If you typically see your energy drop and your weight increase at this time of the year, you’re not alone!
This is a common problem and frustration among women (and men!).
Yet, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Over the next week, I’ll be sharing with you my best healthy holiday hacks to help you keep your energy high and the weight off during the silly season.
First, we’re going to talk about booze.
You know alcohol has many negative effects on the body, particularly fatigue and weight gain if overdone, yet you want to remain social and festive, right?
So here are five strategies:
1. Take St Mary’s Thistle
The herb St Mary’s Thistle, also known as Milk Thistle, is a liver loving herb worth having in your corner.
This herb supports all phases of your liver’s detoxification process (there are 3 phases) and is fantastic for helping when you’re drinking.
Take just before you go out and before you go to bed.
When taken, you’ll wake in the morning feeling like you haven’t drunk at all the night before (winning!).
You’ll find Milk Thistle at any good quality health store.
2. Take Activated Charcoal
Activated charcoal, when taken before or during alcohol consumption, absorbs the alcohol while in your stomach, reducing how much gets to the liver, so you’ll get the benefits of socialising without getting drunk!
You can find activated charcoal in capsules or tablets at your local health store.
Please note that activated charcoal can also remove minerals from the body, especially when taken with food, so only use occasionally.
(Word of warning: your poo will be black the next day. That’s totally normal!)
3. Forget coffee in the morning – take a B-vitamin complex instead.
Do you drink coffee the next day thinking it helps your hangover and gives you a boost of energy?
You probably get a jolt of energy, though still feel rather seedy (and maybe even a little wired).
That’s because alcohol and caffeine both speed up the liver’s first phase of detoxification.
You may think this is a good idea, however, most people have a slower phase 2, which creates a buildup of ‘toxic intermediaries’ the phase 2 process has trouble keeping up with.
This causes free radical damage to cells, and can start a cascade of free radical damage throughout the body (hello aging and wrinkles) and will also make you feel even more toxic.
Swapping caffeine for a B-vitamin complex will help give you more energy, and will support the liver’s detox pathways too – helping you feel better more quickly.
If you want a warm comforting drink, have a green tea – the catechins will also support your liver’s detox pathways and help reduce free radical damage.
If you’re still feeling a little seedy even if you’ve taken Milk Thistle the night before, it may be a sign your liver needs more support, so take another dose of Milk Thistle in the morning.
4. Choose your booze wisely
If you’re wondering which booze is better to imbibe, here are your best options:
Bone dry or dry white wines like Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc or Semillon are better than the sweeter varieties. Semillons are the best option because they’re low alcohol too (around 11%).
Like bubbles?! Go for Extra Brut varieties that tend to have 0-3 grams of sugar per litre.
Red wines have little to no sugar in them. However, if you’re wanting a low alcohol wine, choose Cabernet Sauvignon over Shiraz, or more light-bodied wines, like Gamay and Nebbiolo.
Note that commercial wine producers that sell bottles for under $10 tend to add sugar to improve the taste – so it’s best to avoid these!
If you can, choose natural wines, which are unadulterated with typical chemicals winemakers use to produce commercial wines.
Natural wines also tend to be lower in alcohol, so if you have a good independent bottle shop near you, ask them for recommendations.
Pure spirits like gin and tequila are good, giving you only about 60kcals per shot (versus around 140kcals and upwards for wine), as long as they’re served with some soda water with a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime.
That little bit of citrus juice will give you a dose of vitamin C which can also help your body detoxify.
5. The solution is dilution
Of course I’d be remiss not to mention how drinking less is best!
Make every second drink a glass of water – even sparkling water in a wine or cocktail glass with a slice of lemon or lime.
Your energy, liver, skin and weight will be better for it.
If you need a reminder, set an alarm on your phone at regular intervals or ask someone you trust to remind you to have water.
Now if you’re curious to know what foods you can eat to support your health and energy, look out for my post tomorrow!
I’ll be sharing the top foods, herbs and spices to help support your body so you can feel great this season.
Until then, cheers!
Melissa is a naturopathic nutritionist and coach who helps exhausted women get their energy back. She consults with people worldwide via the web from her home in Melbourne, Australia.