‘Tis the season for great food and snacking on things you rarely eat the rest of the year. The problem is that once you eat handfuls of holiday cookies, sprinkle them with festive chocolates, and wash it all down with drinks at holiday parties, you have a recipe for feeling bloated and lethargic. Your taste buds may love it but the rest of your body is asking “Oh, what have you done?”
Thankfully, in most cases, the gastrointestinal tract will rebound quickly. Here’s how you can easily and quickly detox and start feeling healthy and strong again after staying on the holiday celebration circuit for a little too long.
3 General Guidelines
- Drink a lot of water. Your body needs fluids – lots and lots of fluids. Alcohol is dehydrating and so is the salt and sugar that is usually plentiful in rich holiday foods. Begin your detox regimen by drinking at least eight, 8-ounce glasses of water every day, more if you can get it in. The water will wash the toxins out of your body and give your cells a fresh start.
- Eat regularly. Start eating a balanced diet again and try to eat it in three regular meals. If you can’t eat three solid meals consider eating six small ones. Your digestion will thank you.
- Start taking a multivitamin. Supplementing your diet with a multivitamin will rebuild your nutritional reserves.
Eat Good, Whole Foods
What you eat will rebalance your GI tract. It may help to eliminate any reflux you may have developed. It will also reduce hunger pains that occur regularly when you eat shallow, sugar-filled foods instead of highly nutritious ones. You will start to have more energy and will sleep better.
When it comes to specific foods, recalibrate your body by eating high protein foods and fruit, and non-starchy vegetables, at least for the first few days. This will power-pack your body with foods it needs (and is probably craving). You can add carbs in a few days.
Here are some specific meal ideas:
- Breakfast: Eggs with avocado and tomatoes, grilled cherry tomatoes, scrambled eggs with peppers and onions.
- Lunch: Grilled chicken, fish or lean meat with salad. Add chickpeas for protein, consider chopped salads with hard-boiled eggs.
- Dinner: Grilled chicken, fish or lean meat with asparagus, grilled peppers or other non-starchy vegetables like kale, chard, and broccoli.
Eat as much of these as you like. Add olive oil and balsamic vinegar for added flavor.
Snacks can include almonds, celery with natural peanut butter, cucumber slices, carrots, and fruit.
After three days of filling your body with these whole, lean, highly nutritious foods, you can add other foods:
- Dairy: Choose high protein dairy including Greek yogurt, kefir, low-fat milk and cottage cheese.
- Whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and whole wheat bread.
- Starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes, corn, and peas.
Once you add these foods to your daily diet, you should divide your plate into quarters, with one-quarter protein, one-quarter starchy vegetables and one-half made up of non-starchy vegetables.
If you follow these detox guidelines for a week, you should start feeling better immediately. Any time you find yourself overindulging on rich foods, practice these steps again to get yourself back on track. It’s not a bad thing to enjoy special foods occasionally, it’s just a very good thing to get yourself back on track as quickly as possible.