Did you enjoy yourself a little too much at your Melbourne Cup lunch or Christmas party? 28 by Sam Wood nutritionist Shahna Sarpi, explains how to get your health back on track in 5 simple steps.
The festive season is well and truly upon us. It’s that time of year where our calendar fills up with social gatherings, and it generally means lots of food and let’s face it, plenty of alcohol.
While we have a lot of fun on the day, it often leaves us feeling sorry for ourselves the day after. Here are a few tips to help get you back on track in no time.
This one is so simple, but I can’t emphasise it enough.
Water is not only essential for our detoxification process, but it’s also a vital part of our energy cycle. This means that it will help flush out the alcohol, while also supporting our energy levels. It’s one of the easiest things we can do to reset our bodies, so don’t underestimate its power.
For an extra detox boost, add a dash of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar in hot water. Just make sure you drink this out of a metal or bamboo straw to protect your tooth enamel. On the theme of hydration, coconut water is a great source of electrolytes and is another great way to re-hydrate.
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2. Get back to eating whole foods and balanced meals
After a day (or a few days) of eating at social gatherings, it’s good to get back to eating nutritionally balanced meals made up of real foods.
The closer these foods are to their natural source, the better. This means they’re more likely to contain plenty of fibre for our gut health and the nutrients we need to support our body as it performs all of its functions.
A balanced meal should be made up of lots of veggies, a source of quality protein, some complex carbohydrates and a serve of healthy fats. The more veggies you can get in, the more you’ll be helping yourself (and your gut) get back on track.
3. Don’t fall into the temptations of ‘hangover food’
You know what I’m talking about – a greasy burger, hot chips, mac and cheese, two minute noodles… any of those comfort foods that we’re more likely to reach for after a big night. This isn’t to say you can’t enjoy these types of foods; just go for a real food version of it.
Why not roast some potatoes or sweet potato instead of deep fried chips, or make yourself a nice plate of pasta, cook up a noodle stir fry, or make yourself a homemade burger? Our body, and especially our gut, loves real foods. The less refined versions of these are often more delicious and we get more from them nutritionally. Use the principles from tip #2 to create a nutritionally balanced version of these common comfort foods.
4. Eat foods with plenty of B vitamins
B vitamins are really important for our detoxification, as well as being some of the most important cofactors in our energy cycle. By eating foods rich in B vitamins, you’ll be supporting your liver, while also boosting your energy levels.
You can find the various B vitamins in wholegrains, meat, fish, eggs, beans, lentils and leafy greens – all of which you’ll be eating when following a real food diet.
Nutritional yeast is also a great source of B vitamins and can be added to meals, the great part is it also has a nice cheesy flavour, making it a great addition to many dishes.
5. Move your body
While we may want to stay in bed or on the couch feeling sorry for ourselves, exercise is one of the best things you can do to reboot your system and feel immediate benefits – hello endorphins!
We all know how good exercise is for us, and this is no different after a big day or social gathering.
Working up a sweat through exercise will support the detoxification process and give us that rush of energy that comes with a good workout. Just make sure that you know your limits and don’t push yourself too hard if you’re particularly worse for wear or especially dehydrated. A nice walk or yoga session can suffice.
The sooner you get back into good habits, the sooner you’ll bounce back. Enjoy the holiday season and don’t forget to take care of yourself throughout. It comes back down to remembering the fact that it’s what we do the majority of the time makes the biggest impact to our health. Keep nourishing yourself throughout the festive season and enjoy all of the social occasions with moderation in mind.
Shahna Sarpi is the head of nutrition at 28 by Sam Wood.