This morning I was contemplating what I should write about, sipping my delicious Coconut Coffee, nursing a mild hangover, and furiously battling the urge to eat every falafel ever made in the entire world, when it hit me! Duh! Tell others how to avoid the very situation you’re in right now dummy! Save those hapless drunken losers like me from the aftermath of a fun night: The Hangover.
I did everything I wasn’t supposed to do last night. I drank a ton of alcohol (mixed a few), didn’t drink any water, and ate a light dinner. Is it any wonder I woke up exhausted, head pounding (I’m sure the construction jerks drilling nonstop outside of my house today didn’t help), and wanting to eat everything in sight?
So let’s rewind time Prince of Persia style, (fellow game nerds will get that reference), and walk through what I should have done differently in order to be a more Professional Drunk.
Step One: Eat Fat and Carbs
All you skinny behatches need to make a choice: Do you want to be skinny or feel like absolute crap the next day? Personally, I’d rather be fat, happy, and be able to show up to work without having to hurl in the bathroom between meetings.
Last night I ate scallops, kale, and potatoes. This light and delicious meal is typically a great option but not when gearing up for a drunkfest. Before guzzling mass amounts of alcohol, I should have eaten a lot of fat and carbohydrates. Fat not only slows the absorption of alcohol in the body, it also helps to alleviate stomach irritation created by the gallons of alcohol poured down your gullet. Carbohydrates prevent low blood sugar and helps with nausea, which means you’ll be less likely to give your friend’s car a new coat of paint with the contents of your stomach.
Eating foods like this will allow your body to more efficiently process the harmful toxins in alcohol that lead to hiding in a cave the next day. Instead of my healthy meal, I should have instead eaten something like a burger and fries, Chicken Parmesan with Pasta, or Pizza.
Step Two: Drink Like a Camel
Water is your bestist most loyal friend when you’re a drunken fool. Drink water before you go out, drink water in between drinks, and drink a ton of water before you go to bed. A lot of the horrible effects you feel from drinking too much are simply symptoms of dehydration.
And since alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it makes you expel fluids faster than normal, your body is releasing more fluid than it’s taking in, which causes your brain to shrink (sounds odd but this does happen) and bring on the dreaded headache.
Step Three: If it’s Brown, Put it Down
This hangover prevention technique broke my little Irish heart. For you see, I am a whiskey drinker, some might say it’s in my blood. The darker drinks contain something called “Congeners”, which research has shown to cause worse hangovers than drinks that don’t contain them. They are more toxic chemicals for your body to process. Some examples of drinks under this category are whiskey, bourbon, red wine, and brandy.
Smarter choices include vodka, tequila, white wine and beer. And while beer can be dark in some cases, it does not contain Congeners.
Step Four: Say No to Bubbles
I never drink Champagne because I don’t like bubbles to get in the way of my alcohol. However, I do sometimes take my tequila or vodka with soda water. That happened last night.
The old adage, “Beer before liquor, never been sicker,” has a grain of truth to it. Beer, like Champagne, is carbonated. Carbonation increases how quickly your body absorbs and processes alcohol (exactly what you were attempting to prevent with the ingestion of fatty foods and carbs). Quicker absorption of alcohol leads to you looking like a fool with yo’ pants on the ground and feeling like death the next day.
Step Five: No Smoking
According to a study conducted at Brown University, you are twice as likely to have a horrible hangover the next day if you smoke. They don’t know exactly know why, but I’m willing to bet it has something to do with your body trying to process the toxins in alcohol as well as the 7,000 chemicals in cigarettes. It’s not rocket science people.
Step Six: Choose Your Painkillers Wisely
I cannot stress this enough: Do not EVER take any painkiller with Acetaminophen! Acetaminophen is known to be very harsh on your already hardworking liver. After drinking, your liver is working feverishly to get the alcohol out of your system. So, adding additional strain by taking something like Tylenol® could cause damage to one of your most important organs. It’s also known to be harsh on the stomach and, in some cases, to cause bleeding (birth control isn’t allowed over-the-counter but this stuff is???) It’s best to avoid these meds when your stomach isn’t in tip top condition. Medications that contain Acetaminophen:
Instead, take something like aspirin, which does not contain Acetaminophen and is a “prostaglandin inhibitor” (high levels of prostaglandin have been linked to hangovers). Studies have shown that people who drank heavily and then took aspirin before bed had less hangover symptoms the next morning than people who drank the same amount and did not take aspirin.
Step Seven: The Morning After
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. -Hippocrates
What you choose to eat the next morning can help stave off the havoc you wreaked on your body the previous night. Oddly enough, I feel like my body knows what it needs the next day. Every hangover morning I crave eggs, orange juice and coconut water. My body is smarter than I give it credit for because the very items I crave are perfect for fighting hangover symptoms.
Eggs contain a chemical in them called Cysteine, which helps aid in the breakdown of alcohol. Plus they taste delicious. Fruit juice contains Fructose, which increases energy and also apparently increases the rate at which your body can excrete toxins. Normally I don’t recommend fruit juice to people because it’s basically just liquid sugar, but in the case of a hangover, it’s worth it.
Coconut water is extremely high in potassium, which is essential to muscle, brain, and body function, everything that’s been damaged from all the alcohol guzzling. It’s also extremely hydrating, which helps to replace the fluids you lost the night before.
Step Eight: Never Drink Again
HAH! Who am I kidding here… That’s never gonna happen. But I hope you now have a few tools in your alcoholic tool belt to make drinking a little less painful the next day!
And if you’d like to learn more about the science behind why alcohol causes hangovers, watch this quick and informative video: