In Melbourne party season begins at Spring Racing Carnival then surfs on through to the New Year. For some this means a tough time on the liver, digestive and nervous systems, while for others it’s just a case of ‘eat, drink and be merry’.
If you are in it for the long haul, some health strategies may help you get through the festivities in one piece.
1. Lots of water. I know it’s obvious but after a few drinks it’s easy to forget, that’s why you grab a glass (or even better a bottle or a jug) of H2O with your first drinks order. It doesn’t matter if you skull it simultaneously with alcohol, the main thing is getting it into you.
2. Liver care. The juice of half a lemon in warm water when you stagger out of the bed in the morning is a gentle wake up to this mighty organ of detoxification. When you’re liver is unhappy, you are too. Grumpiness, dandruff, itchy skin, headaches and a digestive system out of wack can all be signs that your liver is doing it hard.
St Marys Thistle* (aka milk thistle, Silybum marianum) can actually regrow liver cells, imagine that (if only replacing brain cells was that easy). As a ground root, you can drink it as a tea and it will double as rehydration fluid, otherwise a tablet or two before and after a big night on any substances could help you through.
3. An alcohol free day or two (or three) every week gives your body some down time. Try to find at least one night a week you can stay in and get an early night. Preferably with a big bowl of steamed vegies for company.
4. Eat before partying. It makes a notable difference in the way you absorb alcohol. On days when this is difficult, make an effort to get a healthy lunch. Protein and low release carbohydrates like nuts, beans and rice, also help you make it through to your next meal.
5. Practice positive selfishness. Do you say yes to things when you mean no? If every social event you are invited to doesn’t knock your socks off, then give yourself the night off.
6. Put back in what you have taken out. The calculated ‘recommended daily allowance’ of vitamins and minerals does not take into account what is lost from your body from not enough rest, too many stimulants, skipped meals and party goodies. Do yourself a favour, while still trying to get at least the minimum ‘5 veg and 2 fruit’ a day in your diet, add a strong multivitamin supplement. A rough guide is to find one that has at least 50mg of vitamin B6. There is never enough Vitamin C in the multi’s – which stress, smoking, drinking and other drugs strip, so add at least 500 mg of C to your party season survival kit. Remember to keep off caffeine for 2 hours when taking nutrients, other wise you’ll loose some of them down the drain.
7. Get help. If this season gives you the blues, do something about it. Contact a qualified psychologist or counsellor. If this is just a passing phase and you are not taking any medication, St Johns Wort is well proven to alleviate this kind of depression.
8. Feeling part of a community, laughter and happiness are all life enhancers. Partying smartly can therefore be a much needed health boost.
(originally published in “The Trip” December 2005)
See you back at RRR 10.30am Monday 16 January.
Happy Summer Solstice everyone.