Recovering from Thanksgiving

Happy day after Thanksgiving! If you did it right, you should still be in bed recovering from a food coma. You might have a slight stomach ache, headache (probably from dehydration), and lethargy.

Some suggestions to quickly recover from this Thanksgiving hangover:

HYDRATE – Between the sugar from the pie, sodium from the gravy, and sugar and alcohol from the red wine, you are probably massively dehydrated. Drinking water will wake up your digestive system and begin to mediate your headache. If you’re feeling groggy, try to avoid going straight for that foamy double cappuccino. Caffeine narrows your blood vessels and increases blood pressure, which both make your headache and hangover much worse. On the flip side, if you’re a regular coffee drinker (like me) then you’ll probably want to have a little caffeine (tea) because caffeine-withdrawal can also cause you to have a painful headache that feels like a hangover. Processed with VSCO with a9 preset

MOVE – I know this is the most annoying tip, but even a 30 minute walk in some fresh air can be extremely restorative. And I’ve found that once you get started and feel more awake, you’ll feel benefits will outweigh the work. For digestion, I suggest doing some yoga twists or inversions.

EAT NORMALLY – There are two things I’ve known people to do after a big meal, eat nothing or continue to eat large portions. You might be surprised to find that you’re hungry the morning after Thanksgiving. This is actually to be expected, because your stomach has been slightly stretched due to the size of your last meal. Don’t worry, once you go back to eating normal portions it will shrink back to normal. This is where I suggest NOT having that piece of pie for breakfast. Not only will the refined carbs and sugar spike your blood-sugar levels causing you to feel jittery and unfocused for the rest of the day, but you will also probably be hungry again within an hour. The basic science behind this is that an insulin surge interferes with leptin, the hormone that sends a signal to your body to stop eating. Start your day with protein, good fats, and some leftover roasted sweet potatoes or other veggies. If you’re still craving that pie, I guarantee you’ll have a smaller piece and feel more satisfied after.

DON’T STRESS – Relax, enjoy your family, and enjoy good food. One meal will not make you fat, just like one salad won’t make you skinny. Continue to be thankful that you have this really cool body that has all these very-normal, human reactions!

Supplements

Similar to my skincare routine, when it comes to what I put into my body I follow the “less is more” motto. I’m not talking about eating less but rather eating fewer non-food substances, such as additives, preservatives, processed ingredients, or medical “extras” like painkillers (Advil, Tylenol, etc.) or supplements. However, there are a few dietary supplements that I’ve started taking this year out of semi-necessity.

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IRON – I’ve been on and off anemic for awhile now. I eat a lot of fish, eggs, chicken, and a small amount of red meat, but apparently my body is just pre-determined to be iron deficient. There are two types of iron found in foods, heme and nonheme, heme iron is highest in foods such as chicken liver, beef kidneys, and oysters. Generally, dark meat has more heme iron than light meat. I take Ferrett’s Iron Tablets (as recommended by my doctor).

VITAMIN C – Other non-meat sources of iron contain nonheme iron, which isn’t absorbed as easily by your body. Nonheme iron is found in vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, and egg yolks. Vitamin C is a supplement to the iron supplement, because it helps release more iron from these nonheme sources. Additionally, vitamin C prevent phytonutrients from inhibiting nonheme iron absorption. I take Dr. Clark Store Vitamin C. 

PROBIOTICS – This supplement is trending lately.  but I started using it about six years ago when I started traveling a lot and switching timezones often. I would take one in the morning and one in the evening to reset my body clock. Probiotics. Gut health is extremely important and if not properly regulated can cause inflammation, sickness, and digestive diseases. Probiotics are the bacteria lining your digestive tract. They support your body’s ability to absorb nutrients. Everyone is born with gut bacteria, however chemicals in our environment and in the food we ingest kill off probiotics and can end up damaging your digestive tract. For this reason, everyone could use a probiotic supplement. I take Florastor twice a day.

BIOTIN/VITAMIN B7 – This vitamin is part of the vitamin B complex that is responsible for metabolic, nerve, digestive, and cardiovascular health. Biotin acts as a coenzyme that metabolizes fatty acids, amino acids, glucose found in macronutrients into readily available energy to carry about proper functions such as the maintenance of our nails, skin, and hair health. Biotin is found in organ meats, eggs, avocado, berries, fish, legumes, etc., but I’ve found that when I take the supplement my nails grow faster and my hair is shinier. It’s difficult to consume too much iron because biotin is water-soluble and therefore eliminated in the urine. Therefore, regular supplementation of biotin is not harmful because your body doesn’t store it. I take Nature Made Biotin. 

These supplements are what I’ve been prescribed by a doctor. Everyone is built differently, so I wouldn’t suggest using supplements just because your friend or family member is. If you have a deficiency or reoccurring symptoms of some kind, I would consult your physician and see what he or she recommends you supplement with. Generally, if you eat a variety of foods and limit the chemicals in your diet then you should be fulfilling your daily vitamin and nutrient needs.

An Ode to Sleep

“We spend about one third of our lives in a state of repose, defined by relative behavioral immobility and reduced responsiveness to external stimuli. Cumulatively, this amounts to several decades’ worth of sleep over the lifetime of an average person. Ah, I know you’re thinking, Wouldn’t it be great if we cut down on this “wasted” time to be able to do more! When I was younger, I, too, lived by the motto “You can sleep when you’re dead.” But I’ve woken up to the fact that for optimal, long-term physical and mental health, we need sleep.” (Source: Scientific American.)

I am obsessed with sleep. Although I am not a great sleeper to begin with, I consciously plan my night so that by the time my head hits the pillow, my body is prepared to fall into a deep slumber. I think I’m too aware of how 8-10 hours a night can benefit the body and mind. And I notice a distinct difference between 8-10 hours and 6-7 hours a night (which is not enough for me, personally).

Without a good night sleep, I am:

  • less productive and slower at getting tasks done
  • have difficulty concentrating
  • less articulate when speaking
  • lack coordination during exercise
  • moody and stubborn
  • snack more and generally eat unhealthily
  • have dark circles under my eyes

These are symptoms that I’ve observed in myself, but there is scientific evidence to back up these claims. When I’m fully rested, I wake up with that “can take on the world” can-do attitude. I feel bright-eyed and excited for the day ahead. The difference in how I feel without sleep is seriously night and day (pun intended).

How to wind down and prepare for a good night’s sleep:

  • exhaust the mind and body during the day through exercise and mental stimulation (aka work)
  • eat 2-4 hours before going to sleep
  • don’t look at electronics 1 hour before going to sleep
  • read in bed
  • drink a non-caffeinated tea, such as chamomile or peppermint, but do so an hour or two before sleeping (so you don’t have to wake up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom)
  • invest in blackout shades and try to make your room as dark as possible
  • turn off any buzzing/ringing of your phone and place it somewhere away from where you are sleeping
  • make sure your room is cool, but not too cold that your body can’t get comfortable
  • invest in earplugs or a sound machine (Waves app is a good one) if you are a light sleeper and sensitive to sounds

Sleep. Just do it.

Recipe: Gingered Bok Choy

I love cooking. But like most people (I’m sure), I use that commonplace excuse, “too busy/tired/lazy/cheap/etc.” to make a home cooked meal.  My work schedule (trying to juggle two jobs) has come in the way of creating anything interesting at home. For quick dinners, I usually resort to breakfast for dinner, ie. scrambled eggs with sweet potatoes and avocado. A lovely combination, but a girl could use some variety to spice up her life.

The following ginger-heavy recipe definitely does the trick. It’s easy to make, delicious, fast, and healthy!

Ingredients: 

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 large head of bok choy, root end removed, cut crosswise into 1-inch-wide pieces

2 teaspoons sesame seeds

salt and pepper

Recipe: 

  1. Adjust oven rack to the lowest position. Heat the oven to 500 degrees.
  2. Combine grated ginger and oil in a large bowl. Add the bok choy to the bowl, 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Toss to coat. Spread bok choy on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer.
  3. Place the bok choy on the bottom rack. Cook about 8 minutes until the leaves are wilted and stems are tender. Transfer the bok choy to a serving platter and sprinkle sesame seeds on top.
  4. Serve with seared salmon and white rice (or protein/carbs of choice).