Illustration: Christoph Hitz


Like everyone else in America, I eat too much around the holidays, earning myself stomachaches of the epic, lie-in-a-dark-room variety. Enter the BELLY BUDDY, a small pillow created by a local digestive consultant named Alyce Sorokie ($35, at Partners in Wellness, 1967 N. Dayton St.; 773-868-4062). Filled with lavender, rice, and seeds, the Belly Buddy claims to ease indigestion, stress, insomnia, PMS, the release of repressed feelings, and other joys.

After polishing off a plate of gnocchi, a caesar salad, a French roll, and a whole bunch of candy corn, I microwaved my Belly Buddy for three minutes as directed, lay down, placed it on my stomach, and let the essential oils do battle with my colon. An hour later it had done the trick. No ache, no stress, no PMS. Of course, it gave me an itchy rash, but still, I slept well. Belly Buddy 1, Indigestion 0.

The next time, dinner was half a slab of BBQ ribs, mashed potatoes, a sugar-covered acorn squash, and more candy corn. Another stomach-ache. I lay down with my Belly Buddy, but this time, I noticed no change-other than a more pink rash. Then my wife made me lug a bunch of boxes down to the storage room, which led to the release of some repressed feelings. Belly Buddy 1, Indigestion 1, Wife 1.

The tiebreaker dinner: two grilled cheese sandwiches, a bowl of cereal, and three Chips Ahoy cookies. This time, the Belly Buddy worked its magic. I felt so good, I started snooping in the fridge an hour later. “That doesn’t mean it worked,” my wife said. “It just means that it feels good to relax after a meal. Now take out the trash.”