Welcome to issue no. 5 of Foodstuff

December 30, 1997 part 2

HAPPY NEW YEAR! (Will You be Hangin?)

Welcome to Foodstuff's hangover issue. Of course there's only one preventive measure that is guaranteed to eliminate the possibility of a hangover, and that (of course) is just don't drink. But I'm not here to preach; I'm here to help. At the least, we should all practice responsible drinking, and that's enough said about that.

I hope to offer some tips on how to avoid and reduce the effects of hangovers. This information is by no means based on scientific fact, although there are still several good hangover remedies to be found here. There is no cure or any magic formula to prevent the headache and general torture that follows an evening of drinking too much alcohol too quickly. However, some measures can keep a night on the town from being a total disaster the next day.

Tip No. 1 Eat a good-sized meal before drinking, or at least soon after starting your first cocktail. Try to include fatty or oily food in that meal. That will line your stomach and also slow the body's absorption of alcohol.

Tip No. 2 Never drink enough to get really drunk. That way, hangovers will be rare, if not nonexistent. Pace yourself, and don't be tempted to do shooters. Be especially careful of those pretty, tasty Jell-O shooters that have become so popular at parties. Those sure have a way of sneaking up on you! The average human liver can metabolize about one drink per hour (such as a can of beer, glass of wine or one-shot margarita). Any more than that is asking for trouble. (Am I starting to sound like I'm preaching? Sorry.)

Tip No. 3 Don't mix a lot of different types of alcoholic drinks (liquor, then wine, then beer). Don't overdo it with sweet blended concoctions. This is the classic mistake of the basic novice drinker. These sugary drinks are a shameful waste of calories, and the combination of all of that sugar in the stomach with the alcoholic kick in the head will yield an awful end result.

Watch out for the darker colored alcohol, for example, brandy, red wine, dark rum and sherry. Vodka and white wine are the least contaminated with additives. Beer is in between. Studies do show certain alcoholic drinks have greater potential for hangovers than others and generally, the darker it looks, the worse it gets.

Tip No. 4 It has been suggested that consuming a couple of aspirin, acetaminophen or ibuprofen and drinking a couple of glasses of water before going to bed, will help to reduce the negative effects of drinking. However, if done too often, this course of action could be hazardous to your long-term health. The following message is from the U of Pennsylvania School of Medicine:

"Acetaminophen, Aspirin, and Ibuprofen should never be taken with alcohol (unless directed by a physician). Alcoholics even should avoid them when not drinking. Tylenol is metabolized by the liver and if the liver has unregulated p450 enzyme system, it releases a toxic metabolite. Alcohol plus acetaminophen has led to numerous liver transplants and is very dangerous. Recently, Tylenol has been forced to put labels on their bottles with alcohol warnings. The liver also metabolizes ibuprofen and little may be known. However, alcohol is a stomach irritant and NSAIDs like aspirin and ibuprofen plus alcohol is also a bad idea."

Tip No. 5 Okay, so you've just opened your eyes to find yourself praying you'll fall back asleep again. Hopefully you're in a bed, hopefully in somewhat familiar surroundings. When you realize your worst fear has come true, you're awake and you're awake for good, your mind gradually manages to reconstruct some sort of memory of some portion of the previous night's activities. Your first thought is "I'll never drink again." Your mouth is dry (a sign of dehydration). You need help. Quick. The first thing to do is drink plenty of water to replace lost fluid. Understanding what a hangover actually is really comes in handy here. A hangover is a combination of a few physiological things: a) dehydration - the alcohol has forced evaporation of a certain vital portion of the body's water; b) nervous shock - you're coming off the effects of a mild overdose of a depressant drug, so your nerves are displaying the great Newtonian natural law of action/reaction by going into a relatively hypersensitive state; c) malnutrition - pumping all that alcohol and liquid through your body has effectively flushed away a significant supply of your storage of vitamins and nutrients, chemicals which would stimulate natural defense systems, but you're running seriously low on them now. What you need to do is take some restorative steps to begin a recovery process. It means rest and as little nervous stimulation as possible. It also means trying to eat something that will help to replace the nutrients you've lost; something that isn't too tough on the already beat-up digestive system. Bananas are great for key vitamins. Tomatoes are too. This sort of explains half of the reason that a Bloody Mary is the standard morning-after drink. (The OTHER half, of course, is that more alcohol - "hair-of-the-dog" - acts to relax your shattered nerves and numb the pain in the head, but more alcohol is also a great step on the road to alcoholism, and oops, it sounds like I'm preaching again! A glass of V8 or Clamato may be just the thing. It's also been said you can ease a hangover by drinking fresh tangerine juice or eating eight to ten fresh strawberries the morning after. They each contain lots of minerals, replacing those that get washed out with alcohol.

Tip No. 6 If you are a regular coffee drinker, you should go ahead and have a cup. Your body might go through the double withdrawal of alcohol and caffeine if you don't. If you already have a headache, it could be more intense and last longer because you've skipped your regular cup of coffee.

Every culture has great restorative dishes of humble origin and ingredients. The one I'm most familiar with is from Mexico, where we get menudo. Menudo is a wonderfully aromatic soup made of tripe, hominy and chili, and is stewed for hours with garlic and other spices. The broth is rich, red, peppery, and glistens with fat. Menudo is served in big open bowls brought to the table steaming and fiery. It is usually eaten in the wee hours after a night out on the town and widely proclaimed to be an antidote for hangovers. Mexicans extol menudo's goodness, about how the hot broth with its medicinal condiments, particularly the chili, replenishes vitamins A and C, soothes the stomach, and stimulates the gastric juices to overcome any loss of appetite. It stimulates the senses, arms the insides, and clears the head.

RALPHIE PUENTE'S MENUDO

1 calf's foot (about 1 to 1 1/2 pounds)
2 pounds honeycomb tripe
1 large onion
3 cloves garlic, peeled
6 peppercorns
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
4 quarts of water
3 large ancho chiles
1 large chile poblano, peeled or 2 canned, peeled green chiles
1 pound drained hominy
Salt as necessary
1 scant teaspoon oregano

Have the butcher cut the calf's foot into four pieces. Cut the tripe into small squares. Put them into a large pan with the rest of the ingredients. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Lower the flame and simmer uncovered for about 2 hours, or until the tripe and foot are just tender but not too soft. Meanwhile, toast the chilies well. Slit them open and remove the seeds and veins from the chile poblano, cut it into strips, and add to the meat while it is cooking. Remove the pieces of calf's foot from the pan, and when they are cool enough to handle, strip off the fleshy parts. Chop them roughly and return them to the pan.

Add hominy and continue cooking the menudo slowly, still uncovered, for another 2 hours.

Add salt as necessary. Sprinkle with oregano and serve.

This amount is sufficient for 7 or 8 people. It should be served in large, deep bowls with hot tortillas and small dishes of chopped chile serranos, finely chopped onion and wedges of lime or lemon for each person to help himself.


AND JUST FOR FUN, answers to "What is your favorite cure for a hangover?"

My cure is to wake up and eat two bananas and a cheeseburger -Pat

Start with a glass of pure water. Have some eggs (or tofu eggs) scrambled with lots of hot sauce and some salt. Then take your vitamins and minerals. Drink lots of pure water throughout the day. -Dianna

Ginger is great for nausea -Debra

I'm here to tell you that there is no cure - only a preventative: Don't stop drinking! -Jim

Drink Coke with a multi-vitamin ... it's a guaranteed cure! -Woody

Eat menudo, which is a Mexican dish. You'll feel better in seconds -Mike

Drink as much cold water as you can before going to bed. -Tom

Don't Wake Up! -Marilyn

A banana and a V-8. -Kevin

Drink ICE COLD Gatorade! -Mac

Our top tried-and-tested cure is a can of Coke (not Diet) in the morning, which replaces lost sugar and energy and settles the stomach. We're not sure how it works, but apparently Coke was originally invented to cure stomach disorders. -Judy

Blend 12oz V8, 1 jalapeno, 1 garlic clove, 3 cubes ice & have plenty of water handy. -Campbell

Eat fresh oranges and drink Coke or Pepsi. -Ken

Tea (a very large cup to settle the stomach) -Simon

Throwing up helped me this morning, and a shower. -Joan

A Big Mac, large fries and a large Coke. -Garry

Black coffee mixed with orange juice. -Anthony

Drink 1 lg glass of water with 2 B-complex and 3 Bayer or Anacin. Do NOT substitute with Tylenol! -Gary

Drink a very large Pepsi. Coke doesn't seem to work as well. -Henry

Throw up. Then go out and have a big, greasy breakfast. Then go home and go back to bed. -Kay

If you're fortunate enough to work in construction, steel fabrication, or elsewhere where oxy-acetylene cutting torches are used, when you get to work, stagger right up to one of those big oxygen bottles, open her up and take a good stiff shot to the lungs. -Larry

Wake up early, have a V-8, and take a hot bath mixed with white wine vinegar. -David

Try some Chinese food the next day (preferably something with fresh snow peas). -Howie

Give up drinking altogether and smoke lots of pot. -Dave

SALT. -Scott

DRINK 4 CUPS of water, it is the truth. -Rick

Salt is the Remedy for a hangover, that's why everyone says McDonalds! -Hank

A can of Coke, 2 extra-strength Tylenol, burnt toast with jam and applesauce. Works like a charm.-Jen

Eat kiwi -Alice

One L-Cysteine and two Evening Primrose oil capsules before and after drinking. Both supplements available at health food stores. Works great!! -Debra

Hot and sour chinese soup does it for me. -Heather

An hour or two before you go to bed, drink 2-3 glasses of water, a glass of OJ, and 6 Flintstones vitamins (the Fred's are my favorite). -Mel

One word....WATER!!!! LOTS AND LOTS OF WATER!!! -Jamie

Alcohol dehydrates your system so simply drink a lot of fruit juices (for the minerals) and just do anything to sweat the rest of the alcohol out. IT WORKS -Tad

If you're lucky enough to work in the Air Force, drink lots of water, then when you get to work climb up in the cockpit grab the oxygen hose put it in test mask and 100% oxygen and take a few slow deep breaths but not more than ten, as too much can make you sick (epoxyia). -Kevin


1997, 2003 Debbie Puente
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