Raise your hand if you face planted into 5,000 calories of goodness over turkey day. Yes, me included. To make black Friday just a little bit more bearable, I rounded up various ways to improve digestion after Thanksgiving.
If there’s ever going to be a day when you simply just need to eat your life away, Thanksgiving is the ultimate excuse. Even if you whip up deliciously healthy recipes – eating toooo much can still do a number on ya. I’ve woken up after countless Thanksgivings with a booze hangover, a carb hangover, a sugar hangover, and pretty much just a general hangover from living life that day.
So for those of you that made your best efforts to keep your sh*t together on Turkey day to no avail, take note of these tips and tricks to help you bounce back to your pre-TG bod.
How To Improve Digestion After Thanksgiving
Don’t fast the next day: While you may not even be hungry the next day, the worst thing to do is to try to go half the day without eating. Listen to your body and what it wants, and eat when you’re hungry. If that happens to be 3 hours you wake up, that’s OK. Start your day with protein (limit carb-y grains so that you don’t crave more carbs throughout the day), and eat smaller meals throughout the day instead of super sized lunches and dinners. The worst thing you want to do is go from one extreme to the other by holding off on meals as long as you can and then eating like a wildabeast again.
Don’t skip your morning coffee: Some people are against drinking caffeine, but not me (in moderation
). I always have one cup a day and that’s all I need. I’m a fan of coffee after an evening of excessive eating and drinking because 1: it helps me mentally get my life together, 2: it stimulates contractions in your colon (which is why you usually have to go to the bathroom after your cup of joe). Who doesn’t want that extra boost of help in the morning?
Start your morning with warm lemon water with ginger: Lemon acts as a natural diuretic and when paired with tummy friendly ginger and warm water, it can stimulate your digestive system (in the way that you want, folks). You can enjoy this morning tonic every day.
Load up on easy to digest foods:
- Quinoa, my staple. It’s easy to digest, gluten-free, and also contains potassium and magnesium which helps you de-bloat. It’s the one grain that I can eat without feeling sleepy afterwards, is that true for anyone else?
- Green leafy veggies like sauteed spinach will give you a burst of nutrients the next day without any difficulty on your tummy.
- Plant-based recipes are of course, easier to digest than say a burger or a steak. Try making one of these recipes over the weekend and see how you feel!
Additional foods that will help improve digestion after Thanksgiving…
Natural diuretic foods and natural hydrating foods: Foods that act as natural diuretics are obviously safer than taking pills and will help flush out any lingering water retention from your Thanksgiving feast. These foods include dandelion greens, celery, beets, oats (I personally have carbs later in the day to prevent any blood sugar spikes that would cause more cravings – so I like to eat oatmeal for dessert after dinner for example), artichokes and asparagus.
Foods high in potassium: Potassium is a mineral that may fend off the effects that sodium has on us. By including foods high in potassium after Thanksgiving (or any meal high in sodium), the potassium may help flush out the excess sodium via urine. Include potassium rich foods like bananas, tomatoes, mangoes and spinach.
High water content foods: Foods that have high water content kill two birds with one stone. You’ll be more hydrated throughout the day (which will help move things along in your tummy) and all the added vitamins and minerals in high water content foods will help you not look soooo puffy. Foods high in water content include cucumbers, watermelon, celery, zucchini, radishes, tomatoes, and spinach. If you want to whip up a quick h20 packed salad you can create this watermelon recipe that I made here.
Additional fruits like papaya and fruits with skin will also help you out post turkey day. Papaya contains natural digestive enzymes that help break down food in your digestive tract. You probably have seen papaya enzymes in health food stores as supplements, but I say eat the actual fruit so that you can get all its other benefits as well. Eating fruits with skin like apples will also contain fiber which will help you stay full and promote healthy elimination.
Minimize these bloat and digestive stress inducing foods:
- Alcohol – booze as we know will not help ya out whatsoever. It can make your digestion come to a halt, and it will cause even more water retention since it dehydrates you.
- Dairy – too much dairy racks up the calories and will make you bloated if you have any sort of dairy sensitivity.
- Carbonated drinks – sparkling water, club soda, regular soda, spritzers..anything that has some bubbly in it will add that extra poof to your belly.
- Salt and high sodium foods – obviously don’t add table salt to your meals, we all know this. But I’m here to give you that friendly reminder!
- Gas inducing veggies – Even though I love these veggies, don’t go overboard with the broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and other cruciferous veggies. They’re packed with fiber and can cause even more digestive distress. When you do eat these veggies, start by incorporating half servings into your meal until your tummy gets used to larger portions.
Sweat it out: What always helps me after a day of indulging is a good hour of hot yoga, or a session in a sauna. I recommend getting a workout in first thing in the morning the day after Thanksgiving. Studies show that working out in the morning helps boost metabolism throughout the entire day. Getting a good sweat session in helps flush out excess water weight and yoga really helps wring out and tone your midsection for optimal digestion. If you’re not a yogi, going for a 30 minute morning jog will also help stimulate digestion. Any sort of movement or exercise to the point of perspiration will help alleviate post thanksgiving discomfort. OR if you’re feeling just utterly lazy, jumping into a good epsom salt detox bath will also help reduce puffiness. I talk about why I love epsom salt detox baths so much here.
Then hydrate: I always make sure to guzzle water throughout the day anytime I’ve gone astray from my typical eating habits. Staying hydrated helps prevent constipation (just being real here), and again as with all these tips helps flush out anything that is sludgin’ around in your body. I also did a water experiment to help flush out water weight that you can read more about here.
At the end of the day, drink peppermint tea: Peppermint tea can soothe stomach muscles and alleviate gas. You can also sip on peppermint tea after a big meal to get a jump-start on warding off the negative side effects the next day.
While a lot of this is nutrition focused, other things that you can do like getting extra sleep, stretching throughout the day and adding specific supplements into your routine can also help improve digestion after Thanksgiving. Hopefully incorporating some of these foods will help you out no matter the reason for imbibing, and I’d also love to hear any of your own tips as well!