How to recover from the Easter chocolate bingeApril 2019
We all love Easter, for some it is a very holy time, for others it is just days off and chocolate. Whatever your reason to celebrate, overindulgence and a chocolate binge is usually on the menu.
Your body on processed sugar
Depending on the type of chocolate you’ve enjoyed (dark chocolate gets a hall pass here) you may have a lot of excess sugar surging through your body. In a nutshell, this is the process your body goes through when you consume a high sugar food, such as during a chocolate binge.
You eat it.
You enjoy it.
The chocolate completely disintegrates into liquid gold in your mouth.
Then the chocolate hits your stomach, where it is not broken down by gastric juices (these juices predominantly break down proteins). Instead it moves on into the small intestine where amylases from the pancreas continue to break down the sugar.
Interestingly, a hormone called cholecystokinin (CCK) which is produced by cells in our small intestine, registers that fats and proteins have hit the stomach and as such we get that full feeling (AKA stop eating). However, when it comes to straight up sugar (like the consumption of chocolate) this hormone is not triggered and therefore we don’t feel full despite how much we eat.
Next stop? The liver. The liver keeps the sugar it needs for energy and then once “full” the sugar is dispersed via the blood to the rest of the body. From here, our insulin works to draw the sugar into our cells. Any sugar that is not used by the liver and cells (there is a cap it is not limitless) it is stored as fat.
How to recover from the chocolate binge
Now as I too come out of my chocolate coma these are the steps I am taking.
- Nail your nutrition and eat plenty of foods that support detoxification.
:: Load up on vegetables and fruit. Particularly brassica vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, brussel sprouts.
:: Eat lean proteins, such as fish, chicken, eggs, tempeh.
:: The more green on your plate the better.
- Drink plenty of water. Digestion in general produces by-products that need to be excreted. But you really need to assist this following your chocolate overindulgence.
- Move your body. Support your body’s ability to detoxify and use up the excess energy you have consumed (I do not want you to punish yourself at the gym for 2hrs a day), but you do need to move. So don’t skip the gym because you’re tired (from eating too much chocolate).
- Love your microbiome. Now you don’t need to sing lullabys to your large intestine at night but you do need to show it some love because right now the sugar loving bacteria such as candida is throwing a block party and taking over the neighbourhood. Point one above, combined with variety, will help bring balance. As will eating fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir. If you’ve really overdone it a good broad based probiotic may help.
- Stop drinking alcohol. The party is over. It is time to have a break.
- Add cinnamon. Cinnamon is a spice that is used to help balance blood sugar issues because it slows the rate at which the stomach empties after meals. Add it to a smoothie, porridge, pancake, roast pumpkin, sweet potato fries, bliss balls, home made muffins.
- Sweat or brush it out. Support your lymphatic and detoxification systems by having an infrared sauna or dry body brushing before your morning shower.
- Avoid all processed food. Again this goes with point one above.
- Enjoy a slice of fresh pineapple. Sounds counter-intutive because pineapple is sweet, but the enzyme bromelain found within pineapple supports our pancreatic function. And after all that sugar it needs a little love.
For me personally, Easter is always closely followed by my birthday so whilst I enjoy my time with friends and family, I am usually pretty desperate for some plain, simple and nourishing food as soon as it is over.
I hope the tips above help you out.
Written by Jessica Worth, Nutritionist, Sydney, Northern Beaches, Mona Vale
As a registered nutritionist Jess is determined to cut through the confusion and provide you with simple, actionable, nutrition advice. Interested in speaking with Jess? Reach out via this link.