In the fading moments of 2011, I had posted an article on my website on the subject of sensible drinking during the festive season- particularly on New Year Eve. The article was well received and many friends gave me thumbs up for it. This time around, due to restructuring of my website and the advent of this blog , I am reinventing, refining and reproducing the same article with some added tips that are the result of personal experimentations. It would be thrilling for me if I am instrumental in affecting even one lesser hangover this New Year! So here goes:-
Before the Limousine moment
1. Best Foot Forward
Start the D day, with a healthy breakfast of fruits, cereals and nuts- an oft repeated advice- so what’s exceptional about it? Well, for starters, these would build up your reserves of water and vitamins that are bound to get depleted by the ensuing indulgences. The roughage provided too, would ensure that your ‘throne’ séjour is comfortable the morning after. Top nutritionists advice that your day’s food intake should be balanced by the counterweights of the opposite variety. Hence having a healthy daytime intake would keep you well poised (and relatively guilt free) for letting your hair down in the evening.
2. Butter..oops..Oil’em Up
Old timers would bet on the effectiveness of consuming a generous dollop of butter before leaving on an alcohol bingeing spree- and rightly so- because the greasy lining created by butter reduces alcohol absorption in the stomach, thus limiting its harmful effects. I would advice the butter to be substituted by a 60 ml shot of Extra Virgin olive oil, which would serve the same purpose with significantly lesser calories. Also, Olive Oil is rich in Vitamins E, K and beneficial fatty acids thus providing another line of defence for your body.
3. Bulk it!
Psyllium husk or Isabgol as known in Hindi is a wonderful natural produce that is obtained by milling the Psyllium seeds. These flakes can absorb fluids more than 10 times their weight, are insoluble and are not digestible by the body. Due to this absorption power, they have a tendency to bulk up and make one feel fuller in the stomach. Having 2 tablespoonfuls of Isabgol with water would ensure that you do not dart off to that fried snacks counter too early in the evening as also limit the alcohol getting through to your stomach lining – same way the taxman limits the money reaching your pocket!
4. Do not drink on an empty stomach. When you arrive at the party venue, grab an initial glass of water (warm water if you don’t fancy a cool glass owing to the chilly weather) and make this first drink last for at least 10 minutes, nibbling on starters if already being served. This will also give you time to check-out what drinks are available at the bar & make a considered decision about your tipple for the evening.
5. Once you hold your preferred drink, change drinks only if you have a history of being able to endure mixed drinks. Remember, there’s no bravado in having mixed drinks since the tolerance for these differs by body constitution, and there is nobody else who would know the suitability better than you. There is no “one size fits all” in drinks & that friend of yours with an enviable capability to digest gallons of concoctions doesn’t necessarily qualify to star in the sequel to Skyfall. So forget about the halo effect and if at all, try different drinks with the same alcohol base- i.e. if having Vodka, stick to Vodka based drinks only.
6. Be aware of your alcohol limit going by past experience both with straight-up drinks and cocktails. Cocktails generally contain some sweet element that enhances the potency of the alcohol. Also, owing to the freezing temperatures during this part of the year, the tendency to gulp down drinks fast in higher. To obviate the guzzling spree, locate a warm place like a heating arrangement or a cosy setup and get intimate (conversation wise) with friends that interest you. The urge to visit the bar counter will be much lesser.
7. Try spacing consecutive drinks with a few gulps of pure aqua. If this sounds too clichéd, dilute your straight up drink with a little water or if having cocktails ask the bartender to dilute it with the appropriate mixer.
8. Politely refuse to the waiter, an offer for replenishing your drink if your glass already contains 1/3rd or more of its capacity. You will be surprised as to how much control you’ve had on your intake by following this simple principle.
9. Remember, contentment is a state of mind and the law of diminishing returns is equally applicable when it comes to consumption of alcohol. Studies have shown that after consuming upto 4-5 large drinks, further consumption becomes more of a mechanical pursuit rather than real pleasure. If you are conscious of your intake, it is unlikely that you will exceed this quantity- but if the stage does arrive- it’s time to grab the dinner plate or head for the dance floor.
10. Lastly- remember that it’s New Year’s Eve and the aim is to share the excitement and celebration with your nears and dears to make it a fond memory. The idea is not to get ****ed drunk as to forget the next day how wonderful the previous evening had been, and worse, get a crippling hangover on the very first day of the promising year ahead!
P.S. One last word! Do surprise the cop at the crossing by being driven back home by a non-drinker!
Wishing you a Happy, Safe and Successful New Year!