Help me prepare to eat a feast!
April 17, 2007 11:08 AM   Subscribe

Is there a way to prepare for feasting (eating large meals) without feeling nauseated?

Lately I've been invited to a couple's house for elaborate, casually elegant meals that come in several courses. They're amazing cooks and almost everything is delicious. However, by the time we get to course three or four, I'm so full that I can actually feel nauseated. It's much worse if I even try to eat any h'orderves. This is not unusual for me. I've dined at great French restaurants where, by the end of the full meal, I feel so full that it hasn't always stayed down.

Of course, everyone else at these restaurants and gatherings -- often people half my size -- seems happy and pleasantly full after eating everything on their plates. I've tried just eating more slowly, eating more quickly (I'm apparently a very slow eater), eating only portions of what's offered, eating more earlier in the day, eating less earlier in the day, and so on. I'm not a small guy. This is very mysterious to me. It doesn't happen with more traditional appetizer/entrée/desert/wine menus from other good restaurants. I feel full, but not awful.

I found a few threads about competitive eating advice, and am not sure whether the advice here will be the same or not. I have absolutely no desire to eat anything as fast as those people do (I feel vaguely nauseated just watching those things). I just want to have a large meal meal of wonderful food once a month or so without feeling like I need to upchuck. Is this just a physiological fact that I can't eat big meals? Can I somehow prepare?
posted by ontic to Food & Drink (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
What is your everyday diet like? When people have dinner parties, they tend to pull out all the stops (butter, cream, etc.), even if they have a normally healthy diet. I don't have any food allergies, I'm not lactose intolerant, but there are some foods that are so rich (unlike my typical diet), that I get sick almost every time I eat them. I can't eat fried chicken anymore (which breaks my heart). I can't eat fettucine alfredo or a big chunk of red meat.

So maybe it's not the size of the meals, but the type of food being served.

As for what to do about it - well, I guess if you can pinpoint the culprit, you can avoid those foods. Of course, it's very hard to refuse something when a friend has taken the trouble cooking it for you, but keep the consequences in mind.
posted by Evangeline at 11:26 AM on April 17, 2007

Another thing to try is a digestif such as amaro, fernet branca, Strega or something like that...
posted by PugAchev at 11:34 AM on April 17, 2007

Try using a little marijuana a few hours before you sit down to eat. I have the same problem with big meals, more so if I've prepared them myself, for some reason.

I don't smoke and even as a young man never got much pleasure from pot, but I whip up a batch of green brownies every year or so and keep them in the freezer just for this purpose.
posted by BostonJake at 11:45 AM on April 17, 2007 [2 favorites]

Or try a little caffeine. It stimulates secretion of gastric acid and intestinal peristalsis. I don't know why coffee is traditionally served at the end of a big meal, but it seems to help me at the beginning of one.

Also, have you tried "working up an appetite" earlier in the day through some heavier-than-normal exercise? This definitely helps prime me for putting away more food later in the day.
posted by peeedro at 1:00 PM on April 17, 2007

What I usually do is take a little of a lot of things and pace myself. I try to eat at a very relaxed pace and never let my plate look empty because then people will want me to fill it up again. If they ask why I'm not eating I'll say, "Oh trust me, I'm going back to it. I'm just taking a break for a second." People get that. It's mostly just that I need to remind myself that I don't need to be a glutton just because I'm surrounded by food.

Also, there might be certain types of food that aren't agreeing with you. I avoid overly filling things with a lot of heavy sauces or carbs. I try to stick mostly to vegetables and chicken or fish if I can. I also avoid things that look like they are filled with preservatives. My stomach is much happier when I eat things that are as close to the source as possible. I don't tell other people all of these things, I just try to keep them in mind as I'm stacking food on my plate. Really helps. I used to feel really sick after big meals but now I don't do anything I need to regret.

Oh, and drink LOTS of water.
posted by miss lynnster at 1:17 PM on April 17, 2007

what miss lynnster said - beware of what food is available and make good choices. you will still enjoy the food and the company and you won't suffer for it!
posted by koahiatamadl at 1:35 PM on April 17, 2007

Or try a little caffeine. It stimulates secretion of gastric acid and intestinal peristalsis.

Unfortunately, it also slows gastric emptying. For me, caffeine is a great appetite suppressant... if I drink something caffeinated at the beginning of a meal, I get full way faster.

A couple drinks about an hour before the meal can really help.
posted by rxrfrx at 2:17 PM on April 17, 2007

Maybe just ask for smaller portions?
posted by perpetualstroll at 3:26 PM on April 17, 2007

If you, like me, drink milk this is the time to avoid it. Too much food combined with milk is a sure fire way for me to feel sick or vomit. You actually sound pretty similar to me from your description and it's something that's happened with me as I've gotten older (late 20s now) whereas I could eat too much with no real problems when I was younger. I've not tested this to the apparent extent you have, though, but I think you just need to eat less. Try much smaller portions than you normally would at the next event and stop when you feel sated. Going home a bit hungry or not eating every delicious item served is preferable to throwing up in the bathroom during the dinner.

Also, the length of these dinners I think acerbates the problem. Perhaps apocryphal but I've heard that one method of eating less to lose weight is to eat slower as the body starts feeling full after a certain amount of time eating. If that's really true then these dinners hit you twice with too much food consumed over too long a period.
posted by 6550 at 11:52 PM on April 17, 2007

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