I've been sober for about four years and counting now.
Despite that, there's a particular malady I've experienced enough of in my young life, pre-sobriety, to last me until the day I die.
The kind of hangovers I used to get when I drank could be described as... otherworldly.
Groundbreaking. Award-winning. And definitely cruel and unusual.
But I'm sure you know the feeling.
Your head basically cracks and crumbles in on itself, your temples are throbbing, your thirst is like an arid desert, and any swift motion has the potential to cause an upchuck.
Not to mention the smell of booze that, as if in mocking, still permeates through your pores.
Hangovers are a perfectly terrible storm of symptoms caused by good old-fashioned raging, including such lovely things as dehydration, a drop in blood sugar, dilation of blood vessels, stomach irritation, and poor sleep quality.
The severity of symptoms usually depends on your blood sugar and electrolyte levels when you start drinking, your hydration, and if you got enough sleep, among other factors.
But partiers, feel free to rejoice, because there really are some things you can consume pre-party to prevent (or at least lessen) the symptoms of that cursed drinking flu.
1. Get That Grease, Baby
Fat helps slow the metabolizing of alcohol, as does protein, so contrary to popular belief, it's actually a better idea to eat a big meal full of fat before you drink, rather than afterwards.
Go in on a big fat burger, and don't forget a side of chili fries, of course.
The slower the absorption, the less damage it can do.
2. A Shot Of Olive Oil
Ah, a classic Mediterranean tradition! A shot before the shots, if you will.
A solid dosage of olive oil on nights you're planning to go three sheets to the wind coats the stomach, and again, slows the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream.
3. Avocado Everything
Embrace the millennial you truly are, and spread some avocado on a slice of wholegrain toast before a night out(throw a little more of that olive oil on there while you're at it).
The complex carbs and fat will help prepare your innards for later on.
4. Snack On An Orange Or A Grapefruit
First let me be clear in saying that, by no means, should this be the only thing you eat before a night of drinking.
Perhaps you can peel back one of these babies alongside a nice turkey sandwich. The citrus will provide you with the vitamin C you need to help detoxify your body.
5. Popeye Was Right About That Spinach
Spinach is full of magnesium, which is just one more nutrient that gets used and abused by alcohol, and one many people are a bit low on anyhow.
Plus, it's an anti-inflammatory. Fix yourself a nice salad, but make sure to pack it with all the good stuff, like avocado, turkey, nuts, and a little cheese, too, to get some of those good fats in there.
6. Whole Milk For The Win
Whole milk helps line the stomach, provides a good dose of fat, and it's full of those vitamins you're about to deplete from your system when you start sipping that vodka soda.
If you tend to gag at the thought of drinking straight-up milk, throw it back to your childhood and have a bowl of cereal.
7. Sweet, Sweet Honey
My ex-boyfriend's stepmom used to make me a cold seltzer, lemon, and honey when I was hungover, and it always made me feel better after the fact.
But apparently, cold water and honey is a Korean go-to prevention tactic.
Down a glass before you head out for the evening, and your body will thank you for the big boost in blood sugar and the shot of vitamins and minerals.
8. Pedialyte Isn't Just For Toddlers
Electrolytes take a major hit during a booze cruise, and Pedialyte is full of them (and sugar, too).
Consuming this drink before, and after, your night will replenish your body.
Again, be sure to take this stuff with some grub to fill your belly.
And remember, it's always a good idea to go one-for-one with a glass of water while you drink the night away.
As for me, I'll be over here in the corner with my cranberry juice, continuing to share my hangover wisdom with the world.