The Food Coma Recovery Plan
Does this sound familiar? It's the day after Thanksgiving. You are uncomfortably aware that the holiday turkey was not the only body stuffed to capacity.
If you couldn’t resist Aunt Jenny’s sweet potato dish with those yummy marshmallows on the top and were compelled to sample each type of pie … twice, we understand. Thanksgiving is for many the biggest meal of the year, and why not have a little fun?
Most medical experts agree that overeating every now and then is harmless, as long as you don’t make a habit of it. But that doesn’t help the way you feel right now—sluggish, engorged, bloated and not sure how much you can enjoy the holiday weekend.
Forget the guilt. There are still three days left to avoid a Monday back-to-the-routine letdown. Here’s a game plan for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. By Monday you’ll arrive at work restored and back to normal. Maybe even a couple of pounds lighter. (If you have to work over the holiday weekend, this plan will still help to shake you out of the post-feast stupor.)
Today is the first day of the rest of your weekend. Be kind to yourself. Forgive. Focus on getting your routine back to normal and assisting your digestion as you recover from too much food and, for some, too much alcohol.
What to do:
• Detox: Look for clear broths, lemon water and teas such as green, peppermint, ginger, or ginger lemon to help alkalinize your body. "A lot of the foods that we eat during the holidays are acid producing—alcohol, high protein, sugar—these things are going to put stress on your adrenals, your immune system, your digestive system," says Nancy A. Rao, a naturopathic physician and licensed acupuncturist who is vice president of the Colorado Association of Naturopaths.
Rao also suggests extra vitamin C. "You could do a gram of vitamin C every few hours and that would detoxify your whole system, especially if people have overindulged in alcohol."
• Nourish: If you eat heavily one day, you need to eat light the next three days, says Rao, selecting foods that support your digestion and restore nutrients you may have compromised by consuming too much alcohol or sugar. Start with a light breakfast, maybe oatmeal or an egg and toast. Replace electrolytes throughout the day with fruits and vegetables, but don’t over-prepare them. Rao says to steam or lightly saute vegetables. Fresh fruits and veggies contain healthy antioxidants and are also loaded with potassium that will serve as a diuretic, helping you shed excess water you’ve retained from Thanksgiving's salty feast.
• Move: "Roll out of bed, stand up and get moving," says Rao. "And I'm not talking about jogging. We are talking about gentle moving, stretching your body, so things can go down." Rao recommends yoga, especially twists, to deliver more oxygen to your body and aid digestion.
"Twists 'push' on the liver and get circulation going, and that's important for fat burning and detoxification," says Rao. "Walking does the same thing. It tones the muscles without stressing them and sending too much blood to one area or making you sick to your stomach. Exercise will stimulate digestion and release enzymes you need to break down your food."
Quick Cleanse: Drink warm water with the juice of half a lemon first thing in the morning before breakfast to detoxify and alkalinize your body and aid digestion.