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Recuperate from Vacation Overindulgence

So you overdid it … or just ate something that didn’t work with your body. You may not have binge per se, but you gave up on the original plan and now you are feeling the pain. You ate, maybe more than intended, maybe different than intended.

Non-primary foods were consumed – perhaps a lot of them or just a few in larger quantities than planned. Non-original and sub-original beverages were drunk beyond the intended point. And now the consequences are playing out. You are stuck in a bloated, lazy, catatonic state. You have a big headache when every shade is closed and the blankets over your head want your kids to take the noise to a distant corner of the neighborhood. Maybe you settled in the bathroom.

In a less dramatic scenario, you might just be pushing yourself through the day because you find that your energy is off, your digestion is not running at full speed, and your mood is not quite as balanced as usual. Whether you think it was worth it or not, who wouldn’t want to reverse the course of misery afterwards?

Think of it this way: health goes hand in hand with sensitivity to the unhealthy.

I admit that I’m not really into cleansing or detox. Even so, I think we can help our bodies get back on track in their own miraculous processes – or at least get out of the way while they undo the damage. With a little time and care we can recover and not go on for much worse for the wear and tear. The healthier we eat and live every day, the better we are able to weather these disorders. However, the cleaner we eat on the other 364 days of the year, the more we may feel a significant detour in our diet. That heaped plate of mashed potatoes with processed sauce product may have barely registered before Primal. Today, it can leave you with indigestion and harmful gasoline for a good 36 hours.

If you’re looking to feel better after a big day (or season) of non-primary eating, consider these humble suggestions for your ailment.

Commit to a morning fast.

Conventional wisdom says you should eat normally after a vacation fit, but the body says it differently. (Guess which ones I like to heed.) Perhaps indigestion makes fasting a given, but even if you can eat, give your body a break until the early afternoon or even the afternoon. CW thinks if you go for a couple of hours without eating you’re sure to find yourself in a major binge. This is not the case with most primitive people. Give your body the time it needs to deal with the residue from the previous day.

Have some tea.

Put the food away for a while, but go ahead and hydrate. However, resist Grandma’s suggestion to have a shot of hard alcohol. (Hands for how many times have people heard this from family or friends?) Research has shown that alcohol actually slows gastric emptying. A study comparing the effects of tea, wine, and liquor on gastric emptying showed that tea undoubtedly won. Although the tea in the study was plain black tea, consider something with no caffeine. (Your body is busy right now.) Chamomile can relax your nerves and digestive tract, while peppermint can relieve an upset stomach. However, opt for something other than mint if heartburn is a problem. Remember, you shouldn’t drink too much water (another common recommendation you get from conventional sources). You don’t want to drink so much that you end up diluting the gastric juices that are trying to do their job.

Try bitter substances.

There’s not much to research (found in English anyway), but this is an age-old home remedy that will likely help. Folk wisdom recommending schnapps, for example, is generally based on herbal / bitter-based liquor formulations. The remedy is in the herb – not in the alcohol.

Avoid antacids and acid-reducing drugs.

Your gastric juices are there to digest your food. If your food is slow to digest and feels like a stone in your stomach, does it make logical sense to counteract or reduce the natural acids that break down and move things? Avoid these “remedies” and let your body do its thing.

Take a good serving of probiotic.

Whatever you’ve eaten likely has a number on your bacteria profile. Indeed, a recent study shows that it only takes a few days to bring about significant change (about as long as most vacation visits to non-original relatives). While our guts are amazingly adaptable, this vacation boost may not do them a favor. Help replenish your healthy gut environment with a good probiotic supplement.

Relax yourself.

When you are in a pocket of pain and nerves, your digestive process (or your mentality) is doing nothing. Relax. Take a hot bath or shower. Turn up the heat, play relaxing music, and place a hot water bottle on your stomach and a heated rice sock around your neck and shoulders.

Get the help of enzymes.

Especially if you’ve eaten something you don’t tolerate well, try a high-quality enzyme supplement. (If you don’t have one on hand, bribe a family member or friend to visit your local health food store and look for one.) Avoid anything that has sugar or artificial colors, fillers, etc. This is not the time for chemical additives.

Move around, but don’t push on it.

You may not be ready for your regular weightlifting but resist the urge to park it on the couch all day. Research shows that slow movements at a low level, such as walking, aid gastric emptying. Those leftovers from your vacation meal move faster when you put the gear in motion. There is motivation to get up!

Don’t underestimate the power of fresh air and sun.

Especially when you feel nauseous, fresh air can pull you out of your misery. If you add sun you may have a new life. Sure, you might feel just as crappy an hour after you return, but stay out as long as you can to get some relief.

Eat a small basic meal at the end of the day.

Avoid spiking your insulin through pasture multiple times that day. Quickly, as long as it’s productive and comfortable, and then enjoy a modest meal. When you do this, you are choosing something that will keep you satisfied for the rest of the night without taking up too much space / energy in an already sensitive stomach. Some plant-based fiber and protein should do the trick.

Go to bed early.

You went through the wringer. As lethargic as you may have felt, certain body processes were in full swing or worked harder to compensate for the food-borne stresses. Give in to the intuitive demands of your body and hit the sack early. Tomorrow is another day.

Have you had days after the indulgence that you sought relief? What works for you Let me know your thoughts and thanks for reading, everyone.

About the author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Marks Daily Apple, godfather of the Primal Food and Lifestyle movement, and the New York Times best-selling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, which describes how he combines the keto diet with an original lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is also the author of numerous other books, including The Primal Blueprint, which is credited with the growth of the Primal / Paleo movement in 2009. After three decades of researching and educating people about why food is the key component in achieving optimal wellbeing, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real food company, the Primal / Paleo, Keto and Whole30 friendly kitchen staples manufactures.

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