Thanksgiving is a time for family and overindulgence. Some of us tend to overeat and binge on the leftovers for days to come. This could dampen the digestive fire (Agni) and throw your gut and mind off balance with bloating, acidity, brain fog, irritability, etc.
These consequences can easily be avoided by putting in just a bit of thought into what and how you cook and serve your guests.
Here are a few takeaways from the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda that will help you celebrate Thanksgiving without losing balance.
Cook with digestive spicesSpices play an important role in making the food delectable and digestible. There are many digestive spices to choose from. Take it up a notch by pairing the digestive properties of the spice with the issue the key ingredient of your dish can entail. Here are a few examples:
- Cheese can increase mucus and is heavy to digest. Cut the richness with a sprinkle of Black Pepper.
- Brussels sprouts (and other vegetables in the Cabbage family) produce gas. Cook them with turmeric, cumin, mustard seeds, Indian celery seeds or ginger.
- Dairy based desserts like Ice creams, Rice Puddings, etc. can create congestion. Pair them with cloves. Green cardamom will also help breakdown the dairy protein faster for easier digestion.
- Lentils and Legumes can be cooked along with garlic, ginger, cayenne, cloves, cumin.
Serve warm herbal tea
In Ayurveda, warm water and herbal teas are cherished for their profound effects on digestion and overall well-being.
Warm water is believed to stoke Agni, the digestive fire. This gentle heat can facilitate the efficient breakdown of food, absorption of nutrients, and elimination of waste. It also helps in liquefying toxins, aiding their elimination from the body. Herbal teas can offer targeted digestive support. Our recommendations for the week after Thanksgiving are as follows:
- Ginger tea reduces inflammation and alleviates digestive discomfort.
- Peppermint tea is cooling and soothing, perfect if you are prone to acidity and inflammation.
- Fennel tea and CCF Tea can help ease gas and bloating.
- Gymnema tea or water of soaked fenugreek seeds can help get back in balance if you’ve indulged in sugar over Thanksgiving.
Use natural sweeteners for dessertsOverindulgence in refined sugar can cause inflammation and get your metabolism out of whack. But, how can you not have desserts for Thanksgiving? There are several natural sweeteners that make good alternatives to refined sugar.
Our favorite natural sweeteners are dates, date sugar, coconut sugar, date syrup, maple syrup and honey.
Pro tip: Keep the sweetness level mild to let your other wonderful ingredients shine.
Balance your plate
Include dishes with different textures, colors and tastes. This will give you more contentment from your meals, which automatically keeps you from binge eating.
Sides are a brilliant way of bringing different colors and textures on the table. For instance, with a crunchy green salad, soft roasted carrots, butternut squash soup you have three colors and three textures on the table right there.Ayurveda talks about six tastes – sweet, sour, salty, pungent, astringent, and bitter. It also says that a meal that includes all these six tastes is a complete meal. A good Thanksgiving meal encompassing all the six tastes will invigorate all your taste buds!
Avoid incompatible food combinations
Ayurveda talks about incompatible food combinations in a lot of detail. These are food combinations that can make digestion harder. Avoiding these combinations can help you maintain gut health after Thanksgiving.
Here are a few examples of most common incompatible food combinations:
- Meat or fish combined with dairy.
- Milk or cream combined with fruits, tomatoes or eggplants.
- Cheese combined with fruits.
- Cook in moderate quantities
We all know stale food does not favor our gut health. As you cook, be mindful of how much can be reasonably consumed in one night. Leftovers are avoidable for all! This will give you the option of starting the day after Thanksgiving with light meals that help your digestive fire recoup from last night’s indulgence.
Cook with gratitude and mindfulness
It is believed that the state of mind in which you cook can impact how a person feels after he consumes it.
Avoid cooking if you are feeling triggered by or anxious because of something. Say a lil prayer or sit down for a guided meditation or mindfulness before you start cooking. Cooking with a positive state of mind spreads positivity. It will also help you connect you with the deeper meaning of the holiday, reduce stress and keep you away from overconsumption.
We hope you have a Thanksgiving full of good food and good health.