The hidden danger of the Summer BBQ

  • How fruit juice could really damage your health after all
  • Why being happy is so healthy
  • Discover the simple tips to make every Summer party go with a swing

A few weeks ago I was explaining how a piece of research about fruit juices got picked up by the tabloids and led to a bunch of scary headlines saying that Cola was more healthy than a glass of orange juice.

Quite rightly many of you have written in to agree with my synopsis that this type of journalism is dangerously misleading and only serves to protect the sales of the huge corporations who manufacture the fizzy sugary stuff.

Well I would like to thank you all for your support and comments on this topic, and it was great to read how many of you enjoy your own fruit juice preparations…

…but I have a few words of advice for you – don’t go to Big Geoff’s for a BBQ and accept his ‘fruit punch’ because whilst it tastes lovely, it is in fact virtually lethal.

Last Sunday I became a victim…another statistic of the season.

When I woke on Monday morning I ached all over, my head was pounding, I felt nauseous and could barely speak.

The sensation was akin to being run over by a road roller whilst having a cement mixer transplanted into my stomach, but it wasn’t that I had been mugged by Bob The Builder…Instead I had fallen foul of a far more dangerous threat at this time of year… the friends BBQ.

As soon as we get a few days of warmth (doesn’t have to be bright sunshine, just a steady drizzle will do!) out comes the charcoal and on go the chops, burgers and sausages, and the invites flow.

“Come and have a burger and a drop of Summer Punch instead of being cooped up over a Sunday roast you old b****r Collins.” This was how polite the invitation was, so how could I refuse?

And to be fair when we got there I did enjoy myself, but boy did I hurtle headfirst into every pitfall.

I ate too much, I drank too much and I inflicted mental torture on others by dancing too much.

The food was good, hot, well cooked and I did make rather a pig of myself as a result so any ill effects as a result were completely down to me.

The drink though wasn’t entirely my own doing.

Big Geoff’s ‘fruit punch’ turned out to taste rather good too, cranberry and blackcurrant and laced with mint all served over a lot of crushed ice… just what I needed to quench my thirst and oil my singing voice (ah yes forgot about that bit until just now!)

What I hadn’t realised, and certainly wasn’t advertised was that this ‘fruit punch’ also contained enough vodka to slay a Russian Tank Regiment.

Every time I put my glass down to dance, get more food or answer the call of nature, Mein Host refilled it so that it became like a never ending drink…

As a result, I probably got what I deserved, however I’ve only just started to feel human again and that is two days after the party – that’s how long it seems to take me to recover from a night out these days.

Seeking a hangover cure has long been a quest for human kind, but in reality we could all do with the prevention rather than the cure.

Now, if I’d been sensible, I’d have eaten less (i.e. once), I’d have drunk in moderation, and I wouldn’t have danced as if I was in one of those 24 hour dance contests they used to have in America in the 50s.

But there’s the killer word… IF.

IF I’d been sensible….

The trouble is, life’s not much fun if you’re sensible all the time. We get bombarded with enough instructions about our weight and our health as it is… don’t eat red meat, eat organic, don’t eat cheese, run five miles a day, don’t drink, don’t wear that shirt (all right, that last one was Lara).

If we tried to follow everything we’re told, we’d tie ourselves in a knot. And then a new batch of experts would walk up to us and tell us we’d been doing it wrong all along.

The natural remedy of letting your hair down

In my opinion, over eating and over drinking is all part of the human condition. We like to have a blow out from time to time. It makes us feel happy, and the health benefits of feeling happy cannot be over stressed.

According to Dr Derek Cox, Director of Public Health in Scotland:

‘If you are happy you are likely in the future to have less in the way of physical illness than those who are unhappy’.

And Andrew Steptoe, the British Heart Foundation Professor of Psychology at University College London, has also made an important discovery…

His research has led him to conclude that the happier you are, the more your body is able to fend off heart disease and stroke.

‘We know that stress, which has bad effects on biology, leads to those bad changes as far as health is concerned. What we think is happening is that happiness has the opposite effect and has a protective effect on these same biological pathways’.

A strong argument to don a party hat, don’t you think?

In my opinion, it’s all a question of balance. If you fancy a drink every now and then – have one. And occasionally have more than you should.

If you like coffee, have coffee. Just keep an eye on the number of cups you drink, and always try to drink a glass of water with each cup to rehydrate your body.

And as this is officially the season to be jolly, it’s going to be pretty hard to avoid all the evils the health police keep shouting about, so why deny yourself a bit of fun? In the long term, it could make you healthier.

Having said that, finding ways to stop the suffering that follows a little too much exuberance is no bad thing, so here are a few tips to help you battle the ‘day after’:

Try this ‘pregnancy snack’ to fight the after effects: Natural Hangover Cures

  • Pregnant ladies are meant to like eating coal aren’t they? I have to admit I’ve never come across one, so maybe it’s a myth. However, it seems there is a health benefit to eating coal. Well, charcoal actually, and not any old charcoal, but one which has been ‘activated’ into a fine powder. This charcoal soaks up potentially toxic gases and particles as it moves through your body. And because charcoal can’t be absorbed by the blood stream, it passes through you and out of your body, taking the toxins with it.
  • Bitter orange has been used for centuries to curb indigestion. It also contains a handful of substances that help speed up the metabolic rate, which in turn helps eat up the calories.
  • My personal favourite… peppermint has traditionally been used as a general digestive aid and is used to tackle indigestion and intestinal colic. I nearly always have a peppermint tea after dinner, and find it helps soothe a sore stomach.
  • And finally, as it’s almost impossible to avoid eating and drinking at this time of year without boarding up your house and hibernating until Autumn, here’s something I think everyone should have handy…

A perfect blend of Milk Thistle extract, vitamins A, C & E, Glucose and Calcium all in a chewable form which you can use before you go out, and after you get back – it’s called Indulge and will prevent the muzzy feelings of a late night and a drop too much ‘happiness.’

You don’t have to be a big drinker or a real party animal, even very small amounts of alcohol can affect some of us, especially if like Big Geoff’s punch you don’t realise it is there.

Okay, so you’re going to go to a few parties, have a few drinks, and treat yourself to a nice piece of grilled salmon and a glass of white wine. Good on you!

But let’s face it; this time of year WILL put an extra strain on your body. And one part of your body in particular – your liver. While we’re merrily quaffing and scoffing, our liver is working tirelessly, acting as our bodies’ bouncer and throwing out all the toxins.

The Milk Thistle in Indulge is the biggest and toughest of these bouncers and will ensure that you get to enjoy your Summer parties a whole lot more.