10 Simple SIBO tips to recover from Christmas overindulgence

How much did you overindulge this Christmas?

Christmas is a wonderful time of year. We get to see our family, many of whom we don't see regularly, and we shower those we love with gifts.

It is also a time of year that is full of food, often foods that are a SIBOers nightmare.

If you had the best of intentions heading into Christmas, only to stumble and eat ALL. OF. THE. FOOD., you are not alone. Many SIBO folk experience the same thing.

It is impossible to be 100% perfect with your SIBO diet 100% of the time. So instead of being angry with yourself for eating foods you wouldn't normally eat, why not follow one or all of the suggestions below on how to recover and get back on track.

Christmas Meal

How to recover from Christmas overindulgence

1. Remember, It Will Pass

So, you ate all of the food. Or maybe you just had a few bites of a dish that you absolutely love, but it didn't love you back.

The good news is that any food reactions you have experienced will pass. It might take a couple of days to several days for your symptoms to subside, but they will subside, eventually.

Use this time to think about how these foods made you feel. Check in with yourself to determine how severe your symptoms actually were. If they were less than what you thought you would experience, this can be a great way of monitoring your progress.

If your symptoms were more severe than what you expected them to be, this can be a good opportunity to review what you ate, and think about why your body wasn't ready for them yet. It doesn't mean you won't ever be able to eat these foods again, but now is not the time for you.

Also think about the volume and diversity of foods you ate. If you ate ALL. OF. THE. FOOD. it might simply be that you gave your body more than it could cope with right now. Smaller portions or only choosing one dish might have lessened your symptoms (or you might not have experienced any).

Write down what you ate and how you felt. You won't remember by the time you get to next Christmas, and it can be a great way to measure your progress from one year to the next.

2. Drink plenty of water

Not only will water re-hydrate you, it will also help to flush the foods and toxins out of your system. Aim to drink a minimum of 8 glasses of water each day, and more if you can handle it.

If you have been dealing with diarrhoea, put a small pinch of sea salt into your water.  This will help you absorb the depleted minerals more easily.

Get Plenty Of Rest And Sleep

3. Get plenty of sleep and rest

When we have strong reactions to foods, it can be really tiring on our bodies. Allowing yourself the time to rest and recuperate is an important step in recovering from an overindulgence.

The more you stress about how you're feeling, the worse you will feel.  Be kind and allow yourself time to rest and relax.  When we go into a flare, our system is on full alert.  Things like meditation (we love the 1 Giant Mind free meditation app), deep breathing, napping, listening to relaxing music, reading a good book under a comfy blanket, or a warm bath with epsom salts can be great ways to rest and relax your body.

"Don't see a food flare as a bad thing. Learn from it and use it as a benchmark in your recovery. Foods that cause you problems today, won't necessarily in the future. Track how you react to foods so you can look back at your journey and see how far you have come.

Rebecca Coomes

4. Eat calming foods

After overindulging, it is important to give your gut a break. Choose foods that are easy for your digestive system to process, and ones that you know you can tolerate well.

Soups, stews, pureed or blended foods can be beneficial as they are easier to digest.

If you gut is feeling particularly angry, avoid raw foods like salads and hard foods like nuts and seeds, as these can be more difficult to digest and can cause extra sensitivity. Come back to these foods when your gut has calmed down.

Avoid alcohol if possible, as this is irritating to an already upset gut.

5. Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent Fasting is the concept of taking a break from eating constantly, and giving the gut a rest from having to continuously process food.

It can be a useful tactic when we go into a food flare, because we give the gut a chance to process the foods we have put into it before putting extra food in.

If you have never used Intermittent Fasting before, you might like to have an early dinner and then skip breakfast the following day. Aim to eat a light lunch and dinner made of foods you know you can tolerate.

If you are an experienced Intermittent Faster, you might like to avoid food for 24 hours or longer, to give you gut a good break.

6. Get Rid of Leftovers

If your Christmas feast has caused you bother, the worst thing you can do is to continue to eat the foods that caused you pain.

Hand leftovers to friends or family, or take them to work so your colleagues can enjoy the food.

But be careful not to keep leftovers for too long, as they can be a common cause of food poisoning.

7. Use Appropriate Supplements

Depending on the types of symptoms you are experiencing, you may be able to find some temporary relief from one of several supplements that are commonly used by SIBO patients.

Dr Allison Siebecker has a handy list of supplements that can be used to alleviate the pain and discomfort of SIBO symptoms. Get the list here.

Woman Walking

8. Time Out

As wonderful as it is to see family over Christmas, it can also be stressful. If you feel your stress levels increasing, or if the family tensions are high, make some time for yourself away from it all.

Head out for a walk to get some fresh air and clear your head. Soak in a tub full of epsom salts and magnesium (which is also great for detoxing too!), or call a friend and organise to meet for a soothing cup of tea.

Even if you are only able to get away for 15 minutes, it will do yourself and your family a favour and give everyone a chance to calm down and get back to enjoying their time together.

9. Gentle Exercise

Gentle exercise can help move food through your system, which in turn can help speed up your recovery from a flare.

The important thing to remember here is to keep the exercise gentle. Go for a walk, hop into a pool or head to the beach for a swim, do a gentle yoga class or even a gentle low-impact class at your gym.

But don't overdo it.  High intensity exercise can be stressful for the body, so treat it carefully and allow it to recover.

10. Get back on track

A flare from your overindulgence at Christmas shouldn't be a permanent thing. The sooner you can get back to eating and drinking in a way that makes you feel good, the quicker you will be able to recover from your flare.

Now is not the time to think 'screw it, I feel crap so I'm going to keep eating crap!' That thought process will only lead you to feeling worse, for longer.

Write down your intentions for the end of December and look towards January and beyond as to how you want to live life in the new year.

If you are struggling to get back on track, why not join my free Facebook SIBO Recipes Group, where you can ask other SIBOers what yummy, gut-friendly foods they're eating.

Learn From Your Mistakes

Use this as a learning experience

A flare from your overindulgence at Christmas shouldn't be a permanent thing. The sooner you can get back to eating and drinking in a way that makes you feel good, the quicker you will be able to recover from your flare.

Now is not the time to think 'screw it, I feel crap so I'm going to keep eating crap!' That thought process will only lead you to feeling worse, for longer.

Write down your intentions for the end of December and look towards January and beyond as to how you want to live life in the new year.

If you are struggling to get back on track, why not join my free Facebook SIBO Recipes Group, where you can ask other SIBOers what yummy, gut-friendly foods they're eating.

What helps you recover from overindulgence at Christmas?

Do you have some tried-and-true methods to recover from a food flare or sore tummy after overindulging? If so, I'd love to hear what you do. Simply pop them in the comments below so others can learn from your tips too.

Need help tracking your food and symptoms?

Download my FREE Food and Mood Diary today. It will help you track the foods you are eating and the symptoms you are experiencing. It is great for people who are just starting out and learning how to tune in and listen to their bodies, while also being useful for the more advanced SIBOer who is looking to get back on track.

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2 thoughts on “10 Simple SIBO tips to recover from Christmas overindulgence”

  1. Hi Rebecca, thanks for the tips and advice. May I ask that you delete any previous email addresses you may have. We had a big problem to rectify. Also delete my Gmail address.
    I wish you a Happy and prosperous New year in 2020 and look fwd to keeping in contact. Merle

    1. If you can send an email to info (at) thehealthygut (dot) com with information about the email accounts you wish to have deleted, I will happily organise that for you.

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