It’s that time of year again where most of us will eat, drink and probably (on more than one occasion), get a wee bit too merry?! There seems to be someone having a drinks party every other day, not to mention the famous office Christmas party!
cI am over here in London, having my first winter Christmas in about 15 years. I must say I am finding it rather more difficult to go out and drink though, being so cold is not conducive to going out at all, when its warm outside, like in Australia it’s a lot easier. However, when you look at how much the poms drink at this time, they obviously do not have this problem!
The stats show that 250 million pints of beer and 35 million bottles of wine are consumed during the festive season here in the UK! That must add up to a lot of hangovers – a recent survey here stated that the ‘average’ person may spend up to FOUR years of their life hungover! Ouch!
But what actually causes a hangover, where your head is pounding, you have no energy, you’re weak, feel sick & dizzy and your mouth seems like its been recarpeted… and you say those immortal words “I’m never drinking again”?!
The main cause is the ethanol (alcohol) in your drinks, you become dehydrated as this toxic chemical acts as a diuretic and you pee a lot more (you’ll note how your urine becomes almost totally clear when you go to the toilet). Because of this you lose essential nutrients like potassium and sodium and also electrolytes which regulate fluids and oxygen delivery, so your cells aren’t happy!
The degree of your hangover may depend on a number of varying things..
your gender, women have less body water volume and different levels of alcohol metabolising enzymes, so alcohol is more concentrated in the body
the type of alcohol you consume, dark drinks such as red wine or brandy & rum are higher in ‘cogeners’ – toxic chemicals produced when alcohol ferments, these will give you more of a hangover
your genes – some are just more predisposed to them and alcoholism often ‘runs in the family’
time of day you drink and whether you have eaten anything
last but not least – the amount you drink and if you mix them!
So – how best to avoid the dreaded hangover..apart from abstinence! You may have heard some of these, but its amazing how we forget, so here’s a reminder on how to make your Christmas less painful!
Before you start, EAT, preferably complex carbs such wholemeal pasta, potatoes or root vegetables, or protein from meat or beans or of course your ISOWHEY, these take longer to digest and can slow the absorption of the alcohol. Also drink lots of water. When you’re out, try to drink water in between drinks – this honestly helps, and will keep you more in control whilst still being able to enjoy yourself. Cocktails taste great, but also taste like soft drinks… they’re not, and the effects will not hit until a while after consumption so beware – you THINK you’re okay till you wake up with no memory!
Aim to choose the lighter drinks (vodka, & gin spring to mind for some reason!) and don’t mix them, if you start with champers, only have a couple..believe me I’ve paid that penalty before..and try to void double shots..here in london they now pour you a double unless you ask for a single, or they at least always ask you – great for their profits, but not yours – or your hangover!
“Tipple” – this is actually the name of an App now available where you can type in what your drinking, and your phone will track how many drinks you’ve had, and warn you when close to recommended limits, & even give the calorie intake.
WaterWaterWater! have lots before you go to bed, this will make a HUGE difference, otherwise drink it when you wake – pop in some lemon juice as well – or go for coconut water, this is really good for you and contains the electrolytes you have lost the night before. Keep hydrating!
If you have to have a painkiller, go for a soluble one to be gentler on your stomach, you don’t want your liver to have to work even harder than it already is! Avoid coffee and energy drinks, you will only get a temporary lift, then crash further.
Again, EAT – try to avoid maccers, but go for a hearty breakfast, scrambled eggs on wholegrain toast with rocket, or even have some fish – just get your protein with good fats – or alternately, your IsoWhey!
If you can’t sleep it off, I advise going to the beach, the salt water will feel so refreshing and have a dip, it will brush off the cobwebs and leave you revitalised, you may even manage a sand run…I often find its a great time to get the house clean as well – if you’re luck
..and if that all doesn’t work, there’s alway the hair of the dog!!