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Upgrade Your New Year's Eve: Healthy Tips to Party Down

by Grace McCalmon

Note from the Editor: At SmartyPants, we’re all about upgrading – from making the best possible ingredient choices in our gummies, to making the most out of life by trying new things, or improving on what we already do. So, here's to helping you have happy and healthy New Year's Eve. That's the smarter way to healthier.


The days following New Year’s Eve are some of the healthiest of the year. Everyone is setting goals, hitting the gym and vowing to eat better (for now). But what a difference a day (or eve) makes. A mere 24 hours prior, and cleansing is the farthest thing from most people’s minds – unless you count polishing off that bottle of champagne. But here at SmartyPants, we believe that you can have your party and be healthy too. Or, at least a little more healthy than you were last year

8 ways to upgrade your New Year’s Eve and party down in "better" health

 

1. SPICE IT UP YOUR DRINK MENU

According to Mathieu Lalonde, organic chemist and Science Safety Officer at Harvard University, herbs and spices are second only to organ meats in terms of nutrient-density. While there are countless herbs with health-promoting qualities, a few just so happen to pair particularly well with New Year’s Eve refreshments.

CAYENNE PEPPER:
  • Helps promote digestion, circulation, a healthy inflammatory response
  • May even help boost your metabolism!
  • Contains vitamin C, B6, E, potassium, manganese and antioxidant flavonoids
Try it in: The Spicy Grapefruit Margarita by The Life Styled

CINNAMON:
  • Loaded with antioxidants and promotes a healthy inflammatory response
  • May help stabilize blood sugar
  • PRO TIP - There are two kinds of cinnamon: Ceylon and Cassia. We recommend you look for Ceylon cinnamon. It has the most research-backed benefits.
Try it in: Eggnog by The Prairie Homestead

SAGE:
  • Known for antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties
  • Part of the mint family alongside oregano, lavender, rosemary and basil
  • There are more then 900 species of sage
Try it in: The Sage Bee’s Knees Cocktail by Salt & Wind

BASIL:
  • Helps promote a healthy inflammatory response – which is especially important when consuming alcohol
  • Packed with antioxidants
  • Has been shown to help protect the liver and support the immune system
Try it in: Tito’s Pocket Fours 

ELDERFLOWER:
  • Have been used in traditional medicine and traditional cocktail recipes for hundreds of years!
  • Rich in antioxidants and contain antiviral and immune-supporting properties
  • Primary ingredient in St. Germain liqueur
Try it in: Elderflower Gin Fizz by Food Republic 


But won’t mixing with alcohol defeat the purpose?

Actually, it’s just the opposite! Mixing herbs and a high-proof alcohol, such as vodka, is how the herbal remedy known as a tincture is made. The alcohol acts as a solvent, helping the plant release its alkaloids, glycosides, minerals, and essential oils. Of course, too much alcohol will definitely defeat the purpose of any health-promoting food or practice. We recommend you keep moderation in mind and hydrate with eight ounces of H2O in between libations.

2. PRE-PARTY WITH POTASSIUM  

Electrolytes such as calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium are minerals with an electric charge that help us stay hydrated. It’s important to maintain a balance of these minerals.
Drinking too much alcohol and eating too many salty foods (a likely possibility on NYE) can throw our electrolytes out of whack. Foods and beverages that contain potassium can help keep you in balance and prevent a nasty hangover. Foods highest in potassium include:
  • Avocado
  • Spinach
  • Sweet potato
  • White beans
  • Bananas (Plus, they can also help boost your mood.)
TIP: Try to load up on these foods the week before and the day of your celebration.

Coconut water is also particularly high in potassium, so to help rehydrate while you dehydrate, try adding coconut water to your cocktails. We love this recipe for a spicy tequila and lemonade cocktail  with coconut water from Betsy Life:

Ingredients:
  • 1 oz tequila
  • 3 oz coconut water
  • 3 oz fresh lemonade
  • ½ jalapeno, thinly sliced
Instructions: 
  1. Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously.
  2. Pour over ice and enjoy! Garnish with additional jalapeño slices.

3. GO TOP SHELF

Steer clear of the cheap booze. It's better for your health. Alcohol contains a variety of different compounds known as congeners, which include fusel alcohols, acetone, esters, aldehydes and acetaldehyde. Congeners are largely responsible for the taste and smell of the alcohol, as well as one of the primary causes of hangovers. Every time a spirit is distilled it becomes purer and more congeners are removed. Filtration also helps remove some of the congeners.

TIP: When shopping for spirits, keep this in mind:
  • Try to avoid dark liquors – the congeners are what give many of these liquors their distinctive taste, so they’ll naturally contain higher levels
  • Go for the most number of distillations
  • Note how it’s filtered

4. BE PRO PROTEIN

Alcohol and sugar can cause blood sugar fluctuations independently, but together, this dynamic duo can really send your glucose levels on a wild ride.
TIP: If you’re headed for an event where you’re going to be imbibing and indulging, you can preemptively stabilize your blood sugar by eating protein-rich foods throughout the day.
We love grass-fed beef because it’s full of protein and its high concentration of B vitamins helps promote liver function. If you’re vegetarian, organic tempeh packs B vitamins, probiotics and hefty dose of fiber.

5. EAT FAT (The Good Kind)

Fat slows nutrient absorption and helps keep you fuller longer.

TIP: Eating a meal containing good fats prior to partying will help mediate the rate at which alcohol and sugar enter your bloodstream.

It will also help to keep you from ravenously devouring a tray full of pigs in a blanket. Instead of waiting to eat at your party, fuel up before you go by pairing your protein with healthy fats, such as avocado, nuts, seeds, or pasture-raised dairy products.

6. DANCE, DANCE, DANCE

Fact: Richard Simmons lost 123 pounds just by sweatin’ to the oldies, so don’t be too-cool-for-school and spend your whole party on the sidelines.


TIP: You can burn over 400 calories per hour dancing (depending on how funky your chicken is).

The key is to move your whole body. We like high kicks and fist pumps for maximum burn. If you need more inspiration, check out a few of our favorite D-floor classics: The Elaine Dance, The Urkel, and (obviously) The Whip / Nae Nae.


7. DON’T STRESS

Parties should be fun – not an occasion you worry about what to eat and drink. Not only does stress ruin your good time, it can also make you gain weight. Our stress hormone, cortisol, increases appetite and promotes fat storage, especially around the mid-section.

TIP: Rather than stress out about what you’re consuming, or trying not to consume, focus on enjoying yourself and the people you’re with.

If you’re too busy socializing, busting a move, and having a blast, you won’t have time to be dominating the buffet or getting to know the bartender on a first-name basis.

Know anyone who’s planning an NYE throwdown? Share this with them!

What about you - what are your favorite healthy ways to party? We'd love to hear in the comments or on Instagram @SmartyPants

Posted on December 28, 2018

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Grace McCalmon

Grace is a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP) and a graduate of Duke University. She received her nutrition certification from the Nutritional Therapy Association, and her training is based on the work of Dr. Weston A Price, as well as the latest peer-reviewed, scientific research.