The holiday season is synonymous with ample opportunities to indulge in all things delicious. For many folks, this equates to dragging themselves to the curb on a cold January 1st morning (it’s no wonder we have New Year’s resolutions!). However, there is a different way and it does not mean you have to sacrifice your fun!
As a bartender-turned-Naturopathic Doctor, my jam is preventative medicine, but I am all about having your cake and eating it too. So how can you indulge over the holidays but still keep your body well? This is absolutely possible, and here’s how in a simple 1-2-3:
Step 1: Prep your body ahead of time
You’ve planned your facial, your haircut and your mani-pedi for the holidays, so why not plan an internal tune-up as well? This takes a little more time than your external beautification, but it is totally worth it and your January 1st body will absolutely thank you! Here are 3 tricks to know:
- Lights out – Before your social calendar gets rolling, aim to be in bed by 10:30-11:00 each night. This will help your adrenal glands rejuvenate, putting a little extra into the tank so that you are better able to handle the sporadic bedtimes and late nights (or early dawns!) over the holidays.
- Clean it up – Clean up your diet leading into the holiday season and ensure your are drinking at least 2 liters of clean water daily. Eat more green foods, more colourful foods and more whole foods. This will support your liver, your digestive system, your immune system and your adrenal glands. A quick test to see if you’re on the right track is to count the colours you see on your plate. Aim for the rainbow!
- Coffee break – Take a caffeine, sugar and alcohol break leading into your holiday festivities. Even a short stint of 5-7 days can make a huge difference in how you feel and will give your body a little extra support for the heavier load ahead.
Step 2: Indulge strategically
- Adam’s Ale – Hydrate well the day before and the day of an event. This will help your body deal with the food and beverage choices you make while you’re out. A quick test of whether you’re properly hydrated, is to check the colour of your urine. If it’s clear or pale yellow, you’re doing great!
- Power Up – Eat before you go out. If you are satiated before the party, you are less likely to eat based on cravings. An added bonus is this will help you to avoid unwanted gas and bloating during your event. Power Tip: make a protein shake while you’re getting ready. This is the perfect way to provide key nutrients that will give you a boost of energy for the night ahead. Check out the recipe below.
- Drink Simply and Eat Lightly – avoid rich or heavy meals the night of an event. You’re better off choosing lighter proteins (fish or foul) and whole vegetables versus heavier meat dishes and refined carbs. This creates less work for your digestive and liver-gallbladder systems.
On the drinks front, from my many years of bartending experience, I can tell you that you’ll fare better if you keep your drinks menu short. Choose a style (beer, wine or spirits) and stick with it. Clear drinks are safer bets than creamy or juiced cocktails, and if you’re going to switch it up, start with your spirits and then move to beer. Keep a water glass with lemon handy and double fist it throughout the night. This will help you to flush out the toxins and avoid feeling crapulous in the morning!
Step 3: Pack a first aid kit!
Despite all of the good intentions and strategic planning, things can still go off the rails. This is when you pull out your emergency medicine! Pack these little diddies in your purse and you will be so thankful you did.
- Digestive enzymes – if you have known food sensitivities or just have a sensitive system, digestive enzymes can provide quick and effective support. Purchase a broad spectrum enzyme blend from your local healthfood store or naturopathic physician. If you have known sensitivities or allergies, such as gluten or dairy, choose a product that will specifically help you with these.
- Activated Charcoal tablets – charcoal is an effective way to ease gas, bloating or nausea. It is also a well-known first-aid remedy for food poisoning and intoxification. Charcoal can be a messy business, so make sure to securely pack these in a ziplock bag or pill case to prevent the capsules from breaking and painting your purse.
- Electrolyte sachets – when we drink too much alcohol or coffee, we easily become dehydrated. To replenish quickly and effectively, carry ‘travel sachets’ of electrolyte powders that can be mixed with water. These are a great way to help your body recuperate from an overly ‘social’ evening.
- Greens Powder sachets – green foods are a key way to support your liver and alkalinize your blood. Travel sachets of powdered greens are a convenient way to replenish essential vitamins and minerals that may not be in ample supply in our holiday fare as well as to help our liver process what may be a ‘heavier than normal’ load.
- Pack a pair of roll-ups – if you’re intending to wear heels out, pack a pair of roll-up slippers in your purse so that you may be more sure-footed on your way home. There’s nothing worse than an ankle-sprain to compound a hangover!
Power Up Protein Shake
This will make more than 1 large pint glass of shake, which is great because you can drink the remainder when you get home from your night to support your recovery!
Blend together until smooth:
- Large handful or two of leafy greens (spinach, kale, swish chard, etcetera)
- Small, peeled zucchini
- 2-3 pitted dates (for sweetness and important minerals)
- Small amount of hot water (to wilt the greens and release the essential minerals there)
- 1 small avocado (healthy fats)
- 1 banana
- frozen berries (½ – ¾ cup)
- 2 scoops of plant-based protein powder (aim for a minimum of 15 grams)
- water or rice milk until desired consistency
- 1-2 Tbsp of flax oil
- 1 dose of a powdered multivitamin if you’ve got it (helps to provide energy for the night ahead as well as replenish nutrients when consumed afterwards)
- A couple of ice-cubes to chill it down
- For added liver support, add tumeric powder (1 teaspoon or so) from your pantry