Updated: Mar 20
It's that time of the year again! Mardi Gras! One of Louisiana’s major traditions! Every year, thousands of people from all over the United States and other parts of the world, come together and celebrate the carnival tradition with amazing food, dances, parades and the beautiful sound of zydeco music. When the parade begins and the bright exotic floats start approaching it's time to start begging people riding above to throw random objects at a high velocity of speed at you, in hopes that you catch it with grace. It's the perfect moment to display your Odell Beckham Jr. or Honey Badger skills that you have been waiting to unleash.
Since Mardi Gras season is right around the corner, I figured it would be of great addition to write a little about this specific time of the year. For those not familiarized with Mardi Gras, I will give you a brief explanation and attempt to pass on the idea and what goes on during these days of celebrations of music, arts and culture in the state of Louisiana.
Mardi Gras is essentially celebrated in all of Louisiana, with its main celebration spot and most famous one being the city of New Orleans. Usually there is one major parade each day; but many days have several large parades. The largest and most elaborate parades take place the last five days of the Mardi Gras season, right before Ash Wednesday for the Catholic Community, so called Fat Tuesday. In the final week, many events occur throughout New Orleans and surrounding communities, including parades and balls.
During those last five days in the streets of New Orleans, people attending the Mardi Gras celebrations tend to be very active by walking around the parades all day, throwing beads, catching beads, having fun in general with the awesome positive vibe that floats around with all the music, food, arts and culture manifestations. Sometimes you start celebrating early in the morning as soon as about lunch time and don’t even see the time passing for when you notice it’s already 4am and you need to go home and rest to do it all again the next day.
Being from Brazil, I’ve always been familiarized with the Carnival Culture, but living in Louisiana for 5 years made me understand the huge difference between both celebrations. I believe that Louisianan Mardi Gras has much more of a cultural and artsy touch to it that made me fall in love with it as soon as I experienced it for the first time.
Being a month long type of celebration that is closed off with those 5 straight days of street parades, parties and balls, sometimes Mardi Gras makes us forget to drink enough fluids that would help us replenish lost electrolytes and lost liquid in our bodies. As a professional athlete and former collegiate athlete while living in Louisiana, I always wanted to make sure my body was well recovered and ready for my tough workouts so I always looked very closely to things such as my diet and my rest. During Mardi Gras though, most people actually tend to do the opposite of that by consuming high amounts of alcohol and not getting enough rest. In this blog I wanted to quickly point out the effects of alcohol consumption and its correlation to dehydration during Mardi Gras season.
As I have mentioned before in past blogs, Alcohol is one of the major causes of dehydration. Even consuming relatively small amounts of alcohol might cause dehydration. Alcohol is a diuretic. It causes your body to remove fluids from your blood through your renal system, which includes the kidneys, ureters, and bladder, at a much quicker rate than other liquids. Alcohol suppresses your body’s antidiuretic hormone that sends fluid back into your body while simultaneously acting as a diuretic, causing water to be flushed out of your system much more rapidly than normal. Although it may be fun, alcohol consumption can cause some serious dehydration.
So how does one prevent dehydration during Mardi Gras season where he/she will be going around the streets of Nola, very likely walking around a lot in an environment where staying properly hydrated isn’t a major concern? Some people end up partying and going to Balls every weekend before Mardi Gras too. That unfortunately is a big hit to our body and might lead up to severe dehydration if not looked at properly.
4 TIPS TO PREVENT MARDI GRAS DEHYDRATION
1. Eat great quality food.
I know that it might be hard to think of food while partying on Bourbon Street but promise me you’ll do your best to enjoy Nola’s food culture while going around throwing or catching beads. It’s one of the easiest ways to keep your hydration levels at its best, plus it shouldn’t be a sacrifice for anyone to enjoy Nola’s cuisine. I would opt for protein-rich, vitamin-dense foods like eggs, nuts, and spinach (I love Nola’s brunch restaurants).
2. Get some sleep.
Allow your body to rest. Make sure that when you go to bed, you go to bed. It might be tempting to bring the party from the street to the apartment and start an after party or something but remember that if you are there for 4 days, you might not make it out alive if you don’t get enough rest. It will help your body recover too. I always like to make sure I drink a massive bottle of water or electrolyte replacement drink right before going to sleep after a night of drinking alcohol. It definitely helps me to wake up feeling way better
3. Not consuming alcohol the next morning…
...would be a great idea if it was actually going to happen. I get that Mardi Gras is very much like Spring Break for young people. Many will travel to Nola to enjoy those 4 days and not care about society’s norms in terms of what time is ok to consume alcohol. Just remember that this can make your hangover worse. If you wake up feeling dehydrated, make sure you also have a sports drink available to replenish your electrolyte levels. I’ve always found a lot of success when recovering from dehydration with low sugar sports drinks.
4. Drink electrolyte-fortified water or sports drinks.
These can help you rehydrate more quickly than just plain water. Like I said I’m a huge advocate for sports drinks when seeking to stay properly hydrated. It’s my go-to because it acts faster and more effectively. My one concern is always the sugar levels on sports drinks. Luckily the availability for low-sugar natural products has been on the rise and I have been able to refuel and replenish my body with the right amount of calories, vitamins and electrolytes while staying on track of my lifestyle goals.
I personally would not recommend you waiting until you notice symptoms of dehydration to take action. The sooner you start your awareness/prevention journey, the better. As a professional swimmer and lover of practicing sports in general, I am aware of what my body needs and aware of the best recovery methods in terms of proper hydration.
In case you are like me and is always concerned about being properly hydrated at all times there are electrolyte replacement products available that are low-sugar and low-calories. Hydra-Guard Sports Drink for example is a great way of replenishing your essential electrolytes after a workout but keeping the calorie count low and consuming only 5g of natural sugars per bottle. You could use the code PM10 at checkout for a special 10% discount on their website, and I also recommend you to subscribe to their newsletter because they are always releasing special codes for even higher discounts on their products.