Drinking to excess is bad. We all know that. It's painful, high in calories and often high in embarrassment as well. That said, the holidays are upon us and holidays bring parties, families, and stress. Throw it all together and you've got a super fantastic recipe for a hangover. Therefore I consider it my civic duty to share several tactics I've learned over the years to avoid and cure them. To be honest, I don't drink very much anymore* (despite my penchant for shiny barware, exciting bars and cocktail recipes) so several of these come straight from a doctor friend of mine who manages to have a vibrant social life despite working all the damn time, so they're tried and true.
Everyone knows the things you're supposed to do to prevent a hangover. Don't drink too much (duh), eat a meal heavy in carbs AND protein beforehand, and drink plenty of water. These work, but aren't always feasible. Although drinking a large glass of water with every drink is a really good and easy idea. So the rest of this blog entry is dedicated to those nights when prevention got thrown out with the twists and cherry stems.
1) Go out and buy a B vitamin supplement. Liquid is best, sublingual is ok, but regular tablets do next to nothing.
2) Before you go out, put the following items by your bedside or in your purse: an enormous glass of water, the vitamin B, 2 aspirin and a cracker or similiar small food item (preferably one that your cat won't eat. Which, if you are me, excludes popcorn, fruit and sourdough bread because Rue is a big, old freak).
3) When you wake up at the crack of dawn, in that weird in-between state where you're still drunk but already cranky, drink all of the water, then refill the glass for later. Eat the cracker, and then take the aspirin and the vitamin B. It's important to do it in that order because B vitamins can cause headaches if they hit an empty stomach. Go back to sleep.
That on its own will do wonders. But when you wake up later on, pinch one nostril closed, and take several deep, fast breaths into the other one. Do it on the other side. Then massage the sides of your nose and the front of your eye sockets, where your eyebrows are. Optional: nasal spray.
Everyone has their perfect hangover food, and it varies widely. The Boy, for example, starts every hungover morning by declaring, "living legend needs eggs." I tend to require carbs by the approximate truckload. I always say go with your gut when it comes to food, but here is a nutritionally perfect hangover breakfast, full of things that will replenish your system and prevent almost all of the terrible symptoms, so eat as many of these ingredients as is possible/pleasant.
Hearty white toast with butter and marmite
Scrambled eggs, salted
Optional: vegetable juice, wheatgrass shots, EmergenC, orange Gatorade.
I don't know why orange Gatorade is better than the other kinds, but the hangover Gods have spoken and it is so.
I hope this helps, and had at least a few tricks that were new to you. Did I miss any? Do you have any rituals that you swear by? Go forth and be merry. Hell, be overly merry if you want to.
*although if you remind me that I wrote those words when January 2nd rolls around I'll throw a leftover martini in your face.