How to survive Christmas Party Season
'Tis the season to be merry and with it come lots of parties, late nights, mince pies and sometimes much dreaded hangovers that can leave you feeling run down and in a low mood.
I’m a firm believer that you shouldn’t have to miss out on this wonderful time of year just because you’re “being healthy”. It’s easy to fall into bad habits of over-indulgence, but with a little self-awareness and planning it’s possible to form new ones, so that you can enjoy yourself without doing untold harm to your body and setting yourself back on your journey to good health.
We are living in uncertain times and I know many of you will be feeling nervous about gatherings this year because of COVID and particularly the Omnicron variant currently circulating wildly. Stay safe, and I hope that you are all still able to celebrate with friends and family over the festive period.
Here are some of my favourite biohacks to help you thrive rather than survive this Christmas party season.
THE DAY OF THE PARTY:
Sleep: log as much sleep as possible or have a nap before going out to mitigate the effects of lost sleep later on.
Workout: beat the stress of Christmas with a HIIT or strength training workout. Exercise can improve your glycaemic response to carb-laden food and drink as well as increase antioxidant activity to reduce alcohol and naughty food-induced liver damage.
Limit vegetable oils and omega 6s: high amounts of Omega 6s can worsen liver damage in response to alcohol. Instead load up on Omega 3s from fatty fish or add a tablespoon of our MCT Oil to your daily cup of tea or coffee to protect your liver from harm.
Eat some eggs or a serving of liver: your liver will be burning through its choline stores to counteract the damage from drinking, loading up on choline from eggs, liver or a quality supplement will support your liver health and help you avoid the hungover feeling.
Make a plan and set good intentions: setting yourself some ground rules before the night can increase your chances of staying in control. Plan not to over-indulge. Pre-book yourself a cab for a specific time, plan an early-morning workout or brunch for the following day to give yourself an out.
1 HOUR BEFORE THE PARTY:
Eat a light meal: having a light meal before the party will stop you from overindulging once you’re there. It will also slow the absorption of alcohol, preventing it from flooding your body with too much ethanol and causing a sharp inflammatory response. Go for a light salad topped with a fatty fish, eggs, nuts and other polyphenol-rich plants. Have some berries and a bit of dark chocolate as a desert to increase your antioxidant capacity.
Take some collagen: mix some of my Collagen Peptides and juice from one lemon into a drink of your choice. The glycine in collagen reduces antioxidant depletion in the liver.
AT THE PARTY:
Be mindful: bring your attention to the here and now and enjoy the moment. Being mindful can prevent you from getting over-excited and overindulging. Eat your food slowly and really savour every bite of food and sip of drink that you take.
Eat protein: opt for protein over carbs and sweets. If you can’t resist the carbs and mince pies, eat the protein on your plate first, this will reduce the dreaded blood-glucose spike and the likelihood of you feeling poorly the next day. Dessert is also always best consumed after your main meal, rather than on its own.
Choose quality over quantity: opt for clear drinks and try to drink only the highest-quality alcohol available. Avoid cocktails, high-fructose corn syrup and added sugars. Find an alcoholic drink that you really like and don’t be afraid to spend a little more on a gorgeous, biodynamic white wine that you can really savour. Vodka or gin mixed with sparkling water, a hint of lemon or a splash of juice are also better options. Stay clear of shots, as soon as the shots come out, self-control goes out!
Drink water: keep hydrated throughout the night, add a pinch of sea salt or an electrolyte tablet to each glass of water you consume.
Hydrate: before bedtime mix ½ teaspoon of sea salt, juice from one lemon and water to hydrate and replenish lost minerals.
Take magnesium glycinate: alcohol can mess with your sleep, taking some magnesium can help you get a restful night’s sleep and avoid the dreaded early morning awakening, yuk!
DAY AFTER THE PARTY:
Eat breakfast: a greasy fry up might be hard to resist, but I would recommend some eggs, avocado or omega 3 rich fatty fish to help your body recover.
Go for a walk: move your body, get some fresh air and sunlight on your face to balance out your circadian rhythm and make you feel a whole lot better.
Now, I don’t endorse getting drunk or overindulging as a matter of habit, but once in a while it’s good to let your hair down and enjoy a fun time with your family friends, that’s why I equipped you with some tips to survive the party season and avoid a nasty hangover. Long term negative behaviours won’t resolve overnight, but small changes and mindful behaviour can have a profound long-term, positive impact on the rest of your life.
Happy holidays - and stay safe!