I wrote this post on December 3, 2012. I remember it well because it was the day after my boyfriend's office holiday party. It was one of two I attended before he left an office IT job for a full-time career in the restaurant industry. New Year's Eve is in two days so I thought it was a good idea to repurpose this content. I've added some updates at the bottom.
The original title:
Holiday hangover helper: 12 tips
Welcome to December. Holiday parties. Family events. Indulgences. Hangovers.
Let them begin.
Even though I’m a wellness nerd I do indulge on occasion. I’m writing this on the afternoon of Saturday December 1. Last night I went to my boyfriend’s office holiday party, my first holiday part of the season. Sparking wine was comped at the start, then he ordered a bottle of Tawse pinot noir (delicious and local) and cocktails were ordered after dinner.
Today? My first holiday hangover. Excuse me if I write this post in two stages and nap in between.
And so, I’m going to share with you some tips that might help you prevent and cure a hangover. Learn from my experience (past and present) and from my research. You likely know most of this and just need a reminder.
These aren’t guaranteed to work but they could help.
To your health.
Before the party:
1. Plan ahead.
Keep hangover remedy ingredients, a hangover “first aid” kit, on hand. My lack of planning did not help me.
2. Eat well
Eat well the day of the party – healthy snacks, often. Food helps slow the absorption of alcohol, and the longer it takes the alcohol to reach your blood stream, the longer it takes to get drunk.
Choose foods with low glycemic index. For example, oatmeal for breakfast, apples and pears, fish or meat and vegetables for dinner.
Not doing this was my biggest mistake even though I knew better. Going from hair salon to nail salon and not eating before, during or after, I knew I was risking it. I should have packed a high carb snack. Possibly some nuts.
A couple of years after I left university I discovered that a stomach full of poutine keeps you sober, even if eaten a couple of hours before. It’s not healthy but I won’t judge you for the occasional indulgence if you don’t judge me. If you don’t live where there’s poutine (and 99% of the time I can live without it), just eat some with some meat and starch.
3. Stay hydrated
Water and other hydrating, natural beverages. You should be doing this anyway, but take special care. You know that you’re about to exercise your liver.
During the party:
4. Again: Water water water.
Drink it alongside your alcoholic beverages, in between, before you go to bed, and when you wake up in the morning.
5. Don’t mix different types of alcohol.
Rhymes such as “Wine before liquor, never sicker” and “wine before beer makes you feel queer” are rooted in truth. Stick to one type.
This is where I failed last night. Learn from my pain.
Also, stay away from sweet stuff (I got that right). Didn’t we all learn that when we came of drinking age, if not before?
6. Listen to your body
Even if you don’t feel “drunk”, if you feel the least bit off, listen to your body and stop.
I stopped when my stomach started to feel angry and drank a lot of water. The hangover still hit, but it could have been worse. I will take comfort and gratitude in the fact that I have not had to spend time on the cold bathroom floor or with my head in the toilet – though sometimes that makes the hangover feel better.
If you can imagine the devil and angel on your shoulders, ignore the devil. And damn it, you’re adults; you’re too old to cave into peer pressure.
(And if you don’t cave in, and your friends are hungover, you can mock them while you empathize.)
To add to #3 above: In the morning you can drink warm water with lemon juice adding cayenne pepper if you’d like (I do this every morning but ran out of lemons yesterday). Lemon water is good for liver detox. Try coconut water for the electrolytes or put some sea salt in your water.
Or, take this advice from alternative medicine expert Bryce Wylde:
Electrolyte replacement is also helpful to recover from an alcohol-hangover (if you must!). Here’s my “Anti-Hangover Electrolyte Elixir” that will help if you drink it before you go to bed. In 1 large 12oz glass of water, add a squeezed lemon, 1tsp Black Strap Molasses, crush 99mg potassium tablet, 1/4 tsp salt, Maple Syrup to sweetness. Mix well and drink.
8. Eat a banana.
Potassium is your friend. Throw it in a smoothie with some coconut water and ginger to soothe the stomach. I have no bananas or coconut water.
9. Greasy spoon
As much as I’d like to say “green smoothies and juices all the time”, the greasy and high carb breakfast makes ME feel better. Avoid coffee. The caffeine might make your brain feel better but the acid won’t be good on your stomach and coffee can cause dehydration.
Sweat it out. Have a sauna or a bath or go to a hot yoga class. STAY HYDRATED while you do this, or you could make yourself sicker. Imagine a nice hot bath with a cup of tea in a dark bathroom lit by candles.
I don’t know about you, but I find that showers make me feel human again after I’ve imbibed too much. The hangover shower is the best.
Rub one out: Rub the outer edge area on the right foot, about halfway between the middle of the foot and the little toe. This is the reflex to the liver and might speed up liver detoxification.
12. Wasabi bath
In researching this article I came across this tip multiple times. From Natural News:
Along with being a delectable culinary delight, the spicy green paste known as wasabi also makes an excellent cleanse to remove toxins from the body. Wasabi stimulates blood circulation and promotes oxygenation of the cells, which helps remove waste. Infuse 2 to 4 tbsp. in a hot bath to allow the body to shed toxins through the skin to ease a hangover.
You don’t have to drink. Alcohol is poison, m’kay? Remember:
Additional notes for the Finding Health & Wellness version
-According to nutritionist Melissa Ramos, popping 5-10 chlorella tablets every hour can help reduce hangovers by 96%. I can tell you that taking a bunch of chlorella when you get home drunk and are thinking, “Er, what was that chlorella tip that Melissa blogged about?” doesn't work. Try it her way. I don't know if I first read it in this post or this one, but I went back to her blog for the details.
Edit: Check out Melissa's new video on the same topic.
If I chose to drink this New Year's Eve I might just stick to gin or whisky because my yeast sensitivity often (not always) makes me react poorly to beer. That said, my immune boosting supplement and probiotics (Inner Defence and Live 5 from Young Living) have been doing an amazing job on healing my gut and lessening my symptoms.