Have you been on the Atkins Diet? The Lemon Detox Diet? The Breatharian Diet (where you breathe your way to a hotter body)? I have tried them all, I have studied them all, and I have written about them all. Unfortunately, none of them work for long-term, true wellbeing.
What does work? Nourishment, not punishment.
How? If you eat real wholefood, which includes a combination of quality fats, protein and smart carbs, it sends signals to your brain that you are satisfied – therefore crowding out the craving for junk food.
So if having one or two glasses of wine is your joy, your reward for your hectic day, then go ahead and have it, without the guilt! But for goodness sake please put down the sugar-packed chai tea and ‘fat-free’ jelly snakes.
You can still consume alcohol, but be smarter about how…
The Australia National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines recommend that men and women drink no more than two standard drinks on any day to reduce the long-term effects of alcohol. I take this further and recommend two nights off the booze a week to give your liver a break and do what is naturally meant to do; to detox the body.
Choose ‘cleaner’ drinks that are not just a sugar snack dressed up like a cocktail. Did you know that the innocent margarita is packed with over 15 teaspoons of sugar, that a strawberry daiquiri contain more than 18 teaspoons of sugar, and that pina coladas have a whopping 22 teaspoons of sugar? Yikes. So choose wisely. Pre-made syrups are often the culprit, so think twice about ordering those sweet cocktails.
Still want to indulge? Hack your way to a lesser hangover
- Always eat before you begin drinking – as alcohol on an empty stomach will pass into the small intestines faster without food – making you drunker, quicker.
- Take two fish oil capsules before you go to bed with a big glass of water. A hangover is essentially an inflamed brain, and fish oil is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Studies have shown this could be beneficial to treating the symptoms.
- Eat a healthy breakfast the morning after a big night to help rebalance your blood sugar levels – as they are often roller-coastering after a night on the grog (especially if you drink cocktails).
- Hydrate yourself during the day before you have your first drink. Being hydrated is not only the cause of a hangover, but hydration may also help to alleviate symptoms. Alternate one alcoholic drink with one non-alcoholic drink; which will also help to slow your consumption of alcohol.
- ‘Hair of the dog’ is what I call ‘hair of a lie’. I am calling what it is… a lie. It’s just going to perpetuate the buzz. Instead, reach for nutritious food, a strong coffee and a good sweat session instead.
Michele Chevalley Hedge is an advocate for nourishment not punishment. Her book, Eat, Drink & Still Shrink, contains a complete 28-day recipe plan designed for people who want health, not hassle. $34.99, published by Macmillan.
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