How to Recover from Holiday Overindulgence

friends sharing pieSo, you overdid it…or just ate something that doesn’t work with your body. Maybe you didn’t binge per se but you abandoned the original plan and now you’re feeling the pain. You ate, maybe more than you intended, maybe differently than you intended.

Non-Primal foods were consumed – perhaps many of them or just a few in larger than planned quantities. Non-Primal and sub-Primal drinks were imbibed beyond the point of intention. And now the consequences are playing out. You’re stuck in a bloated, sloth-like, catatonic state. You’re nursing a major headache with every shade shut and the covers over your head wishing in a rather non-seasonal mindset that your children would take the noise to some distant corner of the neighborhood. Maybe you’ve taken up residence in the bathroom.

In a less dramatic scenario, perhaps you’re just pushing yourself through the day because you notice your energy is off, your digestion not up to full speed, your mood not quite as equanimous as usual. Whether you feel it was worth it or not, who wouldn’t want to reverse the course of misery itself after the fact?

Think of it this way: with health comes sensitivity to what’s unhealthy.

I’ll admit I don’t really get into cleanses or detoxes. That said, I do think we can help our bodies in their own miraculous processes get back on track – or at least get out of their way while they undo the damage. With a little time and care, we can recover and move on not too much worse for the wear. The healthier we eat and live on a daily basis, the better condition we’re in to weather these upsets. Unfortunately, however, the cleaner we eat the other 364 days of the year, the more we might feel a significant detour in our diet. That heaping plate of mashed potatoes with processed gravy product might have barely registered pre-Primal. Today it can leave you with indigestion and noxious gas for a good 36 hours.

If you’re looking to feel better after a big day (or season) of non-Primal eating, consider these modest proposals for what ails you.

Commit to a morning fast.

Conventional wisdom says eat normally after a holiday binge, but the body says differently. (Guess which one I’m inclined to heed.) Maybe the digestive fallout makes fasting a given, but even if you’re able to eat, give your body a break until early or even mid-afternoon. CW thinks if you go for a few hours without eating you’re sure to throw yourself head on into a major binge. That’s not the case for most Primal folks. Give your body the time it needs to take care of the residuals from the day before.

Drink some tea.

Lay off the food for a while, but go ahead and hydrate. Resist, however, Grandma’s suggestion to down a shot of hard booze. (Hands for how many times folks have heard this from family or friends?) Research has shown alcohol actually slows gastric emptying.1 One study that compared the effects of tea, wine and schnapps on gastric emptying showed that tea won hands down.2 Although the tea in the study was simple black tea, consider something without caffeine. (Your body has enough to contend with at the moment.) Chamomile can relax your nerves and your digestive tract, while peppermint can soothe an upset stomach. Opt for something other than mint, however, if heartburn is an issue. Keep in mind you shouldn’t down massive quantities of water (another common recommendation you’ll hear from conventional sources). You don’t want to drink so much that you end up diluting the gastric juices that are trying to do their job.

Try bitters.

There’s not much in terms of research (to be found in English anyway), but this is one age-old home remedy that will likely help. The folk wisdom that recommends schnapps, for example, is generally based on herb/bitter based schnapps formulations. The remedy is in the herb – not the alcohol.

Avoid antacids and acid reducing medication.

Your gastric juices are there to digest your food. If your food is slow to digest and feels like a rock in your stomach, does countering or reducing the natural acids that will break things down and move them along make any logical sense? Steer clear of these “remedies” and let your body do its thing.

Take a good helping of probiotic.

Whatever you ate likely did a number on your bacterial profile. A recent study, in fact, shows it only takes a few days to effect substantial change (about the same duration as most holiday visits to non-Primal relatives).3 While our guts are amazingly adaptable, that holiday binge might not be doing it any favors. Help replenish your healthy gut environment with a good probiotic supplement.

Relax yourself.

If you’re a bound up bag of aches and nerves, it doesn’t do your digestive process (or mentality) any good. Relax. Take a hot bath or shower. Turn up the heat, put on some relaxing music, and put a hot water bottle on your stomach and heated rice sock around your neck and shoulders.

Get some help from enzymes.

Especially if you ate something that you don’t tolerate well, try a quality enzyme supplement. (If you don’t have one on hand, bribe a family member or friend to visit your local health food/co-op store and search for one.) Avoid anything that contains sugar or artificial colors, fillers, etc. This is not the time for chemical additives.

Move but don’t push it.

You might not be up for your regular weight lifting session, but resist the urge to totally park it on the couch all day. Research shows that slow, low-level moving like walking aids gastric emptying.4 Those residuals of your holiday meal will move along more quickly if you get it in gear. There’s motivation to get up!

Don’t underestimate the power of fresh air and sun.

Especially if you’re feeling nauseated, fresh air can pull you out of your misery. Add sun, and you might just have a new lease on life. Sure, you may feel just as crappy an hour after you go back inside, but stay outside as long as you can to give yourself some relief.

Eat a small Primal meal at the end of the day.

Avoid sending your insulin spiking multiple times that day by grazing. Fast as long as it’s productive and comfortable, and then enjoy a modest Primal meal. When you do, choose something that will keep you satisfied for the rest of the night without taking up too much space/energy in an already sensitive stomach. Some vegetable-based fiber and protein should do the trick.

Go to bed early.

You’ve been through the wringer. However lethargic you’ve felt, certain body processes have been on overdrive or have been working harder to compensate for the food related stresses. Give into your body’s intuitive demands, and hit the sack early. Tomorrow is another Primal day.

Have you had any post-indulgence days that left you seeking relief? What’s works for you? Let me know your thoughts, and thanks for reading, everyone.

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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79 thoughts on “How to Recover from Holiday Overindulgence”

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  1. Particularly for mornings when I feel less than optimal, I like to start off the day with a big mug of green tea.

  2. ‘Fess up….I started my day yesterday with bacon and eggs….with an Amaretto chaser as we all opened our presents. It was a downward spiral into decadence from there….meals being primal but far too many treats. Looking forward…. today is a new day!

  3. Regarding your statement “I know we all don’t live in California”: it was -2 here in the midwest the other day, with a windchill somewhere in the negative teens. But the sun was shining and it was gorgeous out, so I decided to forego the indoor pool and go for a walk. Yes it was cold, but the fresh air and sunshine did my soul a world of good, and walking on a snowy trail gave me a serious workout (sweating by the time I got home). Unless we are seriously in danger of harming ourselves, winter weather should rarely be a deterrent to getting fresh air and sunshine. One of my favorite times of the year to get outside!

    1. +1 Lauren
      I’m a midwestern winter walker too and love it (most of the time), esp. when the sun is shining brightly. I do go slower when conditions warrant it, but I believe movement outside during cold weather can be a great response to the winter doldrums. Enjoy!!

  4. Yep, Lauryn, +1 to that and I might add that snowshoes make walking those trails seriously fun. There is nothing like being out in the woods or at the shore, easily moving around amidst piles of snow, the sun shining (or not), the waves sparkling, the trees singing…okay, I’m getting off this computer and into the great outdoors!

  5. Enjoying my fast this morning. I have no food sensitivities, but after last nights fondue with a bunch of home made sourdough bread, there is a bit of lethargy. Primal helps me clean up and get back on track very quickly.

  6. I have realized (before I read today’s post) that I have become a bit more sensitive in that I can really see how sugary sweets can affect my body. It really shows up on my skin

    I am now taking it easy and will go for a walk and just get back to my primal life style,

  7. Yep, too many treats this week overall, and I’ve had a cold (first in awhile) for almost a week. The sickness seems to be breaking today, so some nice house cleaning and light shoveling (and post holiday shopping?!) will do me good.

  8. Guilty as charged. Having said that, the primal foods I’ve eaten have been more enjoyable than even the deadliest of desserts – I really must be losing the taste for sweet treats. The traditional UK Christmas dinner, although we have an equally long tradition of moaning about it, when its done well there is hardly a better primal feed to have, in my opinion.

  9. Just finished reading this article. I wish i would have read it about an hour ago.

    Instead i introduced my wife to primal pancakes. It was her first time eating something made with almond flour.

    A little cinnamon and agave to taste.

    A nice primal breakfast to start a low key day (with exception of having to shovel the snow off of our drive way.)

  10. Thanks for the tips!

    While I was sort of good, I was still under 100 carbs for the whole day. Though I am usually not that high on average.

    I read this to late, so ended up having my regular breakfast of eggs with some protein fried in butter.

    Though for the rest of the day until I get home after work (work till 9pm) I am fasting and only drinking 1 coffee (*I know!*)

  11. Ok, so … I broke out in hives twice this week. First time was after I was roped into Maggiano’s for a holiday lunch at work. Formerly one of my favorites, but after not having pasta for years now, a couple of Four Cheese Raviolis later and I’m all itchy and red. The hives eased up, but a few Xmas cookies yesterday, a Yorkshire pudding, maybe a few more cookies … and they’re back today.

    I’m assuming here that this is wheat-related, but I haven’t read anything about sensitivity causing hives. I certainly consumed more pre-Primal (much, much more), and even post-Primal I can handle the occasional bun without a problem.

    What do you think, can a massive overload of crap cause hives? Or should I look elsewhere (am I allergic to reindeer…?)

    1. Hives have been connected to Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, which is connected to gluten intolerance. That’s my situation…something to consider.

    2. Personally, my issues are sometimes related to the overindulgence of wheat and sugar together (I eat dairy regularly and don’t have issues w/ it by itself). I don’t have hives though, just a small rash/cracking of the skin around my lips and inner elbow.
      Also, as a side note, the Maggiano’s in my area has gluten free pasta (though it wouldn’t be available for the ravioli)

    3. I, too, get hives as my # 1 reaction whenever I indulge. Can’t quite pinpoint it, but gluten, dairy & sugar all are suspect. I was very careful not to let gluten be a part of any foods I ate, but it is so sneaky! I openly included cheese & sugar the last couple of days and will not do that again. Tomatoes really get my hives going, so I am vigilant about those. Back to strict Paleo for me!

  12. Snow was not predicted for our area but it snowed all Christmas Eve day, Big floating flakes. At night, the temperature dropped and the snow came down like sparkly sugar. Early Christmas morning the sun was out and the fallen snow was filled with diamonds.

    I really don’t like to stuff myself so I didn’t over indulge with the eating or drinking and in fact ate no desserts the entire day. Too many other good things to eat.

    I did over indulge in cooking, however. Cooked and washed dishes for two days, with some family help. So today, I am on a cooking fast. At least until dinner time but I make no promises. There is so much food in the fridge, no one could possible go hungry.

    Now, this morning, I ate two pieces of pumpkin (primal of course, of course) pie. Pie for breakfast, an old family tradition. Yum!

    And a Happy late (see above) Holiday to all. I appreciate everyone, Mark, staff and our tribe everyday.

  13. My digestive system is so angry with me. And it told me so all afternoon & evening yesterday. I wish I would have had an opportunity to read this article this morning. I started out my day with a Primal Fuel chocolate shake with a banana in it. Just ate a BA salad. Read the article in the middle of eating the salad. Feeling a lot better today but I thinlk there will still be some revenge directed my way.

  14. “Resist, however, Grandma’s suggestion to down a shot of hard booze.”

    So, you don’t recommend starting the day with a Bulletproof Russian (bulletproof coffee with two shots of vodka)? 😉

    1. That Bulletproof Russian sounds better than a Black Russian (Kalua and two shots of vodka)! Those things will kill you! 😉

  15. This whole holiday season has been one non-Primal cheat after another. The Thanksgiving food fest stirred up my GERD but it’s finally tamped down. I kept up workouts and fasted periodically (good tip) so the scale is treating me reasonably well but I am glad the majority of the binge is over and that I can return to the Primal life which serves me so well.

  16. Oh come on! Am I the only one who rolled my eyes a little bit when Mark said..catatonic state, headache etc, it’s a tiny bit exaggerated? At least for me I don’t necessarily get a headache, but as for the catatonic state, it was worth it :P~ I’m totally sitting here catatonic, fat and currently happy. Sometimes the mashed potatoes and gravy or the white chocolate raspberry truffle Ice Cream is totally worth it…no?

    1. LOL … no, not worth it! Or at least that’s what my body is telling me today! I feel about as bad as some New Year’s days back when I’d have an alcohol bender. Thanks Primal, I cleaned up my diet and now I can enjoy food hangovers too!

      At least the pictures are less embarassing than when drinking. Usually.

    2. I thought the same thing. A bit over the top. One of grandma’s cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning, a few bites of coconut cake at dessert… I’ll be better tomorrow, but just feeling happy and holiday’ed at the moment. I don’t have any real allergies, so it’s easy for me to walk along side the wagon for a few days before hopping back on. Gotta live life!

    3. Was it libations –
      The cause of my headache yesterday?
      I was grazing, a non-primal foray.
      Could’ve been cakes
      For goodness’ sakes
      Next year, for sure
      Will be clean celebrations!

      I’m definitely tired, my gut is angry, and my skin is ticked off at me, too. : \

    4. I’m still trying to figure out if it’s worth it. After eating gluten on Christmas Eve and again Christmas morning, I ended up with a migraine for 2 days. Not fun.

  17. I love how often my gut instincts and the Primal lifestyle line up. These are all ways that I do (and have) handled digestion overload in the past. Like you said, much is against conventional wisdom but I always thought it felt right for my body. Glad I am not the only one doing these things!

  18. So I guess my question is, how about if you over indulged but it was all on Paleo and Primal foods? I fasted and went to the gym until early afternoon then had breakfast. I figured since I went to the gym I should eat something…or should I have kept fasting?

  19. Great tips, especially about the sunshine and fresh air…wish I’d seen that before sitting through a terrible 3 hours of the wolf of wall street

    1. I don’t regret a minute with ‘Wolfie!” Three hours well spent for me in especially comfortable plush leather seating in our theater.

  20. I use Xmas Day as my No.1 pig out day for the year. All primal but I was a one-woman eating machine. Mmm…
    Glad to see these tips. However because I’m on the other side of the globe and a day ahead, I was especially glad to see that I’m attuned to my body and already implemented some of these tips; fasted til 3pm, went for a long meandering walk and got stuck into the peppermint & chamomile tea.
    Just need to remember these tips for New Year’s Day next week!

  21. I feel like a party-pooper since I’ve had no ill effects at all. I had a PF smoothie around 9 a.m., then went to a movie in the afternoon (American Hustle which I did enjoy btw. ****) (no popcorn or other treats but had bottled water), then came home to a nice dinner of scrambled eggs (w/bacon bits, cheddar cheese, onions, olives) and an avocado. Dessert was yogurt with blackberries.

    I have to admit that I had promised myself a piece of decadent “Texas Chocolate”cake before the movie but the entire mall (including food court) was closed for Christmas. Grok Ancestors’ intervention?

    Happy Recovering Everyone! 🙂

  22. Totally overdid it and totally feel bad. No energy. And I’ve got fat 🙁

  23. I’m trying Dave Asprey’s protein fast 1x week (less than 15g of protein) and was a really great way to come out of the Xmas feasting state.

  24. “Tomorrow is a Primal Day.” Sounds like the title of a Broadway show tune.

  25. I’m definitely paying the price for cheating for 2 days in a row, now in bed all day with major stomach upset, bloating, gas, diarrhea, you name it. I learned my lesson for sure! I’ve been fasting today just because I’m listening to my body & it can’t handle any more food at the moment.

  26. The morning after fast always works great for me. Combine it with a nice hike and I feel lots better. The heat has been extremely OPPRESSIVE here in So Cal this Christmas, although eating dinner on the front porch in our short sleeves and bare feet at sunset was pretty nice.

  27. Anyone have advice on how to get OFF of acid reducing medication? I made the mistake of letting my family and a group of docs push me into taking them. (They all insisted I’d be doing irreparable damage to myself if I did not take meds.) Now I find that when I try to wean myself off of them my reflux comes back with such terrible vengeance that it keeps me up at night, despite the fact that I stop eating at 5pm and go to bed between 10 and 11pm…

    1. What worked for me, after a decade of pepcid AC, was taking probiotics and digestive enzymes. I have had almost no heartburn, ever, since I started to take these.

      For digestive enzymes the Vitamin Shoppe store brand works fine for me, and since they have stores practically everywhere, they are easy to get. And not too costly.

      For probiotics, get the kind in the refrigerated section at your local healthfood store. Refrigeration maintains potency, so put them in the fridge when you get home. Get any kind that has more than 10 billion live per dose, because that’s what survives your stomach acid to get into your gut.

      Don’t take digestive enzymes and then fail to eat immediately after. Otherwise you will likely feel discomfort. And I would take both for a few days before starting to reduce your meds, to avoid the backlash you described.

      I hope you have the same success I did. I almost never take Pepcid AC anymore. Maybe every other month if I eat too much candy 🙂

      1. That’s a really good tip. So definitely buy the refrigerated version? I found a brand that is supposedly stable at room temp…

    2. Shema, I truly feel your pain! Took Nexium, Prilosec, Zantac, bottles of Mylanta in turn for 40+ years as docs could not figure out what caused my “gastritis” – turned out to be gluten sensitivity and allergies to wheat, corn and soy. When you’ve been on acid suppressing meds any length of time, and then try to get off, you get rebound acid reflux, so you need to wean slowly.

      First, though, try to figure out what is causing the acid reflux. I eliminated all wheat, corn, soy and for awhile, dairy. You may need to follow an elimination diet to really find your triggers.

      And you may have a weak sphincter at the end of your esophagus that allows acid back up. There are tests to help determine if that’s the problem, eg. A barium swallow, and other tests.

      Once I eliminated the foods that were bothering me, I bought some OTC Zantac, 75 mg and 150 mg. Instead of taking Nexium, I took 150 mg Zantac twice/ day for a week or so. Then reduced that to 75 mg and did that for another week or two and gradually went from two a day to one. Ever so slowly, my body healed and I weaned off completely. My doc was supportive and told me to give myself at least six weeks to wean down/off. He didn’t think I could do it but I did.

      DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice)is helpful; it comes in a chocolate chewable tablet, but you can only take a few per day as it can raise BP. I like DGL Ultra by Enzymatica, German Chocolate flavor (tastes good!). Traditional Medicinals makes a Heartburn Soother tea that is from marshmallow root which can help coat the gut. An internist recommended boiled okra for the same reason.

      Rebound reflux can be the worst, so be very patient and wean ever so gradually, allowing your gut to heal. Consider a good probiotic such as VSL3, too. And check with your doc to be sure you don’t have an ulcer or esophageal sphincter problem (very common).

      Wishing you all the best!

      1. Thanks so much Laurie. Incidentally I’d seen a GI doc who was convinced I had celiac and suggested I get a biopsy. I had to do a “gluten challenge” and increase my gluten consumption before the biopsy. I felt awful and would frequently break out in hives during this period. So I was surprised when the biopsy results showed that I did not have celiac (but I do have gastritis).

        I’m on a prescription acid blocker (omperazole I think it’s called). The GI doc prescribed the lowest dose, 45 mg, once a day. She said if I wean off i should start by taking it 3 days a week for 2 week and then scale down to twice a week.

        My hubby is convinced that very sudden weight gain is causing the reflux. Anyway, I will give the probiotics (and weight loss!) a try and hope I’ll find some relief.

        Thanks again!

        1. In addition, try drinking chaemomile tea several times a day, and no caffeine drinks or apple juice. This helps heal the bottom of the oesophagus.

          I had been put on Nexium as part of taking Augmentum. When I came off I had rebound LOW acid, and it is this that caused reflux. The trick here was to take Extra HCl with my meals, which I needed to do for 9 months. I was / am taking probiotics anyway.

          BTW, I am coeliac but not all coeliacs show up on antibody test – particularly if the wheat damaged your ability to make IGA in the gut. This often shows up as getting frequent colds etc. Once you are over 20, you shouldn’t be getting that many.

          This can heal, and I was put onto high level probiotics (6x maintenance dose) for about 3 months. My IGA production healed, and I now have practically nothing.

          Good luck – but do keep trying.

        2. From what I’ve read, not everyone who has Celiac disease shows up as positive for it — the results can depend on the testing itself, so you may want to google for info on false negatives.

          Also, there’s lots of info out there on “Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity” which appears to be quite prevalent and has basically the same manifestations as true Celiac. And, apparently those with “NCGS” can also cross-react with dairy — if I remember right, Mark actually had a post on that here on MDA.

          I’m not pushing any particular websites, but a good source of info is Dr. Tom O’Bryan’s site and you could probably find some good stuff on Dr. Mercola’s site, as well.

          Hope this helps, and Good Luck!

      1. I really appreciate your suggestions! I’m a big tea drinker and had no idea chamomile could help! Time to pull out those tea leaves I have stashed away. I will check out the link you shared on Chris’s site as well as Tom O’Bryan…thanks!!

  28. I know this post was about overcoming the physical detriments of holiday overindulgence, but I just wanted to share another side of my own post-holiday recovery.
    One thing that’s sometimes a challenge for me is what to do with the leftovers. It feels impolite to refuse my grandma’s cheesecake or my aunt’s peanut butter cookies, especially after they went to all the trouble of wrapping everything up in a little bag for me. Having a treat once in a while is great, but when something like that is in my house it’s easy to fall off the wagon.
    Instead of throwing the food away, I take the leftovers with me to work and then leave them in the break room, out in the open. My co-workers love it, I don’t feel guilty about “wasting” my relative’s confections, and they’re out of the house and out of mind.
    As for the physical side of things, a long walk, intermittent fasting, and a good helping of sauerkraut are usually enough for me to get readjusted after a decadent Christmas dinner. Does anyone else have problems with adherence to primal food choices immediately following the holidays?

    1. Exactly my issue, and, now that I work from home – no coworkers to dump my leftovers on! I think one day of indulgence is fine. The problem is when one day turns into two days, then three (depending on your leftovers), to four (parties), to five (addiction to the sweets, breads, and dairy has started to kick up again).

      A few things I have done to get past this. One is making sure everyone knows I eat paleo. So, if they shove a bag of gluten-goodies in my hands, I feel no remorse for throwing it out if they are aware of how I eat (and how eating these types of foods makes me feel – crappy!). Also, the freezer is my savior. I can always freeze a treat for a later indulgence to avoid a binge of the “before it goes bad” excuse.

      1. I take extra goodies to the library or the fire department. They both appreciate them, and I don’t have to feel horrible about throwing the goodies out!

    2. I just finished portioning and freezing anything that was left over. So now if I do want a treat, I know I have some in the freezer. If I haven’t eaten them from there after a couple of months, it is easier to throw out a frozen lump.

      There was also half bottle of prosecco (sweet wine). I added gelatin to that and it will go nicely with the rest of the fruit made into fruit salad. Hate to see waste.

  29. Mark,
    You hear alot about how much water to drink and there are several formulas on line to help you figure the amount each believes you should consume. If we are going primal, wouldn’t our bodies tell us when we need water and when we have enough? I am thirsty, therefore, I must need water. Or am I foolish in my muse. I am sure you have a blog on it, I must confess I didn’t look. I am new to MDA but have really enjoyed your blog and the stories of your primals who have overcome serious heath issues following your plan.

  30. I have snacked around on sugary/grains for two days and I am fully paying the price. My throat and sinuses are irritated, there is a mild rash around my head and face, and I feel hungover. I am not exaggerating in the least. Can’t wait to get it back together tomorrow with this advice!

    Good luck and happy holiday Grokkers!

  31. Pigged out with friends last night. A hard bike ride today. Low 80’s. Beautiful sundown, great Scotch, strong cigar. Eat your hearts out.

    Palm trees wave, are you listening?
    In the pool, water’s glistenin
    A beautiful sight, we’re happy tonight
    Livin in a Florida wonderland

    Gone away, is the blizzard
    Here to stay, is the lizard
    A warm sunny day, we like it that way
    Living in a Florida wonderland

    On the beaches, we will have a picnic
    Turtles, sand and seagulls and the sun
    Christmas dinner is an old tradition
    It’s grouper & stone crabs by the ton

    Later on, we’ll perspire
    As temps rise, even higher
    A warm, sunny day, we like it that way
    Livin in a Florida wonderland

    OK, you have permission to gloat next hurricane season!

  32. GAAAA! I look pregnant!
    Far too many Christmas goodies that basically started at Thanksgiving and slowly ramped up as I got closer to Christmas.
    Leftovers abound and I have 3 more holiday events ( with non primal foods) to get through.

    I’m going back to primal in the morning and will make all efforts to stay that way through the parties. Now if my husband will just eat that LAST tamale…

    Agree with the plan to use enzymes and probiotics in addition to going back to basics.

  33. Thank-you for the article. Although mostly primal yesterday, I think some things were overdone as I am feeling not quite myself this morning. I cancelled my cross-fit workout, am going to make some tea, and will spend some time outdoors this afternoon either shovelling or tobogganing, or both!

  34. As at least 2 people in this household are coeliac, we don’t have a problem sticking to primal, but quantity was another matter!!

    However, our local outdoor pool opened for Christmas morning, so we went swimming – outdoor temperature 3 degrees centigrade (!) but the pool had been heated to 24 C. There was a 4 ft steam haze above the pool, and people in thick winter coats taking photos. Quite surreal but fun. The rest of the family have said they will come next year too. So I didn’t feel so bad about how much we ate.

  35. Too many cookies. I know what you’re thinking but they were homemade Christmas cookies people.

  36. Does everyone feel a reaction after indulging? Personally, I am not gluten-intolerant or dairy-intolerant, so I ate a DELICIOUS chocolate cake with no reaction at all-I feel totally fine! Sometimes I wish I would feel crappy afterwards so it’s easier to avoid indulgences-I’m slipping back into that pre-primal mindset of “well, I feel fine, so why can’t I eat this stuff more often?” Any tips to get back on track?

    1. My Christmas celebrations, due to a large family, started on the 22nd and will continue until the 29th. I love to celebrate but am also allowing myself the treats and goodies. When I started, I was just like you as I have no allergies or intolerances either. However, on the 26th, I really started noticing a difference and tried blaming how I was feeling on a lack of sleep and the stress of wrapping gifts – something I’ve been trying to learn to enjoy. It’s now the 27th and I had to fast yesterday from morning until 11pm just to get rid of the nausea I was fighting with. I’d like to say it was the flu, but (gladly) it wasn’t. Mark’s right, when you get healthy you really notice the difference. So, now I’m at that fork in the road. I have two more days of treats and the rewards of eating them or I can choose the adventurous Primal/Paleo road and reap those benefits. If I can avoid how I felt yesterday, I may just start sprinting down the Primal path. I hope this helps answer the question about “why I can’t eat this stuff more often?”
      Good luck getting back on track and staying the course.

      1. I see what you mean. I also feel fine after indulging, but when I do it consecutive days in a row I realize all of my symptoms post-primal, those that I thought were just part of life, start to come back. Unlike others who feel an incredible change after going primal, the effects on me have been so small that I hadn’t noticed them until I compare back to how I felt 6 months ago. I’m only 18, but I used to suffer from bad eczema, gas, bloat, knee pains my whole life and I realized I actually don’t have those symptoms anymore until I indulged for a whole week and they came back.

  37. Recovering from the holidays is what I’m doing. I overindulged, overtoiled (I have a bad case of lethargy, a sprained ankle and rough hands and feet), and now am wallowing in my pathos of convalescence while catching up on the last two and a half months of MDA, thanks to a small hibernation in prison for entering a restaurant door that got left open after closing time and taking a bit of leftover cash for change the next day and some food, and being too reckless to think there might be cameras inside. I’d been eating raw bacon for a few days (wet weather, could not cook) and thought I got lucky when I noticed the door open. On the plus side I was approved for a disability pension recently (looking up schizophrenia on wikipedia can lead to a diagnosis and thus a life-long solution of financial troubles) so now I can easily afford to do more primal things and have a better quality of life.

    1. Also on + side, in custody I made two personal records: 110 pullups in a day (yeah, I know, it’s not that much) and 2 unsupported decent handstand pushups in a row – I only used the wall to initially get my balance and had never before been able to do even one up and down without the wall. (currently indulging in pride.. and if I want to get really indulgent, i.e. now, I eat a massive amount of turkey followed by a couple glasses of milk and some cream cheese and peanut butter together by the spoon.. gives me an all’s well tingly sort of feeling).

  38. I sart by cleaning out the refridge. Everyone picks out the last of the holiday stuff they want to eat and then once gone the clense begins.

    Day one fresh teas in refridge, fresh fruits, veggies, and nuts put out, Soups for breakfast and dinner served with made with bone broth. Casseroles or stews again made with bone broth. We try and reduce the sugar some everyday till back down to hiliday levels this takes a week or two.

    Also, the house is aired and we get as much sun as possible into the house. I also include apple cide vinager drinks, mark’s suppliments, and codliver oil in routine to get everyone back on track.

    I make soup through out the winter and after the turkey I save the bones and makes soup. I save the bones throughout the year of whatever we eat in seperat bags bake them and make soup from them and chicken feet. I notice by doing this upsets are fewer and shot lived.

    Stews, soups, and cassaroles are easy to prep, cook, freeze, reheat and eat and you can make alot of them at once. It takes some organizing but I can get two weeks of cooking, shopping, prepping, portioning, and storing done in two day and have time to play in between all of that.

    However, I’ve also noticed that as time has gone on the breaking with diet has become less enticing to those in the house as the price is just not worth it and tastes change over time.

  39. I way overindulged on sweets and grains. I am planning a fast and the new year resolution to hit the gym harder kicks in. I am tired of the nausea and tired feeling from all the food. I have cleaned out the fridge. Anyone know of a good paleo friendly cleansing/anti-holiday food detox?

  40. I sometimes wish I did have all these horrible digestive/reactive effects, it might give me more incentive to avoid indulgence! I can quite easily live off cheese, chocolates, turkey, mince pies, Christmas cake, Christmas pudding and lie around reading for a few days over Christmas! I just feel lazy and guilty and it’s a wrench to get back to work and switch back to normal routines – but no major health warning signs, physically, just a bit of extra weight and puffiness. I actually feel a bit left out of all of this terrible-reaction-to-processed-food business, as if my body just doesn’t have the right early-warning system on full alert.

    1. +1! I only feel the same puffiness in my belly, but nothing more. Since I don’t feel physically crappy after indulging, sometimes I have to remind myself to go back to healthy eating instead of continuing to gorge on just holiday food:P

  41. I have drank and ate to much. Feel really lethargic and my fibromyalgia has returned. Can’t wait to get back to primal eating and bootcamp. Sugar is a killer.

  42. My husband finally went primal and we both indulged in his mom’s stuffing over Thanksgiving. He and I both had “food hangovers” the next day. And I know it wasn’t any other kind of hangover because I’m pregnant and not drinking! At every doctors appt. my doc asks about reflux and I can honestly say I only have problems with gas, reflux and digestion issues (including constipation) when I don’t eat cleanly. Same thing goes for joint pain. Overall, I am one comfortable, pregnant mama.

  43. This is definitely helpful advice throughout the holiday season. I know people might be indulging tonight at New Years Eve parties!