Natural Hangover Remedies

So the wine was flowing a little too much last night, or your friends decided that Fireball shots at 1 AM were a good idea (NEVER a good idea). Now you’ve woken up with a splitting headache, stomach/GI discomfort, “out of it” feeling, extreme thirst or any combination of these symptoms. Hopefully this isn’t a regular occurrence, but if you do find yourself in this predicament, what to do?

martini

Besides getting hooked up to a banana bag, stat, here are some tips for getting over your hangover.

BEFORE DRINKING

  1. Eat Fat. While I want everyone to include fat in their meals/snacks, it is especially important to eat fats before drinking. Fatty foods delay the absorption of alcohol. That doesn’t mean you should eat a big ‘ol fried meal. Go for healthier fats like olive oil, coconut oil, butter, avocado, nuts/nut butters or a combination of these foods.
  2. Take Your Vitamins (and Minerals). Many vitamins, such as vitamin C and the B vitamins — along with other nutrients such as potassium, magnesium and sodium — can help prevent dehydration, control hangover symptoms and help you detox faster after drinking too much. You can either pop a vitamin or include a variety of foods at your pre-drinking meal. Try having some meat, a variety of vegetables cooked in healthy fats (see above), sprinkled with sea salt, with perhaps some nut butter as “dessert.”

WHILE YOU DRINK

  1. Water. You’ve heard it before, but drinking water while you drink alcohol (ideally alternating water with an alcoholic drink) helps fend off dehydration. Better yet, add a little salt to that water as the salt will help you retain more water — a good thing in the case of drinking.
  2. Choose High-Quality, Clear Alcohol. Gin and vodka contain fewer congeners, which are toxic chemicals produced during the making of alcohol. Colored alcohol such as whiskey, cognac and tequila contain more congeners, and thus make for a more wicked hangover.
  3. Stick to One Type of Alcohol. Mixing different alcohol is not only bad for your tummy/digestive system; it also makes it harder to keep track of how many drinks you’re having.
  4. Drink Less (DUH). This is definitely easier said than done. Try leaving the bar/party on the earlier side — maybe have a code with your significant other or friend. Or, ask for the bartender to give you a larger glass and fill it with more club soda (not more booze). It will take you more time to drink this larger volume, i.e. you will drink less overall.

THE MORNING AFTER

  1. Sleep in. While sleep won’t cure your hangover, it will help improve immunity, since a night of drinking takes a toll on the immune system.
  2. No Hair of the Dog. Having more alcohol the morning after drinking will only prolong your hangover. Try water with lemon — which can help detox your liver — and coffee instead.
  3. Eat a Healthy Breakfast. As much as you want crappy, greasy foods, they won’t help in the long run and will surely make that GI discomfort worse. Instead, try eggs, which contain cysteine that helps clear the liver of chemicals. Add some vegetables (read: antioxidants, vitamins and minerals) and healthy fats, like avocado, into the mix and you will feel better in no time.
  4. Get Moving. Are you going to run a marathon? No. But at least aim for a nice long walk. Fresh air and gentle movement is great for your hangover.

Cheers to a “healthy” night out, friends! If you have any other hangover remedies, please do share!

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Drinks: Ginger Beer Refresher {Recipe ReDux}

Super-refreshing, spicy and sweet all at once, ginger is definitely a favorite of mine. Despite this, I had mostly confined ginger to food applications. No more. After drinking my first Moscow Mule — and admittedly many more since then — I have been telling myself ‘I have to buy some ginger beer.’

So when I found out this month’s Recipe ReDux theme: “Beverages are Hot!”, I instantly knew the time was right to drink the proverbial koolaid. And while I’m all for an alcoholic cocktail, today I went with a non-alcoholic version (it was, after all, only 8 a.m. when I made this).

*In case you didn’t know, ginger beer does not generally contain alcohol. It tastes similar to ginger ale, but is brewed with real ginger and often times citrus fruits as well. To me, it tasted like a slightly spicy, though mostly sweet, ginger soda.

gingerbeer_mandarin_mint_refresher

But what to mix with ginger beer? There were so many delicious flavor combination ideas: mandarin, blueberry, strawberries, berries of any kind, mint, lemon, lime, mango…and the list went on and on.

ginger_beer

Somehow, I made a decision — no small feat for the indecisive type (clearly me): mandarin and fresh mint!

And thus the Ginger Beer Refresher was born!

Recipe: Ginger Beer Refresher

Yield: 1 cocktail

I made this virgin but it would be amazing mixed with vodka or rum. Let’s be honest, I’m going to make this again tonight before I go out. Would also be delicious if you swapped the mandarin for blueberries.

ginger_beer_cocktail

Ingredients:

  • 1 bottle (12 ounces) ginger beer (I used Reed’s, which was on the sweeter side)
  • 1 mandarin orange, such as a halo, segmented
  • 4-5 fresh mint leaves, torn
  • Ice cubes as needed

ingredients

Directions:

Place mandarin segments and mint in a glass and pour in ginger beer. Using a spoon, straw, or muddler, poke at the mint and mandarin to infuse the drink with more flavor.

ingredients2

pouring_gingerbeer

Enjoy!

ginger_beer_refresher

Super-easy, no?

Check out more amazing drink recipes from Recipe ReDux-ers by following the link below!

Think Your Drink

Beware: could be a calorie bombWith Pumpkin Spice Latte season upon us, it’s only fitting to talk coffee drinks. No, I’m not talking black coffee. I mean the creamy, sweet, comforting drinks that we all love – especially when they are pumpkin-y, peppermint-y or white-chocolate-y.

While delicious, most specialty coffee drinks are loaded with milk and/or cream, syrup and other flavorings, all of which give you calories, fat and carbs that you really don’t need.

Take, for example, an average woman, who needs around 1200-1500 calories a day. A coffee drink containing 300 calories, such as a grande peppermint mocha, will provide her with 25% or 20% of her daily calories, respectively. Yikes! For the same number of calories, you could have a quarter pound of lean steak, 1/2 a cup of brown rice and 1 1/2 cups veggies (AKA a whole meal). Hmm I wonder which will keep you feeling full…

So what’s one to do? Sometimes you just want a treat; a little pick-me-up. Well, you can still have your coffee and drink it too. Here are some tweaks you can make to lighten up your drinks (values are for 16 oz , or Grande, drinks):

  • Order your drink with skim milk = 50 calories saved
    • Note: soy milk contains the same number of calories as 2% milk.
  • Get 2 pumps of syrup instead of 4 (the usual number that come in a flavored drink) = 40 calories saved
  • Get 1 pump of syrup instead of 4 = 60 calories saved
  • Hold the whipped cream = 70 calories and 7 grams fat saved
  • Order it with sugar-free syrup (vanilla, hazelnut and cinnamon dolce) = 80 calories saved

So, your Cinnamon Dolce Latte with whipped cream (normally 280 calories) could be only 130 if you ordered it “skinny” (skim milk, sugar-free syrup) and sans whipped cream. Or a Pumpkin Spice Latte could be 200 calories (skim milk, 1 pump syrup) instead of 310 calories.

Some other tips to cut down on calories and save you money (read: make these at home) are:

  • Sprinkle cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice into your coffee grounds before brewing to yield a delicious, sweet and spicy coffee (no syrup necessary).
  • Tea: with so many delicious varieties of tea (chocolate, peppermint, fruity, etc.) to choose from, you know that you can always have a low- or no-calorie tasty drink.
    • Chai tea lovers: Brew chai tea (from a tea bag) and add a splash of milk and splenda or Stevia (only if you need it) for a Chai Tea Latte-esque drink with a fraction of the calories and sugar.
  • For those that like to use flavored creamers, try vanilla milk (almond, soy, rice, coconut milk) – it will add a hint of vanilla and still give your coffee the creaminess you’re looking for.