Let's face it: You're going to overeat this Thanksgiving. That's the point of the holiday. You eat until you're full, then push through it until you're sick. While delicious foods like turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and gravy go down easy, they can wreak havoc coming out the other side. Overeating can cause digestive issues such as abdominal pain, bloating, and belching. And an uncomfortable gut leads to unhappy bathroom experiences.
Luckily, there are ways to enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner without paying for it on the toilet. As part of our mission to help you have happier, healthier eliminations, we've scoured the web to bring six tips to help you avoid constipation, diarrhea, and other stomach troubles this holiday season. Use these simple tips to prevent toilet and tummy trouble after turkey day.
Want to have your green bean casserole and digest it too? Grab some cranberry sauce, pull up your stool, and read on.
Add digestion-friendly foods to your meal
If you're already going to overeat, plan on mixing in some food to help you digest it. Ingredients like carrots, cabbage, peas, broccoli, and green beans can soothe the stomach and alleviate bloating.
If you’re going to add one food to avoid heartburn and uncomfortable gas this Thanksgiving, go with ginger. Ginger has been proven to ease acid reflux symptoms and increase gastric emptying. Consider buying a package of ginger chews or making a strong cup of ginger tea after your meal. It will aid digestion and keep you from feeling overly bloated or full.
Drink plenty of water
Drinking water before, during, and after your Thanksgiving meal will help reduce your risk of indigestion and heartburn. Starting your day with a full glass of water flushes your system and sets you up for later success. Sipping water during your dinner will slow down your eating process and make you feel fuller faster, which helps you avoid overstuffing on stuffing. Having a glass of water before you go to bed will keep your digestive system lubricated as it breaks down food.
If you want to get fancy with it, we suggest squeezing a lemon into your water. The citric acid in lemon stimulates stomach acid production and helps flush toxins from your system.
Add a probiotic
Ingesting a probiotic on the big day can keep your gut microbiome balanced while it works through the mountain of food you just inhaled. Probiotics support the production of good gut bacteria and create optimal digestive conditions inside your stomach.
You can add healthy probiotics into your system through supplements or foods like kefir yogurts, kimchi, and sauerkraut. And yes, we understand the irony of suggesting you put even more things in your stomach to battle a full belly. But if you want to avoid bloating that slows digestion, you should be pro-probiotics.
Use a Squatty Potty
Want your post-turkey poo to slide right out of you? Use a toilet stool. Squatting with your feet on a specially designed bathroom stool puts your body in a more natural position, making it easier to let your leftovers loose. Squatting makes it easier to poop because it tilts your colon forward to align with your anus. The better the alignment and higher the release angle, the more your rectum opens up to deliver the goods. If you want to eliminate exhausting eliminations, try popping a squat.
The more food you eat, the more waste you make. Cut down on unnecessary bathroom trips and get everything out in one smooth go by adopting the proper pooping position. When you use a Squatty Potty, your muscles relax and your sphincter loosens, making more space in your rectum, letting your evacuations slide out smoother.
Not sure which toilet stool will put your pooper in the proper position? Use our guide to find the stool that works for your body type.
Fight the urge to sleep
The tryptophan effect is real. Once you scarf down seconds and thirds, it can be hard to think about anything but sleep. If you can push past the sleepy post-Thanksgiving haze, your gut will thank you. Instead of lying on the couch, try to find an activity to do with your friends or family.
Movement is proven to aid digestion. Go for a walk, play charades, or work the room. Do anything you can to increase your heart rate after you eat. The more you get your blood pumping, the faster your food moves through your intestines. The less time your stool sits in your digestive system, the less your intestines have to absorb water from it. This movement leads to softer, easier-to-pass poop.
Avoid heartburn triggers
While ingredients like ginger are known to improve digestion, some foods and beverages are sure to make things worse. Ingredients like chocolate, coffee, mints, and acidic fruits can trigger heartburn or acid reflux. These foods loosen the sphincter that connects your stomach and esophagus, letting acid to make its way up inside you.
If you can manage, go easy on the alcohol as well. Booze can irritate the GI tract, slow your system, and increase the chances of overeating.
The Final Turd
When it comes to Thanksgiving, we’re not telling you to eat less. That’s half the fun! We want to help you avoid spending the next day holding your stomach and running to the toilet. If you add digestion-friendly foods, drink plenty of fluids, and get your blood pumping after the big meal, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying better Thanksgiving bowel movements. And when the time comes to let your leftovers loose, remember to assume the proper squatting position with a Squatty Potty for a happier, healthier experience.