Let's face it: there's a lot of delicious food out there. Sometimes we eat a little too much of it. There's no shame in overindulgence, but that doesn't mean there isn't an impact. If you're feeling uncomfortable, bloated, or downright sick from a big meal or two, there's lots you can do to help yourself (and your microbiome) recover. Here are our go-to steps:
- Drink Lots of Water: Your body needs water to digest foods. The more food you eat, the more water it takes to effectively make use of its nutrients. If you're feeling slow and stodgy from a big meal, an extra glass of water can help. Make a point to drink a little more than usual over the next couple of days until you're feeling back to your normal self.
- Take a Break: If your body is reacting poorly to an overindulgence, it needs rest to make its way back to baseline. The traditional after-Thanksgiving nap isn't just from all that turkey. It's your body asking for a chance to focus on digestion. Don't shy away from a nap or an earlier than usual bedtime if your body needs it.
- Go For a Walk: A walk or other form of gentle exercise helps move food through your body, easing digestion and getting you back to normal more quickly. Key word here is gentle: now's not the time for intense activity. Instead, enjoy a comfortable walk or a round of digestion-supporting yoga. Hold off on high-intensity exercise until your body feels more like its normal self.
- Eat Mindfully: Be especially mindful of what you eat after you overindulge. This isn't us telling you to cut back or deprive yourself. Instead, focus on whole foods with digestion-supporting components. A smoothie made with greens powder gives you plenty of gut-friendly fiber, water, enzymes, and probiotics. A salad topped with nuts and lean protein gives your body something nourishing to work with. Even something as simple as a bowl of oatmeal can help keep you satisfied without overtaxing your system.
- Be Conscientious of Stress: Large meals and stress can often go hand in hand. Whether you're celebrating a high-stress holiday or reacting to a hard day at work, it's easy to overdo it when you're feeling overwhelmed. Give your mind a break as well as your body as you recover. Talk over your feelings with a friend or take some time out for a few deep breaths.
- Remember - This Too Shall Pass: If the food you love doesn't love you back, it can feel like you'll be uncomfortable forever. Remember: after a few days this will all be in the past and you'll have gained a better understanding of your gut. If you feel good about it, take a little time to think over what you ate to see if something in particular may be disruptive. But don't overthink it. One overindulgence can't undo a lifestyle based on supporting a healthy gut. Let it go and move on to your next meal with a smile. This too shall pass.