How to not only Survive but THRIVE during the festive season

  1. Most hangovers come from being dehydrated. Hangovers are more likely to do with the quantity that you drink as opposed to sulphur levels, the price of the wine or the order of drinks which you were enjoying. ALWAYS match each glass of wine with a glass of water or fruit juice. I ALWAYS drink a large glass of water before bed. I put it by my bedside before I go out so I have no excuse.
  2. If you know that you get hangovers only from red wine then it could be that you have a histamine problem. If you want to go out and enjoy red wine then take some antihistamine before you drink and that should definitely make a difference. WARNING: Do check with your doctor to make sure that you take your specific antihistamine with alcohol!!
  3. Drink lower-alcohol wines – they are so trendy right now! Wines that tend to be lower in alcohol normally come from cooler climates – therefore in Australia, Tasmanian wine is usually much lower in alcohol than wines from the Barossa valley. Ask your waiter or look for wine labels that emphasise cool climate. Great low-alcohol options to go for are: old world Pinot Noir, Riesling, Beaujolais, Sauvignon Blanc, spritzers, Provence Rose, Vinho Verde, Austrian and German white wine and wines from the Loire valley.
  4. If you are hosting or attending a party make sure you bring or offer some fun zero alcohol options. Elderflower cordial, cranberry juice and lime La Croix is an easy and festive looking option. Whilst I actually really enjoy a zero alcohol bone dry Riesling made by well known German Riesling producer Dr Loosen. It is cleverly called ‘Eins Zwei Zero’ and is available via online retailers at around $15 a bottle for the still version and $19 for the sparkling.
  5. Be aware that wine glasses in restaurants and pubs are far bigger than they used to be: 8.5 fl oz glass of 14% alcohol by volume (ABV) wine at 3.5 units contains more than double the alcohol of a 4.5 ml glass of an 11% ABV one, which is just 1.4. Also, a large glass (8.5 fl oz) is a third of a bottle… something worth keeping in mind when you tell yourself that you only had two glasses at a bar!
  6. Be European and eat while you drink! This slows down the rate of alcohol absorption into the blood. But be mindful of what food you enjoy. More notes on that coming up.
  7. Take Vitamin C before you drink. Although this does not stop you from getting drunk, it has been proven to lessen the toxicity of alcohol and the irritable side effects that you have the next day. I normally take 800-1,000mg of easy-to-absorb and soft-on-the-stomach vitamin C capsules.
  8. Similarly, I have heard people swear by milk thistle. Silymarin is the active compound found in milk thistle, an herb commonly used to improve liver health and protect the liver from alcohol and other drugs.
  9. Take a good-quality multi-mineral vitamin before you go to sleep. Alcohol depletes your body of important minerals, especially magnesium, potassium and zinc.
  10. Avoid highly-refined sugary soft drinks or food while drinking alcohol. Refined sugar can activate the immune system and trigger inflammation, which can affect your mental processes the next day.
  11. Equally avoid salty foods. Salty snack foods make you thirsty, which can lead you to drink more and more quickly. There is a very calculated reason why bars serve salty nuts or crisps with your booze.
  12. The first thing I drink after a hedonistic night is warm water, freshly squeezed lemon, salt and cayenne pepper. The water hydrates, the salt enables the hydration process to occur faster, the lemon helps to alkalise your body and the cayenne pepper kickstarts your metabolism.
  13. Book an exercise class or plan an activity with a child early the next day. That is the best hangover prevention – the fear will stop the final wine order.
  14. However be realistic about what that exercise class will consist of. A HIIT cardio or spinning class will just make you feel terrible if you have drunk too much/ not had a lot of sleep. Opt then for a low impact alternative such as pilates, barre, yoga or simply a gentle jog or power walk outside. This will get your body moving, digestive processes working and will make you mentally more alert so that you can mastermind your way through the next onslaught of festive Christmas fun!