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Have a Happy hangover-free New Year!

Did you know that New Year’s Eve cheer can be had without nausea and a headache? Let me show you the way:

Standing advice: Moderation

Know your limits and stick to them. On average, don’t have more than three drinks in two hours. And generally women are more vulnerable to hangovers as they have a lower metabolic rate than men thanks to the higher ratio of body fat. So drink accordingly.

From soup to nuts

Chicken soup is also supposed to be a good hangover remedy. It has been a miracle cure for all that ails you since biblical times. The Ancient Egyptians prescribed the broth as a cure for the common cold, while a 10th century Persian doc named Avicenna wrote about its curative powers. It replenishes lost fluids caused by dehydration from alcohol consumption, clears the sinuses, and acts an anti-inflammatory. My grandma used to call it, “Jewish penicillin.” Truly, it wouldn’t hurt!

While American Indians claim that eating six raw almonds before drinking will curb intoxication, and an African remedy calls for eating peanut butter prior to the act.

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble

Choose flat over fizzy mixers. Carbonated drinks quicken the rate of alcohol absorption, so stick to noncarbonated beverages.

Milk it for all it’s worth

Drink a glass of milk before any alcoholic beverage to coat your stomach lining and put the skids on alcohol absorption. Milk thistle or silymarin taken before or while drinking also protects liver cells by chasing away toxins from liver’s doorstep. Or take two teaspoons of bifidus powder in a glass of water before bedtime. Bifidus is one of those “friendly” bacteria that will apparently detoxify acetaldehyde, a digestive byproduct of alcohol, the culprit that causes hangovers.

Lead a horse to water

Stay hydrated as alcohol can cause dehydration since it’s a diuretic. The chemical processes that breakdown alcohol produce by-products including lactic acid that disrupt the production of glucose (sugar) and electrolytes. The simplest and best trick in the world is to hydrate yourself with two or three glasses of H-2-O before, during and after drinking, as well as before going to bed. Sports drinks loaded with electrolytes as well as coconut water packed with potassium and other vitamins and minerals will also counteract the dehydrating effects of the alcohol.

Lighten Up

Choose light-colored liquors like vodka and gin over tinted or dark ones like whiskey or brandy since they contain a lesser amount of congeners (toxic chemicals formed during fermentation), which exacerbate hangovers.

Feed your face

Eat before, during and after drinking to slow the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream. Even a spring roll or a crab cake will do the trick.

Variety is not the spice of life

Pick your poison and stick to it. Don’t mix your drinks, as this combination of different toxins will worsen a hangover.

If you failed to do that ounce of prevention, here is your pound of cure. Take a brisk walk or exercise. This gets blood and oxygen to your brain and helps the body detoxify. Stay away from prescription pills, rather try some holistic approaches.

Eat an apple as the pectin is a great detoxifier -- so an apple a day keeps the doctor and hangover away. Raw persimmons and cabbage are good for headaches. Spoonfuls of honey every 20 minutes upon awakening will ease the hangover pain. The nectar is rich in potassium which will counter the affects of the liquor, as well as fructose, a healthier form of sugar that will help accelerate the rate at which your body metabolizes the alcohol.

Finally, tea thyme. Make a cup of hot tea with crushed thyme leaves, fresh or dried. Let this mixture brew for five minutes, remove the leaves then drink away.

As my father used to say, candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker. If you’ve surpassed your limits, always have the phone number of a local cab company on hand. Have a happy, healthy and hangover-free New Year. Here are some fake cocktails called “mocktails” to whet your whistle. Cheers!

Mocktails

Unfuzzy Navel

3 ounces of peach nectar

3 ounces of orange juice

3 ounces of pineapple juice

1 teaspoon of lemon juice

Dash of grenadine

Half fill a shaker with ice, combine the ingredients. Pour into a highball glass and garnish a chunk of fresh pineapple.

Bikini Breezer

1 cup of strawberries

1 cup of low fat milk or almond milk

1 cup of orange juice

1 ripe banana

Crushed ice

Combine the ingredients in a blender, and whirl until smooth. Pour into a martini glass and garnish with a mini beach parasol.

Reach Katharine Kaufman at kitchenshrink@san.rr.com and check out her healthful eating blog at www.FreeRangeClub.com.