Deliciously frugal Bloody Mary Baked Beans on toast make a great breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner, especially with a golden-yolked poached egg on top.
It’s been many a year since I had a rip-roaring New Year’s Day hangover. And this year will be no different, especially as we will be catching an early morning flight to Florida on January 1. No doubt there will be a few folk on the flight who weren’t tucked up in bed by 12.30, but we will not be among them. The plan is to heat up a few trays of Waitrose nibbles and eat them with a glass of Champagne. We may or may not stay up until midnight. We know how to party. ;-)
Edinburgh, where I live, is the best place in the UK to see out the old year. With an open-air (freezing!) concert below the castle, an orchestra-accompanied fireworks display from the castle, a heavingly-busy street party, torchlight procession, not to mention numerous energetic ceilidhs and parties, Edinburgh is the place to be for New Year’s Eve. It manages to straddle the fine line between raucous, good-natured fun and drunken, rampaging hedonism. The police even pose for photos with outrageously dressed revellers (or as outrageous as -4 Celsius allows).
All of that good-natured fun and frenetic dancing doesn’t protect against a raging hangover. Come 11 am on January 1 when half of the population is waking up to a furry mouth and a pounding head, there may be a few regrets about the night before. And that’s in addition to the typical symptoms of over-indulging.
What causes a hangover?
Too much alcohol is the obvious answer. But the reason why too much booze gives us a hangover may be due to any and all of the following: dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, gut disturbance (alcohol is a gut irritant), low blood sugar, sleep and biological processes (hormones and inflammation) being disturbed. Ethanol – the pure alcohol in alcohol – breaks down in our system to form another toxic compound, acetaldehyde. It is thought that a hangover is an immune response to ethanol and acetaldehyde – our body fighting back against an unwanted substance.
Symptoms of a hangover
Any combination of the following:
- bloodshot eyes
- body aches
- excessive saliva production
- fast heart rate
- a headache
- lethargy, tiredness, fatigue, listlessness
- poor quality of sleep
- problems focusing or concentrating
- sensitivity to loud sounds and light
- low motivation
- mood disturbances (irritability, low mood)
- stomach pain
- thirst and dry mouth
- trembling or shakiness, erratic motor functions
- vomiting or “dry heaves”
Nothing cures a hangover, it has to run its course. But there are a few things that can help lessen the worst symptoms. That’s all you can hope for. Sadly.
How to prevent – and treat – a hangover (plus what doesn’t work)
Before you go out/go to sleep:
The sensible plan is to set yourself a drink limit and stick to it. Maybe even write it on your wrist.
Eat well before you got out AND have a meal after a drinking session. Food helps to slow the absorption of alcohol and keeps blood sugar levels steady-ish.
Don’t get into rounds (where a group takes turns buying drinks for everyone in a group). Rounds make it tricky to keep track of alcohol intake.
Water, and more water. Most of the symptoms we feel after a night of boozing are due to dehydration. Why so dehydrated? Ethanol, the alcohol part of your drink, is a major diuretic. Diuretics make us pee more. Experts say that before we head to bed we should drink 1 litre of plain water for every 250ml of mixed alcoholic drinks.
If you have no idea how much you drank, just drink a proper size glass of water for every alcoholic drink as the evening progresses. And drink plenty of water before you go out and before you go to bed. Have a couple of glasses of water by your bedside. Try and get this last tip sorted before you head out for the night. These tips are ones I use, even though I usually only have a couple of drinks at most (these days!). Btw, fizzy water speeds up the absorption of alcohol, so avoid it.
Eat a banana, pear or kiwi fruit. This might sound pretty gross after a booze-up, but having a small banana, small pear or a large kiwi fruit before you fall asleep may help in the morning. You lose a lot of essential electrolytes and nutrients due to the diuretic effects of alcohol. These fruits are a tip top for getting some of them back. Or, you might like to down a glass of coconut water or a diluted sachet of rehydration salts, like Dioralyte. You may feel less wobbly and nauseous the next day if you have a banana before you hit the hay.
Ibuprofen. Take with a full glass of water and a little food (maybe the banana or pear I mentioned earlier) before you hit the pillow. This may lessen the severity of a hangover.
The day after the night before:
Water. Plenty of. But you knew I was going to say that. 🙂 Not cola, fizzy drinks or straight fruit juice (they can irritate the stomach), but plain water or some weak tea. It may also help to have a green juice like my “Tummy Tonic”.
Simple carbohydrates like crackers and toast with a little jam. These will help boost blood sugar (which will help with that wobbly feeling) and not irritate the stomach. If you feel like making oatmeal/porridge, this might be even better, especially with a bit of honey.
Ibuprofen. This will help the tap-dancing going on in your head, but make sure you eat a little something if taking any non-steroidal anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen. Perhaps avoid acetaminophen – paracetamol – as the combination of it and alcohol can be bad for the liver if you’ve had a lot of alcohol. Aspirin is great for the head but not so good if your tummy is “delicate”.
Have an antacid. You don’t need one designed for hangovers but if you do take one of these, check if it contains paracetamol. If it does then make sure not to take any additional painkillers.
Sleep. It won’t be the best quality sleep you’ll ever have, but it is necessary. And irresistible.
Vegetable broth, clear consomme, miso soup, turkey noodle soup – anything light, full of water, with a bit of sodium, and that’s kind to the stomach.
And some hangover “cures” that don’t work…
A greasy fry-up – fried eggs, sausage, bacon – yada yada. The toast, beans and sodium in a typical British fry-up will help a bit but the fat won’t quell that queasy feeling.
“Hair of the dog”, such as a vodka-based Bloody Mary. This just prolongs the inevitable.
“Prairie oyster cocktail” – raw egg yolk, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, tomato sauce, hot sauce, salt. Sounds disgusting and there is little evidence that it helps. Although the salt may be useful. Avoid raw eggs in any case. The last thing you need is Salmonella and a hangover.
And here are some truly disgusting hangover “cures” from around the world.
* adapted from an article on medicalnewstoday.com.
My recipe today is a cheeky nod to the prairie dog oyster and the Bloody Mary. I wouldn’t have this first thing after a night out, but after the water, ibuprofen and crackers have done their thing, I would definitely make this. And of course, do have it anytime you fancy something simple, nourishing and delicious.
Bloody Mary Baked Beans
Deliciously frugal Bloody Mary Baked Beans on toast make a great breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner, especially with a golden-yoked poached egg on top. PS there is no baking. xx
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 celery sticks, finely chopped
1 red pepper, sliced and diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp celery seeds – if you have them
2 tbsp tomato puree/paste
2 x 400g tins of cannellini beans (or equivalent in homecooked), drained and rinsed
400g cherry tomatoes or tin of tomatoes
1 & 1/2 tsp hot sauce or sweet chilli sauce (more to taste)
200ml vegetable stock
2 tsp grated horseradish OR wasabi paste
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce (there are vegan versions available) – more if you like
Saute the onion in the oil in a medium saucepan or skillet until softened. Add the celery and red pepper and cook a few more minutes, followed by the garlic and celery seeds, if using. After the vegetables are soft add the remaining ingredients. Simmer gently for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Serve with toast or grains, and top each serving with a poached egg or shredded cheese, if you like.
RIPE FOR PINNING!