In North America, the leaves are falling from the trees and the temperature is dropping faster than my grades.
Not many people can resist the warm drinks, pastries, and other treats that appear when the seasons change, let alone the huge holiday meals on the horizon. Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and a myriad of other winter festivities are coming up, and you know what that means: mounds and mounds of food.
What should you do once you've cleared your plate (probably more than once) and your stomach starts hurting like it's trying to escape your body? Is there any way to avoid the seemingly inevitable holiday food coma? I decided to scour the depths of the internet to see if I could find a cure.
Before the Meal
You might think that starving yourself before a holiday meal will make the food more enjoyable, but when it comes time to chow down, you'll find yourself so hungry that you eat too much food too quickly, resulting in a stomachache. Instead, have a fibre-rich brunch like a smoothie bowl or oatmeal to keep your digestive system working.
A couple of hours before you begin feasting, go for a jog or hike to boost your metabolism and get your appetite going. Invite your family along and make it a bonding activity. Your post-turkey self will thank you.
During the Meal
It's the moment you've been waiting for: the food is laid out, the drinks are flowing, and your cutlery is ready to strike. Just because you followed my tips before the meal, however, doesn't mean you're in the clear.
When you make your plate, don't feel too obligated to eat the veggies. Yes, for the first time ever, someone's telling you to avoid vegetables. If your main concern is digestion, vegetables may actually impede your body's ability to, ahem, expel what you've put into it. If you're already determined to eat as much turkey and mashed potatoes as possible, don't feel guilted into throwing some Brussels sprouts onto the plate too.
The most vital thing you can do during your meal is sip lots of water in between bites. Water keeps everything running smoothly in your digestive system and can also help you to feel fuller sooner, so you avoid overeating.
After the Meal
You want to keep eating, but your fifth plate of food is empty and despite your best efforts, your stomach is making noises you've never heard before. If you're at this point, don't blame me—I tried to warn you. Here are some last-ditch tips to stop that terrible stomachache.
After you eat, keep drinking small amounts of water to hydrate your digestive system. If you want to go one step further, drink herbal tea (ideally something with ginger in it) to help digestion while also allowing you to stay hydrated.When you inevitably crash on the couch, complaining loudly about your stomach, you won't want to get back up. Unfortunately, more exercise is in your future. It might be TMI, but exercise helps stop constipation, so you should go for another walk about an hour after eating. Moving your body around will help your intestines move too. Cute, right?
If you plan on gorging yourself this holiday season, you'll probably end up with an upset stomach no matter what. The only solution would be not to eat a big meal, and we all know that isn't happening.
The above tips will certainly help, but in the end, we all have to accept our post-binge fate. Good luck, my friends.