Summer is the time for parties and we need to enjoy the sunshine while we can. But no one has time to feel rotten for three days after a big night out. So I recommend focussing on prevention and damage control. I have strategies (and a tool kit) that I take with me whenever I go on vacation, a long weekend or just have a big night out.

The next time you’re headed for a trip or a big night out, use this handy guide to keep you in check.

1. Bring something you can eat (or eat something before you go). The typical holiday weekend fare of meat, carbs, cheese and alcohol are all very acidifying for the body. Upsetting your body’s pH makes you feel horrible and causes you to crave more of the bad stuff. Always offer to bring a salad to a party, so that you know you will have something good to eat. A delicious kale salad or kale chips are always safe bets to take. If you are just going out for dinner and cannot bring anything – down a green smoothie before you go out to fill you up, alkalize you and make you not want to ruin your glow.

2. Pick your poison. Chips, cocktails, crackers and desserts are all simple carbs, which quickly break down into sugar. Sugar is super inflammatory, acidifying and aging. It makes you look and feel bad the next day, even without the added hangover. So choose where to indulge. If you enjoy your wine, then skip the other low quality carbs. Get your sugar from what you enjoy most. Opt for organic wine with no added sulfites whenever possible. Wine is heavy in pesticides and sulfites are a toxic trigger for many.

3. Choose foods that are easy on your liver. Meat and animal fats are hard for us to break down and clogging for the liver. If you are already indulging in wine, animal products can contribute to the 2 – 4 am wakefulness, night sweats and hangover that often accompany a toxic liver. Try to eat lots of vegetables and avocado and go easy on the animal proteins and fats.

 4. Water. You’ve heard this before, I know, but drink your water! Follow the hard and fast rule that before anyone refills your glass with alcohol, drink an entire glass of water with lemon. Goodbye extra calories and hangover!

5. Have salad for breakfast! What? Yes, really. What you crave the morning after is coffee and carbs, but what you need to rebalance your system is greens. Having a cup of hot lemon water in the morning, a big plate of greens and some smoked salmon or a small omelet (no cheese) will get your body chemistry back in balance so the hangover won’t hang on so long. If the thought of a green salad makes your stomach turn, make a green smoothie or green juice instead. Here’s my healthy how to video.

While food works wonders, sometimes you need a little extra help.

Here are the supplements I can’t live without:

Milk thistle:

Milk thistle is an herb that supports the liver in detoxifying from alcohol and other environmental toxins. If I know I am about to overindulge in the evening, I take 150 mg three times that day (last dose before bed) and then do the same the next day. 50-150 mg/day is a maintenance dose.

Digestive Enzymes:

Taking digestive enzymes helps you break down food so it won’t be sitting in your gut making you miserable all night. As we age, most of us become enzyme deficient. These enzymes take a load off your pancreas so you can use your own enzymes for other things, like healing. Your body can’t start detoxifying until you have finished digesting. Help it out so you can clear it out. I take one to three tablets before a meal, depending on how heavy the food (meat means more enzymes needed). Get a good quality broad spectrum enzyme. These will change your life!

Magnesium:

Magnesium helps the body digest, absorb and utilize proteins, fats and carbohydrates. When we travel or overeat, one of the worst side effects can be constipation. This can cause toxins to be reabsorbed, so that your poor hardworking liver has to deal with them all over again. 400mg of magnesium citrate before bed should make sure everything comes out all right in the morning. You can adjust the dose for your body, depending on how things are “moving” along.

These strategies should set you up for the summer. Have fun!