Hangover Helper is The Takeout’s feature on how to survive the booze flu.
Just the thought of piles of corned beef plus Jameson plus countless Smithwick’s is enough to turn our stomach—now imagine actually putting that in your stomach. And yet, no matter our intentions, many of us will end up accidentally hungover and overfed at some point this St. Patrick’s Day weekend. Again.
Personal trainer and fitness-nutrition specialist Monica Sehgal of RB Fit Chicago has seen the aftermath. She can tell when her clients have tied one on the night before, and if they still show up for a gym session, she alters the workout and her nutrition advice to suit their, uh, current state. Here’s her regimen for the days you wake up feeling like death itself:
Though it sounds weird, pickle juice is Sehgal’s go-to electrolyte drink. “It’s a runner’s trick. When I’m marathon training, I drink pickle juice to prevent cramping. I don’t like Gatorade and sports drinks because they have sugar and a weird flavor to me.”
Advice about sweating out what’s in your body is fine, Sehgal says, but you don’t want to push yourself too hard too fast. “Your body is searching for equilibrium when you’re hungover, so you want to just get it back to normal. If you start running right away, you’re just pushing it out of balance again,” she says, adding that outdoor air will also help your body detoxify and get fresh oxygen in. “Just go for a walk, get the blood flowing, let the body come back to neutral.” She suggests a 2-mile walk, a few light push-ups or planks, and then a slow run back to your house so you’ll start sweating.
Most people reach for fried food because their bodies crave salt, but Sehgal says that tends to sit in your stomach rather than actually reenergizing you. A Cobb salad with crunchy lettuce, bacon, blue cheese, and ranch dressing is her choice because it’s light-ish but still delivers protein, salt, and veggies. Later in the evening, she suggests adding a good dose of carbs to your dinner to make sure you have enough energy for the following day.
“Take plain sparkling water and wash your face with it. There’s something with the bubbles that active your skin and refreshes you,” she says. “I learned this trick when I was a wedding planner, because we’d be up late and have to work the next day with three hours of sleep. We’d keep Perrier in a spray bottle.” The colder the water, the better, she says; it will help reduce skin’s redness and puffiness.