We've all had that feeling--it's Friday morning, the turkey's been demolished, the mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, and pies, oh the glorious pies, are now sitting heavy in your tummy, weighing you down. But buck up! Don't let the tryptophan get you down! Here are some tips on how to recover from all that holiday overindulgence.
1. Drink Water!
Did you know that a water molecule is needed every time the body breaks down a single molecule of sugar, protein, or fat? No wonder those 8 glasses of water a day is so important! Staying hydrated will not only keep those digestive juices flowing, it will also help you to flush out the excess from your holiday feasting, and get you right back on track.
2. Have some Fermented Foods
Maybe the last thing you want to do after eating all that sugary goodness is eat...kimchi? But having a fermented food like kimchi, sauerkraut, or my personal favorite, kombucha, is another great way to fight off that Thanksgiving food baby. Why are they beneficial?
First off, fermented foods have already gone through a process by which natural bacteria break down certain sugar and starches in those foods, and leave behind beneficial enzymes, vitamins, and fatty acids. In other words, the natural fermentation process makes the food more easily digestible (a definite advantage after your stomach has been over-taxed with rich heavy foods)
In addition, the large quantities of probiotic strains in fermented foods further help your existing intestinal bacteria to function better, improving digestion, nutritional absorption, and sometimes even your immune system!
3. Eat some Papaya and Pineapple Say what?
That's right! Both papaya and pineapple are rich sources of "proteolytic enzymes" --fancy word for enzymes that break down proteins. So much so that often times papaya and pineapple are used by many cooks in marinades to help tenderize even the toughest cut of beef. So after a meal that is heavy in meat (hands off my turkey leg!), skip the dessert and have some pineapple or papaya. You will find that your stomach, and your jeans, will thank you later.
4. Do a Turkey Tabatta!
Or...just get off the couch. Even going for a short walk after a heavy meal can help to ward off those Turkey Snoozes. Getting back into your exercise routine after the holidays as fast as possible will help you recover from your turkeys and pies in no time.
5. Stay Away From Carbs for the Next Few Days
All joking aside, did you know that it's actually not the tryptophan in turkey that actually makes you sleepy and tired? Sure, tryptophan is an essential amino acid that plays a large role in how your body produces Melatonin--the sleep/wake cycle hormone. But it doesn't actually contain any more tryptophan than, say, eggs or fish or chicken. The sleepiness is really from a combination of eating a ton of food that is very high in sugar and fat, plus an amino acid overload. So, you know, staying away from all the leftovers and eating a clean, low-carb diet over the next few days will do you a world of good.
Happy Holidays, and Happy Feasting!