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How to Survive the Annual Thanksgiving Dinner Food Coma

Turkey Day is no time to diet, but ending the day feeling bloated and sluggish is no fun. Counteract this Thanksgiving dinner condition with these strategies.


  • Step 1: Don't blame the turkey Don't blame the turkey for your annual Thanksgiving dinner food coma: It's a myth that the amino acid tryptophan in turkey causes drowsiness. More likely, your lethargy is a result of too many carbohydrates in the form of stuffing, potatoes, and pie.
  • Step 2: Loosen your pants Loosen your pants -- or whatever garment is hugging your tummy -- if you can. Helping your stomach expand aids the digestion process.
  • Step 3: Resist the urge to lie down Resist the urge to lie down: Being horizontal won't just interfere with your body's ability to digest your meal; it may send food into your esophagus, causing heartburn.
  • TIP: If you must lie down, put pillows behind your back so you're not lying completely flat.
  • Step 4: Enjoy an after-dinner drink Enjoy a digestif -- a cordial or liqueur taken after a meal to aid digestion; it will help you survive the annual Thanksgiving dinner food coma by relaxing the muscle that empties the stomach.
  • TIP: If you prefer not to drink alcohol, sip a cup of ginger, peppermint, or chamomile tea to help digestion.
  • Step 5: Get moving Take a 15-minute stroll. Light exercise, like walking, helps food move along the digestive tract so you won't feel so sluggish. If bloating is making you feel like a beached whale, put on some lively music and get everyone dancing; working up a sweat can help release fluids your body is holding onto. Not to mention help burn off that second piece of pumpkin pie
  • FACT: The scientific term for "food coma" is "postprandial somnolence."

You Will Need

  • Loose clothing
  • Exercise
  • Digestif
  • Ginger
  • peppermint
  • or chamomile tea (optional)

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