5 ways to drink smart and be healthy.

Life is hectic. The opportunity to gather with friends for dinner and share a bottle of wine is a treat and a great way to slow down and enjoy life. To celebrate an achievement with a glass of champagne brings an extra glamour to the moment. Who doesn’t love the allure of a little bubbly? 

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However, when we have taken the celebrations too far, how many times have we uttered to ourselves, “I’m never drinking again!” 

As a yoga teacher, I’ve been in the wellness industry for almost 20 years. I advocate the practice of yoga, green juice, good sleep, and meditation on the regular. 

I am also a wine consultant. This means I also have the great job of helping people find the perfect wine or bottle of fizz for a celebration. Working in this field means I also sample many wines, sometimes tasting 20 or more varieties in one sitting and often before noon. 

Quick tip: “Spit, don’t swallow."

Having overindulged on the odd occasion, I know how difficult the next morning can be. Getting out of bed can be challenging when your head is throbbing, which does not leave one feeling their best. Establishing specific wellness habits are the key to enjoying a night out and thriving the next day especially when we have a demanding job or kids, or both. 

Here are my top five tips for both prior to drinking and for the recovery after:

1.    Hydrate

During the average day, regardless of weight and size, I go with the recommendation of around 1.2 litres or 6-8 ounces a day. The National Academies of Sciences suggests that women consume a total of approximately 2.7 liters (91 ounces) of water from all beverages and foods each day and that men get approximately 3.7 liters (125 ounces) daily. But these are just general guidelines and are not supported by firm scientific studies. (Source www.livescience.com)

I feel better when I drink more water and so do my students and clients. I keep track by using a glass water bottle from the company BKR. With 3 different sizes to choose from (and a range of fabulous colors), you can pick what works for you.   I'm not sponsored by BKR although I was I was; not only do I love their products but I haven't bought a plastic water bottle in over five years.

Typically, I drink close to 1-litre before noon, then another one before the day is done. When I head to a tasting, I bring a half-litre BKR and set a goal to drink it before I leave the tasting.  

We need water to maintain normal functioning of all the bodily systems. Overconsumption of alcohol will dehydrate your body, so it’s imperative that you maintain or increase your water intake (even by a glass) on the days you plan to have a drink or two. 

Start the night with a large glass of water to ensure you are hydrated. But don’t stop there. Buy a bottle of water from your server. Paying for water is one way to ensure you drink it, and your server will be happier. After each glass or toast, switch back to a glass of water. 

Will this involve more trips to the bathroom? Yes! Once you start, you can’t stop, however, your skin, liver, and kidneys will thank you. Some of the benefits are:

  • increases energy and reduces fatigue
  • improves skin complexion
  • boosts the immune system
  • flushes out toxins
  • aids in weight loss

At the end of the night, ensure you have water beside your bed. First thing in the morning, drink as much as you comfortably can, no matter how difficult it may be. Your head hurts because it’s dehydrated, so chugalug and hydrate that very important organ in your head, your brain. 

Don’t get a hangover, get hydrated.

2.    Eat.

Putting some food in your stomach before you go out will stop the drinks from going straight to your head. This is important as no one wants to turn into a sloppy drunk. With social media available at everyone's fingertips, you don't want the drunken antics captured on video. 

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By eating, and not a just salad, you will enjoy your evening. This I speak from personal experience -  let's just say when my night didn't end well when I just had a salad, thinking it was a healthy choice. I recommend starting with bread or some sort of appetizer. You don’t need to eat the whole loaf but a slice or two will slow the alcohol from entering your bloodstream.  A great alternative is a protein shake an hour before you go out. The key here is to eat. If you don’t, you may end up driving the porcelain bus at 3 A.M. Not a good look, ever. 

Don't be afraid to explore the taste sensations of wine with food. Eat slow, taste your food, savor your wine. Notice what works or doesn't with your palate. Ignore the rules of only red wine with meat and only white wine with fish. Go with your gut, just make sure you are putting something in your gut other than fermented grapes.

3.    Exercise 

As hard as it is the next day, if you have overindulged, get to a yoga class, preferably a hot yoga one. When I used to teach hot yoga in the Cayman Islands, the smell in the Sunday Morning class was pretty awful as everyone sweated out the drinks from the night before, yet everyone felt so much better after the class. Don't forget, the savasana will be worth it and there is always brunch after... 

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Hot yoga not your thing? Ensure you move your body so you can sweat a little or a lot. Doesn’t matter if it’s a brisk walk, a bicycle ride, or a swim. Just get moving. While lying in bed may initially feel better, you will thank yourself later once you get up and get active. 

4.    Greens. 

I drink greens daily and have for years; they keep me energized and super charged on life. Before a tasting or a yoga class, I will drink up my concoctions of greens. I throw in whatever green vegetables are in the fridge and try to have more veggies than fruit. Fruit has more naturally occurring sugars which combined with drinking means an increase of sugars in the body. Go for leafy greens, the darker the better, which have fewer sugars and lots of vital nutrients. 

When I teach a lot of yoga classes or a have a bunch of tastings on, I also add chlorophyll. This aids in liver detoxification and is an antioxidant. Think green power!  

5.    Awareness + Cut-Off

You have to know when to quit. The awareness of yourself that is developed over time from doing yoga, will benefit you greatly in all aspects of life. This means knowing when to say, “No, I’ve had enough.”  Yoga creates a deep connection to ourselves, our emotions and the physical aspects of the body; this aids us in making clear and empowered decisions. 

One of the most important tips I can share is this. 

How will I feel tomorrow? 

This has me putting the glass of wine down and picking up the water glass instead. Checking in with how I want to feel the next day has saved me on so many occasions. Knowing I need to be present for my daughters, my yoga students and my wine clientele means I need to rise and shine at my best. If I drink too much, don't drink enough water, nor eat enough there is definitely no shine and barely any rise. Life is too short to waste with a throbbing headache and regret. Make the most of it by asking yourself:

How do I want to feel the next day?

Put it in your phone as a reminder, and send it to yourself before 10 pm to ensure you check-in. It's easy to get carried away in the moment especially when having a good time. Remember the choices you make have consequences. Want to feel fantastic the next day and still enjoy yourself? Send yourself that friendly reminder; How do I want to feel tomorrow? 

These little tips can make all the difference between having a wonderful night out and hating life the next day. I love wine, I love yoga and I also want to thrive in daily life. Ultimately it's about balance. These tips can go a long way in ensuring you stay at your very best, enjoy all that life has to offer and still give back to those that need you. Incorporate these health tips is one small way to make a big difference. Cheers!