Christmas Dinner

Christmas Feasts – How to not Overeat

Christmas. That time of the year where joy and happiness intertwine with laughter and clinking of glasses. We will gather with family and friends to celebrate together one of the brightest holidays. And the majority of us will not only overdrink but also overeat. I am not going to be your caring mommy and tell you not to do it. I will just share with you a few tips on how to stuff yourself in a wiser way.

The most important thing about eating properly is to do it in a certain order. The following pieces of advice do not intend to be all-encompassing, but if you follow them, you will definitely enjoy your festivities better.

How many times have you drunk water/beer in huge amounts while munching on your food? Most of you still do it. Okay, this is wrong, and you should stop doing that if you want your stomach to function properly. Drink the pint of beer or the glass of water before you start eating. An ideal case would be 15-30 minutes before the meal. I should open big parentheses here. An

Drink the pint of beer or the glass of water before you start eating. An ideal case would be 15-30 minutes before the meal. I should open big parentheses here. An occasional sip of other types of spirits – such as wine, brandy, and whisky – will not only not hinder your gastric acid, hence stomach functioning, but it will also aid it in digesting the food.

I have put occasional in bold since sipping 5-10 ml every 10 minutes will not burden your digestion (this includes water and beer, but who drinks so little of those?).

Food Digestion Speeds
How are different foods digested by our bodies. Source: Cavemanning

 

As you have seen from the photo above, some foods take much longer to be digested than others. Therefore, always start your meal with the things that are most easily absorbed – fruits and vegetables.

There is a widespread practice of eating fruits for dessert – after the meal.

Wrong again.

Why?

Let’s say you have already eaten that juicy steak and your stomach is busy.

According to the table above, meats take 3-5 hours to be digested. If you finish your steak and immediately after that consume a fruit, it will just enter your stomach, but it will just stay there until the steak has been dealt with by the gastric acid. Since the fruits are not digested at once, they will start to ferment.

Fermentation is responsible for the production of large amounts of gas that push gastric acid back up the oesophagus  (the so-called “burping”). This is not only unpleasant but could also lead to the development of gastric cancer.

How Should I Eat my Christmas Treats?

Let’s say I am having a green salad, a cream potato soup, and a steak with steamed vegetables.

How should I eat them?

I will start with the green salad, then I will eat the soup, and finally I will proceed to the main dish. Most people will eat the steak and the side dish of steamed vegetables simultaneously. However tempting that is, it is still wrong. The steamed vegetables should all be consumed before the steak in order to prevent the overburdening of the stomach.

Drinking huge amounts of liquids should not only be avoided during meals but also, according to the type of foods, after meals.

Every human body is unique, but generally, before drinking water after a meal, I would wait:

1) at least 30 minutes after eating a green salad;

2) 45-60 minutes after eating potatoes, fish, bread, nuts, beans; and

3) 1,5-2 hours after eating meat.

Everything can be summed up into 3 simple rules:

  1. Drink your glass of water or a pint of beer before the meal.
  2. During the meal, follow the order – the foods that are digested in the fastest way are the first to be consumed – 1) fruits, vegetables; 2) fish, bread, nuts, beans; 3) meat.
  3. Wait a certain amount of time after your meal before drinking again.

And what everybody knows, but almost everybody ignores – chew as slowly as possible. In this way, you are not only enjoying the scrumptious Christmas delicacies but you are also helping your stomach to deal with the food more easily.


Do you have any other tips? Do you charge your food or do some other magical tricks?

Bon appétit, cheers, and Merry Christmas!

2 comments on “Christmas Feasts – How to not Overeat

  1. Aleks

    Great read and very useful tips. Implementing them, especially during this time of the year, is almost a must. If I may, I would share another piece of advice. I personally have noticed that my trainings and exercises during the days around Christmas are super good. I think the reasons for that are:
    – a lot of consumed food, therefore, lots of stored energy
    – quite a good amount of free time (it is a holiday after all), therefore, no need to hurry during your trainings
    – big urge to burn the consumed thousands of calories every day
    Therefore, my advice is – enjoy the holidays but also allocate some time every day to exercise (even if it is just walking), so you can enjoy the stuffing and the Christmas delicacies even more 🙂

    • Svet

      Thanks for reading and for sharing these insights.

      It is true that we have a lot of energy due to the enormous amounts of food (and drinks) we swallow around the holidays. And I agree we definitely need to put those calories into action – be it training, walking or dancing 🙂

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