Remember those days when you used to wake up after a big night of drinking and immediately feel guilty about what you may or may not have done the night before? Well, this long weekend you may at some point be feeling a similar sort of regret – only this time instead of drinkers remorse, it’s eaters remorse.
The food flashbacks begin to roll through your mind… First there were those deliciously rich appetizers and the sugary holiday cocktails. Then came the turkey, the stuffing and the mashed potatoes – both regular and sweet, of course. There was gravy, so much gravy! Oh, and the pie…Who can turn away a slice (or two) of pumpkin pie?! By the time the late night ice cream came around, willpower was non-existent and it was a no-brainer. [Insert head in hands emoji here.]
It all seemed (and tasted) like a great idea in the moment but the morning after feels anything but great. But, the good news is, you’re not alone. At some point this weekend, the majority of Canadians will have suffered from the “holiday hangover,” flanked with feelings of bloat, fullness and general disgust. But, before you swear off food forever, throw out any pants that don’t have an elastic waistband and call in sick for the week, there are some ways to alleviate the suffering. Here are some natural remedies to battle the post-Thanksgiving gluttony bloat.
What to eat (and drink)
Now that we’ve gone and rotted our guts with all those sugary, fatty, rich and salty foods, it’s time to soothe our insides. So, for starters, if you’re about to reach for your first cup of coffee, to undo the food-induced exhaustion, don’t. Instead, opt for a cup of ginger tea. Ginger is an incredible tool to help eliminate bloating and gas and it also improves circulation, which can further help to ease the pain.
For breakfast, try a banana and some yogurt. Bananas are high in potassium, which naturally helps reduce sodium levels in the body – a major culprit for swelling and distention. As for the yogurt, stock up on the kind that contains bifidobacteria – or the “good bacteria” – and that don’t contain any artificial sweeteners. This kind of yogurt helps settle the stomach and relieve feelings of gas and bloating.
At the risk of sounding like a nagging mother: eat your vegetables. High fibre foods, like leafy greens and legumes, are essential after consuming such a monstrous meal. They’ll make you fuller, faster, for longer, and will help to wake up the bowels and get things moving along, if ya know what I mean. The greens and beans will also replenish lots of vitamins and minerals that help restore optimal body function. Just make sure to eat them cooked – raw veggies are a little harder on the gut.
Finally, it’s more important than ever to drink fluids. Water truly is the best and most effective way to flush out those self-induced toxins that are wreaking havoc on our system. It will also help that fibre to kick in, so it can kick everything out.
What not to eat
First and foremost – it’s important not to eat a lot, at once. After spending an evening eating everything in sight with reckless abandon, it’s important to push the reset button. Portion control goes out the window during the holidays and now it’s time to remind, both our minds and stomachs, what a reasonable amount of food looks and feels like. So, opt for eating smaller meals throughout the day. This will help reconfigure the brain and also help to not overload the recovering belly.
It may sound redundant, but avoid any foods that will add to the bloat. That means no artificial sweeteners, no carbonation, no alcohol, no gum, no candy, no fatty or no fried food…Basically, no fun. #Sorrynotsorry
What to take
When you have a booze hangover, you take an Advil and some Gravol; when you have a food hangover, you take detoxifying supplements. Yes, thankfully there are a few natural meds that can help alleviate the swelling and general malaise caused by toxins.
Milk thistle is a popular liver detoxifier that not only helps to block toxins from entering, but also discards the crap that’s already in the system. It can also help improve digestion and balance the body’s insulin levels.
Green tea extract is another supplement that packs an anti-oxidizing punch. Bonus – it also is known to help increase our metabolism, which is likely going to be sluggish for a few days, post-feast.
Finally, vitamin C not only boosts our immune function, but it is also an unsung hero in the world of antioxidants. It is known for effectively flushing out fats and toxins, two things that are on overload in the system right now.
What to do
Besides the good foods and good supplements there are also good habits that will help ease today’s suffering. First, get your sweat on. Might seem like the last thing you want to do right now, but sweating is the body’s natural way of ridding itself of toxins. If you have a steam or sauna handy – crank it up and go to town. Even better though, is to get the sweat out the old-fashioned way…exercise! Go for a run, a walk, throw in that Jane Fonda workout tape or hit the gym – a work out of any kind will help get the toxins moving, the blood flowing, the energy going and the endorphins soaring.
Next – take a shower…and not just because you smell of last night’s turkey. Shower time can also be a useful tool for detox. Before you get wet, try dry brushing the skin. Using a long handled bristle brush, brush toward the heart with long, upward strokes starting at the toes and moving up the body. The vigorous brushing helps stimulate and excrete toxins living in the skin and lymphatic system. If that’s not convincing enough, this technique also helps combat cellulite. Um, sold!
After the brushing is complete – hop in the shower and indulge in some hydrotherapy. Sounds fancy, but all that means is switching back and forth between hot and freezing cold water. Despite the similarities to “water torture,” this technique promotes circulation and elimination of toxins. And besides, the super cold water will help you hit those high notes while you’re belting Mariah in the shower. Say hello, falsetto and buh-bye bloat!