One-Day Journey from Ravaged to Recharged

There oughta be a pill that will take a burned-out wreck of a worthless human being and restore her usual vibrant, ravishing self in about a half hour. There isn’t (I checked), so here’s the next best remedy for those overfed, hung-over blahs that will plague all and sundry this holiday season — physical and spiritual rejuvenation in one heroic day.

The first step, of course, is a quick mental adjustment, at least temporarily. The mindset that leads to physical crashes is the unholy grail of modern civilization — instant gratification. The desire to devour that second or third (or tenth) serving of meat, dim sum, wine, soju, cake, coffee, boba is all about pleasure in five seconds. My one-day therapy requires you to reset your gratification timer to ten minutes and the target gratification to the sweet coursing of blood through that old brain. You know that delightfully childlike chortling those Indian Yogi emit? That comes from good circulation. That’s what we’re going for here.

The second step is to eat or drink something sour. Chugging a tall glass of water spiked with about 2 ounces of lemon juice works wonders. Or munch a big Granny Smith apple. Or take 3 ounces of apple or berry vinegar, dilute it with three times the water, hold your breath and down the concoction in two gulps. Or eat a couple of dill pickles and drink a half cup of the vinegar water it was picked in. In about ten minutes you will start to feel more energetic and clear-headed as your pH balance starts bouncing back to normal (or better, depending on how unhealthy you normally are). Even those old hillbillies knew about the sweet magic that sour things work on body and soul.

The third step is to put on some walking or running shoes and get yourself outdoors, preferably a trail amidst nature. Failing that, any quiet park or street will do. Then just start walking. In ten minutes you may well feel energetic enough to start jogging. If not, just pick up your walking pace. Remember to breathe deeply as you go to help clear out all the waste created by too much eating and drinking in poorly ventilated dens if iniquity. About forty-five minutes should be enough to pump up your circulation and energy level even more — not to mention burning off a few hundred unwanted calories from the previous day’s debauch.

The fourth step is to eat a meal with lots of green veggies and red peppers. Korean food works best for me. Spicy tofu casserole (soondubu) with kimchi is good. Naengmyun (cold spicy noodles) is also good. Spicy beef soup with green onions (yookgaejang) or spicy vegetable soup (haejanggook) is also good. Pho with only a third of the usual amount of noodles and lots of Sriracha sauce works well too. Or even a very spicy pork ramen with a third the noodles. Any similar dish works well, as long as it contains veggies, not much starch or meat and is spicy.

For the rest of the day control your hunger with herbal teas, munch a few sheets of seaweed (for the iodine), carrots, cucumbers or other fresh veggies and maybe an apple or an orange. If you’ve been following this step by step, by evening you should be feeling quite energetic and not very hungry.

That’s when you will want to get down on the floor and do about fifteen minutes of gentle but persistent stretches to help finish expelling toxins and to keep the circulation up. By the time you go to bed, you will feel more virtuous than you have in ages. Stay on that virtuous cycle throughout the holiday season if you want to enter the new year feeling at least a few years younger.