Monthly Archives: December 2016

How to Drink More Effectively over the Holidays: Advice from Russians

We’ve heard all the excuses. In fact, we practically made all of them up so there’s no need to tell us it was because your cousin just got married, or you’re trying some new and expensive alcohol, or you’re trying to stay warm, “It’s the holidays! Give me a break!”

I’m sure by this point you’re getting tired of all the drinking at any type of party, whether it’s for family, friends, or work. You may be fine with it but you might want a little extra fuel in your engine. Or rather, an added tweak to make your machine work a little smoother than usual.

You’ve heard that Russians can take their alcohol. And for good reason. We know how to drink. We know how to drink well.

So if you find it hard confronting others about not wanting to drink, here are a few tricks we’ve encountered over the years to help you get through a party that involves a lot of drinking. It’s a good guide to read even if you just want to be smarter about your drinking.

Here are 5 ways to handle heavy drinking if you find it awkward saying ‘no’:

  1. The oldest trick in the book is this: For every glass of alcohol, drink one glass of water. This supposedly dilutes the alcohol. Has that ever worked for you? For some people it does, but for others it takes a lot more. If your tolerance is a lot lower than the average college drinking student, you may want to start off with drinking 2-3 glasses of water BEFORE starting to drink your alcohol for the night. And then ALSO drink a glass of water for every alcoholic beverage.
  2. Good thing there’ll be a lot to eat on the table! Especially if it’s a family party. Mm that chicken. Those yams. That Caesar sal—forget about the salad. Forget about any salad. Go straight for the gold. The proteins. The fats. The carbs. You may think salad is a good idea if you’re trying to stay healthy but come on, if you’re reading this then you’re going to be drinking over the holidays. And that’s not too healthy. So yes, you can eat some salads but you should be eating A LOT of carbohydrates and proteins if you don’t want the alcohol hitting you that hard.
  3. What’s a more festive drink than egg nog? EGG NOG AND COGNAC! But before you start drinking any type of alcohol, dairy or not, try eating about a half a glass of sour cream before that. If you’re not a fan of egg nog, you’re not going to like the next suggestions. Drink a full glass of whole milk beforehand. Eat a raw egg before eating AND drinking. But if the party won’t be at your house, then these are awkward suggestions and I wouldn’t recommend carrying these things around with you. It would be easier to just refuse alcohol, wouldn’t you say? These are all good ingredients to eat before a party because they would create a fatty lining in your stomach, preventing incoming alcohol from getting absorbed by the stomach walls.
  4. If you don’t have access to any of the above, even water (which doesn’t happen too often), then take a look at what your options are for the night. Are there cocktails? Is there wine, beer, hard liquor, or something else? How about pop? Or did they already mix it all in to the cocktails…? Your best bet is to drink something that’s not carbonated (doesn’t have bubbles). That means wine or hard liquor. And NOT adding anything to either of those. If you want to be even safer, go for a lighter drink (in colour, not percentage). So if you have to choose between bourbon whiskey and vodka, choose the latter.
  5. If you’re not willing to do any of these and you’re looking for a healthy alternative, go for a run. To your house. If the party is at your house, pour yourself a really big glass of wine and nurse it the entire night. No one will believe that that’s the only drink you’ve had all night.

Hopefully you try one or more of these tricks this holiday season. If you don’t want to do so and know someone who needs a lesson about drinking, give them this advice. Know that you always have a choice. Happy holidays and stay healthy!

Your Face is in Pain—I don’t see you doing anything about it

You don’t notice it when you’re driving to work or sitting on the train. You don’t notice it when you’re making dinner or shopping for the ingredients of that dinner. You don’t notice it when you’re watching a movie or browsing your e-mail.

But you do notice it when you start to sing along to your favourite tunes on the radio or talk to your co-worker next to you. You notice it when you take the first bite into that crunchy chicken or when you say ‘hello’ to the cashier at the store. And you notice it when you let out a roaring laugh at your movie or even a slight chuckle for the subject title on your e-mail.

Why does my jaw hurt?

Why is my face in pain?

My head hurts so much.

What is this pain in my neck? Throat? Ears? Nose? Gums?

Maybe I’ll have a drink to take the pain away.

Congratulations, you’re waking up to a hangover tomorrow. And now your head hurts for two different reasons. Ouch, I wouldn’t want to go through that. Then you think:

I should fix my TMJ syndrome. Wonderful idea!

TMJ (Temporomandibular joint) Syndrome is the pain you feel originating in the joint that connects your lower jaw (mandible) to your skull (temporal bone). This pain spreads to the muscles around that joint. This is why you feel pain in areas such as your face, neck, and gums.

Here is a picture of Peter’s TMJ. If you haven’t met Peter yet, he’s our trusty anatomy assistant who helps Hidden Forest yogis understand more about anatomy (if they want to).


The cause of TMJ pain is limitless: a past injury, arthritis, genetics, teeth grinding, gum chewing, poor posture, stress, etc.…

The pain can be mild to severe and treatments are endless. Don’t you love picking up a bottle of anti-inflammatory drugs and reading through the long list of side-effects?


Me neither. That’s why we put together 5 techniques in this article on how to fight your pain






I know you’re a smart person if you’re looking to fix this. But it will only work if you put time and effort into healing yourself.

Before we get into it, let’s explain why these methods work:

TMJ Syndrome causes the pain to be so uncomfortable because the muscles around this joint are in constant strain. To fix this pain, we have to target the muscles, not the joint. But when muscles are always contracted, it is difficult to get them to relax even when you want them to relax.

In order to persuade our muscles that relaxation is good, we need to take them to the gym (no not the actual gym) and work them out until they’re SO EXHAUSTED that they’ll have to relax. The more you take your muscles to the gym, the easier it will be for them to realize that being under constant strain is ridiculous. Being under constant strain achieves nothing!

So let’s try it out:

Method #1

Pucker your lips, inhaling air through the very little hole that you’ve made with them.


Method #2

Exhale air out, bringing lips inside of the mouth between the rows of the teeth. Bite your lips with your teeth. Repeat 10-12 times and gently brush your face with your finger tips to release the tension.


Method #3

Bring your lips up towards the tip of your nose during inhalation. Draw a full circle with the puckered lips during the exhalation. Repeat 10 circles clockwise and 10 circles counter clockwise.

Method #4

During exhalation stick your tongue out of your mouth to reach your chin with the tip of the tongue. Send your gaze upward to look at the point between your eyebrows. Relax during inhalation.


Method #5

Gently pat your face with outstretched palms for 1-2 minutes.

Remember, regularity is the key.

So make sure to do this once a day. Pick your favourite exercise or switch it up. Practice every day until you no longer feel the pain. Even when you feel like the pain is gone, keep practicing so that you can be sure that it won’t come back to stress you out!

Quick tip: Maybe you don’t want to do this in the office.