You succumbed to the temptation of cheesy, powdered, over-processed snacks. One chip led to another, which led to the whole bag — and now, you’re filled with sodium and regret.
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It’s okay; we all fall prey to our irrational instincts every so often. What matters now is making the right decisions, and accelerating your path to getting back on the healthy eating bandwagon.
Hangovers via junk food or sugar can be just as unpleasant as alcohol. Consider the following five tips so you can feel better, faster, and prevent derailing all your progress.
1. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
More than half your body is made up of water, so think of H20 as your literal lifeblood. It comes as no surprise that the stuff is prescribed to treat the most miserable of hangover symptoms, whether it’s alcohol-induced or after a heavy night of consuming too much salt, fat and sugar. Water is effective in flushing out that excessive amount of sodium you might’ve consumed with last night’s bag of chips, as it is in subduing a raging headache from a late and crazy night of drinking alcohol. Enough water can help subdue or eradicate a painful case of acid reflux, too.
2. Eat Small, Clean Meals For The Next Two Days
A large part of a food hangover is caused by over-indulging or trying to take down too much food in one sitting. When you do this, your body ends up diverting blood away from your heart, lungs and brain to your GI tract to help in the digestion of all that food. This results in you feeling weighed down by fatigue, and oftentimes a cloudy head. The very best thing you can do following a junk-food binge is to eat totally clean, and small, for the next 48 hours. That means no alcohol, no added sugar, no dairy, no simple carbs, and if you can, try to limit your legumes as well for these two days, as they can also cause blood sugar spikes. For these next two days, focus on eating lots of lean protein (eggs, fish, chicken, lean beef, etc.), and lots of fruit and vegetables.
Read More: How To Make The Most Out Of Your Cheat Meals
An example of a next-day meal plan after a night of overindulging can include fruit and blank coffee for breakfast; a delicious, leafy salad with protein for lunch; and chicken breast with grilled vegetables and baked sweet potato for dinner. Remember, it’s only for 48 hours. Think of it as a mini-detox to get your body back on track.
3. Snack On Split Peas
These little green bad boys pack as much as 16.3 grams of fibre per cup. Fibre helps improve your body’s ability at absorbing water, and ultimately help knock your digestive tracts back into normal functioning capacity. Spice things up a bit and try out this easy spinach dal recipe.
4. Indulge In Ginger
Ginger is a miracle cure for a multitude of digestive troubles, including constipation, gas, nausea and bloating. (That’s why your mom always made you drink ginger ale when your tummy hurt as a kid.) As ginger works its way through your intestinal tract, it actively reduces gas and painful spasms. Try out this ginger spiced chicken soup for a tasty means to quell that raging food hangover. (Ginger works great for run-of-the-mill booze hangovers, too).
5. Fermented Is Your Friend
Just like after a night of drinking, a night of a junk-food binge can mess with your ratio if good-to-bad gut bacteria, leading to IBS, discomfort and other digestive issues. Fermented foods like kombucha, kimchi, and sauerkraut can help, working as a probitoic to repopulate your gut with good bacteria and minimize this damage.
6. Prepare For Next Time
Of course, the best way to “fix” a junk-food hangover is to not have one in the first place. We all have special occasions in which we are bound to overindulge (think: holidays, parties, weddings, etc.). However, if you find yourself more often than not curled up on the couch at home at night, mindlessly munching on a bag of chips or cookies, you may want to dive deeper. It could be that you have an issue with emotional eating, or you may have yet to identify your “trigger” foods to steer clear of them. Examine what causes you to overindulge on junk food (boredom? sadness? hunger?) and work with a nutritionist to overcome these bad habits.
Part of living a balanced lifestyle is allowing yourself to indulge every now and again. The goal is to be able to occasionally allow yourself small treats, without totally overdoing it and sabotaging your healthy eating efforts altogether. If you do overdo it sometimes, just know it’s not the end of the world, and you can get yourself back on track with these tips.