Dr Kassam How to stop yourself from overindulging this Thanksgiving dinner

How to stop yourself from overindulging this Thanksgiving dinner

Written by: Dr. Saira Kassam, ND

     ‘Twas the season to give thanks for all the wonderful people, experiences and things we have gained over the past year. It is a time to look back and appreciate the lessons we have learned and the people who have gone above and beyond to make this world a better place for us to live. Even though we should really be feeling this gratitude every day of the year, Thanksgiving gives us an opportunity to express it to those we love. Most importantly this holiday gives us an excuse to enjoy a WHOLESOME meal with our family and friends.  I also like to refer to it as the annual TURKEY-COMA time! 

Thanksgiving dinner is a time when it is socially acceptable to over-eat. This more often than not results in digestive complaints and an overall feeling of being uncomfortable. I bet you didn’t know that we can actually mentally and physically prepare our bodies for that yummy meal. A little will-power is all we need! Here are a few tips I have compiled together for your pre, during and post-Thanksgiving feast!

Eat a wholesome breakfast. Starting the day with a well-balanced meal may help with portion control at dinner and avoid that state of ravenous hunger.

Get a good night’s sleep. Lack of sleep can actually increase calorie consumption the next day.

Do not stress yourself. The anticipation of eating too much can be quite stressful at times. The body produces cortisol, a hormone produced during times of stress. This negatively effects digestion. When we are more stressed out, our digestion is put on the back burner. This leads to many of the common symptoms of stomach pain, bloating and lethargy.

Chose the right seat. Don’t choose to sit in front of your weaknesses. This gives you easy access.

Manage your plate. Your plate should be ½ veggies, ¼ turkey and ¼ complex carbohydrates. 

Eat slowly. Chew your food at least 20 times.  Digestion begins in your mouth, chewing breaks down the food to stimulate the secretion of saliva, which contains enzymes.

Enjoy your meal. Place your fork down in between bites. Focus on taking breaks from your food to engage in conversation.

Go for smaller portions. Only go for seconds if you REALLY need to. It actually takes your body 20 minutes to register that you are full. So wait a wee bit before you go for that second or third helping.

Prioritize what you want to over-indulge in. Don’t go for everything on the table. Pick wisely and don’t deprive yourself. This only causes you to overindulge in other ways. Try not to feel guilty about what you are eating – balance is key.

Drink lots of water! All that sugar and salt can be very dehydrating to the body. It can cause constipation, headaches, bloating, etc. Try adding half a squeezed lemon into your water to stimulate the liver and its detoxifying processes 1-2 hours after your meal.

     If the above suggestions just aren’t doing it and you just need a little extra support, try the following digestive aids that may help to further optimize digestive function.

  • Apple cider vinegar – small amount before a meal can help to increase stomach acid.
  • Biters – Helps to increase digestive secretions (acid, bile, enzymes). Try the St. Francis Canadian bitters
  • Digestive enzymes – Enzymes help to cut food into smaller pieces so that food can be absorbed into the GI tract. These are normally produced in our bodies, but external support can help sometimes. Be sure not to abuse these as your body will start relying on them.
  • Peppermint, chamomile and/or ginger tea are great 30-45 after a meal and help with digestive discomfort and gas. Try Traditional medicine Chamomile with ginger tea

These suggestions are not only for Thanksgiving dinner. It is best to try and incorporate some of these tips in your daily meal routine for optimizing your digestive tract. Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

 

**Disclaimer

The advice in this article is for informational purposes only. It does not replace the care of a Naturopathic physician.