Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to get together with family and friends, but for those with SIBO and other digestive disorders, it can also be a minefield. If you threw caution to the wind this Thanksgiving, you may well be feeling the ill effects today. Symptoms like bloating, cramping, diarrhoea, constipation, headaches, rashes, gas and belching can be all too common for people with digestive issues after a day of excess. You can't undo what you ate for Thanksgiving, but you can control what you do today. I've shared my top tips on how to recover from Thanksgiving overindulgence below.
How To Recover From Thanksgiving Overindulgence
1. Remember: It's Only Temporary
It may feel like the world is ending today, but take heart in the knowledge that a reaction to food is only temporary. It can last from a few hours to a few days, but it will subside. You won't be stuck in this state for eternity.
2. Drink Plenty Of Water
You've heard it before, but water is a key ingredient to keeping your system hydrated and helping to move the food along. Drink at least 8 glasses of filtered water throughout the day. If you've been dealing with diarrhoea, put a small pinch of sea salt into your water. This will help you absorb the depleted minerals more easily.
3. Eat Calming Foods
If your system is inflamed, choose foods that you know are easy on your digestive tract. Go for well-cooked vegetables that you can tolerate. You may even like to mash or purée them to make it even easier for your gut to handle. Soups made from broths (chicken meat or beef/lamb bones) with well-cooked vegetables and some protein can be soothing and easy to digest. Choose grass-fed organic meat and poultry or high-quality fish or seafood. If you can tolerate them, ensure you've got plenty of good fats in your diet today, such as olive oil, macadamia oil, ghee, tallow or lard. Be aware that eating leftovers can increase your histamine load, and put you at risk of going into a histamine flair. To be safe, eat freshly cooked food while your system calms down. And be mindful of your portion sizes. Go for smaller portions to reduce the load on your gut.
4. Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting can be beneficial when the digestive system is inflamed. Choose a fasting window that suits you. You may like to fast for 15 hours and eat in a 9-hour window. You may like to eat 1 meal for the day and fast for the rest. You may even like to do a water fast for 24 hours, where all you consume is water. Listen to your body and choose an intermittent fasting window that works for you.
There are some great supplements that can be beneficial when calming down a temporary flair. Dr Allison Siebecker has a wealth of information on her website about the types of supplements that can be beneficial. Things like activated charcoal and iberogast can be useful for bloating, magnesium citrate or oxide can be useful for constipation and ginger can provide relief from nausea. However, be mindful that when you're in a flare, you may be more sensitive to supplements, so start with small doses to test your system can cope with them.
6. Exercise Gently
Gently moving your body can help flush the toxins out of your system and can help you feel better. Go for a leisurely stroll or if you have an indoor heated swimming pool nearby, head there and do some gentle laps. A relaxing yoga class could be restorative or even tai chi. But don't overdo it. High intensity exercise can be stressful for the body, so treat it carefully and allow it to recover.
7. Rest and Relax
The more you stress about how you're feeling, the worse you will feel. Be kind and allow yourself time to rest and relax. When we go into a flare, our system is on full alert. Things like meditation (we love the 1 Giant Mind free meditation app), deep breathing, napping, listening to relaxing music, reading a good book under a comfy blanket, or a warm bath with epsom salts can be great ways to rest and relax your body.
8. Enjoy a detox bath
Help detox your system in a detox bath. Add 1 cup of Epsom salts and 1 cup of bi carb soda (baking soda) to the warmest water you can tolerate. You might like to add some essential oils if you want to add a scent. Relax in the bath for 20 minutes, or as long as you can tolerate. Be sure to drink plenty of water as the heat can make you dehydrated.
9. Get To Bed Early
Your body needs time to recover so ensure you get to bed nice and early. Turn off all electronic devices 2 hours before bed, avoid caffeine a few hours before bedtime, and don't do anything too stimulating, like watching a scary movie right before bed. A warm (not hot) shower can also help you to fall asleep.
10. Get Back On Track
Thanksgiving is one day of the year and doesn't need to see you fall off the wagon completely. Acknowledge that it is in the past and that you can make wise food choices from today onwards. The quicker you can get back into your regular way of eating, the easier it will be on your digestive system. Many people find it helpful to plan their food for the week ahead so they know they won't be tempted to eat off plan. Download our free Meal Planner to organise next week's meals.
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