This Thanksgiving, Don’t Forget the Fennel

“Straight on a plate down your throat
So digest as I suggest we take a good look
At who’s who while I’m readin’ from my good book” -Gang Starr from Who’s Gonna Take the Weight

I’d never experienced heartburn until three years ago when I was pregnant with my second son. It was Thanksgiving day and I was in so much pain I thought I was having a heart attack. We seriously debated going to the emergency room. I decided to lay down for a bit, in an upright position to see how I’d feel. Luckily, the pain went away eventually and I swore never to overeat again.

Tis the season for heavy eating and sluggish digestion. While it’s nearly impossible to keep away from overindulgence, there are a few simple things we can do to help our systems cope. One of them is fennel. You may recognize it from Indian restaurants.

fennel seeds

Fennel seeds have long been used as a digestive aid. Chewing on a couple of seeds after eating can help relieve and prevent indigestion, heartburn, gas & bloating, and constipation.

Because I believe prevention is key, I suggest drinking fennel tea all throughout the day when you know you’re in for a huge meal. And because meals aren’t the only source of stress during the holidays, add a little chamomile to the mix to help calm the nerves.

fennel & chamomile

I know you might be thinking “chamomile’s boring,” but hear me out. Chamomile is a powerful tranquilizer and stress-reliever. It helps the muscles relax, including those in the digestive tract. It too, helps relieve abdominal pain, bloating, gas, constipation and irritable bowel syndrome. Who knew?

The best thing about making simple medicinal teas like this is that it isn’t a science. There’s no “recipe” to follow. Instead, use it as an opportunity to follow your intuition. A tablespoon of fennel, a tablespoon of chamomile – maybe two chamomile, one fennel… Experiment. Taste and see what you like. Your body will tell you.

You can find fennel in the spices section of your local grocery store. Sprouts Farmer’s Market carries both fennel and chamomile in the bulk spice section for a great price. Otherwise, you can find them with the boxed teas.

Happy Thanksgiving peeps! I’m thankful for you. Fo real.

In case you’re curious, this is the formula I plan to use tomorrow.

2 tablespoons lightly crushed fennel (use a mortar and pestle, or the back of a spoon)
2 tablespoons chamomile
1 quart boiling hot water

Pour the boiling water over the fennel and chamomile, cover and allow it to sit 5-10 minutes (or longer), depending on flavor preference.

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