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Turmeric, as used in this tea, is said to have anti-inflammatory properties and boosts memory.

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I had eaten too much. Way too much. For the third time in a week, we’d had the chicken tikka masala my hubby concocted and yet I couldn’t get enough. It wasn’t maltodextrin or artificial sweeteners this time. It was so delectable that my own gluttony kicked in, my taste buds demanding more and more. After consuming more than enough, I filched a couple of morsels as I stowed it away and went to bed. When I awoke, it was still there. I was still full, uncomfortably so.

I loathe waking up full. There’s little better than coffee on an empty stomach (for me at least). I sometimes prefer waiting a while until I eat, perhaps inadvertent intermittent fasting. With Thanksgiving on the horizon, the holiday symbolized as much by gratitude as it is by overindulgence, we’re bound to overeat, overdrink and under-exercise at some point during the next six weeks.

Days of Your (pun intended)

You may wonder where this year has gone (I’m still mourning the loss of 2017), but as the next flip of the calendar year approaches, ascribing to our typical health guidelines is key to avoiding the customary holiday weight gain. What could be better than throwing our hands up in the air only to commence 2023 as a larger version of ourselves and a resolution to lose our holiday weight and more? Perhaps doing the exact opposite.

Overeating, especially when it comes to party foods or foods we aren’t used to, can muck up our system and set us off kilter. When our digestion gets thrown off, we feel sluggish, lack energy, miss our exercise routine and have little room for our all-essential water intake. Often, we experience a trickle-down effect for the rest of our health.

Having overindulged in coconut milk chicken tikka masala (I promise I’ll publish the recipe next time) I didn’t feel myself. Scanning my mind for home remedies, I was out of my son’s probiotic and hadn’t treated myself to any. Ginger is great for digestion and that tikka masala just happens to call for some, so we had some on hand. I sliced it up, mixed it with honey, lemon and some water and voila! Un digestif!

Nature’s bounty

Many natural remedies have properties that have proven helpful with digestion and more. Gut health is a topic we often come back to, as it’s integral to our overall health since the majority of our immune system resides in our gut. If our gut’s off, we’re off!

Other than not overeating and choosing our foods wisely, how can we manage the holidays without feeling guilty or too full after a fête?

Chewing our food well is a great party trick (after all, the digestion process starts with our saliva).

Drinking water while we eat can help neutralize our indulgences, not to mention the room we have for them.

Get enough sleep! Sleep is key to regulating our hunger (and satisfaction) hormones. Perhaps more easily said than done, but the more zzz’s we get, the less we may have to worry about packing on the pounds.

Don’t give up. Just because we’ve overindulged at one meal is no reason to start the domino effect of daily gluttony. The “I’ll start tomorrow” syndrome turns into “next year is a new year, new me” … and the next thing we know, we’re two belt loops further from our goals.

Even if we’re feeling poorly the next morning, here are some home remedies to get you back in the saddle sooner than later.

Digestifs aren’t just a fancy French excuse for an after-dinner drink. Many actually aid in digestion and, if we choose the right ones, we may not have to lose our way the next day.

Several teas including peppermint, ginger and spices like cardamom, fennel and cumin help to get the digestive juices flowing. Check your ingredients as though you were one of the three wise men, as tea companies have enacted money-saving efforts by way of shorting us on the real ingredients in teas like ginger and cinnamon, using “flavored” imitations instead. Vinegars such as balsamic and apple cider varieties can also jump start our tummies.

Baking soda acts as a natural antacid by neutralizing our stomach acid. Keep in mind that the problem may be that we don’t have enough stomach acid, but this is a great substitute for antacids. Both of which should only be used on occasion.

Probiotics can help some gurgley stomachs almost instantaneously. An unflavored liquid probiotic may be your best bet, but either way, steer clear of additives with names that you can barely pronounce. Natural sources of probiotics include yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi and kombucha.

Kombucha has many health benefits. Among them is that it feeds our good gut bugs and helps with digestion. My husband and son bellied up to a farmers market tent one Sunday where the kombucha was flowing, on tap, no less. They sent me a pic of a cup that read “Kombucha Kat” along the side in a clean, free flowing font.

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A fermented tea, kombucha is typically derived from black or green tea and contains antioxidants in addition to a host of good bacteria. It’s thought to kill the bad bugs and feed the good ones, a real Robinhood amongst teas. Studies have shown that kombucha has quickly decreased bad cholesterol, aiding good cholesterol in many cases. Green tea drinkers are said to have a 31 percent lower risk of developing heart disease. It is hypothesized that this can be applied to kombucha as well.

Turmeric, in addition to boosting brain cells, is said to have anti-inflammatory properties and boosts memory. It has been linked to helping prevent cancer and has been shown to aid arthritis and even helps with mood!

Add some cumin, fennel or cardamom if you’re feeling adventurous.

Turmeric ginger tea

Ingredients

5 to 6 slices fresh turmeric, peeled

5 to 6 slices fresh ginger, peeled

¼ lemon, well rinsed

½ teaspoon honey

3/4 cup hot water

Method

Put water onto boil.

Peel fresh turmeric with a knife and slice a few rounds.

Peel fresh ginger with a spoon (the best way!) and slice a few rounds.

Place turmeric and ginger in a large mug.

Squeeze lemon and add honey to mug.

Pour water just off a boil into cup.

Stir and enjoy.

*This beverage is great with whiskey in it too … don’t ask me how I know that!

Katharine A. Jameson, a certified nutrition counselor who grew up in Williamsville and Townshend, writes about food and health for Vermont News & Media. For more tricks, tips and hacks, find her on Instagram:

@foodforthoughtwithkat