Do you show up to Thanksgiving in an oversized sweater and stretchable waist line pants? We’ve all been there. One look at the mouth-watering buffet of hot steaming dishes and golden, aromatic turkey and our eyes swell to ten times the size of our stomach. This binging, however, can wreak havoc on our health, leaving us feeling as though we became the turkey: dead meat tired and over stuffed! Keep the pants fitting this Thanksgiving as I dish out your holistic guide to leave the table with your body feeling as grateful as your taste buds.
What Over Stuffing Ourselves Can Do
Fun fact: Why do you feel tired after a turkey dinner?
- one of your ultimate secret weapons: digestive enzymes! Using digestive enzymes will help your body digest the food that it’s not used to. Please note: these do not assist enough for you to eat more than usual, but they will help take a load off your digestive system.
- Dont skip breakfast! By the time you hit dinner you will be so hungry that you could eat the entire buffet by yourself… and you will probably come pretty close. Eat a breakfast full of fibre to boost your metabolism and speed digestion up that night.
- Taking smaller portions allows you to enjoy the food more, eases your digestion and you can pick your favourite if you want seconds instead of trying to cram in the last morsel of “so-so” casserole you were all too hasty with in the first round.
- Using a smaller plate will help to keep portion size in check.
- Healthy dips are universal “do it all” little wonders. They convert seamlessly from dips, to spreads, to salad dressings by adding some olive oil or apple cider vinegar. These are delicious ways to cut back on the hidden and unnecessary junk that is in conventional dips and dressings (and can even replace the gravy!).
- It’s been estimated that on average we may consume around 3 000 more calories than usual. 3 000! Thanksgiving also tends to be a very fatty meal from the obvious gravy to the hidden butters and creams in stuffings, cassoroles etc. Go lean, go easy on these hidden stores of fat, and load up on veggies (no added butter), turkey without the gravy (or maybe just a splash) and any whole food options available.
- Protein will help you to feel full faster. Just remember that this is also difficult for the body to digest but there is definitely space for it on your plate.
- Truly taste your food. The more we gorge, the less we taste and the more food we will want. Being present with our food and truly savouring it will bring more of an experience than habit to the table. It is not just about eating, but about savouring. Gratitude also puts you in a calm state, an optimal mentality to be in control of your mind and your plate.
- Ever notice how as soon as the food is placed in front of us, the dinner table becomes a vow of silence as everyone scarfs down their meal? Sign of a good dinner, right? But really, this is the time to be social. It will slow you down so you chew more and this? Well…
- The more we chew, the less our bodies have to do. Typically around 35-40 chews is what we have been told but this isn’t always sufficient, especially with chewy pieces of turkey. The real rule if thumb: chew until the meal is pulverized. Mush so to speak. As unappetizing as that sounds, it will actually allow the flavours to commingle and strengthen in your mouth so you get the full flavour while giving your body longer to register if it’s full.
- Drinking water will help to create the illusion of fullness to help you reduce your food intake. Just refrain from drinking a half hour before your meal and not for another hour after eating for optimal digestion.
- Stimulants such as alcohol and coffee will interfere with the digestion of your food and should be completely avoided. If you must, a little sip of red wine should do the trick.
- Stay away from mixing heavy starches and protein as much as possible. Of course, it’s bound to happen but focus more on the turkey and cut back on the potatoes, breads, and other starches.
- It is ridiculously easy to swap almond or coconut milk for regular milk in a recipe as they work the same and you can’t taste the difference. Virgin Coconut oil is your perfect substitute for butter.
- Every year my family gathers at my grandparents’ farm for Thanksgiving where we make fresh cider from their apple orchards and enjoy juicy, free range, organic, hormone and antibiotic free turkey. But we don’t feel the need to cram it all in, why? Because we buy our own turkey to cook and enjoy at home for the next couple of weeks. The stuffing, gravy etc, is left out so that it’s the Thanksgiving that just keeps giving.
- Leave twenty minutes before helping yourself to seconds. This gives time for your brain to register how hungry you are and allows your food to start digesting before you add more (if you still feel you need more).
- Did you know that? It may sound silly but we often forget this. Take a pass on the things that you don’t really want and enjoy the things you do want.
- A walk will help to stimulate your digestion and get things moving. Wait about an hour after eating to allow your stomach to settle before you get things churning.
- Your perfect post dinner treat: peppermint tea. This delicious tea will not only help you to curb dessert cravings by giving you something to enjoy but peppermint tea also aids in digestion! Oh… and it will hydrate you too! Keep a bag of this in your back pocket, and maybe a few more to share!