'Tis the season of indulgence... December 13 2014

The season of indulgence is upon us, and unless you are a positively beatific shining example of health then you will have started to feel the effects that all this ‘winter eating and drinking’ can have on the body!

We are simply human, its all too easy to slip down one too many glasses of bubbly at the office Christmas party, or give into that sixth mince pie this week (well if it’s free..) The question is, what is all of this indulging doing to the way we feel? A heavy night out leaves you with a dry mouth, banging head and rather delicate tummy. Instead of lambasting yourself for wrecking all the weeks of health and virtue you had in the summer, why not just treat yourself with kindness and nourish your body. It’s easy to say ‘eat a salad, dink plenty of water and abstain from all things bad forever. Because the chances are, this time of year, you have another party in a couple of days that will result in very much the same antics. In this blog I want to focus on what you can do to make yourself feel as healthy as possible, without missing out on the fun this season has to bring!

Before going out make sure you have had a light meal - eating too much can often have the same result as not eating at all; cut to you with your head stuck down the toilet all night! It might sound like a bit of an old wives tale, but ‘lining’ your stomach with some slow release carbohydrate and protein (like sweet potato, pulses and brown rice) these will help you remain full and if you are watching your waistline it will save you from over indulging in any rich, unhealthy nibbles being passed around at the party. Whatever you drink, take a ‘water round’ between your drinks. Not only will this slow down your pace of drinking, but it will re hydrate your body after having alcohol. Your skin and head will thank you in the morning!

The next day, if you do wake up feeling a little worse for wear, make sure you get as much fluid down you as possible!

Be this water, coconut water (hero!) herbal tea, hot water and lemon or fresh cold pressed juice. But please, no pasteurised OJ, this is the equivalent of pouring pickling vinegar down your throat!! Try to avoid caffeinated stimulants like coffee, energy drinks and even tea. These will just add to that overwhelming free floating anxiety you will be engulfed by. As for eating, ‘Hangover food’ has become somewhat of a trend amongst over boozed, university students who gorge themselves on something greasy, fried and starchy the morning after, in an attempt to ‘soak up’ the any remaining alcohol running through their veins. I don’t have to be the one to tell you that this might be the worst thing you could do for your poor body the evening after indulging. Your liver is already in melt down from having to process the dent you made in the free bar, but now it has to break down all these genetically modified, over processed and hydrogenated sugars, oils and fats? One thing I and the most well renowned nutritionists agree with is the need for carbs. Carbs are our friends regardless, but when you are feeling fragile its best to keep it light and easy to digest. Fruit is a saviour - easy to digest, full of water (yay, hydration!) and its sweet enough to that your furry little tongue will be craving something that doesn’t remind it of what you were guzzling a few hours previous (FAO: wine drinkers, grapes are almost certainly safe) If you really can’t stomach anything too heavy don't force dense rye breads, oats or grains. Stick to things like rice (even white) like sushi which is light and easy to digest and incorporate some protein to keep it from digesting too quickly, you will be hungry! But if you can face something a little heartier then have something like eggs, peanut butter and banana, avocado or even some hummus on toast. The protein will keep you full and the carbohydrates will most certainly rejuvenate you! 

Finally, take it easy!

Don’t over tax yourself the day after a night of drinking! Your wee body needs to repair after all the damage you have inflicted on it. Take a gentle stroll, or if you can face downward facing dog do some yoga. But keep it gentle - a few twists and stretches in front of the telly might be enough! 

Keep yourself hydrated, happy and healthy this holiday season. Remember enjoy it sensibly!


Robyn Kennedy