Whether you call it Christmas, Festive, or Holiday, it is the season, and it is in full swing! Very few seem to be staying away after two years of not celebrating this time of year. Some are still working on releasing their lockdown 10, 15, or 20 gain, and others have gotten back into their routine.

This time of year can be tricky for many different reasons. They dread family gatherings and the stress of figuring out what to buy for the person who has very discerning taste or who has everything. For anyone who has experienced a significant life change, lost a loved one, or ended a relationship, the festive season may be the last thing they want to participate in.

I have been in all these situations; I also guide my clients through this time of year and want to share what has worked well.

Nutritionist-Approved Imbibing

 Let me start with the fun stuff first! I would instead give my clients the best advice so they can be kind to their liver and not wake up with a hangover the following day.

The best spirits to drink are tequila, gin, and vodka. The last two enjoy on the rocks with a healthy squeeze of lemon or lime. If you like tequila shots, the salt and lime provide certain benefits.

Adding tonic water or a sweet mixer adds sugar, affecting insulin levels and putting extra work on our liver. Alcohol also dehydrates our bodies; having a glass of water in between drinks helps keep hydration levels up. Lemon and lime assist our liver in processing all that we have enjoyed. The salt  in tequila shots helps retain water in our body, which helps with hydration.

Mezcal has meager calories on tequila, it is 100% alcohol, and it is suggested that it benefits your digestive system as a potential prebiotic. Warning, Mezcal is not for the faint of heart! With such a high alcohol level, many other factors are in play with the effects on the body; I’d suggest sipping on a lower alcohol-content spirit.

Red wine contains tannins that affect some people, and many wines, including white, have sulfites that people react to. Adding soda water to make it a spritzer can reduce both, but spirits are still a better option.

You might ask why the three spirits and not others, such as bourbon and whiskey. They contain congeners produced during fermentation; red wine also contains congeners. They are hard for our bodies to process and can contribute to a potential hangover the next day.

Navigating The Buffet And Dinner Table

Let’s get a little more practical, navigating festive gatherings. I classify all vegetables as free calories, minus the dip; they are the best option to fill your plate. Want to satisfy your sweet tooth? Choose mostly fruit and perhaps one of your  favorite sweets if it happens to be not the table. Most deli meat is higher in fat and contains sugar, sulfites, and other preservatives. Did you know that a dozen prawns without seafood sauce have around 80 calories? That is a great way to get in some healthy protein.

I’m often asked, how does a holistic nutritionist enjoy holiday feasts? My answer is always the same; I buy the best possible ingredients and make all my  favorites with love to share with people I love. Take a moment to look at all of the food in front of you, the aroma, the energy; take a deep breath and say thank you. It’s always a good idea to thank the host or the person who created the bounty you are about to enjoy. Hopefully, your gathering is filled with laughter; it is still the best medicine.

Handling Social Anxiety?

Many suffer from anxiety in larger crowds; it has become more common in the last few years, mainly because many people have gotten used to being alone. I suggest magnesium bisglycinate to help with anxiety; it is also great for sleep. Our body needs magnesium for many functions, and getting adequate levels from food can be challenging.

Another  favorite I like to suggest is reishi mushroom powder. Functional mushrooms have grown in popularity over the last few years, and each one provides different benefits. Reishi has been used for many years by ancient cultures to calm the mind, help with better sleep, and reduce the effects of stress, they are also perfect for the immune system, and we can all use some help there. It is essential to know that not all supplements are created the same. They can have different processing techniques, contain unnecessary fillers, and have low concentrations of the actual ingredient. One of my  favorite brands with a very high-quality product is  Eversion Wellness; they ship across Canada and into the United States.

How To Reduce The Effects Of Overindulgence

I would be remiss if I didn’t provide overindulgence remedies. If you feel entirely bloated and uncomfortable, half a teaspoon of baking soda, also called bicarbonate soda, in an eight-ounce glass of water can help. Before bed, have another glass of warm water with sea salt; the sea salt helps to offset the dehydration of alcohol. The next morning, squeeze half of a fresh lemon in warm water with a pinch or two of sea salt; this helps to replenish your electrolytes. A quality B-Complex further supports our bodies as they are lost due to the alcohol we consume. Vitamin C with bioflavonoids gives your body antioxidant support. The bioflavonoids help your body assimilate vitamin C better. If you can, rest and stay hydrated. Many people don’t drink enough water and yearn for a cup of coffee the next day to give them energy. Unfortunately, coffee further dehydrates your body. An excellent way to figure out the amount of water your body needs, take your weight and divide it in half, that is, the number of ounces best consumed daily to stay well hydrated. Have a healthy meal with good quality protein, half of your plate covered in green vegetables such as broccoli, kale, and brussel sprouts, and a whole grain such as quinoa or brown rice.

There are ways to keep weight gain in check; in the building where the stairwell is not locked, take a few flights and then take the elevator. Park further away and walk a couple of blocks to your destination; if you are taking the bus, get off a stop or two sooner.

Be Kind to Yourself

My last tips are to enjoy as much as possible, remember it is okay to say no, and you don’t have to explain why. Take a deep breath and try to be in bed by 10:00 pm. Each hour of sleep before midnight is equivalent to two hours. Our human growth hormone is released sometime before midnight when we are in a deep sleep. It is essential for cellular health and assisting our body in regeneration.

I hope there is a tip or two here to help you navigate the festive season better, with less stress and fewer hangovers. Let me know which ones were appealing to you and if you have any to share in the comments below!


Connie Pretula
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