Partying Without Payback
The party season is upon us and your diary for December is probably filling up fast with all the various office parties, client drinks, cocktail parties and general celebrations that we all try to pack in before Christmas.
A lot of damage can be done to your waistline in these few short weeks, not to mention your reputation in the office if you’re rolling in with a hangover most mornings. So here are a few tips to help you make it through the party season with your waistline and career in good shape.
- Choose your canapés carefully at cocktail parties. Keep away from carb-rich sausage rolls or deep-fried nibbles like wontons or tempura, as they won’t do you any favours. Olives may be salty, but they contain less salt than the average bag of crisps, and nuts may be high in fat but they’re also rich in protective antioxidants which can help to break down toxins in the liver. If you’re eyeing up the cheese board, opt for hard cheeses like cheddar and Edam as these tend to be lower in saturated fat than softer cheeses and avoid high-calorie French bread or cream crackers. Oatcakes or ryvita would be much better options as they contain more fibre and less refined carbohydrate. A light snack such as hummus and oatcakes before you go out could also mean you’re less likely to be tempted by what’s on offer.
- The simple equation is that the less you drink, the less likely it is that you’ll suffer from a hangover. If you need some motivation to help withstand peer pressure, bear in mind that a glass of fizz contains 2-3 teaspoons of sugar, and this will go straight to your waistline. And it’s not just sweet wine that’s full of sugar – a pint of premium lager contains more than 3 teaspoons of sugar, so it’s easy for a spare tyre to develop pretty quickly if you’re partying hard.
- If you want to avoid a hangover, prevention is definitely easier than cure. If you can avoid drinking on an empty stomach, this could make a huge difference to the potential severity of your hangover if you overdo things. Fat takes longer to digest in the stomach, so eating hummus, avocado, nuts, spicy Bombay Mix or even having a glass of full-fat milk before you start drinking can help to slow down the release of alcohol into the small intestine and prevent the toxic build-up in the liver that generates a hangover.
- Another preventative measure you can try is vitamin C. It’s a powerful antioxidant which supports the principal detoxification pathways in the liver. Taking 2-3g of vitamin C before you go to bed could help the liver deal more effectively with the toxins generated by the alcohol you’ve drunk, reducing the chances of a debilitating hangover. However, be aware that high doses of vitamin C are not advised if you’re taking the oral contraceptive pill.
- If you’re struggling with a post-celebration hangover, you might find it helpful to try adding Dioralyte to a glass of water, as this can help replace mineral salts you may have lost and improve hydration and energy levels, making it easier to get through a busy morning at the office.
- Energy-boosting foods (e.g. lean meat, green vegetable juice, raw nuts and seeds with your cereal) can be a big help the morning after the night before, as alcohol depletes B vitamins which are vital links in the chain of energy production, so you could be feeling pretty lethargic after a heavy night. A green juice may be the last thing you feel like, but it really can put a spring back in your step as it’s a potent mix of B vitamins, vitamin C and magnesium.
- There’s also much to be said for a quick fry up in this situation, so if you can manage an egg this is an excellent option, as eggs are rich in cysteine, an antioxidant used by the liver to break down toxins.
Trying to follow at least some of these tips should mean that you’re not already all partied out by 25th December, and are better able to enjoy (or endure!) Christmas Day itself.