This seems to be a good topic for the weekend, as the Friday and Saturday nights are just behind us. Polish version was available already some time ago, but how could I leave non-Polish speaking persons without such valuable hints.
So yes, being vegan does not mean being a meditating day and night saint, looking with contempt at any sort of stimulants (whether alcoholic or other type). As long as the stimulant is vegan, generally it is up to each person’s private matter whether to take it or not and how much. Let’s not enter any discussions on the long term impacts (positive and/or negative). Each of us has his or her own brain and Google. This should be sufficient to take decisions and consequences thereof. Here on this blog the focus is very clear – short term impacts of alcoholic drinks or rather how to limit them as much as possible.
So first let’s shortly touch the topic of vegan alcohols. Actually one of the shocking discoveries was that not all wines are vegan. Well, OK, but what does actually “vegan wine” mean? That not a single fly ended up in the fermenter? So no, it is not about a fly in the fermenter (although I do hope that none ended up there ;)). Whether the wine is vegan or not depends on how the wine was filtered. Namely as the result of the fermentation process the wine is cloudy and muddy due to various suspensions (like yeast proteins or tanins) which then must be removed for the wine to have clear and distinct colour. This is a well known issue – in the museums or at the auctions you can find Roman, Greek or Byzantine sifters for wine mounted on top of the chelices or jugs exactly for the purpose of filtering of the wine (which at that time was much more thick then it is today). Today you don’t use sifters, instead a lot of wine produces use animal products for the purpose of filtering: gelatine (result of boiling skins and tendons), egg white, fish maws, chitin or even bovine blood (specially in Mediterranean countries). This naturally makes such wines a “no go” for vegans. However the situation is better then it may seems (to my relief). Many wine producers use non organic substances of mineral origin like bentonite, kaolin or silica. Also a lot of them mark their wines as vegan, which makes my life much easier. Best source of data (in English): http://www.barnivore.com/wine
However where is wine, there is hangover on the next day. So let’s start from the basics – let’s define what this hangover actually is. Because the symptoms we all know too good. Wikipedia naturally comes with support and for me the word itself highlights the survival aspect of it (hang on there buddy until it passes over). Biochemistry explains that the main culprits are enzymes produced by our liver which transforms alcohol into acetaldehyde and acetic acid. The first one makes your blood pressure rise, pulse speeds up, you feel warm, face is getting red, and in the morning you have headache and feel sick. The second one is very bad for your stomache. Well, but you should not get irritated with your liver, after all she has to handle 90% of the alcohol brought into your body. You also would be frustrated working all night long while the rest of the body is having fun.
So now key point of this blog entry – how to handle hangover.
Before – get ready
Prepare big portion of vit C and water beside your bed, to drink it just before going to sleep. Plus juice from sauerkraut – what for, you can read in the last point “Next day syndrome”. Eat something decent. Although it is not easy to find hard to digest food on vegan diet, dishes like seitan with veggies and pasta would be a good choice. Your stomache should be well prepared for the comming armagedon.
First ask yourself if you really want this. There is an amount of alcohol, which is almost harmless for you and which will not make you suffer next day. Maybe you will sleep a bit longer and drink a bit more, but that’s all. You know that felling….you finish your glass of wine and you are aware that you have just used up all your alcohol mana for today. One more sip, one more glass and you can cross out all your plans for tomorrow from your diary. You don’t want to suffer, then stop. And I am not saying it is easy. Especially if the party is good and the company worth the suffering.
But if after all you have decided to have a long night, then:
Slowly with the drinking – your body is able to get rid of only 10% of the alcohol in a not digested form (with urine, sweat and while breathing). The remaining 90% must be handled by your liver. And she is doing that, but at its own pace. Usually liver processes 8-12 g of alcohol per hour (this depends from the weight of the drinker). This is equal to the emount of ethanol in a glass of 12% wine, 1,5 liter of 4% beer or 25g of vodka. Therefore behave and drink slowly and with dignity. This will also allow to be retain this dignity during and after the party.
If you have such possibility, walk back home instead of taking a taxi. More oxygen and physical excercise will give your body more time and opportunity to detox on your way back home.
Use the “magic potion set” (you remember the sauerkraut juice?) with vit. C and drink at least 1 liter of water.
Take shower even if you are half asleep and have hardly any connection with the reality around you. Clean skin breathes better.
Next day syndrom.
Take the shower! You will wake up, your blood pressure will be increased (the colder the shower, the better).
At this moment your body is dehydrated, lacks vit. B12, potasium, minerals, microelements and saccharides. And really sincerely hates you, which you can definitely feel in every second.
Therefore now it is your turn to take good care of your body. My proven, tested and best way to do it is to drink juice from sauerkraut. You can make your own or you can buy one, definitely in one of the Polish shops or online. It works like a magic potion – one glass regenerates medium level ” hangover injuries”, two glasses bring your Health back to full level. How come it works better then any other artificial “next day drink”? Because it contains all your body needs and all of natural origin. Loads of vit. C and B, vit. E, P, betha – carothen, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium. Additionally probiotics included in sauerkraut have very positive impact on your bacterial flora, removing toxins from your body. One remark though – all those magical features are true, if the sauerkraut you have is made from cabbage, salt and carrot, and not a fake one made with chemical ingredients and vinegar.
Also make sure to refill the sugar level, preferabely with watermelon or grapes. These fruits contain a lot of sugar and water. I definitely prefer grapes, because you can effortlessly eat them one by one, while looking thoughtlessly in the space. Watermelon requires usage of a knife to cut it into pieces, and this action during a paintful hangover is not a good idea and can cause even more suffering.
Excercise. Yes, yes. Even if you are suffering and your head is close to explode, force yourself to some physical effort, preferabely chose excercises which make you sweat a lot. This way you will get rid of the toxins much quicker and hydrate the body while drinking water during the training.
Sure, on the market you can find several “magical pills” for your hangover. The prices vary, however even the cheapest version (which ingredients are deeply suspicious) cost more then water, sauerkraft juice and vit. C. It is also key to remember that these are not medicines, just diet supplements.
There is no such thing as a cure for the hangover. If you drank too much, you will suffer. The only thing you can do is to reduce the time and intensity of the suffering. Also it is not clear which option is less harmful – drink more but rarely or drink often but in small portions. My theory – as always use your brain. If you had a week when you drank almost on daily basis or an intensive weekend, give yourself and your body a break. Detox, refresh, drink a lot of herbal tea. Nobody has ever died because of too little alcohol in the blood. But from too much definitely yes. And at the end, weekend without a hangover is really worth it 🙂