The turkey is sliced and packed away, your mom’s pumpkin pie has completely been demolished, and you, my friend, are wearing sweats because they’re all that fit you right now. Welcome to the Friday after Thanksgiving—otherwise known as the day of extreme bloating, pain, and regret. Your whole body is radiating with that “I ate way too much” sensation, and even though you can’t imagine getting off the couch at any point today, you still desperately want to make this feeling go away. Can you tell we’ve been through this before?
Rather than curse the last scoop of Aunt Greta’s mashed potatoes you insisted on having, why not get active and do a little detoxing? (Don’t worry, not too active.) We spoke with Jessica Sepel, nutritionist, wellness coach, and author of The Clean Life, and asked her for tips on how to bounce back after a night of indulgence without putting in too much effort (because, hello, we can barely move). Keep scrolling for five easy post-Thanksgiving detox tips.
“I encourage people to enjoy warm water with juice from half a lemon and some fresh grated ginger upon waking up,” Sepel says. “This is something you can do every morning to help detox your system, but especially after a big meal.” The lemon jump-starts your system and flushes out toxins, while ginger has long been used to settle an upset stomach and ease nausea. Throughout the day, Sepel recommends loading up on peppermint or green tea. “Herbal tea is always a great choice to hydrate and detox the body,” she says. “Just be sure you’re drinking plenty of water!”
Another way to quickly overcome bloating? Go on a brisk walk, which Sepel says will help speed up the digestion process. Then, do a little stretching. “One of my favorite stretches, for digestion and for general calm, is to put my legs up against the wall for 10 to 15 minutes and focus on deep breathing,” she says. “Deep breathing calms the nervous system, which aids digestion.”
You might be tempted to flush your giant meal down with a glass of water, but don’t. “It’s actually best to not drink much water in the time immediately before and after a meal, because it interrupts digestion,” Sepel explains. “Smalls sips are fine, however.”
Though fruit might sound like a light, refreshing option compared to the previous night’s heavy Thanksgiving meal, Sepel says to avoid eating it on a full stomach. Why? Apparently, the acids will ferment in your stomach and lead to gas and bloating. Yikes. “Starting the day with fruit and having it as a snack between meals is ideal,” she says.
If your stomach has expanded to the shape of a small balloon, consider chewing on some raw fennel. “It sounds strange, but it works magic on bloating!” Sepel says. Recent studies have found that fennel can increase the production of bile (a good thing, in this case) and may even have diuretic, pain-reducing, and antimicrobial properties. Plus, it’s supposed to taste a bit like licorice, so think of it as your post-dessert snack.
This post was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.