the ultimate hangover management guide

With New Year’s Eve fast approaching I thought I would pull together every bit of proven success in terms of managing your hangover this New Year’s Day.  We all know there is no miracle cure for a hangover, with time it will eventually go away but I am here to make the “eventually” feel a whole lot better.   When the hangover arrives, sleep is what we need but apart from the initial “passed out like a starfish fully clothed on the bed” phase, sleep usually proves elusive.  The jackhammer in our head along with a combination of parched mouth and overheating urges us to open our eyes and stagger to the kitchen. 

Doesn't your bottle of Moet deserve some bling?

Doesn't your bottle of Moet deserve some bling?

What you choose to do next will determine how your day of recovery proceeds.  If you have work, I would think it wise to evaluate how appropriate it is for you to attend.  You may be experiencing what I call the “delayed onset hangover”(DOH).  Despite drinking your body weight in champagne the night before you somehow feel okay and commence doing some light chores.  DO NOT be fooled my friend, you do indeed have a hangover coming to you but it has not yet arrived, this is because you are still drunk.  Do not panic, this is a common occurrence. You are not alone.  Many a parkrunner, after a few celebratory beverages or 12 on a Friday night, has turned up to their local parkrun at 8am on Saturday morning not realizing they were about to suffer the dreaded DOH effect, until about the 2km mark.  Unperturbed by this the DOH sufferer hastily pushes on and often goes on to achieve a personal best, albeit with some near vomitus experiences at the finish line and some other parkrunners complaining of alcoholic fumes emanating from their DOH affected co-runners. 

When you find this flag you've found the start line

When you find this flag you've found the start line

So step 1 is to determine if you are still drunk.  If this is the case, work is out of the question, so let the boss know you are not able to make it today and if you are the boss then you should sit yourself down and give yourself a stern talking to about the perils of excessive drinking.  Health professionals (by the way, I am not one of these) do not recommend exercising whilst experiencing a hangover or indeed whilst still alcohol affected.  So parkrunners, go back to bed and leave that PB to next week.

 If you are a coffee drinker – you need to make another assessment.  Will you be worse off if you skipped your morning fix or better off for indulging in it?  Coffee will further dehydrate you and that is the last thing your body needs, however if it will go into shock because you have had a coffee every day upon waking since 1973, well then today is probably not the day you should stop.  My advice, go easy.  To non-coffee drinkers, don’t start now.

To caffeine or not to caffeine, that is the question

To caffeine or not to caffeine, that is the question

If your brain hasn’t exploded yet from all the decision-making combined with the jackhammering this is positive news, well done.  Now is the time to quickly down your first large glass of filtered water for the day.  Like I said I am NOT a doctor, but I have done extensive theoretical and practical research on this topic over the last few decades and I can confirm the following.  If you are NOT any of the things below you are able to take a Panadol or two (following some food) to quell the significant pain in your head:

-       an alcoholic

-       a drug user

-       someone suffering from stomach or liver issues

-       an abuser of Panadol

-       still drinking

Now I am well aware that the thought of food will send the more seriously afflicted among you running to the toilet to expel the contents of your stomach.  However, if you can manage to consume a banana, this is the best thing you can do for your body.  The potassium is what you need right now.  Consume said banana 20 minutes after you have successfully consumed a glass of coconut water, a multivitamin, a vitamin c, a mega vitamin b complex, magnesium and some liposomal glutathione.  Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that detoxifies the body and supports optimal brain and immune function. 

Get a banana into you and make a fresh juice with in season fruit and veg

Get a banana into you and make a fresh juice with in season fruit and veg

In terms of minimizing the severity of the hangover it is highly recommended that you take all of these vitamins and the glutathione along with a decent meal containing protein, good fats and carbs prior to the commencement of imbibing.  Keeping your water intake up throughout the night, sticking to one type of alcohol – preferably top shelf and not whiskeys or red wines will also help prevent a hangover that is a rating 10 on the Richter scale.

If you have managed to keep your banana down (congrats) and happen to live within stumbling distance of a beach (double congrats) may I suggest a cooling dip in the ocean.  If this is impossible then a brief warm shower is advisable to restore some semblance of normality to your day.  Time now for some more filtered water and then your favourite electrolyte drink eg. Endura, hydrolyte, Gatorade, Powerade etc.

I think a dip in  Waikiki Beach  would minimise most pain

I think a dip in Waikiki Beach would minimise most pain

After the water therapy it is time to darken the lounge room or bedroom and try to resume sleeping.  If sleep continues to elude you a good comedy marathon is a great distraction and will help boost your serotonin levels after the depletion inflicted upon them by the depressant that is alcohol.  When you are ready to eat again the next thing on the hangover management menu is eggs on toast.  They may be poached, scrambled or fried – just get them into you anyway you can.  Not a fan of eggs? Try vegemite on toast or sardines on toast.  Vegans can get a similar remedying effect from porridge made from oats.  Stomach ok? Still hungry? More water please and some watermelon next.

Hopefully at this point, you have managed a kip, a laugh and are feeling somewhat more human.  If not it might be time to bring out the big guns.  Each sufferer will have their own preferred go to crisis item at this moment.  My research has shown that such items include egg and bacon in whichever way they can get their hands on it, Callipos, ice cubes, burritos, Coke diet or full strength, Berocca, chocolate thick shakes, miso, soba, icy poles, potato chips and of course burgers with fries.  Whilst we think we need these things and they are all we can fathom consuming they are often not the best thing for us.  The thing to drink now would be a freshly squeezed juice of your choice with some fresh ginger and spirulina.  If comfort food is what you need a bowl of pasta is your body’s best bet.  I keep a store of quality spag bol in the freezer in case of such emergencies.  Zap in the microwave, top with some grated Parmesan and restoration is not too far away.  And lets face it; this beats the hell out of trying to get down the street to pick up your junk food of choice.

If you have to give in to your cravings, do it right with a burger from Andrew's Hamburgers in Albert Park one of the  best in Melbourne.

If you have to give in to your cravings, do it right with a burger from Andrew's Hamburgers in Albert Park one of the best in Melbourne.

So my dear friends, I hope my life long research stands you in good stead whenever a hangover strikes.  The key to success is to be prepared; a well-stocked kitchen with all of the essentials is a must. Cheers to a Happy New Year and a relatively pain free New Year’s Day.

*This is not a medical blog, please seek professional advice if you are unwell

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A great drink to have anytime, hungover or not, is my Very green vegan smoothie