I recently returned from a hometown visit to Toronto. I flew there for my father’s wedding and a party for my brother and his new wife, but when I arrived I descended into an unexpected flurry of commotion.
My grandmother passed away mere hours after I landed, which meant a funeral, shiva and sorting through her things for donation.
Two weeks of family time was much-needed and fortifying, but the frenzy of activity and emotional stress led to the consumption of foods I’m definitely not proud of.
You’ve been there too, right? Vacations, stress, busy schedules, the holidays and birthday celebrations can lure us away from our regular dietary routines. While there are definitely ways to avoid temptation, what can we do when the damage is already done?
There’s no need to throw in the towel and tumble into a shame spiral of ice cream sundaes and deep-fried Twinkies. Here are a few ways to recover from a food meltdown.
1. Forgive Yourself
What’s done is done, and there’s no point in assigning guilt, shame or blame to your actions. We all slip up from time to time, and make choices we wish we hadn’t. You can’t change the past, but you can decide to treat yourself with kindness and compassion.
Taking a few wrong dietary turns doesn’t mean you’re a terrible person, and you haven’t utterly destroyed your health or severely impaired your physical healing. Of course all of the little choices matter, yet we also need to put things in perspective: a few days of sub-optimal eating isn’t going to make you sick when you rock a wholesome diet the rest of the year.
2. Drink Loads of Water
Water is essential to our detoxification processes because it flushes all of the contaminants away. It helps us get rid of wastes, reduces fluid retention and bloating, regulates bowel movements and fights inflammation.
Try drinking 8 to 12 cups of water a day. Make your water bottle your best friend. If you have trouble remembering to drink it, set an alarm or download an app to help you, or fill up a few bottles in the morning and keep sipping till they’re empty.
You can also make some fancy spa water by tossing in a few cucumber slices, or add lemon or orange slices for flavour.
3. Make a Meal Plan
When I’m ravenous and don’t have healthy food at my fingertips, I’m more likely to make poor choices. We can stop that behaviour in its tracks by ensuring our fridges and pantries are stocked with health-promoting goods. (Need help with that? Try downloading this free PDF.)
Sketch out your meals and snacks for the next few days after your food binge. Aim for three meals a day, plus a snack or two. I like to cook in batches and make one-pot meals so I’m not a slave to the kitchen. For example, I’ll roast up a whack of vegetables, cook a huge pot of brown rice, make a quick soup or stew with loads of veggies and beans.
4. Hit Up the Produce Aisles
If you’re suffering from a food hangover, now is the time to go gangbusters on fresh produce. Load up on all the vegetables and fruits you can handle, as they’re packed with the vitamins and minerals you need to replenish your body with the nutrients missing from less healthy food choices. Select detoxifying foods – like these ones – to help you get rid of the gunk and return to feeling fantastic.
Most holistic nutritionists love green drinks. It’s not my favourite beverage, since I never liked juice growing up (I always preferred water). However, when I’m feeling gross, green juice is the perfect pick-me-up: it’s hydrating, loaded with anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory nutrients, and instigates detoxification.
The key for me is adding fruits that aren’t too sweet, like green apples or pears. Here is my go-to easy green juice recipe that even the haters will enjoy! You don’t need a juicer to make it, either.
How do you recover from a food hangover? Please share in the comments!
- 1 large handful of spinach
- 1 stalk of celery, chopped
- 5-inch piece of cucumber, chopped
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- ¼ tsp chopped fresh ginger
- 1 green apple, chopped
- a few mint leaves (optional)
- ½ - ¾ cup water
- Toss all ingredients into a blender and whirl until smooth.
- Place a fine mesh strainer over a bowl. Pour the juice through the strainer and gently press down to extrude all of the juice. Discard the pulp.
- Pour juice over ice and serve.