5 tips to Dodge a Hangover

drinks and nibbles

As I dusted the heels off last Friday for a rare night out on the town with some equally excited local ‘mum friends’ I felt smug in my hangover prevention preparations: I was well hydrated; I’d eaten a wholesome balanced dinner with the family before heading out; I snacked with my drinks when out; and the old classic – I downed a pint of water before going to bed. 

I can report that this wasn’t enough. A pounding headache and teenage moody tendencies followed my Friday night of cocktail abandon, and lasted for the entire weekend. I’ll put my hands up and admit there are confounding factors here 1. age, 2. children, 3. lack of sleep (see point 2). I’ve realised I need to up my game in the prevention and subsequent treatment of my potential hangovers this festive season. And here I present my research findings!

  1. Avoid drinks that are darker in colour. That’s right – our beloved red wine causes a worse hangover when drank in the same quantities as white wine, and takes less glasses to tip us over into hangover territory. It contains more congeners – substances which colour and flavour drinks – along with Brandy, rum and whisky. image from www.alcoholhangover.comfig1
  2. Get a good nights rest. mmm – that would be nice, and so much easier said than done, but many hangover symptoms are actually a result of sleep deprivation.fig2
  3. Stay well hydrated. I do love a martini glass, but I must get into the habit of ordering a glass of ice water alongside my dainty cocktail. Alternatively stick to long drinks, and remember the best way to avoid hangovers all together is to stick to the recommended limits of 2-3 units a day for women, 3-4 for men. 
  4. Include healthy fats in your pre-drink meal. If you ‘line your stomach’ before you drink you’ll be slowing down your gastric emptying from the stomach to the small intestine where alcohol is absorbed. Fat slows gastric emptying more than other macronutrients and will stop you getting too tipsy too quickly. Next time I’m on the cocktails I’ll order nuts instead of the wasabi peas and olives from last Friday nights misadventure. 
  5. Eat mindfully post drinking. Towards the end of the night talk turned to cheesy chips and ‘special burgers’ including cheese, fried egg and topped with kebab meat (an Oxford classic I may just have indulged in in the past!). We crave such delights when alcohol causes our blood sugars to drop and make us insanely hungry. An healthy and cheaper alternative to this greasy junk is a bowl of high fibre breakfast cereal as soon as you get home – perfect for rehydrating at the same time as correcting low blood sugars, and keeping them up with slow release carbs until morning. 

And so I’ve found the answer to hangover prevention is – beyond drinking in moderation – getting a good nights kip and eating good food. I’ve found this banaganoush and parsnip chip combo works great alongside a glass of pre-dinner bubbles or gin and tonic. Cheers!

Parsnip crisps with Baba Ganoush
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For the crisps
  1. 2 large parsnips sliced finely
  2. 1 tbsp olive oil
For the dip
  1. 1 aubergine
  2. 1 clove garlic
  3. 1tsp tahini
  4. 1tbsp olive oil
  5. juice of 1/2 a lemon
  6. sal and pepper
For the crisps
  1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees C
  2. Peel and finely slice the parsnips using a mandolin
  3. Pop in a bowl and mix in 1tbsp olive oil, smoked paprika, salt and pepper
  4. Lay one slice deep on a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper
  5. Bake for 20mins turning once
  6. Turn off oven and leave crisps inside for another 20min to fully crisp up, checking every now and then.
For the dip
  1. Blacken the aubergine all over on a direct gas flame or under the grill
  2. allow to cool in a bowl and then peel the skin off and discard
  3. chop the garlic and crush it with coarsly ground pepper, add to the aubergine
  4. mix together with all remaining ingredients
  5. add a sprinkling of sumac if you're feeling particularly fancy
Notes
  1. These vegetable crisps are great with butternut squash or beetroot too.
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