Eating outside your routine – on vacation, at a restaurant or a holiday feast
Keeping your routine personalized diet is the best preventative medicine. However, in average, 20% of your meals may vary, according to the circumstances. Weekends, holidays, parties, vacations, so many wonderful occasions to celebrate, and rich food is most often the centerpiece of social occasions.It’s important to participate, but you may find yourself eating foods you normally wouldn’t. Health challenges can resurface after these celebratory occasions, starting with indigestion and a poor night’s sleep.
The Effects of dining out
Celebrations with food may cause you to eat at a different time than your normal routine, eat a larger quantity of food, unusual or unhealthy foods or inadvisable food combinations. Healthy individuals can usually tolerate these moderate transgressions with minimal effects. If your diet is generally healthy, your level of resilience will be high. If you have a habit of celebrating with food on a daily basis, however, your imbalances will start to accumulate, overwhelming your strength and resilience.
As transgressions become more frequent, your body will give you simple signs that you are approaching your limits. Not surprisingly, the food you eat affects your digestion first. If you’ve stuffed yourself, your stomach may hurt. You may get acid reflux, food coma, or gas and bloating.
After you digest the rich meal of carbs, fats and proteins, the extra calories and proteins are absorbed into the bloodstream, making the blood thick. Thick blood plasma clogs the circulatory and lymphatic systems. The result is mucus congestion the next morning, or even high blood pressure as the heart struggles to move the thickened blood. A sluggish circulatory system depresses your metabolism, making you feel tired, lethargic, and your thoughts cloudy.
Before the Fun: Preparing Your Body
Prepare your body for feasts and celebrations with a grace period of light, easy to digest foods 24 hours before a big meal, but don’t fast completely, however, as this will make you ravenous and likely to overindulge. Here are some pre-feast gentle food recommendations:
Oatmeal with spices for breakfast
Soups or Kitchari for lunch and dinner
Avoid heavy and sticky foods like bread and cheese that clog the intestines.
Before a big day of celebrations, especially if you will be celebrating late into the night, keep your routine low key for 24 hours in advance as well. In other words, get to bed and eat meals on time the day before. Building your reserves of energy will help you cope better with the digestive strains of feasting.
Just Before you head out
A half an hour before the meal, or just before you leave your house, drink a digestive tea composed of one or more of the following herbs: ginger, cumin, fennel, coriander, mint, sage, thyme, lemongrass or Indian Chai Masala tea (this time skip the milk). For extra effect, add a wedge of lime and a pinch of salt to ensure you are well hydrated before the meal.
If you know you won’t be able to stomach the food that will be offered, eat a light meal before you head over to the festivities/restaurant and then eat lightly while there. If you have a food allergy, don’t be tempted to ignore it.
Social eating involves coordination, patience and inevitable delay. A meal scheduled for 7pm may begin at 8pm. Hunger pangs, low energy, and irritability signal distressed digestion and blood, making folks “hangry.” This should be remedied with a light, easy to digest snack before you arrive at your destination. Although snacking should generally be avoided, in this case a snack will keep your system even and calm. Settling your stomach has the added bonus of making it easier to go with the flow and be social. A healthy snack option could be some dried fruit and nuts, such as dates Stuffed with almonds.
During the Celebration
By internalizing a few basic guide lines, you can both enjoy your meal and company, while still feeling great and unharmed by food.
- Eat at a moderate pace and pay attention while chewing your food carefully. This will help both proper breakdown of food and help prevent overindulgence.
- Narrow down the options and decide in advance what you are going to eat, from the extended variety of foods. 2-4 different food items should be enough. Choose your favorite food items, and give up tasting everything.
- Even if you choose foods you are not used to eat or heavy foods, the way to survive negative impact is to eat up to 50%-75% of the amount you would normally eat.Eating less is the key component for avoiding trouble.
- Eat Early. Lunch is the ideal meal for social feasts and eating out. However, many celebrations gravitate towards dinner. Try and schedule eating dinner as early as possible, while the body is still strong and there is sufficient time to digest food completely before bedtime. Eating after 8pm may be impossible to avoid for some social occasions. In that case eat lightly.
- Normally, desert after food is not recommended. A sweet serving is appropriate between meals, on an empty stomach, and not later than 6pm. However, during celebrations the situation is different. If you feel full at the end of the main course, it is safest to skip desert. You may feel initially some sweet craving, but shortly this feeling will fade and you will feel comfortably satiated, sprightly and burden free. If you have managed to eat less during the evening and feel you have left some extra space for desert, choose only one kind of desert and eat a very small serving. Don’t be tempted to stuff yourself with deserts, you may enjoy the taste for a few seconds, but agony and regret for hours later.
- If the social occasion involves drinking, use alcohol to your advantage (in moderation). Sipping a small amount (total of 50 ml) of alcohol with food can actually help your digestion, and is a congenial way to participate in the social activities of the evening. Select light alcoholic beverages such as red or white wine, or slightly sweeter sparkling wine. Avoid hard liquor or beer.
- After dining is done, sipping a digestive tea can support your digestion. Digestive Bitters, such as green tea, mint, sage, basil and likewise can regulate blood sugar, help digestion, reduce heartburn, and encourage a cleansing elimination of the bowels.
- Forgo harboring any guilt or regret over what you choose to eat, for these types of emotions only serve to hinder digestion and assimilation. Instead, be sure to enjoy the decadence of the food you indulge in by eating slowly and mindfully, savoring every bite. Make sure portion sizes are moderate.
After dining is over
If possible, give yourself some extra time around the table or on the sofa and rest after the meal for 15 minutes. Then take a short walk, 15 minutes of leisurely walking will be enough. This will greatly help your digestion.
Before bed and the next morning, massage your abdomen gently to encourage good elimination. Stretching your abdomen with various yoga poses the next morning can encourage complete elimination. Exercise also helps to clear out your blood and lymphatic system from accumulated toxins.
The day after the celebration eat simply and honor your body by appreciating the challenges it must overcome to keep you healthy and balanced.If you do not feel hungry the morning after, delay breakfast until genuine hunger appears, or skip breakfast and return to your healthy eating schedule at lunch. The general rule of thumb is that you can relax and return to normal, less restrictive food choices, after you have eliminated the celebratory meal from your bowels.
When you work with your body, instead of against it, you will speed up the recovery process and increase your resilience, which ultimately means you can celebrate more often. By succeeding to follow the above guidelines, even long vacations away from food routine stop posing as a threat, and become something to look forward to and appreciate. The understanding that food is not the enemy, and that by correct choices which match food and eating with contemporary digestive power, a sense of relative control over health and freedom emerges.