Friday, December 30, 2011

What Hangovers and Eco-Friendly Gardening Have in Common

Raise your hand if you think you will wake up bright and early on Sunday morning without a hangover. Uh huh. That’s what I thought.

On January 1st, a very large percentage of the people in this country will wake up with a pounding headache, queasy stomach and a brain that just isn’t working very well. Ahhh, but the night before was worth it all…..wasn’t it? The memory may be a little blurry.

Now come the cures. You are desperate to feel good again. To be able to stand up without feeling dizzy. You want your head to quit pounding . You want to be able to remember where you left your car. So what steps do you take? What remedies will help?

I wanted to write a post about how drinking and gardening have a lot in common, but I didn't want it to sound like a lecture. Nobody needs that as we prepare to say goodbye to the old year and ring in the new. Still, the similarities are pretty strong, and this is a gardening blog, so here is a list of a few things that hangovers and gardening have in common.

I will say that I’ve done a lot of damage to my body and to my garden by overindulging over the years, and now I don’t. But it took me a long time to learn these lessons, even though I knew them to be true.

What hangovers and eco-friendly gardening have in common

1) A hangover is your body’s response to being poisoned by a bunch of unhealthy toxins being ingested. Once they are in there, it takes awhile to reverse the damage. In gardening, a lot of damage can be done by adding unhealthy toxins. And it takes awhile to reverse the damage.

2) In gardening and in socializing, we think we need to add the toxins to achieve the desired result. We can usually achieve what we want without the toxins.

3) Even if we know what is right for ourselves and our gardens, it’s very hard to avoid peer pressure.

4) In gardening and in socializing, we think that the cure to our ailments is to add more toxins. Hair of the dog doesn’t work well for hangovers or for gardens.

5) Adding healthy nutrients to a body and a garden will help fight the effects of toxins. Keeping your soil and landscape healthy by adding natural compost and other nutrients will help them make it through added stress.

6) Listening to your body – and your garden - helps. The first time we have a hangover, we SWEAR we will never do it again. And then we do. We know what our bodies can handle, we eventually figure out how many drinks are too many and which foods help or hurt the whole situation. But for some of us, it takes a good many mornings leaning over the porcelain throne for the lessons to sink in. Listen to your body. The same is true of your garden. If you just quit pouring things into it for awhile, it will tell you what it needs to be at its best.

7) Overindulgence of alcohol or chemicals in the garden can have a far reaching affect. You stand the risk of not just hurting yourself, but of hurting others.

8) The one thing that gardening and hangovers DON’T have in common is that adding lots and lots of water before during and after your drinking can help eliminate a hangover. Adding too much water to a garden is always a bad thing.

Okay. End of lecture. Now, here are some:

Ways to prevent and ease hangovers

1) Before you drink, eat. Having food in your stomach will help decrease the affect of the alcohol. Good choices are something with Vitamin B and Vitamin C, such as fresh fruit, and fatty foods such as steak or pizza (natural sugars and fat both help absorb alcohol.)
2) The gentlest choices of alcohol are beer and clear liquors such as gin and vodka.

3) Fruit juice is a better mixer than diet colas. Research suggests that consumption of fruits, fruit juices, or other sugar-containing liquids can decrease hangover intensity.

4) Many of the symptoms of hangover are caused by dehydration so keeping hydrated will help. Drink plenty of water, before during and after drinking. While you drink, always order a glass of water to go along with it.

5) Eat while you drink – food will help absorb the alcohol.

6) Take vitamin B and C before you go to bed. Vitamin B complex almost always makes me feel better when I overindulge.

7) Take aspirin if you need it but DON’T take acetaminophen. Alcohol disrupts how the liver processes acetaminophen, possibly leading to liver inflammation and permanent damage.

8) Make yourself throw up if you feel sick but remember that vomiting can add to your dehydration

9) Coffee is NOT good for a hangover, since it leads to more dehydration. After a night of drinking, it’s best to avoid anything with caffeine. Instead, sip water and sports drinks to counter dehydration and replace lost electrolytes.

10) Bouillon soup is good for replacing salt and potassium depleted by drinking alcohol.

And all kidding aside, never, never drink and drive.

The Washington Regional Alcohol Program has again relaunched the SoberRide program in an effort to curb would-be drunk drivers.

D.C.-area residents who find themselves unable to drive after a night of drinking can call for a free cab between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Anyone over the age of 21 can call 1-800-200-TAXI or #8294 on your AT&T Wireless phone.

WRAP's SoberRide provides a free cab ride home up to a $30 fare.

Callers are financially responsible for anything over $30.

You must be 21 or older to use the SoberRide service. All calls must originate in Montgomery and Prince George's Counties in Maryland; the Cities of Rockville, Bowie, College Park, Gaithersburg, Greenbelt and Takoma Park in Maryland; the District of Columbia; Arlington, Fairfax, Prince William and Eastern Loudoun Counties in Virginia; and the Cities of Alexandria, Falls Church, Fairfax, Manassas and Manassas Park in Virginia.

You cannot reserve a SoberRide or schedule a pickup in advance. Since 1993, WRAP's SoberRide program has helped more than 49,000 people get a safe trip home after drinking.

Have a safe and happy New Year's celebration. 2012 is going to be a GREAT year!

Avoiding Hangovers - WebMD


  1. It's also a good time to ask yourself if maybe you're drinking too much and it's time to quit. Altogether.
    Also, it's a good idea to go home early on New Year's Eve to avoid all the drunken drivers on the road after midnight. Or party at home or in the neighborhood.

  2. Great advice, Susan. Even us teetotalers need to be wary of the other guys out there on the roads this weekend.

  3. I agree with you Susan, Consider stopping the drinking before it becomes an addiction is always easier than trying to stop once it has become an addiction. Many people come to see me for extra help toward that and other New year's goals at

  4. Good advice, Susan and Dr H, but a large enough number of people don't take it -- plus, as Betsy noted, even the teetotalers need to watch out for the other guys -- to make Betsy's suggestions entirely apropos.


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