6 Tips to Get Less Stuffed

Whether we plan to feast or fast during the holidays, getting stuffed seems to be inevitable for both ourselves and the turkey! According to the Calorie Control Council, the average amount of calories consumed in one Thanksgiving meal is a whopping 4,500! Overindulgence in food and spirits often comes with a heavy price of indigestion. To help you feel a bit lighter this holiday season, try the following tips so you can survive the Thanksgiving munching mayhem.


Don’t gobble and wobble! If you find it difficult to turn away that extra savory stuffing or find the need to cram yourself with cookies, then you may find yourself tipping over with food overload. In Chinese medicine, a life of longevity requires healthy digestion. Our bodies must properly break down, absorb, and eventually process all of the nutrients in the food we eat. Indigestion, however, may cause a toxic overload and lead to chronic disease down the road. Luckily, a life of longevity is attainable.

Start with these 6 tips to navigate the holiday season!

1. Heartburn: Cool the Fire 

A common problem after most holiday meals is heartburn. If your torso feels like an inferno after an oversized meal, you may want to try this natural heartburn reliever. Juice one medium raw potato in a juicer or blender, and strain the mixture. Mix the juice with one cup of warm water and drink on an empty stomach upon waking. This remedy may help reduce the amount of acid build up, while soothing your stomach. Here's another home remedy that alleviates heartburn discomfort: juice one daikon radish. After discarding the pulp, mix with an equal amount of hot water, and drink once a day after eating. 

Bonus Tip: Sometimes herbs can lend a hand, too! This classic Indigestion herbal combination is formulated to reduce food stagnation and to harmonize the stomach.

2. Try the Waiting Game

Are you ready for seconds? Although your taste buds may be ready for that second helping of mashed potatoes, your stomach may be telling you to put the brakes on! It takes twenty minutes for the brain to signal satiety to the stomach, so take your time chewing each bite. Remember to savor the flavors of all the foods you eat, without rushing to take the next bite. Here’s a trick: put your fork down until you finish chewing your food and you may find that you can get by without another bite of sweet potato pie.

3. Post-meal: Hit the Road! 

If it is possible to take a walk after your meal, your body will thank you! After a large meal, a 10- to 20-minute stroll can facilitate healthy digestion and encourage cleansing of the lymphatic system. Walking helps food to move through the digestive tract, which helps improve digestion and nutrient absorption. To help ease your belly bloat, try massaging your abdomen in a circular motion with your palms as you walk.

4. Forego the Fat 

While fat is an essential nutrient vital for multiple metabolic processes and vitamin absorption, consuming too much fat—especially the unhealthy fats—may contribute to a lethargic and bloated feeling. Minimize fried, greasy foods, as well as foods that contain too many spices, which can also upset your belly. Check in with your stomach: Are you about to eat that forkful of greasy stuffing because you are actually hungry? Or are your taste buds making the call? Don't let your tongue determine when your stomach is full. In addition, caffeine can cause an upset stomach, so sip on herbal teas instead.

5. Have a Tea Party 

While alcohol and caffeine may contribute to digestive discomfort, herbal tea can actually help relieve that full feeling. Try this simple tasty recipe and sip your way to a happy belly! Steep one teaspoon each of mint, rosemary, oregano, cilantro, sage, and basil in a cup of hot water. Drink after each meal to prevent bloating. You may also want to try calming peppermint, chamomile, or ginger tea for settling the stomach, which you can make fresh or purchase in tea bags.

6. First Thing in the Morning: Simple Detox  

After a large dinner, the last thing your body needs is another food coma! Upon waking, try this natural remedy for digestive stress instead. Mix one tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar with 12 ounces of warm water, and drink on an empty stomach. You may want to add a little bit of raw, organic honey or maple syrup to the mixture for sweetness. In Chinese medicine, apple cider is traditionally used to ease digestion, support liver detoxification, normalize digestive juices, and reduce intestinal bloating. Another alternative is to squeeze the juice of one lemon and mix it into one glass of room temperature water.

I hope that you and your loved ones will enjoy a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!

You can find more ways to live a long and healthy life in Secrets of Longevity: Hundreds of Ways to Live to Be 100, which is now available on Kindle. In addition, The Natural Health Dictionary makes a great companion to your quest for longevity. It is a comprehensive guide that answers all your questions about natural remedies, healing herbs, longevity foods, vitamins, and supplements.

Follow me on Twitter to get insider tips and to ask your health questions.

May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

—Dr. Mao

This blog is meant to educate, but it should not be used as a substitute for personal medical advice. The reader should consult his or her physician or clinician for specific information concerning specific medical conditions. While all reasonable efforts have been made to ensure that all information presented is accurate, as research and development in the medical field is ongoing, it is possible that new findings may supersede some data presented.

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