In Australia we’re right in the middle of the party season. Its warm most nights and we have plenty of reasons to celebrate with friends and family. Even though Christmas and the start of the New Year has been and gone, Australia day is just around the corner so I thought it would be appropriate to write a post (better late then never) about how to survive the party season without sacrificing your health or social life.
1. Food before booze – If your planning on drinking, eat a high protein and low carb meal before you do. Trust me you’ll get plenty of carbs from the alcohol. A juicy steak and a big side of non-starchy veg is an ideal pre-party meal. By skipping a meal your blood sugar levels will spike and cause an increase in the absorption of alcohol (in other words the sooner you’ll be hugging the toilet bowl). And if you tend to reach for a bag of chips or dial a pizza at 2am when the post drinking munchies kick in, be prepared by keeping a small snack like a trail mix in your bag. Alternatively if you are at a house party, see tip number 5.
2. Preparation is key – Plan what you will drink and how much. To avoid the nasty hangover, skip the rounds of shots and the drinking games. I know I would much rather sip my drink of choice and enjoy it as opposed to throwing straight spirits back in one gulp. If you have trouble saying no or are feeling the pressure, offer to take photos or engage in conversion with someone else. Consciously count the drinks that you are having and if you want to be put off the cocktails further, think about the extra calories*, sugar content and lack of nutritional value they contain.
*While I don’t necessary promote counting calories, knowing that one standard cosmopolitan has 200 calories upwards, has definitely put me off many a drinks.
3. Choose wisely – Instead of a scotch and coke, glutinous beer or a sugary cocktail, opt for a sparkling wine, dry wine (pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon, merlot or, sauvignon blanc) or mix distilled spirits such as vodka, tequila or rum with soda water, ice and a squeeze of lime juice. Be wary of some spirits such as bourbon, gin and whiskey that may contain gluten if grain based. Skip the following mixers; cordial, juice, tonic water, soft drink and diet sodas that are loaded with sugar or artificial sweeteners and additives.
4. Mix it up – Alternate each drink with a glass or two of water or dilute your sparkling wine or vodka mix by adding extra soda water.
5. Share with others – Offer to bring your own food to the party. There are plenty of easy to share healthy recipes on the Internet. It could be something as simple as sliced vegetables and dip or some meat to throw on the BBQ or a salad. However be careful not to share too much (unwanted info that is). Sure you may be very enthusiastic about your healthy lifestyle but not everyone wants to hear about. Instead of preaching, act by example and if they are curious, they’ll ask.
6. Fake it – If you have a drink in your hand, chances are you wont get hassled to down another (insert drink of choice here). If you want something that looks the part ask the bartender for a soda water with a dash of juice or a slice of lime. No one needs to know that you forgot the vodka.
7. Bust a move – Shaking your booty and throwing your hands in the air is difficult with a drink in your hand so head to the dance floor instead of the bar.
8. Fat matters – In the Perfect Health Diet, authors Paul and Shou-Ching Jaminet discuss the link between the consumption of polyunsaturated fats (canola, corn and soy oils) and the increased risk of alcoholic liver disease. On the other hand, dietary saturated fats (from grass fed meats, coconut oil & avocadoes) have been found to protect the liver from the effects of moderate alcohol consumption. They suggest that on days you are drinking alcohol, choose to eat beef, lamb or non-oily fish, make sure your body is well nourished and if you are experiencing signs of gut problems, consider avoiding alcohol.
9. The company we keep – By surrounding yourself with like-minded healthy friends you are more likely to choose healthier activities. Instead of going out for drinks, catch up with friends doing an activity you all enjoy. Could be anything from a long hike, motorbike riding, camping, paint balling, or even go out and get a massage.
10. And finally get over it… seriously if you do fall off the wagon and have a slice of pizza or too many tequila shots it’s not the end of world. Get up, shake yourself off, have a nice refreshing shower, a healthy breakfast and do some exercise. And if necessary beg your friends to delete the video of you singing karaoke to Britney Spears ‘I love rock and roll’. Stressing about the occasionally slip up, will just worsen the effects.
Hope you all enjoy the rest of the party season and Happy Australia Day (Hottest 100 countdown day).