The holiday season is in full swing and if there’s two things you can guarantee there’ll be an abundance of at this time of year, it’s food and booze. Christmas and New Year are famous for providing that inhibition-freeing liquid but it certainly leaves some nasty after-effects!
I’m all about embracing the festivities and making sure I help my clients enjoy all the best bits while providing them with some top tips for staying on track with their progress! So, if you’re thinking you want the best of both worlds when it comes to this festive season, then keep reading for my top tips on how you can still make merry but avoid the dreaded hangover.
The reality is that as we get older, we experience hangovers more severely. Our livers become slower at metabolising alcohol which means the repercussions are that much harsher! So, if like me, you’re eager to try anything that will help you feel a bit more human the day after drinking or help you curb those hangover cravings, then try out these tips this Christmas and New Year – thank me later!
Tip 1: Eat before you start drinking
It’s a bizarre cultural thing in the UK that people still opt to not eat before drinking – sure it means you’ll feel the effects of alcohol faster but you’ll also feel worse the following day because it goes straight into your bloodstream.
Ideally you want to slow down the absorption of alcohol so your body has more time to process the toxins. Try to have a balanced meal or at least a substantial snack that includes some fibre, protein and healthy fats before you start drinking. If you’re short on time, something like cheese and salami on some wholemeal or rye bread would be fine, or try some oat cakes with some nut butter.
Tip 2: Hydrate (before, during and after)!
Dehydration is the main cause of feeling hungover, alongside vitamin depletion which is why staying hydrated before, during and after drinking can seriously help your body replenish itself and lessen the hangover.
Before: Give your body a head start! Your liver is going to be busy processing plenty of toxins so give it a much-needed boost before you head out. Staying hydrated will help you manage your alcohol intake and ensure that you retain some of the minerals and vitamins which get flushed out by alcohol as it acts as a diuretic. Try Milk Thistle or Artichoke Extract to help with the detoxification process. It can really make a difference.
During: Did you know fizzy drinks actually accelerate the rate at which alcohol gets absorbed into your system? Especially those like Coca-Cola that contain caffeine which, just like alcohol, contribute to dehydration and diminish your quality of sleep.
After: Before you go to bed, have a glass of water and make sure there’s one by your bed so you can easily drink it down when you wake up. If you’re not lactose intolerant, you could also try drinking milk – it’s an anti-diuretic meaning it can effectively rehydrate the body without waking you up to go to the toilet in the middle of the night.
Tip 3: Keep it in moderation
It takes our bodies roughly 1 hour to metabolise 1 unit of alcohol so try to keep to that timeframe so you’re not overwhelming your body with more than it can handle. Try having single spirits and mixers like a single G&T or a small wine spritzer and remember you don’t need to have an alcoholic drink on every round.
It’s okay to say no to drinks if you’d rather moderate your intake. Most people don’t actually pay as much attention to what you’re drinking as you think. But if someone does say something then just remember that that’s their problem, not yours. You don’t have to explain yourself, you know that by staying true to your values, you’re making choices that are right for YOU.
Tip 4: Refuel the following morning
Eating’s not for everyone the day after a heavy night – so if you can’t stomach food try having a fresh ginger tea with lemon, honey and a pinch of sea salt. It’ll help replenish your electrolytes and ginger is naturally anti-nausea.
If you’re feeling like you could have something light, I would opt for a green smoothie as the chlorophyll in leafy green like spinach are great for giving you an energy boost and aiding the detoxification process. Or, if you’d rather have something more hearty, try going for eggs, avocado, wholemeal or rye sourdough bread or some porridge with nut butter and fresh fruit to re-energise yourself!
So, there you have it! You can still enjoy all the festivities and not feel like death the following day, it just takes a little mindset shift and sticking to some good practices.
Have a fantastic Christmas and wonderful New Year – see you in 2023!