Cocktail with bacon garnish

That there’s the Cowboy’s Breakfast, available at Bar C only during Stampede. Giddy up!

Some folks head out of town during the Calgary Stampede. I just don’t get it. What’s not to love about dressing up, going to parties and scarfing back free pancakes every morning? Of course, the downside to Stampede is feeling worse for the wear the following day. Having kids makes hangovers a near death experience. Because I like to flirt with natural alternatives, I checked in with Nicole Boisvert, a Registered Holistic Nutritionist at Community Natural Foods, to get the low down on healthy ways to survive Stampede.

Photo Credit: Tye Carson

Photo Credit: Tye Carson

What to eat at the Calgary Stampede

Yes, you need to line your stomach prior to partaking, but don’t let a $5 burger spoil a $50 buzz. Nicole the Nutritionist didn’t say this, but my friend Tanya’s Dad did, and he’s right!

Eat a balanced meal prior to Stampeding, so you have a good set point. If you’re stuck eating on the the Midway, good choices are turkey legs, souvlaki and corn on the cob. Try to stay away from refined sugar, food colouring and anything deep fried, which means giving a pass to mini-donuts, cotton candy and deep fried butter, if you want to fit into your jeans.

Stampede midway food

Photo Credit: Shane Kuhn

If you do splurge on crap food, tote some Digestive Enzymes to help you digest all that shit. You can buy ones to digest fiber, dairy and protein and there’s kid versions as well. Anyone sporting dreads at a health food store, like Community Natural Foods, should be able to steer you in the right direction.

Nicole also recommends packing along some good quality protein bars and trail mix without the chocolate (it melts). I used to smuggle in PB&J to Cowboys on First Friday, but it got way too squishy and embarrassing.

Stampede Hangover Help

Before you get plastered, you want to give your liver some love, as it’s the organ that does all the heavy lifting when you’re drinking. Pick up some liver care products at a place like Community, so you’re primed for what’s to come.

During the drinkfest, chug water and if you can, throw in some electrolyes. I like those power packets that dissolve in water or coconut water does the trick, as well.

Natural hangover cure

Take these before bed and you’ll thank yourself when you wake up.

After your night out, rehydrate with coconut water and consider taking Party Smart. This giant herbal remedy is best taken before bed and will make you feel soooo much better come morning. Nicole also recommends Butterbur, a herbal supplement to relieve headaches. I don’t get migraines, but apparently a ton of people do in Calgary due to our wild temperature fluctuations and they actually get relief from this product.

Stampede Detox

When you drink, you’re basically carbing out thanks to all the sugar, so you need some good protein and fat to balance it out. If you can stomach a smoothy with protein powder, veg, fruit and coconut water, that’s the way to go. Me? I’m all about the eggs and good fats like avocado in the form of guacamole. OK, maybe I throw a little grease in there, too.

Depending on how much fun you had, you might want to consider doing a full-on detox. Some people do that through eating nutrient dense foods, while others go hardcore purchasing cleansing regimes. Community has a variety of long term and short term cleanses to get you back on track.

How to do you stay healthy during party season?