December 27, 2013 | Posted in:Nutrition

Fight the Hangover

I’ve been doing quite a bit of reading recently around training, nutrition, periodisation, health, fitness and the like. One topic that has caught my attention, probably due to the time of year and the copious amounts of calories (food and beverage) I will be stuffing down my neck over the next couple of weeks, is the topic of the post-xmas detox and the use of green smoothies to aid in this.

What started all this was an email that I received from Ben Greenfield (or his site at least) on his birthday giving subscribers to his newsletter a present in celebration. I must mention at this point that after purchasing the Tri-Ripped Training Plan from the Ben Greenfield site in which access to the Inner Circle (an online fitness forum) was included I have received a number of such great sources of information and the Inner Circle site is jam packed full of great info and advice. Anyway I am not talking about this here and if you would like to find out more you can read my previous post here.

Anyway, the present was a pdf titled Holiday Alcohol Detox Guide. The guide starts off by going into the science behind alcohol and its affects which lead to the feelings associated with a hangover. I am not going to go into the detail here but if anyone is interested you can email me at The guide then goes onto outline 3 ways to specifically detox your body from the effects of alcohol and a long night which I will summarise below:

Vita Coco

Vita Coco

1. Electrolyte Load – in hangover mode your body is holding on to sodium and kicking out potassium. But by getting more potassium into your body before, during and after drinking, you can control the propensity for fuzzy thinking and headaches from dehydration. It is recommended in the guide that you drink unsweetened coconut water like Vita Coco all day leading into a big party, and also have it on hand for the next day. Bananas pack a fairly hefty dose of sugar so leave them out of the equation so you’ll already be getting enough calories from alcohol. I’m pretty sure an electrolyte tablet such as High 5 Zero, nuun, or SiS will suffice.

2. Use Cysteine – I have never hear of cysteine before but it is an amino acid that helps your liver break down acetaldehyde from alcohol metabolism – giving cysteine a bit of a detox effect. You can get cysteine from foods like poultry, oats, dairy, broccoli, red pepper, garlic, onions, brussels sprouts, and wheat germ – but it is recommended in the guide that you try supplements that contain more potent doses of cysteine to help your body quickly metabolize acetaldehyde. In many of these products, cysteine is combined with fumaric acid and succinic acid with some containing additional liver detox herbs like milk thistle, artichoke, goji berry & ginger extracts, which help it to work better. Try Drinkwel, Now Foods or Solgar.



3. Purify – preservatives have been used in the production of wine for many decades, to preserve the fresh fruity flavour of the grape (and hence the wine), and they are continuously used throughout the winemaking process until the final bottling. Most commonly the preservative is added either as a sulphur salt such as potassium metabisulphate (which releases sulphur dioxide gas) or sulphur dioxide gas. Exposure to sulphur dioxide gas is very unpleasant even at quite low concentrations, and typical reactions to exposure to sulphur dioxide are headaches, shortness of breath, sneezing, watery eyes, weezing, sinus congestion and dizziness. Asthmatics are particularly susceptible to sulphur dioxide, and the level of free sulphur dioxide in most wines at bottling is definitely high enough to trigger a reaction.

The guide recommends adding 5 drops of Pure Wine to a glass of wine, after this the level of sulphites is dramatically reduced, but the wine is kept fresh for up to 24 hours after opening. Pure Wine basically produces a blast of oxygen that eliminates the active wine preservative of sulphur dioxide gas, without sacrificing the taste and quality of the wine.

The guide finishes with 2 back up plans if you forget to implement any of the above:
1. For headaches – a natural painkiller that is jam packed with curcumin with help fights the pain of headaches without ‘doing a number’ on your liver like ibuprofen and others.
2. For stomach upset – drinking a cup of bone broth (email me if you want the recipe) or ginger tea in the morning. The guide also says that you can also mix the ginger into a smoothie which nicely gets me to my next topic.

Ginger Tea

Ginger Tea

Green Smoothies
As mentioned above smoothies are great when used as part of a detox or generally healthy diet . In another Ben Greenfield article he gives you a daily diet which he claims to follow each day (onday is shown below). As you can see each morning is started with a Green Smoothie.

Breakfast – Green Smoothie
Lunch – Sardine Salad
Snack – Chia Slurry
Dinner – Steak & Roasted Vegetables with Grass-Fed Butter

This led me to my usual google search to find out more on the topic. This led me to the 30-day green smoothie challenge in which it is claimed that green smoothies, you can boost your energy, lose weight effortlessly, and make healthy eating a lifestyle.

Green Smoothie

Green Smoothie

I am going to undertake a 30 day green smoothie challenge of my own and report back on the ease of making the smoothies, the flavour of them, how full they make me feel, how I find energy during training etc etc. If you would like to join in with me register for IronMail here and I will send you a weekly email with shopping lists and recipes to help you along the way.

All the best


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