Here’s How To Undo The Food (And Booze) Damage of Last Night’s Holiday Party

Because that entire cheese wheel didn't just get up and walk away ...

holiday party, silly season, champagne, party
Image: Kate Spade

No one ever sets out to eat an entire wheel of brie or drink their body weight in champagne at a holiday party, but sometimes we just can’t help it. After all, it’s called the silly season for a reason.

We’ve all been there: It’s Saturday evening, you’ve said hello to the host, grabbed an obligatory drink to make it seem like you’re staying for longer than you actually are, and suddenly you’re three cocktails deep and tequila shots sound like a great idea. It isn’t until the next morning, when you wake up feeling like sh*t, that you realise your night went in a completely opposite direction.

But, this isn’t necessarily a bag thing. Even if you do go big at the party, don’t beat yourself up. Just do what you can to make yourself feel better the next day—and for that, we’ve got you covered.

1. Sugar

cookies, holiday party, silly season

Then: You went in for a gingersnap and ended up demolishing the entire gingerbread house.

Now: Reach for vinegar, coconut yogurt, kombucha, and kimchi.

Sugar has a lot in common with other white, addictive powders … It makes you feel really good, but messes with your brain chemistry big time. The truth is, sugar has nearly the same effect on your brain’s addiction center as cocaine—but unlike the illicit drug, sugar is a main ingredient in many of the foods we eat on a daily basis.

Because sugar lights up our brains’ pleasure centers, once we’ve had a taste we naturally feel drawn to go back for more. It’s why you can’t just stop at one peanut butter cup, or why you crave sweet foods for the rest of the day when you kickstart your morning with a vanilla latte.

Unfortunately, too much of the white stuff is certainly a bad thing: Weight gain, hormonal dysfunction, unstable blood sugar levels, and insulin resistance are all side effects of moderate sugar intake. Undo the damage the day by replenishing your gut bacteria with probiotic-rich foods. Too much sugar can throw off the gut microbiome, and you need those healthy bacteria for optimal digestion.

Studies also suggest that taking a shot of apple cider vinegar (or any type of vinegar, really) after eating sugar can quickly and effectively lower your body’s blood sugar. That should prevent the formulation of belly fat, and will support digestion, too.

2. Dairy

cheese board

Then: “Hello, baked brie. It’s been so long …”

Now: Bring on the greens.

Creamy dips, cheese plates, buttery desserts—dairy is all over the place during holiday gatherings. But it’s not a totally benign ingredient: Nearly 80 percent of the population has difficulty digesting dairy products, either due to an intolerance or a full-blown allergy.

And honestly, think about how cheese looks and melts—no wonder it leaves us feeling backed up and sluggish! Get your digestive system moving by upping your intake of fibrous greens and cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and broccoli. Raw greens like kale and dandelion greens act as “roughage” for your insides, sweeping the nasty stuff through your system more quickly.

Cruciferous veggies are also crazy-high in fiber, plus they contain vitamins and minerals like vitamin C and magnesium that support detoxification and encourage hormonal balancing. Load up your plate (and smoothie) with mixed greens the day after a dairy extravaganza.

3. Fried food

hot chips, fried food, french fries, holiday party, Christmas

Then: Let’s be honest—the best stuff on the appetizer trays is usually deep-fried something. And if the party food was bad, late night pommes frites are always a good idea … at the time.

Now: Get some protein in your bod, and invest in a digestive tonic.

You know it’s bad when you can feel the oil seeping out of your pores, and when you go to yoga your sweat reeks of fried food. Never fear—nothing that a few egg whites and a ‘booch (or something stronger) can’t fix.

Here’s the thing: Most fried foods are starchy carbs. These carbs effectively raise your blood glucose levels the same way that table sugar does. Get your blood sugar stable by feeding your body lean protein, which will get everything back in check. Try to eat normally for the rest of the day, but chill on the carbs if you can. Honestly, you probably got your fill the night before! If you notice your digestion is a little slower than usual, try sipping a kombucha, dandelion tea, or triphalia tonic to get things moving.

4. Alcohol

alcohol, champagne, shots, holiday party, bar, Christmas, silly season

Then: SHOTS! SHOTS! SHOTS! SHOTS! SHOTS! SHOTS! SHOTS! SHOTS!

Now: Activated charcoal, chia seeds, all the water.

Nothing worse than waking up with a hangover, right? First, get hydrated. You feel miserable because your body is desperately trying to eliminate the poison (read: alcohol) that you just imbibed in. Drink water, coconut water, or a diluted fresh fruit juice with a pinch of Himalayan salt to give your bod the electrolytes it needs.

If you can, take a few activated charcoal tablets. Basically, the charcoal attracts and neutralizes toxins, and then carries them out of your body for quick elimination—which is why you should invest in chia seeds, too!