet, please join me on Monday, January 3 for the next 21-day GRIT online challenge. You will change your relationship with food, learn the basics of eating well, and how to move daily to increase your overall fitness. Special pricing through 12/31 – only $97.