Christmas Without Hangovers
Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about how to naturally handle unnatural mind and body states—even, god forbid, hangovers. The most obvious way to avoid a hangover is not to drink. If you do drink, then choose only the best—be it wine, whiskey, or whatever—but never overdo it. You don’t need alcohol to be able to dance on tables and celebrate!
The best alcohols to drink are those with the fewest unpleasant chemicals—known as congeners—which upset your whole system. King of all the alcohols when it comes to purity and low levels of congeners is tequila. It’s a drink I suggest you make good use of over the holidays. But here’s the gen: If you decide to make yourself a margarita, make it from real tequila. So much of the stuff they sell as tequila is filled with a lot of insidious chemicals which you don’t want to put into your body.
Agave, which just about everyone thinks of as cactus, is in truth a succulent belonging to the lily family. The finest blue agave comes from the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico. It has to be harvested at the peak of its sweetness. My brother, whom I adoringly call Toto, is a connoisseur of tequilas. He insists—and I have checked out his recommendations and trust them implicitly—that the finest tequila is made by Patrón. Patrón Ultra Premium Tequila is the world’s highest quality tequila. It has been handcrafted from 100% Weber Blue Agave. And it’s superb—as fine as the finest of malt whiskey, which I look upon as an art form. Anejo Patrón is Toto’s favorite tequila. Silver Patrón is my own favorite.
Aaron, my son, has created a fabulous recipe for Margaritas using Patrón. It’s very simple: To a handful of ice in our Vita Mix he adds four jiggers of freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice, 4 jiggers of Silver or Anejo Patrón, 2 jiggers of Cointreau or Grand Marnier, a couple of jiggers of water and—the crème de la crème—a dropper or two of the most delicious stevia in the world: English Toffee Sweet Leaf Liquid stevia from iherb.com (so much more delicious than the usual sugar or syrup, which is really rather revolting). He turns on the Vita Mix for 30 seconds while he rubs the rim of each glass with one of the lemon or lime skins, then plunges it into a saucer of Himalayan salt to coat the rim. This makes Margaritas for 4 people. It’s a perfect hangover-free treat to share with friends over Christmas. Great stuff for dancing on tables if you’re so inclined, too!
Now let’s get back to hangovers that come from drinking stuff which is not so pure, or just far too much of anything. Drinking lots of pure water before you go out for the evening, then continuing to get plenty of clean water along with alcohol later, helps to prevent the dehydration and ghastly headaches that come with an over-indulgent evening. And there are a couple of important things you can do the next morning to help restore your equilibrium.
First thing on waking, make yourself a cup of ginger or peppermint tea. Put 2 teaspoons of the dried leaves (or 4 teaspoons of fresh leaves) into a tea pot and pour a cup of boiling water over it. Steep for 5-10 minutes and sip it gently. The peppermint or ginger will settle your stomach. Breathing in the steam from your tea can also help to ease a headache.
Once your stomach is settled enough to handle more, take two to three grams of vitamin C—2000-3000mg—and two to three grams of evening primrose oil, or starflower or borage oil. Vitamin C’s antioxidant properties help the liver clear the toxic wastes from too much alcohol. The GLA in the oils is turned into prostaglandin E1—an important regulator of your mood which alcohol has undermined. When mood is low, you can feel depressed and very tired.
Don’t forget St Mary’s Thistle. Also known as milk thistle, it’s a wonderful liver cleanser and supporter. Take 2 capsules or 1 teaspoon of tincture in a little water every 3-4 hours until you are feeling human again.
If you can, in your current state, remember where you last saw it, reach for some dried borage. Open the jar, or put it in a paper bag, hold your nose over the bag and take a deep breath. No one has ever been able to explain to me how borage works this magic, but doing this can clear your head wonderfully.
I’ve heard that taking ginkgo before you go out for an evening can also help to prevent hangovers by enhancing your body’s ability to metabolize alcohol swiftly. However, I’ve never learned how much you should take, or how long before drinking alcohol you should take it. But if you are taking ginkgo for other reasons, pay attention to how you feel after a glass or two of wine and see if this makes a difference. Good luck.