With Christmas celebrations in full swing I want to touch briefly on alcohol – I mention it quite frequently on social media but only once a year on my blog it seems! Last year I shared with you my ultimate ‘hangover helper juice’ and in this blog post I wanted to share my top tips on healthy alcoholic drinking (!).
*warning this blog post is for over 18’s only!*
So, to start with I want to say that I do NOT promote drinking to excess and for health we should be aiming for AT LEAST 2 alcohol free days a week, with no more than a couple of alcoholic drinks on the other days.
Specifically, the UK guidelines state to have no more than 2-3 units a day for women and 3-4 units a day for men. One unit is the equivalent of a small glass (100ml) of wine, 1/2 a pint of beer or 25ml of spirits. If you want to see how many units of alcohol you drink (and how much money you spend on it!) then check out this fab Change4Life drinks checker.
Hangovers tend to arise as a result of the diuretic effect of alcohol, which can lead to dehydration. Although there isn’t a cure for a hangover (other than toppings up with fluids and eating something to ease the symptoms), there are a few things that you can do to prevent one.
To prevent a hangover you could:
- 1) Eat something before you go out to line your stomach. Food helps to slow down the body’s absorption of alcohol.
- 2) Keep hydrated throughout the night with water both in-between alcoholic drinks and before bed to prevent dehydration.
- 3) Stick to clear spirits such as gin and vodka rather than dark coloured drinks, which contain natural chemicals known as congeners which can irritate blood vessels and tissue in the brain, thus making your hangover worse!
- 4) Don’t mix your drinks or drink to excess (no explanation needed!!)
- 5) If you have had a heavy drinking session avoid alcohol for at least 48 hours to allow your liver to recover.
Regarding weight gain, alcohol (unfortunately) can play a role thanks to providing 7 calories per gram (carbs and protein provide 4 calories per gram and fat provides 9 calories per gram), however there are a few things that you can do to avoid those sneaky extra lbs creeping on:
To reduce your calorie intake from alcohol you could:
- 1) Stick to clear spirits with a diet mixer e.g. gin & slimline tonic or vodka with lime cordial & soda water or vodka with fresh lime & coconut water if you’re hosting from home and are feeling adventurous (scroll down for my recipe!).
- 2) Choose dry white wine or red wine over sweet white wine (saving 70 calories per large glass)
- 3) Have lager, ale or stout rather than cider (saving 70 calories per pint)
- 4) Order single measures or small glasses of wine (half the calorie instantly!)
- 5) Avoid creamy drinks such as irish cream
- Nic’s Tropical Vodka Recipe!
The other day a very interesting bottle of vodka landed at my door from 31Dover.com who are the UK’s leading online drinks vendor. They deliver amazing bottles of alcohol the very next day and have some great gift ideas too! The bottle was quinoa vodka (I’d never heard of it either!!) and as a vodka drinker (and Gin drinker too!) I couldn’t wait to give it a try (it’s really nice FYI!).
I wanted to create a reasonably ‘healthy’ drink/cocktail and after asking for help on social media, I LOVED the suggestion of using coconut water (which I had not thought of before!).
So here is what I created (and will be creating again over the festive period!). Do let me know if you give it a go and if you have any other suggestions for healthy festive cocktails!
- 25-50ml Quinoa Vodka
- 300ml Coconut Water
- ¼ lemon – to squeeze (plus another ¼ for the glass)
- ¼ lime – to squeeze (plus another ¼ for the glass)
- Handful of ice
- Place your ice into a blender (I used my Sage blender!) and crush
- Add the ice to a glass along with the vodka and coconut water. stir well
- Squeeze in your lime and lemon to taste and add in fresh slices for decoration
- Stir & ENJOY responsibly 😉
Thank you to 31Dover for providing the inspiration and bottle of quinoa vodka for this blog post – and thank you for the cheeky 10% discount code too: 31DNIC – whoop whoop! Do let me know what your favourite festive drinks are!