A simple guide to get you back on track after indulging in a Thanksgiving feast! 

Thanksgiving, the ultimate feast. If you’re planning on going in and filling up on this beast of a meal, do so whole-heartedly and without guilt! Afterall, Thanksgiving only comes once a year. However, our eating habits during Thanksgiving tends to set the stage for the rest of our eating habits for the festive season. We know how it is, so here are a few simple tips to get your gut back on track and help your body break down everything you put into it.

Let’s get the basics down first.

What happens when we over-eat?

In general, overeating creates heaviness in the body and tends to slow down our physiological functions. During Thanksgiving, our food tends to be starchy, creamy, sugary. Meats, dairy, starches, and sugar are typically difficult to digest. The more we put into our bodies, the more work our gut must do to break it all down. Therefore, in order to compensate, our body slows everything down. You may notice that after a large, heavy meal you feel fatigued, have difficulty focusing, and just crave a good nap.

The best way to not experience this is to make sure that you eat with these habits in mind. However, if portion control and mindfulness seems a little unorthodox (dare we say, unconstitutional), here’s what you can do instead.

After the meal

Try to fight off sleep directly after eating, instead, go for a walk or play a game or two. Try to give yourself a minimum of 3 hours before falling asleep.

If you’re thirsty, drink hot water. Hot water will help keep your hydrated and aid in eliminating all that extra food.

The next day

Prepare the following herbal tea and sip it throughout the day.

In a saucepan/pressure cooker/ Instapot add the following whole spices with 3 cups water:

1 finger length of fresh ginger, smashed

2 Cinnamon sticks

3 whole black peppercorns

5 green cardamom

Boil until there is half the quantity of water in the pan (or until the pressure cooker whistles 3 times; for the instant pot, set it on high pressure for 20 minutes).

Pour into a cup and sip it hot throughout the day.

Why it works

The cinnamon supports your energy levels and keeps you from experiencing “crashes”. The ginger and pepper aid elimination and digestion. Cardamom keeps you moving, active, and focused.

Plan your meals carefully

Morning: Eat only if you’re hungry; after consuming a heavy meal it’s ok to skip breakfast. Sip some of the herbal tea. Focus on deep breathing, this will allow you to ask yourself if you are hungry for food or if you crave the sensation of eating brought on by the previous meal.

Afternoon: Have something small and light. Eat less than you normally would. Good options are soups or kichadi. Easy to digest foods are ideal!

Dinner: Again, choose light, easy to digest foods. Keep portions small so that the urge to over-eat is reduced.

Difficult to digest foods to avoid for 3-5 days after over eating:

The following list is a generalization and not a nutrition plan. Do not continue following these guidelines for more than 5 days without consulting your health care practitioner first.

Grains: Oats, rice (black, white, brown, wild, etc), wheat, whole wheat

Sweeteners: All

Fats: All except 2 tablespoons of ghee per day

Fruits: All; especially raw

Vegetables: All raw, beets, cucumbers, eggplant, okra, sweet potatoes, potatoes, water chestnuts, all squash

Nuts/Seeds: All

Meats: All

Legumes: All except mung

Spices: Table salt (rock or black salt is ok)

Condiments: All

Beverages: Cold water, soda/carbonated drinks, caffeine, alcohol