Hangovers and holidays go together like turkey and stuffing (especially when family is involved). Tis’ the season for gratitude, festivities and goodwill. Also for splurging, stress-eating and sidestepping uncomfortable conversations with relatives by spiking the eggnog. And whether your flavor of hangover is physical or financial, it isn’t pretty.
Also, there’s nothing worse than a hangover on an airplane. Recirculated air sapping your skin of any remaining moisture, cabin pressure doubling down on your temples, cramped seating stifling your mobility, that no-mercy broom-closet of a bathroom. Scanning for the obligatory vomit bag you hope you won’t have to use.
While I can’t credibly dispense advice on how to bounce back from overspending, I have some tips and tricks for curing a mean hangover when you’ve had one pisco sour too many. Knowledge is power. So is coconut water. But let’s start with the basics.
What happens when you drink alcohol.
Alcohol triggers a number of small molecules and a variety of cellular responses that cause some issues in your body. Namely sleep and gut disturbances, dehydration and the build-up of a compound called acetaldehyde – the toxic byproduct of alcohol that makes you feel so terrible.
Depending on how much you drink, the alcohol will take two courses, some will go through the liver and the rest will stays in your gut to be metabolized by the bacteria, which converts it to acetaldehyde and does not convert it to acetate (which your liver does). As the acetaldehyde builds up in your body, it infiltrates the blood stream and makes you suffer.
Aside: The headache usually comes from the fact that you didn’t drink enough water with your alcoholic binge, which is why you wake up with a parched mouth.
Fortify your system with super foods to reduce the hangover.
Eat a complex carb dense meal when you wake up. My go-to is brown rice and beans sautéed with onions. It may not sound appetizing, but I dare you to try it over the chorizo egg scramble with extra English muffin. Avoid the greasy hash browns or junk food, as this merely adds strain to your system and prolongs the hangover detox time.
Instead, add these gentle gut cleansers to your repertoire:
- Ginger: this super root is very effective for nausea and stomach aches. I like to make a ginger tea with lemon and honey (I grate fresh ginger, but ginger tea bags work, too). Our defend formula has a very high dose of ginger.
- Lemon & Honey in hot water: The lemon stimulates the liver’s detoxifying enzymes while the honey provides a number of proteins (choose unpasteurized honey), and sweetness to boost your blood sugar levels. Your blood sugar levels often plummet after a night of drinking.
- Bananas: High in potassium, this superfood is a great way to replenish your water and sugar stores to stave off the headache.
- Beet: this root vegetable is an excellent detoxifier both for the liver and kidneys, helping them to flush out the toxins more quickly and effectively.
- Celery: a high source of calcium and magnesium, celery has a calming effect on the central nervous system, especially if you’re feeling shaky.
- Coconut water: Packed with potassium, which is essential when rehydrating, consider coconut water your new best friend. All of our formulas have coconut water for hydration.
Caution: Don’t be fooled by sipping sport drinks, these are merely artificial colors and sweeteners masquerading as hydrating drinks. There is nothing nourishing about them, especially if they’re electric blue.
Plant alchemy for hangovers.
The rise formula in Local Time’s flight pack happens to be a stellar elixir for neutralizing your hangover: Lion's Mane leads the way for mental clarity while Ashwagandha supports adrenal function and works with Green tea to balance stress hormones. Adaptogenic Siberian Ginseng and Astragalus collaborate to support immune function, while Gotu Kola and Guaraná funnel energy into the brain and focus on memory, cognitive function and concentration. Schisandra acts as an adaptogen that balances some of the more energetic properties of the other herbs for a focused calm. Maca improves mood and boosts energy, while Coconut keeps you hydrated along the way. I favor mixing with hot water and a splash of plant mylk. Yum.
Other useful vitamins & remedies:
- Vitamin B('s): are used to restore the liver. B vitamins are depleted by the body when under stress. It is best to take a multi-vitamin or b complex before you go to bed as it helps the liver detoxify.
- Vitamin C: take it before bed or boarding the plane, otherwise definitely the next day as it helps your liver to detoxify.
- Milk thistle: this herb is excellent for stimulating the detoxifying process in your liver.
- Nux vomica: a homeopathic remedy that relieves headaches and upset stomach.
Support your system in the detox process.
- Hot-cold showers: this helps speed up the detoxification process by increasing your circulation. Here’s how it works: Get in a bath as hot as you can tolerate for 5 minutes and then jump in a cold shower for a minute. Alternate back and forth a couple of times finishing with cold. You can also do this in the shower, just going back and forth from hot to cold.
- Sleep: sleep it off (finally, a tip you can embrace with gusto!). Give your body a chance to recover. Help it along by taking 1 rest formula for a gentle downshift.
- Water:especially if you neglected to hydrate the night before, make sure to drink plenty of water throughout your journey to rebalance your cells. Water will also help your liver detoxify quicker by flushing out the system. You’ll want to drink upwards of 2 litres the day after you have been drinking – so don’t board without your own bottle, and ask a flight attendant often for a refill.
- Airplane yoga: I’m not suggesting you do downward dog in the aisle (but if you dare I want to hear about it!) Just as I’ve suggested in my tips to beat jet lag, get up and pace the aisles, move your ankles, stretch your arms, do some simple twists in your seat. Anything to get the blood flowing and promote circulation.
Finally, if you have the presence of mind, endeavor to eat something before you go to bed – preferably a complex carbohydrate to avoid a blood sugar drop, and drink water. I have a dear friend who swears by water chugging before bedtime. I totally support that.
Hangover recipes to try before you fly.
2 celery stalks
½ lemon with skin
1 Local Time rise pack
Put all ingredients through juicer and enjoy!
1 frozen banana
2 large dates
1 teaspoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon peanut butter
½ cup rice milk
½ cup water
1 Local Time rise pack
Mix it all up in the blender. Chug.
By Gabriela Délano-Stephens with Welling Savo Justin