8 Must-Read tips to survive the Christmas season by The Couch Nutritionist Louise Sharkey.

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Christmas is around the corner, and it’s so easy to over-indulge, despite our best intentions. The best thing to do is to be prepared and be aware of the pitfalls of the party season.

Alcohol and heavy meals late at night cause not only the dreaded hangover the next day but can also effect our digestive system and poor liver. Reflux and heartburn are all too common this time of year but can be prevented with some simple planning.

Here are a few tips on how to survive the holiday season:

1. Preparation for a night out is so important. Making sure that you have eaten properly that day and hydrated sufficiently can make all the difference the following day. Make sure that you have a proper breakfast with slow release sugars like porridge and cinnamon. Have a lunch that contains both protein and good fats, for example avocado and chicken sandwich/salad. Try to have consumed at least 1 Litre of hydrating fluids like, water & herbal teas and limited dehydrating fluids like coffee and sugary drinks.

Have a light snack if going out for dinner around 5pm, oat cakes and humous etc. If not having dinner out make sure you have a proper meal as drinking on an empty stomach can lead to a good night coming to an end very early.

2. Try to stick to the same drink. Alcohol contains chemicals. The darker in colour the more chemicals there are, therefore, if you mix a lot of different alcohols together, it may be the chemical reactions that you feel and not the effects of the actual alcohol the next day.

3. I like to place my water glass in front of my wine glass. This is a great trick to get more water into you on a night out. Try and match each glass of alcohol with a glass of water. Alcohol is a diuretic and so for every unit of alcohol you consume, you lose 4 times that volume in water. The more you drink the more water you require.

4. A pint of water before bed. Try and drink a pint of water when you get home. If you have really indulged use Diorolyte to replace any electrolytes you have lost through the alcohol consumption.

5. The morning after. If you can stomach it, cooled boiled water with the juice of 1/2 a lemon and a teaspoon of honey and some fresh ginger is one of the best cures. The lemon water is like an internal shower for the body to wake it up and give the liver a little help. The sugar in the honey helps get blood sugars back up and the ginger can help with nausea.

6. Take either aloe vera or slippery elm. If you suffer from reflux/heartburn I highly recommend taking either aloe vera or slippery elm. Both will sooth the digestive tract and form a barrier effect helping to prevent reflux and heartburn. Personally I find prevention better than cure so I would take this regularly throughout the year and not just when over indulging.

7. Replace your water soluble B vitamins. In the morning when you are tired and maybe have the fear it is important to replace your water soluble B vitamins that are important for energy, mood and nerve function. If you are not replacing these, by the end of the December, you may resemble a shell of yourself. B Vitamins are found in green leafy veg, good sources of meat, eggs, fortified cereals and breads.

A great juice to make is 1/2 cucumber, 1 stick celery, 1 small beetroot, a few pieces of fresh pineapple, thick slice of ginger and a carrot. This has everything you need to kick start liver, kidneys and digestive system.

8. Support the liver and kidneys with milk thistle. These organs have to work so hard to rid the body of chemical waste, from the foods we eat.  Take milk thistle before, during and after the holiday season. You can purchase in any good health food store or pharmacy.


With all that said, life is for living, so enjoy, be mindful and listen to your body. It has a great way of shouting at you what it needs. The question is do you listen?  Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy and Healthy 2017 from Vita-Nutrition.

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