Once a year, our dining rooms become buffets and elastic waistbands are accepted as proper dining attire. The parade of food on our table is led by turkey and followed by a tantalizing procession of sides. It's a dinner that hurts so good, as we stuff ourselves full of food. But, there are kind of gross things that happen to your body immediately after Thanksgiving dinner. Don't worry, it's not gross enough that you'll choose to have only a spoonful of mashed potatoes before retreating to your room. You'll still dive face first into the mound of your mom's mashed potatoes you've been waiting all year for. But, you'll at least be more conscious to how your bod is ~processing~ it.
There's nothing like the beauty of a dinner plate perfectly balanced with turkey and an array of side dishes. It might seem like you have the day off to do nothing but eat. And that's not false. But, contrary to your belief that you're just lounging around casually by the artichoke dip and "resting" after dinner, your body is actually on the clock. Your small intestine will probably be putting in some overtime hours too.
You can still catch me stacking my plate high with all those dishes on the table. I just might be paying closer attention to my Ghrelin hormone as I get up for, you know, thirds.
Acid Reflux & Burping
That burning that seems to crawl up your esophagus and out of your mouth in a belch that's more like a roar? That's acid reflux and it is not a comfortable condition. Dr. Jay Kuemmerle, a professor of medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University, tells the Huffington Post that, "the high fat can lead to feeling very full and slower digestion. This can cause the stomach to expand to a greater degree, which can be uncomfortable." Dr. Kuemmerle is talking about our tendency to eat like marathoners on Thanksgiving. Our stomach wants to find a way to relieve pressure after we've stretched it out to fit as much candied yams as possible. And so we burp.
Another area of our body that can feel the effects of shoveling down one too many spoonfuls of stuffing is the heart. Basically, as with the reason we turn into belching machines, the acid in our stretched out stomach escapes and creeps back up the esophagus. Besides making the back of our throats burn, you'll likely also experience heartburn. This is because of the high fat content of what's on your plate. To keep acid meant to break down food in your stomach, it's suggested to add a few more vegetables to balance out the stick(s) of butter in the mashed potatoes.
Your Stomach Stretches
Your stomach, like a balloon, inflates. Like a balloon! It's working with you to fit all of the food inside it that your eyes are feasting on. And even if you're full, your body's hormones will be in miscommunication, leading you to believe that you can still fit more food in. When you start to feel full that's your ghrelin hormone in your brain reporting that you're satisfied. However, this signal is ignored as food remains in ceramic dishes on the dining table. Dr. Daniel Hurley tells Huffington Post that, "your central nervous system can override the hypothalamus — it’s the same reason we can stay awake, even if our brain is telling us we’re tired." Even if the receptors in your brain are telling you that you're full, you can ignore the signal to see just how far your stomach stretches. And it'll stay stretched after your dinner which is why you think you can go for thirds.
You're Tired Because Your Of Your Blood
It's not actually the tryptophan in the few slices of turkey on your plate that are leading you to that post dinner nap. Your body is putting in ~werk~ to get all this food digested and out of your system so you can prime yourself for leftover sandwiches, basically. Your digestion is in need of a lot of assistance and your blood sugar levels are out of whack. Low blood pressure is caused by "a spike of insulin," as told by Yahoo, that leads to pushing too much sugar out of your bloodstream. As your blood sugar regulates, hormones like insulin that help this process, will find functions for the sugars you're digesting. All while you nap.
Your Heart Is Pumping
As if heartburn wasn't enough, your heart is pumping to assist with the breakdown of all the food you've shoved into every open space of your stomach — and then some. Your heart isn't working hard because you're running up a hill. Your heart is working hard because it needs to handle all the incoming food in a timely manner. Eating on Thanksgiving can literally feel like cardio.
You Body Temperature Is Off
Because your blood is off to help with digestion, it might not be working on keeping you all warmed up which is why you're suddenly chilly and need to be piled under five blankets at once. Washington Post reports that a typical caloric intake for a holiday dinner is at least 2,000 calories. There's a lot to load your plate with through appetizers, the main event and dessert. While your body tries to properly digest it all, you'll be left to your own devices to warm up.
You Might Have A Hard Time Breathing
You've been waiting all year for this meal. Even though it takes a day and a half to prepare it, it's gone in less than what seems like a minute. When you eat this fast, you can feel sick. You can also have a hard time breathing. What happens is that your expanding balloon of a stomach might be snuggling up with your diaphragm which then pushes into your lung's personal space, therefore making it harder to breathe. Take it easy. There will be lots of food to get through tomorrow. It's not a race!
You're Basically Preparing To Poop
During the night's backed up and slowed down process of digestion, you're basically just preparing to excrete it all out. Your colon, an anatomical term that for some reason makes me feel uncomfortable and gross, is reabsorbing the last of any possible nutrients after everything has been pushed through the small intestine. Anything that isn't able to be digested is pushed through. You might be feeling backed up and have to call dibs on the bathroom since every member of your extended family is staying the night.