After a night of too much drinking, you might have a hangover. By the time that hangover feeling subsides and you manage to hydrate, then comes the hunger.
I have that feeling right now. I drank too much rum last night. I did not have a good night of rest. I got up twice to hydrate, trying to avoid a more extreme hangover. Or worse, a purge. My head hurts. But I’ve rehydrated.
Now, I am feeling it. That strong hunger, that I need greasy food hunger, that I can’t get enough hunger.
Feeling It: The Post-Hangover Hunger Pains
I hydrated! I swear I hydrated. I was drinking mixed drinks with real fruit juice, I had some lemonade, and then coffee in the AM.
All I want is a greasy burger and some french fries. But I don’t think it will be enough.
This is not the hangover throat, it is: the post-hangover hunger pains.
You got your body out of whack and these are the consequences.
The body is an interesting thing. It lets you know what it needs, but because we live in a social world those needs sometimes get misconstrued. It’s a social-ecological conflict. You think you want food but really your body is dehydrated. When you eat and that does not fix the dehydration problem your body signals more that it is hungry. It is your job to bring balance back to the system!
Before and After: Managing A Hangover
We know that bodies love sugar, fat, and salt. A good meal with a burger, fries, and a cola. Or maybe you’re a pizza and cola kind of person.
To me pizza is more of an end of the night drunk meal. These are important to subduing the coming hangover if you’ve had too much to drink.
Managing a hangover is an interesting thing to learn to do. There are all sorts of strategies and every body is different. So figure yours out and refrain from judging how other people manage their bodies. What a great life lesson, eh?
Even so, we can establish some general guidelines.
You want to key your electrolytes high. Please don’t be one of those people that drinks Pedialyte. That to me is too far! Gatorade, sure, that is fine.
Your body responds to alcohol in its ecosystem by making you drunk as it works to process this so-called toxin from the system. Of course, calling alcohol a toxin is really scientists judgmental attitude toward alcohol, judgements rooted in the early modern capitalist period. I’ll save this history for another day. It is absolutely fascinating!
Anyway, alcohol is super energy intensive. Maybe thats why so many alcoholics are so (I can’t think of a better word, if you have one comment with it) skinny. A beer belly is one thing, but alcoholics are just scrawny, as though they replace alcohol for food.
A more dramatic hangover results from drinking on an empty stomach. Because you go into the drinking with depleted nutrients and then your body goes into overdrive preparing it for exit. On top of that alcohol dehydrates as you’re drinking it. When you are drinking, you urinate more frequently. This dehydrates you.
Your body is working to process the alcohol. That takes up a large quantity of energy. The various types of energy that are being used are depleting your nutrients. Your body is so hyped up processing the alcohol that you actually sleep poorly and wake up easily.
Alcohol eats salt, so after a night of drinking you definitely want to rebalance your body’s sodium. Be forewarned, salt while drinking makes your hangover worse.
Alcohol depletes blood sugar levels. This is where that deep hunger really comes from. Again, your body is trying to bring balance back to its ecosystem.
Before or while drinking, a light fatty snack can help manage your hangover. Ultimately, drinking too much is drinking too much. Overloading on food while drinking has the opposite effect. One more time: we are looking to create balance.
Rebalancing Your Body’s Ecosystem
Eating healthy after drinking is great for rebalancing your ecosystem. Going out for a walk or a bike ride, something easy on your brain is also great after an evening of drinking. You can be healthy and drink.
But maybe you need that greasy slop shop food. After all its fucking delicious and who could blame you? Not us at Hangover Throat. That shame game is for elsewhere. Here, we support you in every way. We want you to be the best version of you. This means letting you make the decisions on what is best for you, without shame or coercion.
Sometimes you gotta go for the greasy pile of food. Sometimes the nutritious option is better. Sometimes you just need some toasted bread, a bagel or an english muffin or whatever. Every night of drinking is different and what you did before that alcohol infused evening (or day) matters to how you want to manage the next day.
I typically try to go for the nutritious foods at some point in the day. Overall it’s really a process. You might find that in the early AM bread is the only thing you can do, or maybe a small bit of fruit or fruit juice. Then later after you poop and spend some time hydrating you go for the good stuff (aka the greasy burger with pop).
Fruits and fruit based beverages the morning after are a great plan. They’re light and contain those sugars you body is going to be craving later but right now, you can’t handle too much so keep it light.
Other great morning foods include Latin America’s classic eggs and beans. Eggs and beans are rich in nutrients depleted by your drinking. They also help jumpstart your body’s cycling. I love eggs and beans.
This AM I ate some eggs. I put some spinach and feta in there for the added nutrients these provide. Who doesn’t love that tang of feta cheese? It adds great flavor to the eggs.
BC: Before Coronavirus
Before COVID (BC) you could go out to a diner. If you’re in the northern parts in the winter you would be inclined to grab some sort of monster plate with ample amounts of sausage gravy atop biscuits, maybe with eggs and potatoes as well.
But we don’t have those luxuries anymore. In my hometown the incredibly popular restaurant that served large affordable diner fare closed permanently despite its massive popularity and hours long wait most days of the week.
COVID is awful generally, but with hangovers it makes it hard to even get that good greasy meal. Either you have a hard time trusting people or the food is without taste.
Standards have gone way down in the food industry during covid. Hopefully they do not stay that way.
Drinking alcohol like it is your job is not optimal.
I have had moments where I felt like I was drinking to such an extent that it felt like a job. These were in prolonged social situations with actual alcoholics while traveling abroad. To manage this, I removed myself from the situation and took some time to recover.
That is the beauty of traveling, you can go through the motions of alcoholism, recognize it is a problem, and without any hard feelings move on from that group of people (or take a break from them).
Learning from other people is fantastic. I found a group of alcoholics that would drink late at night but also managed their drinking in various ways. The support this group had for one another was an amazing thing to be part of and observe. So often we are told that drunks are drunks (or druggies), they do not want to be helped, and other demeaning mean-spirited commentary that only makes their woes worse.
Ostracizing a social animal is not going to help that animal, in this case humans. Humans thrive in communities. This is one reason alcohol is so important to human culture.
In Europe, alcohol was the main beverage for a really long time and in some places still is the main beverage. This is because alcohol kills the bacteria that was in the water historically. Europeans were… rather unclean. Ironic that the imperialists would create this as the stereotype for non-white peoples of the colonies.
Alcohol has always been part of nearly all cultures as a social activity, a means to gain insight, something to commune over. So enjoy the good times and stay hydrated.