Digesting the Big Meal



I don't think anyone wants to feel icky after eating Thanksgiving dinner. I know I don't! Paying attention to the needs of your body, setting limits for yourself and relying on a food-based digestive aid toolbox may make the difference between tossing the football around after dinner and feeling super-glued to the couch.Will Power - Yes, you do have control over what you do and what you eat, even on Thanksgiving.

  • Keep moving - taking a walk after the meal can aid digestion and make you feel refreshed. Going for a walk or hike before the meal is great too-could be a fun ritual to start with your family.

  • Don't overeat - savor your food slowly and enjoy every bite. Eat to the point where you feel comfortable, done and satisfied. Bloated, stuffed and miserable are never good! Remember, leftovers are great-you don't have to eat everything at one sitting.

  • Keep up the fiber by choosing plenty of fresh seasonal fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Raw is great, like salads.

  • Reduce foods that you know cause gas and bloating for you, possibly beans, certain veggies and dairy products.

  • Drink plenty of water, especially if you are drinking some alcohol.

Digestive Aid Toolbox

  • Ginger is wonderful for calming your stomach. After indulging in a big meal, a cup of ginger tea is delicious. You can buy packaged ginger tea or, better yet, make it fresh. Take a ginger root, peel about ½ inch of it, and grate it into a mug using a fine grater. Pour boiling water over it, cover and steep for 5 minutes. Strain, if desired, and enjoy. You can add a bit of honey if you like.

  • Fennel seeds are often offered after meals in India (and in Indian restaurants). They are said to be useful for gas and bloating, and may be helpful to chew a few if you have overeaten.

  • Peppermint promotes healthy digestion. Delightful as a cup of peppermint tea or by chewing a few natural peppermint candies.

  • Baking soda neutralizes acid and may provide quick and inexpensive relief. This product contains sodium so be sure to read the label on the package and follow the instructions exactly. If you are on a sodium-restricted diet, check with your doctor to find out about occasional use.

  • Apple cider vinegar may promote healthy digestion. Just a couple of teaspoons in an 8-ounce glass of water sipped with meals may help. Word of caution: Vinegar is not right for everyone. If you know you don't tolerate vinegar, don't try this one.

  • Chamomile tea has been used for centuries in Europe as a medicinal plant, mostly for gastrointestinal health. For me, it's always a good time for a cup of chamomile!

  • Natural bitters are an age-old remedy for aiding digestion - bitters on the tongue can stimulate digestive juices to be secreted.

  • Taken with meals, digestive enzymes can be helpful for breaking down proteins, carbohydrates and fats, and they may provide digestive comfort.

  • Activated charcoal tablets may provide the relief you need for gassiness.

  • Aloe Vera juice may help soothe your digestive track. Start with one or two ounces daily in a 4-ounce glass of water.

  • DGL (Licorice) is an increasingly popular digestive supplement. This chewable form of licorice does not raise blood pressure and can help to soothe the intestines.

So, there you have it-my tips for having a wonderfully thankful day. I hope you enjoy the food at your Thanksgiving feast, but not too much! Do you have a special way of calming an overindulged stomach? I would love to know about it.

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