Your Holiday Survival Guide, Part 2: Drinks!

champagne_header Read Part 1: Food!

Yesterday I went out of the ordinary realm of advice that you'll find in the health and wellness world, and encouraged you to not sweat your diet too much for the rest of the month. I'm a strong advocate for balance, and deprivation does not equal balance in my mind.

Of course, I'll always advocate for moderation, and today's topic follows a similar vein.

Alcohol is EVERYWHERE at this time of year. Rum and eggnog, mulled wine, champagne at midnight on New Year's Eve... it's tough to avoid.

Many people have a mixed relationship with alcohol due to its double-edged sword: it's a substance that can help us relax, open up, and unwind, but it also has highly addictive qualities and can be quite detrimental to our health.

If you have a problem with alcohol use, by all means - abstain. There are tons of great organizations out there to help you get through the holiday season.

But if you have a balanced and healthy relationship with alcohol, it can be a fun addition to your holiday festivities.

That being said, there are some ways to mitigate the negative impacts of drinking:


1. Stay hydrated

Alcohol decreases the body's production of anti-diuretic hormone, which is used by the body to reabsorb water. With less anti-diuretic hormone in the body, you lose fluid faster when you pee. Dehydration is extremely hard on the body and a surefire way to induce a hangover, so be sure to drink as much water as you do boozey beverages over the course of an evening.

Also, remember to include electrolytes when rehydrating the next day (coconut water is my favourite natural electrolyte drink).


2. No drinks before bedtime

Enjoying an after-work cocktail party, or nice wine with dinner? It might be best to cut things off there. Studies show that going to bed with unprocessed alcohol in your system can have a detrimental impact on the quality and duration of your sleep.

When you have drinks close to bed time, you may go right into a deep sleep, and miss the REM (rapid eye movement) stage of sleeping. On a "normal" night of sleep we cycle through REM and deep sleep 6 or 7 times, giving the body time to repair itself. After drinking, we may just cycle through just once or twice, leaving us exhausted.


3. Support your liver

It's especially important to support the liver if you're going to be indulging in some spirits.

I may be a little biased, but I created a supplement called Liver MD with my friends at Preferred Nutrition, and it's an excellent blend of natural liver supporters.

If you don't live near a store that sells Liver MD, these are my go-to liver detox supplements:

  • Milk Thistle
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin B12
  • Chlorella

They're all easy to find at health food stores, where they'll be able to give you guidelines regarding amounts and frequency with which you should be taking each.