Drinking Smarter – Say No to Hangovers

The USA Drinking Team, ca. 1960sLately, I have cut down on my drinking.  While I’m happy with my decision, I would like to indulge in a nice glass of something now and then.  My absolute favourites are big, flavourful red wines – Shiraz/Syrah, Amarone, Château-neuf-du-pape…the stronger, the better. I also love “old-timey” cocktails like gin and tonics and the tasty Old Fashioned.

*Pic courtesy of www.vintag.es

Lately, I’ve noticed that I no longer tolerate alcohol well.  My heart breaks!! I’ve been experiencing symptoms such as severe headaches and nasal congestion the morning after a few glasses of wine. I also want to avoid the calorie-bomb of having several glasses of wine in one sitting. So what to do if I still want a tipple?  Let’s do some research! Here are some tips for “smarter drinking”:

1) Ice. Add a ton of ice to your cocktail.  This will: dilute your drink significantly and physically minimize the amount of alcohol in your glass.

2) Hydrate!  Drink a ton of water throughout the day before and after drinking.  Drink one glass of water for each alcoholic beverage you have.  The following morning, prepare a half litre of water with the juice of half a lemon and a pinch of good quality salt.  This will replace lost electrolytes and help you rehydrate faster.  It will also speed up the detoxification of your poor kidneys and liver!

3) One word: tequila.  Tequila can produce less of a hangover if consumed in moderate amounts, mainly due to it containing a lower amount of sugar and carbs.  Drink the high-quality tequilas – 100% blue agave.  These tequilas have been found to impact blood sugar levels at a slower rate, therefore making it a better option for diabetics and hypoglycemics. Try a “healthy” margarita: mix tequila, cointreau, simple sugar, fresh pressed lime, lemon and a splash of fresh squeezed orange juice.

4) Juice it. Drink some fresh pressed juice or green juice the following morning.  If you choose to make your own juice, make sure it has some lemon in it.  Kale, carrots, berries, bananas, citrus – they are your detoxification buddies!

5) Vitamins and supplements. Down some anti-oxidant rich vitamins like vitamins C, E and selenium. Fresh grapefruit and a handful of blueberries will also do the trick. Activated charcoal pills are also known to counteract toxins.  Remember to get the best quality vitamins you can.  Stay away from synthetic vitamins as they may stress your liver further.  Remember – food-based vitamins are the best option.

6) Skip dark liquors. As a general rule, clear liquors are lower in sugar and carbs and dark liquors like whiskey and brandy have higher concentrations of congeners, toxic compounds that worsen hangovers and are formed when alcohol is fermented. Ouch.

7) Mmmm…Champagne. Here are two good reasons to consider reaching for champagne: Sparkling wine has less calories than white or red wine—around 85 compared to 130—and because it’s often made from both white and red grapes, it has the same antioxidant benefits you get from dark chocolate or a glass of Malbec.

8) Say no to sugary mixes. Try to avoid frozen drinks like poor quality margaritas, daiquiris and pina coladas.  Just one of these drinks will have the same calorie content as a meal (a 10oz pina colada weighs in at 550 calories) and they are rarely made with real ingredients, but instead are loaded with corn syrup, artifical flavours and colours. Remember, when drinking alcohol, your willpower often slips, making it all that much harder to say no to that extra sugar bomb daiquiri.

9) Last but not least…beer. This universal favourite is loaded with empty calories, contains little nutrition and the body processes beer inefficiently. If you’re trying to lose weight, beer causes your body to burn less stored fat for energy. Your liver makes a substance called acetate from most of the alcohol in beer. Your liver burns the acetate for energy instead of burning the fat stored already stored, which could result in dreaded “beer belly”.

Share your smart drinking tips in the comments section!



*Content courtesy of www.harpersbazaar.com, www.sparkpeople.com, www.livestrong.com.

*Header image courtesy of www.hapersbazaar.com.


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