You wake up, groan, grab a glass of water, pray your headache subsides and start daydreaming about bacon.
For those of us who indulge in a few too many rum and eggnogs this holiday season (or champagne later this week), a hangover is the all-too familiar price we’ll pay. But that doesn’t mean you have to let it derail your day — or your diet.
We spoke with registered dietician Abby Langer about the best — and worst — breakfasts to consume while hungover. And then I tested them for you. That’s right, the hard work is done.
The Miracle Cure
Ohayo is billed as a “super hydration” drink that says it will help your body feel better after drinking alcohol. A friend got it for me from the United Kingdom — the only place it’s sold, for about $10 a bottle — with a little help from her aunt.
What the dietician said: “It’s like weight loss pills; if it worked, everyone would be skinny. If this worked, there would never be any hangovers,” said Langer. That sounds awesome. But she advises against trying “miracle cures,” and recommends sticking with water.
What happened:Ohayo is “designed to help your body actively eliminate toxins while replacing essential nutrients,” according to its website. I opened the bottle at the end of my friend’s birthday party. Even in an inebriated state, I could tell it smelled and tasted terrible — akin to salty water — but I dutifully downed it and went to sleep. The next morning I awoke to a pounding headache and a general bleary-eyed feeling. I groaned and grabbed Advil. Ohayo had failed me. But that afternoon, a text arrived. It was from the birthday girl I’d gifted a bottle of the drink to. It said: “Your elixir saved my life.” A thought: maybe she’d be a better guinea pig.
The Greasy Spoon
This is what everyone craves and many of us actually do end up eating. But — no surprise — a mound of fried food isn’t good for you.
What the dietician said: Order eggs, toast and fruit or salad. The eggs will give you protein, the toast will give you carbs and the fruit or salad will give you nutrients. If you must, order two slices of bacon to satisfy your salt craving, said Langer. Just don’t order the greasy potatoes or double up on carbs — no toast or hashbrowns, she said.
What happened: I spent the last night downing copious beers, trying to keep up with my hard drinking journalism pals. In the morning I feel groggy, dry-mouthed and totally lacking an appetite. It’s midday when I venture out to my local Mars diner. I’m craving a greasy spread but heed Langer’s advice and order two eggs over easy, light rye toast, fried tomatoes, a side of bacon, coffee and a strawberry banana smoothie. To my dismay, the smoothie tastes sugarless — something Langer would probably applaud, but which does nothing for my taste buds — and the tomatoes look sad and taste much the same. The eggs, toast and bacon however, hit the spot. I leave feeling satisfied, if not a little bloated and regretting the bacon. The meal keeps me full until dinner time.
Hair of the Dog
We’ve all been there. After a night of drinking, the only thing that sounds palatable to some is…more alcohol.
What the dietician said: “Don’t do it!” Drinking more alcohol will just dehydrate you further and delay the inevitable, said Langer. “You’re going to be hungover no matter what, so do not have a bloody Mary or whatever to soften the blow.”
What happened: I hosted a boozy dinner for friends last night but drank a ton of water before bed. I wake up feeling alert and start my morning with lofty goals — errands, a jog and cleaning my apartment. Then I go to Le Petit Déjeuner, where I hope to order the salade niçoise but it’s not on the weekend brunch menu. I concede defeat, and order eggs Benjamin, coffee and a Caesar instead (screw the advice). The food hit the spot, and the first few sips of the drink were delicious. But as I neared the bottom of my salty saviour, I was actually leaning on my sister. I trudged through the day, eschewing the run and errands but walking in the sunshine to so I didn’t have to write off the day entirely. By 7 p.m., I was ready for bed.
This may be the very last thing you want to eat when hungover. Make sure you can keep it down before ordering.
What the dietician said: Langer recommends eating a huge salad with arugula, fresh vegetables, tuna in olive oil, avocado and goat cheese or feta. The colourful breakfast will give your tastebuds the salt they want and your body the fats and protein it needs. Langer insists she actually eats this when hungover.
What happened: Last night I indulged in a few too many glasses of red wine at a friend’s place. I wake up in a not-terrible state and figure I can stomach the salad today. I order the Nizzarda Rustica salad at Terroni’s Bar Centrale. It’s full of arugula, endive, carrots, cherry tomatoes, onions, green beans, potatoes, olives, tuna, egg and anchovies. The meal no doubt would have looked pleasant someone who wasn’t hungover, but to me it looked like a green, fishy mountain. I dug in and was pleasantly surprised at the saltiness of the olives, though I couldn’t bring myself to touch the anchovies. I ate about half. To be honest, it didn’t make me feel a whole lot better, but it also didn’t weigh me down for the rest of the day like the greasy spoon breakfast did.