Tis the season to be jolly and bear gifts but alas we are apt to make Christmas a jolly time of assaulting our the body rather than bringing it a gift of quiet restfulness and moderation. We eat and we drink, we eat and we drink and yes we eat and we drink a bit more! As a Nutritional Therapist and Coach I would prefer to recommned that you eat and drink in moderation, get plenty of rest and relaxation and try and enjoy some of the less indulgent pleasures of the festive season. However, if you know you are the indulgent type is there anything you can do to alleviate the effects of over indulgence? Well the answer is probably yes and no. There are a raft of things you can keep in the cupboard that will help you. The ones I am going to mention are natural helpers and while they don't work miracles they can be more effective than doing nothing if handled skillfully.
If you have some Dandelion tea bags (health shop - some supermarkets) then it can help to have a strong cup (2 bags) of dandelion tea half hour before you start drinking alcohol - then another after your celebration and before you retire. Dandelion is a diuretic which means it stimulates the kidneys and makes them work more efficiently - it's also a good detox herb and can prevent hangover - BUT don't take it if you are already on diuretics or if you have gallstones or bilary tract obstruction. Milk Thistle is another herb that strengthens the liver and has been popularised in recent years as being good for hangover. You will have to buy this from the health shop.
Of course it's not a bad idea to alternate plently of spring water with your drink where ever possible as this will dilute the alcohol and help detox you - however I know water doesn't mix well with beer or lager!
One drinking tip that some of you may already know about is that if you have to drink shorts try vodka - yes all that commercial hype about how many times they filter it for purity really has some meaning. It's the brown colour of many alcoholic drinks that contain the impurities that the body finds hard to deal with and gives you hangover. Vodka is cleaner and easier to cope with. But be warned!! It still makes you drunk and there are many Russian alcoholics that have got vodka to thank for their sad plight so proceed with caution. It helps but its still booze!
The Vitamin B Complex and Vitamin C are good to have in for the effects of alcohol as these help to repair the body, detox and calm the nervous system - they also help digestion.
After the festivities are over I would recommend a 30 day course of acidophilus to replace all the good gut flora you have killed off during the hols. Also during the two weeks whatever else you eat try and have some meals with plenty of raw foods like salad, grated carrot, beetroot and if you can eaty some bio yogurt.
There are some excellent ayurvedic remedies around too and both cumin and cardomon seeds can help antedote the overstimulatng and depressive effects of alcohol and chocolate. Cumin can be added to spicy dishes and while you can chew the black cardomon seeds (taken from the green pods) if you don't like the taste like me you could simply swallow a few down with water - a bit like pills. Try one pod full or two.
A wonderful and little known helper of overeating (when you feel stuffed!) is to roast one teaspoon each of fennel and coriander seeds with a pinch of salt and chew. This is the best remedy but if you find this a bit chewy try fennel tea or drink a cupful of warm water to which has been added the juice of half a lemon and a pinch of baking soda or bi-carb.
Have a Lovely Christmas and Best Wishes for the New Year from Barry Todd