by Lisa Breitenwischer, CHHC
There is nothing better in life than to eat, drink and be merry. In fact, the phrase “Eat, Drink and be Merry, for tomorrow we shall die” originates back to biblical times. You’ll find different interpretations, all suggesting we should enjoy life as much as possible, because it will be over soon.
Enjoying life as much as possible is very uplifting and positive, but for many during the holidays, this phrase translates to “it’s party time”.
The end of the year gives us the opportunity to reflect back on all we’ve accomplished or have not accomplished. Both can trigger stress, which can create reasons or excuses to overindulge, because after all, we deserve it. This is reward-seeking behavior.
There is nothing wrong with the occasional glut and guzzle, but you have to be prepared for the consequences. Overindulging can initially make us feel great, until the regret sets in. The brain secretes dopamine, a “feel awesome chemical”, when we eat fat and sugar or when we drink alcohol. When the brain secretes dopamine during binges, it can develop into a physical addiction; we binge more for we crave the rush of the chemical (shopping can do this, too).
I believe there’s a way to Eat, Drink and BE Merry and still feel good the next day. Here’s how:
- Don’t Diet. Maintain a regular diet this month with lean protein or plant based protein, greens and whole grains. Eat an apple or 2 per day or any kind of berries.
- Mindful Eating. When you eat, chew your food 25x and enjoy the food you’re eating. Chewing your food slowly will fill you up and will help with digestion.
- Allow Some Treats. Eat some treats on special days, but then get back on track with greens and grains the next day. Enjoy and savor the treats!
- Keep Moving. Be it around the buffet table, a walk outside or a yoga class. Exercise can relieve stress and release endorphins.
- Drink Water. Dehydration is typically the leading cause of headaches the following day because alcohol is a diuretic. Try to drink at least 6-cups of water a day, and then have a glass of water with each drink. Balance out cocktails by mixing with soda water.
- Don’t Drink on an Empty Stomach. Certain foods slow the absorption rate of alcohol into the bloodstream such as breads & potatoes (both are carbs, so more sugar), healthy fats and yogurt. Eat a banana, celery or asparagus or drink some cranberry juice beforehand to help the kidneys, which process fluids in the body (alcohol).
- Take 100mg of Vitamin B (before, during and after) – Take this water soluble vitamin multiple times as it is especially vulnerable and destroyed by alcohol. It can reduce your craving for alcohol & protect your liver.
- Avoid Sugary Drinks & Cocktails. Mixing sugar with alcohol speeds up the absorption of the alcohol, meaning you will get drunker, quicker. Drinks with a high sugar content will create a quick rush of energy until your blood sugar quickly falls, making you reach for another drink to keep your energy up. Not only are these drinks packed with calories and sugar that contribute to weight gain, but they will also also leave you feeling terrible the next day.
- Choose Lighter Drinks over Darker. Darker drinks (certain red wines, bourbon, whiskey) are full of tannins, which can lead to a hangover & headache the following day as they contain more toxic substances. Also, try not to mix your drinks; sticking to just one type of alcohol allows your body to process the alcohol more efficiently.
Now if all else fails, I would be happy to assist you today or in January to get you and your body back on track! I offer different programs to help fit your lifestyle. For more information on my nutrition programs, click here…you’ll feel better for it!