We live in a culture where drinking is the norm. If you drink, you’re ruining your health. If you don’t drink, you’re boring and nobody wants to hang out with you.
I have been on both sides of the fence and I believe it or not I get more slack from people now that I don’t drink that often compared to the days when I was an extremely heavy drinker. I still enjoy the odd glass of red (or bottle) from time to time but I also work hard to limit the effects of alcohol on my health.
When it comes to living life and if you do enjoy the occasional drink, cutting alcohol out of your diet completely may not work for you. Things always pop up and there are office drinks you have to go to, work conferences where drinking is expected, not to mention weddings, birthdays and the rest. While you don't want to be the boring one with a bottle of water, you also don't want to undo all of that hard work and discipline you have put into your health.
Here are my six tips (tried and tested) to go into damage limitation mode when you’re having a night out.
1. Don't drink on an empty stomach. This one is pretty obvious, but we’ve all been guilty of skipping lunch and then having work drinks only to feel smashed after two glasses of wine? Alcohol filters through the walls of the stomach very quickly and the less food in there, the faster it will enter your bloodstream. The faster the speed of which it is absorbed into your body, the bigger impact alcohol can have on your liver, digestive system, kidneys, and cardiovascular system, as well as the quicker effects on you socially. Eat up and have a decent meal before you hit the cans and your body (and dignity) will thank you later!
2. Load up on Fat. While we know eating is important before a boozey night, the kind of food you eat can make a difference as well. Load up on good fat before you head out by eating a meal with foods like avocado and salmon. The levels of fat in these foods can help slow down the rate at which food leaves the stomach. For the adventurous/die-hards among us, there’s nothing wrong with a good swig of olive oil with your pre match meal either.
3. Prioritise Potassium. Once again our good friend avocado comes in handy for potassium as well. Avocados are rich in Potassium (975 mg in one avocado) The day after a few drinks you are dehydrated and you have peed out a lot of your body's potassium. Potassium helps maintain hormone balances, and it helps regulate your kidney’s fluid-filtering processes (again very important if you are knocking back a few).
4. Drink water between each drink. Seems easy right? Not when Bob from accounts is giving you a hard time for not having another beer. On your round order a soda water with lime in a short glass. It will look like you are on the vodkas and no one will bat an eyelid. This will make sure you stay hydrated as well as coherent.
5. Be mindful of what you drink. Not all drinks are bad for you as the next. Obviously stay away from anything mixes with sugar based mixers. A bourbon and coke has 255 calories and a load of sugar. If you can avoid beer with its high carb and high 155 calories. Better options are Vodka lime soda has a cool 64 calories and no carbs, while a good drop of red wine has 120 calories and is rumoured to be good for you in moderation (So I keep telling myself).
6. Coconut Water before bed. Have I mentioned potassium yet? Drinking a cup of coconut water (unsweetened) just before bed will also help with your potassium levels. Coconut water is also packed with heaps of natural electrolytes rather than a high calorie sugary sports drinks.
Of course all of these points are irrelevant if you drink too much. No amount of potassium can help you from your dehydration and embarrassment of singing Bon Jovi at a karaoke bar at 3am. So please, drink responsibly. Did you find any of these tips useful? Let us know in the comments below.