The holiday party season is in full swing, and you know what that means: FREE BOOZE. If you’re like me, you’ll be trying to cram more than one party into every night between now and New Year’s Eve. With all of that boozing comes the inevitable hangover. We’ve all had them and we’ve lived through them – even if we think we won’t in the moment.
There are many ways to avoid hangovers starting with moderation. But if you are a reader of this blog, that is not in your vocabulary. You can also avoid fruit juices and mixers that are high in sugar, drink white wine rather than red, avoid carbonated beverages and drink clear liquor rather than dark. All well and good, but it’s much easier to live la vida loca during the holidays.
Before you seek the soothing comfort of cold bathroom tile this holiday season, prepare yourself with an ounce of prevention and by parking the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff. Here are some tips for avoiding hangovers and remedies to get you back in the saddle for the next party.
- The helpful reminder: Before you go out, put a chair on top of your bed. Place two aspirin or Ibuprofen tablets on the seat of the chair. When you stumble home ready to fall into bed to sleep the sleep of the anesthetized, you will have to remove the chair first. Ah, those delightful pain relievers are waiting right there to knock the headache back before it starts.
- Lead the horse: Put a baby wading pool just inside your front door and fill it with fresh water. When you get home from the parties don’t go any further into your house before you stoop and drink deeply from the trough. Hydration is the key to avoiding a nasty bout of brown bottle flu.
- Get a complex: B complex vitamins – folic acid, biotin, niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, and cyanocobalamin, aka B12 – taken before you binge can prevent a hangover. Take a B12 vitamin about 4 hours before you go out, another one right before you walk out the door, and then a third before you go to bed. Vitamin B12 naturally boosts the body’s energy, but it takes hydration and rest to work best. Drink plenty of water with each one, get a decent amount of sleep and your chances of dodging the dastardly hangover are greatly improved.
- Go Irish: Eat potatoes before you drink. Potatoes contain flavonoids which can help reduce hangover symptoms and keep you from feeling too fragile.
- Dilution solution: The most basic recommendation for feeling good in the morning is don’t drink on an empty stomach. Eat a sandwich, eat some pasta, eat some peanuts or almonds. Eat something. Food will help dilute the alcohol in your stomach and slow its absorption. That gives your body more time to metabolize it as it enters the blood stream. Look, you’re going to gain 20 pounds during the holidays anyway, so don’t risk a hangover just to look like Kate Moss.
- The triple fister: @candidcourtney recommends a rotation of “Cocktail…Diet Coke…H20…Cocktail…Diet Coke…H20…” The three-pronged approach gives you a buzz, a caffeine boost and keeps you hydrated at the same time. Slipping in two non-alcoholic drinks between each cocktail also moderates your consumption. Just make sure you have ready access to the loo.
- Hair of the dog: This is by far the most popular recommendation I’ve heard. It typically works because it is delaying the drop in blood alcohol which is one of the causes of a hangover. Try a Bloody Mary. The vitamins in the tomato juice and celery will help.
- Cup of Joe: Do you think Don Draper would try and ride out a hangover without a cup of coffee? Hell no. The theory goes that alcohol dilates the blood vessels causing those pounding headaches. Caffeine constricts the blood vessels to alleviate that pain. The trick here is that caffeine, like alcohol, is a diuretic and can further dehydrate you thereby exacerbating your headache. So drink that coffee, but pair it with some water.
- Elevate the electrolytes: Hydration is an absolute must to ease that hangover and you can speed it along by drinking something with sodium, potassium, chloride, and bicarbonate like Gatorade, Powerade and even that Pedialyte stuff that you give to pukey babies.
- Drugs! This could be an entire blog post in itself, but I’ll stick to the basics. I swear by Alka-Seltzer. It settles the stomach, kills the headache and if you put a swizzle stick in it, you can imagine you’re right back off the wagon. If you’re an amateur and don’t keep Alka-Seltzer handy, grab a good old fashioned Aspirin or an anti-inflammatory like Ibuprofen. Be careful though, both can further upset your stomach. Avoid Tylenol or its generic equivalent, Acetaminophen. Paired with alcohol it can really tear into that already battered liver. If you’re a Heath Ledger wannabe, rummage through the medicine cabinet to see if you can fish out some Codeine, Vicodin, Percocet or the like. Knock a few of those back and you’ll be feeling something else altogether.
- The greasy spoon: Even if eating a big greasy breakfast doesn’t technically cure a hangover, it sure can make you feel a little better. A fat burger covered with cheese, chili and bacon and side of fries is my favorite. If you really want the greasy breakfast trick to work, you have to eat it before you go to bed to slow the absorption of alcohol. Have the cabbie drop you off at the all night diner on the way home. Better yet, find someone sweet to make a late night breakfast for you.
With a little bit of planning and after care, we’ll all make it through the holiday bender season one party at a time. There are tons of ways to prevent and cure hangovers. What are your favorite? Don’t be a Scrooge and keep them to yourself.