Despite our best efforts to eat healthy over the holiday season, chances are that at some point, we’re going to indulge a little too much.
The holidays are about gratitude and enjoying the moment; if there’s any time of year to fall off track, it’s now—and you’re definitely not alone.
Whether it was an extra slice of pumpkin pie, a few too many cocktails, or a full day of nothing but carbs that is making you feel bloated and sluggish, this 5-step plan will help you recover. It was specifically designed to support your blood sugar balance, gut microbiome, and energy levels to get you back to 100 percent, ASAP.
Water is nature’s best detoxer, so the first step in your recovery plan is to hydrate with at least two 8-ounce glasses of water. Stick to plain, room-temperature water or warm water with lemon or apple cider vinegar, which have additional detoxing and blood sugar-balancing properties.
But before you go using just any water, you should know that the type of water matters. And the water that’s coming from your tap might not be the healthiest option. In fact studies (1) have found 316 contaminants in the U.S. drinking water—and 202 of them had no safety standards.
The bottom line? We don’t always know what’s really in our water, which is why I always recommend drinking water that’s been filtered by National Science Foundation (NSF) standards. I recommend the Zero Water pitcher; or, if you’re able to really invest in a home system, try the The Ultimate Permeate Pumped Reverse-Osmosis Drinking-Water Home System.
2. Sweat it out
Step two in your recovery plan is to get your body moving. This could be in the form of a run, a HIIT workout, or a hot yoga class; basically, anything that will get your heart rate up. Exercise will help you burn off some of the excess calories you consumed and help balance your blood sugar (2). Studies have also shown that exercise is good for balancing the gut microbiome (3), so it will help support your body’s recovery in more ways than one.
If you’re really feeling sluggish or you’re not able to exercise for any reason, you can sweat it out by booking an infrared sauna session. Infrared saunas are one of my favorite health tools for combating inflammation, supporting detox, and decreasing pain.
3. Enjoy some fermented foods
Alcohol, sugar, and other simple carbs can affect your gut microbiome composition in a negative way (4), so a critical step in your recovery plan is exposing your gut to some beneficial bugs that will help restore a healthy balance. This can come in the form of fermented foods—like sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, and Kimchi—or a probiotic supplement.
4. Go low-carb for a day (or more)
If you ate a little too much yesterday, it was most likely in the form of carbs. Carbs are not only addictive, they’re less filling and nutrient-dense than protein and fats, so you can eat a LOT of them without feeling satiated. (Just think about it: You wouldn’t be able to eat a whole plate of turkey without feeling too full. But a plate of dinner rolls? Easy.)
That’s why, when you enter recovery mode, it’s good to give carbs—especially simple carbs like rice, corn, and wheat—a rest. Instead, follow a low-carb, high-fat Ketotarian diet for the day, which will help you calm inflammation and reset your metabolism. If you’re really looking for a reboot after the holidays, try entering the 28-day Ketotarian Challenge starting on January 6th.
5. Don’t dwell on the past
Did you have more glasses of wine than you can count last night? Did you eat gluten when you’ve been trying to eliminate it? Did you eat that whole plate of dinner rolls I mentioned before?
Whatever it was, it’s okay.
The holidays are about living in the moment and we all need to let go sometimes. The worst thing you can do is beat yourself up about the past. Toxic emotions like shame and guilt will only put more stress on your body and mind. In fact, research has established a clear link between stress and metabolism (5) and gut health (6).
Instead, focus on what you can do today to help show your body a little extra TLC. Doctor’s orders!
If you want to learn more about your own health case please check out our free health evaluation. We offer webcam as well as in-person consultations for people across the country and around the world.
- Luntz, T. (2009, December 14). U.S. Drinking Water Widely Contaminated. Retrieved December 11, 2019, from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/tap-drinking-water-contaminants-pollutants/.
- Adams O. P. (2013). The impact of brief high-intensity exercise on blood glucose levels. Diabetes, metabolic syndrome and obesity : targets and therapy, 6, 113–122. doi:10.2147/DMSO.S29222
- Monda, V., Villano, I., Messina, A., Valenzano, A., Esposito, T., Moscatelli, F., … Messina, G. (2017). Exercise Modifies the Gut Microbiota with Positive Health Effects. Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity, 2017, 3831972. doi:10.1155/2017/3831972
- Singh, R. K., Chang, H. W., Yan, D., Lee, K. M., Ucmak, D., Wong, K., … Liao, W. (2017). Influence of diet on the gut microbiome and implications for human health. Journal of translational medicine, 15(1), 73. doi:10.1186/s12967-017-1175-y
- Razzoli, M., & Bartolomucci, A. (2016). The Dichotomous Effect of Chronic Stress on Obesity. Trends in endocrinology and metabolism: TEM, 27(7), 504–515. doi:10.1016/j.tem.2016.04.007
- Karl, J. P., Hatch, A. M., Arcidiacono, S. M., Pearce, S. C., Pantoja-Feliciano, I. G., Doherty, L. A., & Soares, J. W. (2018). Effects of Psychological, Environmental and Physical Stressors on the Gut Microbiota. Frontiers in microbiology, 9, 2013. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2018.02013
The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.
Our articles may include products that have been independently chosen and recommended by Dr. Will Cole and our editors. If you purchase something mentioned in this article, we may earn a small commission.