I’m gonna lay it out here on the table – during the holiday season, I fall prey to crappy eating on a somewhat regular basis. Most of my meals still revolve around whole, fresh plant-based foods, but my hand still seems to find its way into the box of Trader Joe’s Candy Cane Joe-Joe’s cookies (which are technically vegan) in moments of boredom and/or “weakness”. Sometimes I enjoy the cookie(s) and move on. Most times, I feel physically lousy from the sugar crash, and question why I even have the cookies in the house in the first place (answer: they are delicious like nothing else on this earth). So when the holiday season is in full swing and naughty, processed foods beckon at every office gathering, holiday party, and cookie exchange, what’s a health-minded gal/guy to do?
Hit the reset button, that’s what! It’s my painless, easy, nearly instant way to feel better after my cravings get the best of me. Here’s what I do:
- Get back on track, food-wise, immediately. None of this “I’ll eat better tomorrow” business. If I eat half a bag of potato chips in one sitting, I don’t use that as an excuse to continue to make poor food choices for the rest of the day. I pick myself up by my bootstraps and get back on track by eating fresh, alkalizing foods (see tip below for more details!) for the remainder of the day and try my best to move on after any earlier “dietary indiscretions”.
- Drink plenty of water and caffeine-free tea. Re-hydrating almost always makes me feel better after too much sugar/salt/fat. I make sure to carry around my stainless steel bottle of water with me for the rest of the day and drink up til I feel better! I also love having a big mug of tea – preferably lemon ginger or mint tea – to sip on while my stomach settles.
- Alkalize your system. When you’re eating a lot of processed foods, refined carbs, sugars, and alcohol, it upsets your body’s pH balance and creates an overly acidic environment. This results in inflammation, skin issues, and unnecessary stress on your digestive system, liver and kidneys (among many other things). In order to combat this, I make sure to incorporate tons of alkalizing foods into my diet after I’ve had one too many “treats” in any given day. For me, this usually means throwing some kale, apple, ginger, lemon, and celery into my Vitamix blender and drinking a big green juice, or having a warm bowl of miso soup (bonus points if you have some sea vegetables – like wakame – in your soup!). For an instant alkalizing fix, I have half an umeboshi plum. Right now you’re probably like, “An umeboshi who?” Umeboshi plum is a super sour pickled plum that can be found in the Japanese section of specialty/natural grocery stores – it is incredibly alkalizing to the blood and helps counteract acidity and enhance digestive health. A total must-have for the instant reset.
- Take a warm bath. I like to get into the tub with some epsom salts, essential oils and light some candles. It relaxes me and feels wonderfully self nurturing after I’ve been not-so-nice to my body with copious amounts of sugar and other nutritional nasties. If you don’t have time for a leisurely bath, do some quick dry-brushing and take a hot shower instead.
- Get to bed early. Give your body a break and catch some extra Z’s. We could all use them. Cancel your plans, turn off the TV/iPad/laptop and get into bed. Tomorrow is a new day!
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