Halloween brings a lot of things to mind, most of them being candy and sweets. October 31st is one of those days where you might have given yourself a free pass for overindulging, and you might have found yourself eating all the candy and chocolates within your vicinity. This is, after all, the unofficial start of the holiday season and you need to acclimate your body to some treats.
That said, Halloween is only supposed to be one day a year, so it is important not to drag the celebration out for weeks on end. This means that today is the day to put the madness to an end! Here’s what you can do to get back on track, rebound from a sugar hangover and get back to your Paleo lifestyle.
Let Go Of Guilt.
So, you ate everything within reach and now you are feeling extremely guilty and sorry for yourself. What happened, happened, and the faster you realize that, the faster you can get back on track. Remember that more holidays are coming, opening the door for plenty of temptations. The sooner you get over your Halloween induced stupor, the better off you will be.
Plus, letting loose now and then reminds you how bad excess sugar can make you feel, and strengthens your commitment to eating Paleo.
Trash The Temptations.
Like any good hangover, you may try to convince yourself that a little hair of the dog will make you feel better today. This is not the case. Go cold-turkey and throw out any leftover candy that is hanging around your house. If it is out of sight, you are far less likely to dip your hand into the stash.
Read on here for more on the effects of sugar on your body
Drinking lots of water is an integral part of any detox—sugar included. Dehydration is common, especially after a sugar binge. This can lead to fatigue, decreased mental alertness and mood changes which, in reality, will only exacerbate your hangover, so drink up. Adequate water consumption aids the kidneys and intestines in removing waste from the body.
Get some tips to hydrate better here
Adding salt and potassium to your water in the days after your Halloween over-indulgences will further help you feel better faster. When you return to your Paleo diet, which is generally lower in carbohydrates than all those treats, your body will burn through your carbohydrate stores and release all the water it took on. You will lose a lot of sodium and potassium along with it. Make up for it with an electrolyte-rich supplement to decrease dehydration-related headaches and fatigue.
Sugar-laden candy can make you feel on top of the world, but by now you are acutely aware of the crash and burn that is soon to follow. Hydrating will help you bounce back from the fatigue, as will a good night's rest. Resist the urge to dive into a pot of coffee to make it through the day. Give your body a break and take it easy.
Even if you feel bloated and miserable, do some kind of exercise after eating too much sugar. Hit the gym, do some high-intensity interval training or just go for a long walk. Move your body because the more you sweat the better you will feel. A good sweat will help your body rid itself of toxins, and exercise releases natural "feel-good" hormones giving you an added boost after feeling less than optimal after all the festivities.
Exercise stabilizes your blood sugar and helps you burn through glycogen stores faster. Psychologically, exercise helps you get back to your routine after you break it. It can be tough to exercise on the heels of eating your weight in sugar, but you will feel much better afterward.
Eat Regular Meals.
It can be tempting to fast the day after a sugar binge. Maybe you want to balance out the extra calories or give your system a chance to get back to baseline. Fasting can be very good for you, but on days after eating too much sugar, you are better off eating lots of quality whole foods instead of fasting. Furthermore, fasting after a sugar binge can create disordered eating patterns where you binge, fast and then binge again. That is not a cycle that is supportive of your health goals. Instead, listen to your body and eat when you feel hungry, and stop eating when satisfied.
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Eat Real Food.
Yes, you already ditched the candy, but it is also a good idea to avoid other processed foods, even if they are Paleo friendly versions. Stick to whole foods like humanely raised proteins, healthy fats, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. Avoid the common mistake of going on a juice cleanse or drinking a cold-pressed juice—especially those with fruit-centric ingredients—as the sugar content, though natural, will not help your detox. If you enjoy juicing, try one veggie-based juice and eat lots of cruciferous vegetables, which contain antioxidants and phytochemicals that naturally support detoxification.
What To Eat.
Eating humanely raised animal proteins can support regulating blood sugar control as they slow down the absorption of carbohydrates and improve satiety. These will fill you up and decrease cravings. Foods high in protein, along with their healthy fats, nourish your body, giving it what it needs to get back on track after a sugary detour. Focus on eating as normally as possible, and listen to your body to figure out the best combination for you.
Eating foods filled with fiber helps to build stable energy, decrease cravings, and regulate your blood sugar. Fiber also feeds beneficial gut bacteria that may have been hurt by sugar. Your mother was right, eat your vegetables.
Include foods like asparagus, broccoli, carrots, cucumber, celery, leafy greens and sweet potatoes.
Antioxidant & Anti-Inflammatory Foods
To help your body recover from the inflammation caused by a sugar overload, stick to foods that are considered easy for your body to process with minimal potential for inflammation. Antioxidant-rich foods will also help your body deal with systemic inflammation and repair itself.
Enjoy foods like colorful fresh fruits and vegetables including red cabbage, swiss chard, blackberries and raspberries, wild-caught salmon, broccoli and avocados. Drink coffee and green tea for an extra dose of antioxidants, too.
Foods That Curb Cravings
Sugar cravings come on fast and quickly deplete your energy. Some good quality snacks that you can eat immediately can save the day. A few options are:
- Bacon (get yours here)
- Dark chocolate (78% or darker)
- Grass-fed hot dogs
- Pastured salami or pepperoni
- Grass-fed meat sticks, jerky or bars
- Nuts like macadamias or almonds, preferably raw
- Quality sugar-free nut butter spread over veggies or fruit
Focus On Wellness
Above all else, remember that a Paleo lifestyle exists on a spectrum and you don’t have to eat perfectly all the time. The occasional indulgence may be worth it to you occasionally.
If you feel like you are eating Paleo sweets and treats or processed foods more often than you would like, it might be wise to take a step back and consider your nutrition.
After eating too much sugar, following a few simple lifestyle strategies and going back to Paleo basics will help you get back on your feet and feeling your normal energy levels as quickly as possible.
Michal Ofer is a wellness and digestion expert and nutrition coach. She is focused on assisting clients to take control of their health and happiness through the sustainable food and lifestyle choices that best support them. Through strengthening the body from the inside out, her clients are able to reach new heights of health, happiness and wellness. Michal obtained her Professional Training and Certificate from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York. She has a further studied through the University of Colorado (Boulder) and Stanford University and is a Certified 21 Day Sugar Detox Coach. Michal has also received a Bachelor’s Degree in Life Sciences and a Master Life Coach Certification. For further information and to connect with Michal visit her website at www.michalofer.com