It’s the day after Thanksgiving and the guilt is starting to set in, after a day of indulging on all your favorite holiday foods. Sometimes no matter how hard we try to be mindful, a day like Thanksgiving makes it nearly impossible to eat within our ideal limits. Between the hidden butter and cream added to a majority of traditional holiday dishes and your relatives insisting that you have a serving of the dish they brought this year, it’s no surprise we often end up on the other side feeling fatigued, bloated and guilty for that extra piece of pie we had at the end of the evening.
Do your body a favor by revamping your digestion and cleansing your taste buds with a simple post-Thanksgiving detox. Forget the week -long juice cleanse or forcing yourself to drink some spicy vinegar concoction, instead follow a simpler approach that focuses on adding more of the good stuff to your diet and routine. Follow the guidelines below after Thanksgiving to get yourself feeling good and ready for the next round of holiday hustle and bustle. Remember Christmas is right around the corner!
Drink up buttercup – Water is the most important component of our bodies making up over 50% of our total body composition. Bumping up your water intake will improve digestion and help flush out toxins, as well as increase mental clarity, improve energy and boost your immune system. Start your day with a tall glass of water, before having breakfast or your morning coffee. Water will kick start your digestion and flush out the liver. Consider adding lemon for an additional boost. Lemon is loaded with vitamin C and may also help reduce indigestion, bloating and inflammation.
Move Your Body – Here’s a way to find a silver lining in the post holiday clean up, it gets you moving! Exercise is a great way to increase metabolism, maintain blood sugar, promote heart health, regulate digestion and believe it or not increase energy. Start slow if you’re not one to exercise daily by setting a timer for 10 minutes and making a goal to stay active for the entire 10 minutes with a combination of household chores, stretching, body weight exercises or even dancing! Bump up the time by 5 minutes each day until you’ve reached 30 minutes. Challenge yourself by adding more time and more intense exercises like a faster walking or running pace, holding small weights or attending a group fitness class.
Bump Up the Veggies – Vegetables are the key to a post holiday detox. While you might have included them during your Thanksgiving meal it is important to include them in their most natural state to get their full detoxifying benefit. Enjoy vegetables raw or steamed to not only reduce the amount of calories per serving, but also to ensure you’re getting the full vitamin potential. High heat cooking methods like boiling or pan frying causes water-soluble vitamins like vitamin C and the B vitamins to leach out into the cooking water and fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K to leach into cooking oils. Add a nutrient dense smoothie as breakfast or a midday snack to get a few servings in one sitting. Consider blending 2 cups of spinach, with a quarter of a banana, ½ cup strawberries and a small piece of ginger for a flavorful and nutrient dense detox smoothie.
Digestion Promoting Foods – Ginger, fennel, peppermint, fermented foods, vegetables, fruit and whole grains help promote digestion especially when paired with plenty of water. They work wonders on a backed up digestive track after a rich Thanksgiving meal and help keep you regular. Foods like ginger, fennel and peppermint promote motility and relax the digestive tract and as a result keep you regular, while fermented food actually contain good bacteria and enzymes to help breakdown food and populate our gut flora. On the flip side, a diet that is high in processed foods, saturated fat, excessive alcohol and sugar can actually damage gut bacteria and result in an overgrowth of bad bacteria in the gut. Focus on adding foods that promote digestion and avoid the ones that inhibit it for a few weeks after Thanksgiving to reset your digestion system.
Easy on the Dairy – While dairy can be a part of a healthful diet, giving your body a break is a great way to take your detox to the next level. Dairy is often categorized as an inflammation food which is no surprise considering 1 in 4 adults have reported intolerances to dairy. We are also advised to stay away from dalry when we’re sick to help avoid mucus production. Because, dairy is a food that is eaten daily by many people it might take some extra planning to stick to foods that aren’t topped with cheese. Consider planning out an entire week of eating to avoid feeling tempted to stop by your favorite pizza joint for a double cheese slice of pizza. Instead opt for the plant based and dairy free option from an authentic Japanese or Indian restaurant that includes both fiber and plenty of nutrients. For example, Pho soup with vegetables and chicken is loaded with nutrients and will leave feeling satisfied.
Ditch the Booze – This one is a no brainer, but can be a tough one to cut out around the holidays. Alcohol not only affects our digestive system by promoting more acid production in the stomach, it can also lead us to mindless eating after the buzz sets in resulting in both a food hangover and booze hangover. Skip alcohol and order a club soda with a few lemons and limes to stay hydrated as recommended above, but also camouflage your non-alcoholic beverage from your friends or co-workers who insist you have a holiday drink with them to celebrate the season. You won’t regret this decision the next day, actually you might love yourself for it!