With Thanksgiving upon us, we have officially entered a holiday season dominated by savory dishes and decadent desserts that even the most consciousness dieter can't pass up. And while everyone deserves a little self-indulgence, the sluggish aftermath of a Thanksgiving feast has become almost as traditional as the meal itself. Thankfully, Kimberly Snyder is here to help. A nutritionist who counts stars like Reese Witherspoon, Kerry Washington and Rooney Mara as clients and is the author behind the multi New York Times best-selling Beauty Detox book series and Radical Beauty, Snyder broke down for W her best tips for preparing your body for large meals, what foods helps to kick start digestion and her daily morning health habits. Here, her guide on how to enjoy and recover from the holidays without missing a beat.
What is your approach and mindset to dining during holidays?
One of my mantras is “Progress, not Perfection”, as well as my 80/20 rule of not striving to be perfect, but trying to be on point the majority of time, but having a cushion built in for treats…and holidays! And during the holidays the 20 percent might stretch much higher. We all like to indulge, yet it’s not fun for anyone to feel like we’ve totally gone off course and are totally bloated and feel heavy. So my mindset is to enjoy, but not throw your whole routine out the window. Pick and choose the meals and dishes you really enjoy, but be discriminating. Still start each day with your ideal morning ritual—hot water with lemon, the SBO Probiotics (which are key to take through the holiday season and beyond to keep your gut balanced), your Glowing Green Smoothie, meditation or still time—which helps with cravings, being in touch with your body, stress management and more. Starting off on the right foot each morning makes it becomes easier to resist temptations and not give in to everything around you. Also, I encourage you to enjoy the key meals and occasions, but not to weigh yourself down with eating the leftovers for days afterwards!
The holidays are known as a time of excessive indulgence, what is your best advice on how to enjoy your holiday favorites without feeling guilty?
Thanksgiving is a holiday filled with decadent dishes and treats that we indulge in and usually feel guilty afterwards. However, people’s usual perception to have gained a lot of weight is due to bloating—eating foods that we don’t usually eat, stress eating, and over-indulging in treats around the office or home. Often we feel guilty or awful about ourselves when we “give in” and eat more than we should have. However, it’s important to not have this mentality and remind yourself that it’s okay to have a treat and let it go. It’s over. Don’t overthink the decisions you made. We must move on! I think setting some limits helps prevent guilt. If we go into the holiday knowing we want to eat certain foods and making that conscious decision, for instance, but giving away the leftovers or not keeping them around, so it doesn't continue, then we can enjoy and move on more easily. Lastly, we must love ourselves. This is tough because we’re programmed to naturally feel guilty about what we eat. We need to realize that we’re so much more than what we eat.
How would you advice spacing out large meals and snacks throughout the day?
It’s crucial to not be so fixated on what you’re eating during your holiday meal. Understand that this is an occasion and you don’t usually have this meal on other days. Don’t overthink the decisions you made. Guilt will take you nowhere so leave it behind! Know that the slice of pie you’ll be having is not something you do all the time, but something you’ll have today and move on. It’s always helpful to avoid being very hungry before a large meal. Eat a light salad and/or soup based lunch and then have your one big meal, taking digestive enzymes before, sipping ginger tea afterwards.
What some metabolism boosting food and drinks that can help avoid bloating and kick start digestion?
On a holiday that’s associated with over-indulging and snack eating, here are some boosting foods and drinks that can help with digestion and avoid bloating: Cranberry juice is a great de-bloating agent. Since you’ll be consuming more sodium than usual during the holidays, pour concentrated cranberries into a fresh glass of water with some stevia to drink in the evening. Rooibos Tea is high in antioxidants and flavonoids, which also promotes youthfulness and great skin. Mint is a great source for promoting better digestion. By using mint, you can also blend a green smoothie if you prefer something cooler. Adding raw apple cider vinegar to your diet will promote optimal digestion and encourages growth of healthy bacteria in our bodies. In addition, it’s high in minerals and potassium, which stimulate cellular cleansing. It also has antiseptic qualities that can help cleanse your digestive tract and promote bowel movement to help get rid of waste from your body. You only need one tablespoon a day to prevent bloating, so you can easily substitute other vinegars you use in your salad with it. Water may seem like a simple choice but drinking water is essential in supporting healthy metabolic function. Along with metabolism boosting effects, ginger also breaks up mucous, reduces inflammation, soothes the digestive system, and improves body circulation. There are several ways you can incorporate ginger to your food: add it to salad dressing, make ginger lemon tea, or add it to your Glowing Green Smoothie. Similarly to other warming spices, cinnamon can boost your metabolism by increasing your body temperature. In addition, cinnamon helps your body manage blood sugar effectively, which may be beneficial to those who have hindered their metabolism caused by insulin resistance. You may sprinkle cinnamon in warm almond milk or mix with chia seeds and almond milk and have a delicious snack pudding. Although I’ve said it many times, I’ll repeat that the glowing green smoothie is the best way to start your day. It provides your body with all the nutrients it needs to kick start your metabolism in the morning. Furthermore, it offers nutrition, fiber, and energy to quell cravings and distance you from metabolism-harming substances, such as caffeine and diet soda.
What are your best tips on how to recover after Thanksgiving?
Start the day with a mug of hot water with lemon. Lemon aids with digestion by increasing the secretion of bile from the liver, while also acting as a strengthening agent to the liver’s enzymes. Lemon supports digestion in the colon, promoting the elimination of waste more efficiently and regularly. It also acts as a blood purifier and as a cleansing agent to flush out bacteria and toxins in the body. These properties in aiding digestion make it also helpful in long-term cleansing. Although it has natural citric acids, lemon is actually alkaline-forming upon digestion. Have a veggie soup the next day—fiber filled, filling, yet very easy to digest. Avoid difficult to digest foods in general the next day—gluten and dairy, as well as preferably meat. Have an all veggie day to give your system a rest. Go easy on fat the next day, and preferably avoid oil. It is a dense, liquid fat that in general takes digestive energy to break down, so by avoiding it you can let the other foods digest through your system more efficiently. Some avocado or cleansing chia seeds instead would also be ideal.