I have not shied away from adventure or good times in my life. I'm not the gal sipping on tonic water while the men belly up to the bar. I feel fortunate to say that in light of my jocund nature, I can count on one hand the number of epic hangovers I've had. We're going to talk about hangovers today, friends, and we're going to get down to the ugly parts. For instance, one of the epic hangovers occurred in a gritty but cool northeastern city following my cousin's wedding. I mention the city because there was no driving involved. And because I'm not sure that scene exists down here in the genteel south where I live. Rule #1 to avoiding a wine hangover is to not drink wine like a normal persona at the wedding and then proceed to get YOUR MOM to do an Irish Car Bomb with you at the hotel before you head out. Once out on the town, don't succumb to the outrageous practice of lining up for a cocktail waitress to actually pour a shot, from the bottle, straight into your mouth. In retrospect, this must have been highly illegal. Fortunately for the establishment, I have absolutely no idea where I was and it was nearly 10 years ago.
The next day, there was a lovely post-wedding get-together hosted by the bride's parents at their home. I lay prone in the backseat of my parents' car, parked on the street at the party, for hours. I managed to finally walk in around 3:00pm, and eat a bit of food at 4:00pm. That day was a test of my endurance as a human being who inflicts upon herself a terrible injury. I will note that what I finally ate was tortilla chips and pepperoni dip. Never heard of it? It's a fatty, unhealthy, delicious invention that is common to the region in which my family lives, and the place I will always consider home. Seriously, that dip seemed to save my life that day.
That brings me to the real first tip in avoiding a wine hangover - eat fatty protein before going out drinking if you suspect it will be a marathon. It has long been believed, and can even be corroborated on WebMD, that fatty foods before alcohol can line the intestines with a coating of...fat...and diminish the absorption of alcohol. I know it's gross to imagine your intestines lined with a layer of grease, but we agreed this would get down to the ugly. In Mediterranean countries, a spoonful of olive oil before drinking is believed to serve the same purpose. Personally, I would go for a good charcuterie plate - load up on pepperoni and chorizo.
Another obvious way to avoid a wine hangover is to drink water. Not gallons of it when you get home (although you should drink water before going to bed), but drink one glass of water for every glass of wine that you have. Dehydration accounts for a large part of the awful hangover feeling. Be fancy and order San Pellegrino if you'll feel conspicuous downing glasses of "commoner" water. And with the chichi San Pellegrino tip, I'll add another piece of advice from the experts for avoiding a wine hangover - go with white wine. Now, this is a piece of advice that I will never follow. I enjoy some white wines, but I love some red wines. I do not have the somewhat common response to red wine that many people do, which is a fast and crippling headache, flushing, and nausea. This could be due to any number of things present in red wine that are far less present in white wine, like histamines, tannings, and cogeners. I'll let you Google those things if you're inclined - it makes red wine sound like poison, which it can be in too large a quantity. As can white wine, or any alcohol. Too much wine is the #1 cause of a hangover. Get to know what wines agree best with your own constitution and then drink them in moderation.
Let's say the deed is done, you've had too much. At drink #4, you were like, "Colleen, I SO DON'T CARE about cogeners, I don't even think that's a real word. I am totally having another class of wine at this fabulous party/restaurant/wedding/funeral/baby shower/Netflix maraton at home."
I hear you, and I understand. Sometimes it all ends up going past your bedtime and then what? Here's some understanding, compassionate advice:
Take aprin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen before going to bed. This is assuming that the need for hangover help is not chronic. The OTC medicines can react badly with alcohol, particularly if it is consumed in large amounts daily. If that is NOT the case, this will at least provide some relief from one of the worst hangiver symptoms - the headache.
Eat eggs for breakfast, and if just plain eggs make you feel nauseated (it does me), go find a sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit. Find an Eggs Benedict. According to the howstuffworks website, "Eating eggs the morning after provides energy like any other food, which is the primary benefit. But eggs do also contain large amounts of cysteine, the substance that breaks down the hangover-causing toxin acetaldehyde in the liver's easily depleted glutathione. Therefore, eggs can potentially help mop up the left-over toxins." The same website also recommends bananas and fruit juice to help clear our whatever is left that awful next morning - get your potassium and blood sugar back up to par.
Take a multivitamin, which honestly, may or may not be successfully absorbed into your system, but if it is, you will be better off. In addition, try sipping on some ginger tea. Ginger has long been known to relieve nausea. I, personally, will endorse ginger tea until the cows come home. not only has it relieved many a nauseated moment in my life, it warms you from the inside, which is a good, relaxing feeling.
NO COFFEE, NO HAIR OF THE DOG. The goal is to alleviate dehydration, not prolong it. Give yourself plenty of water and fruit juice.
Don't tie one on the night before you have to work or do anything important. Leave the day after for rest and recuperation. Take a nice hot shower when you're ready, and in the middle of the afternoon, put on your pajamas (finally). Snuggle in bed, watch movies, eat crappy food. Know that by the next day, you'll feel so much better. I have never found exercising during a wicked hangover to be anything but torturous, but some people (obviously way more physically fit than I am) say it helps. I am a practitioner of hot yoga, but there is no way I could do it, with any sort of meaning, while laboring under the influence of a giant hangover.
Treat yourself well on hangover day, and know that you've learned, firsthand, that the resultant pain is never worth the momentary fun of the previous night (that you may or may not remember).
Wine is so good, and best enjoyed slowly and purposefully.
If you still need someplace to go, the night before or the morning after, check out this website: http://www.winehangover.com/hangover_products/