Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

Well, it's almost the end of 2008 as we know it. Time for a new year and a fresh start. My resolutions in 2009? To exercise more, spend less money and to read at least one good book a month. I think these can all be accomplished!
Of course, I - like most people - will be spending this final night of the year sipping champagne and partying with friends. Since such New Year's Eve festivities often lead to a New Year's Day hangover, I enjoyed coming across this myth-busting article that discusses how to avoid that pounding, morning-after headache and cotton mouth. I don't know about the rest of you, but I plan to be fully alert and tuned into tomorrow's Blackhawks-Red Wings hockey match at Wrigley Field.

So here are some tips and clarifications on avoiding (or surviving) that holiday hangover!

* Drinking coffee or other caffeinated beverages will sober you up and keep a hangover headache away.
False.
Caffeine only acts as a stimulant and interferes with your sleep. It may also make you urinate more and add to dehydration. Only time and a healthy liver to metabolize the alcohol will sober you up.
* Taking pain relievers the next morning can help.
True.
Although taking pain relievers won't prevent your hangover, taking them in the morning with a full breakfast to avoid stomach irritation will treat your hangover headache. Since pain relievers only last four to six hours, it's silly to take them before going to bed because they will be out of your system by morning when your headache occurs.
* Eating a big meal before going to sleep lessens the effects of a hangover.
False.
A big meal, especially a fat-filled one, such as eggs and bacon, will stay in your stomach and interfere with sleep and possibly cause reflux. So, you'll wake up feeling even worse.
* Eating a big meal before drinking can help prevent a hangover.
True.
Eat that hearty fat-filled meal before drinking. It will fill you up and decrease your alcohol absorption.
* Beer is the best beverage to avoid a hangover.
True.
Drinking beer fills you up, so in many cases you'll drink less alcohol. New Year's Eve is the time for breaking open a bottle of bubbly, but while champagne and wine may look innocent, they're full of other additives and chemicals more likely to cause headaches and hangovers.
* Taking pain relievers like aspirin after drinking will prevent a hangover.
False.
Not only doesn't this work, it can be dangerous. Even a dose or two of aspirin can erode the stomach, causing gastritis, which would only be compounded by the stomach irritant effects of alcohol. Mixing acetominophen and alcohol can lead to acute liver inflammation.
* Drinking fluids, like juice, will help you feel better.
True.
Drink lots of juices with potassium and vitamins. It's been shown antioxidants and sugar help minimize symptoms of a hangover. You're dehydrated and your blood sugar is down, so you need sugar and fluids.

And in extra important news...don't drink and drive!!! Plan on tapping a designated driver or utilize public transportation or a taxi.

I hope everyone has a fabulous and safe New Year's Eve! Here are a few sugar-free cocktail recipes, courtesy of Hungry Girl. And for an extra treat, the fabulous NYE scene from "When Harry Met Sally." Talk to you in 2009!

Razzle-Dazzle Tiny-Tini
Ingredients:
4 oz. 7-Up Plus Soda
1 oz. Sugar Free Raspberry Torani Syrup
1 oz. vodka
Directions:
Shake with ice. Pour into cute martini glass. Drink up!

Winter Wonderland Peppermintini
Ingredients:
1 1/2 oz. (3 tbsp.) 80-proof vodka
2 tsp. Coffee-mate Sugar Free French Vanilla powdered creamer
1 no-calorie sweetener packet (like Splenda)
1/4 tsp. peppermint extract
Optional Garnish: 1 small candy cane
Directions:
Place powdered creamer and sweetener in a glass. Add 1/4 cup warm water and stir to dissolve. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice cubes. Add creamer mixture, vodka, and peppermint extract. Cover and shake well, until mixture is cold. Strain into a martini glass. If you like, garnish with a candy cane leaning jauntily on the rim.

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