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Holidays—There’s too much food, too little time


Hollywood, MD - The waning days of November and the entire month of December comprise the strangest time of the year. The darkness and cold of the outdoors contrasts with the brightness inside as everyone gets into the holiday spirit. It’s not just the lights but the incredible volume of food on trays, platters, and tables. It’s tempting to eat as much as you can and as fast as you can. We must be the thinking the ensuing year is going to bring us famine. Very often a feeling that is worse than despair overtakes us. It’s indigestion and it’s there because you didn’t eat wisely. The best you can give yourself this holiday season is one where your stomach stays serene. That means fighting holiday overindulgence.

A few years ago, writer Bonnie Wisener compiled a list of eight strategic steps to avoid holiday overeating. At the top of Wisener’s list is “wear snug clothing. It may be uncomfortable but you will not feel like overeating.” Wisener also recommended being a “food snob. If you don’t absolutely love it, then leave it.” That would imply that now is not the time to experiment with egg nog if you’ve never tried it or noshing (gnawing?) on fruit cake just to make some elderly relative happy.

Wisener also recommends that you not skip meals in anticipation of overeating at a holiday meal. “Research shows that when we skip meals we eat more overall,” said Wisener. The writer also recommends chewing gum to stimulate your digestive process, allow yourself one full-size dessert at each meal rather than sampling various smaller desserts, start at the “veggie plate,” and drink less alcohol and more water. Wisener also recommends “planning ahead. Try to find out what’s on the menu ahead of time.”

So, if you don’t adhere to that advice and overdo it is there any hope for leading a normal life as a holiday partier? Writer Mark Sisson offered some strategy for that, too. “You’re stuck in a bloated, sloth-like catatonic state. You’re nursing a major headache. Maybe you’ve taken up residence in the water closet.”

Sisson, who is known for his blog “Mark’s Daily Apple,” touts the healthy benefits of “primal foods.” While that includes fatty foods like meats and nuts, he adamantly recommends avoiding “grains and sugars” (non-primal foods). That means avoidance of all sweets and sweetened beverages.

“If you are looking to feel better after a big day (or season) of non-primal eating, consider these modest proposals for what ails you,” Sisson stated. Step one is to “commit to a morning fast” in order to “give your body the time it needs to take care of the residuals from the day before.” Another strategy is to “drink some tea.” Sisson recommends a caffeine-free tea. He also recommends “bitters,” an old home remedy. Sisson also advises to “avoid antacids and acid reducing medication, take a good helping of probiotic, relax, get help from enzymes, get some exercise, fresh air and sun, eat a “small primal meal at the end of the day” and “go to bed early.”

While Sisson and Wisener strategize to avoid and cure, writer Nora Zelevansky posted a more enabling essay on LearnVest. “How could it not happen? With all the turkey, ham, stuffing, yams, pies—not to mention grandma’s world famous, extra-strong eggnog—it’d be a miracle if you didn’t overindulge at the dinner table, and the office potluck and your neighbor’s big New Year’s shindig,” Zelevansky stated. “Then there’s the temptation to succumb to emotional eating to cope with holiday

Contact Marty Madden at marty.madden@thebaynet.com

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