As a now-reformed party girl I’ve had my fair share of crippling mornings as the result of carefree fetes from the night before. My most memorable hangovers, (that one trip to Mexico, NYE, my birthdays 2005), now etched deeply in my psyche, give me pause to reflect (shudder) and now aid me in the prevention of overdoing it.
One such hangover, perhaps the biggest motherf*&^cker of them all, was post-Coachella 2010- aka the greatest party weekend of my life, and of all lives involved. It was one of those week-long hangovers that began with unbelievable pain (and me waiting in line at 8am Monday morning at the Coachella lost and found in the blazing sun for a hour, only to not find my Blackberry) and ended with a depression that had me convinced that no one would ever love me and left me generally questioning what my life’s purpose was.
But all was not lost! Like a phoenix I rose from my boozy desert ashes and through my personal trauma was born this Detox Plan, and my pain is now your gain! So without further ado… Here is my list of supplements and remedies to ward off the evil spirits of partying, sunburn and overindulgence that are sure to come a knockin’…
What to start taking NOW
An organic, whole-foods, gender-specific multivitamin
It’s nearly impossible to get all the vitamins and minerals we need from food sources alone, making a good multivitamin our first line of defense against nutrient deficiency, a condition that can really increase your susceptability to hangovers. I really like the “every woman’s” one-a-day from New Chapter Organics, they’re derived from whole-food sources and can be taken even on an empty stomach.
If there’s one thing I get preachy about (ok, there are a lot of things I get preachy about, but this is probably #1) it’s Vitamin D. Stressed out? Low energy? Always getting sick? Depressed? You probably have a Vitamin D deficiency, and given our undying dedication to sunscreen and staying indoors, most Americans do. If you can, get your levels tested, otherwise I’d recommend taking up to 4000 IU daily (be sure to check how much is contained in your multivit). Proper vitamin D levels can really help to soothe shaky nerves and keep your immune system tip-top, two things that are going to be crucial for your imminent party weekend.
The Omega 3′s found in high grade fish oils (and vegetarian versions made of flax oil and algaes) really help combat depression, and inflammation- one of the main causes of pain during a hangover (or a sunburn). Take around 1500mg a day for optimal health. I really love the “Functional O3 fish oil from Original Nutritionals, designed for athletes specifically with recovery in mind, I can personally guarantee that this will be a lifesaver after a few days wandering the desert.
Given our chronic exposure to antibiotics and generally toxic lifestyle I think it is absolutely necessary to take a probiotic. Add in a weekend of beer swilling and probably eating less-than-stellar food and it becomes crucial. Alcohol destroys the healthy bacteria in our bodies and causes a tornado of free-radical induced cellular damage, but a good probiotic will help to kick these nasties to the curb and additionally, will settle the stomach and combat nausea (because I know nobody likes to barf). ‘Nuff said. I swear by Dr. Ohhira’s probiotics, they’re powerful, tiny, shelf-stable and Japanese (which of course makes them inherently cooler than all other probiotics).
This supplement is the newest kid on the block in the fight against the blues, an affliction that affects most of us after some quality drinking time. When we go and get ourselves all knee-deep in the hooch we depress our levels of serotonin and dopamine; it’s now commonly believed that if we supplement with SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine- a substance that naturally occurs in our bodies and is also depleted when we drink) these precious neurotransmitters of joy are happily restored. Plus SAMe supports healthy liver function! Bonus!
What to take for Sun Exposure
If there’s one thing worse than a hangover, it’s a hangover accompanied by a terrible sunburn. Here are a few tips to keep your skin from charring up like a shishito pepper.
Applied topically and taken internally, the antioxidant warriors found in Vitamin E are a valuable tool in the fight against sunburn. The two days before you embark on your journey to Indio, take 5 capsules of 400 IU Vitamin E each day, then back down to 2 capsules on the festival days; this will help to significantly reduce the inflammation caused by any sun-slap from the inside out, plus the biggie doses of Vitamin E can help to prevent alcohol-induced brain and vascular damage (yay!). You can also apply Vitamin E topically apres-sun for a double dose of love.
While Vitamin C is not a sunscreen it is a valuable antioxidant that scavenges free radicals that get cooked up by sun exposure (which really aren’t so radical at all). This means your skin is able to repair itself with a quickness.
For an easy spray that can help your skin fight the good fight, dissolve 15,000 mg of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) + 1/8 cup of aloe vera juice + 1 cup of room temp purified water in a spray bottle.
Spritz liberally 10 minutes before applying your sunscreen, and when not in use, keep the spray in the fridge. Vitamin C is sensitive to heat and light and over time can lose it’s potency if left out on the counter.
Coconut Oil Sunscreen
Virgin coconut oil is a natural sunscreen, and when combined with zinc oxide you have a powerful and natural sunblock on your hands (pun intended). Here’s a cool recipe (that I modified slightly) from Livestrong to make your own!
Step 1: Spoon 3 tbsp. of shea butter and 6 tbsp. of coconut oil into a small saucepan and heat very gently until they just begin to melt. Remove from heat and whip the two ingredients together using a wire whisk.
Step 2: Add 2 tbsp. of zinc oxide to the mixture and blend with the wire whisk. Zinc oxide is a natural “physical” sun-blocking agent (filters out UVA/UVB rays).
Step 3: Pour the mixture into a plastic container with lid. Apply the coconut oil sunscreen to your skin using your fingertips before you head out.
What to drink when you’re drinking?
Don’t let the palm trees, green grass and water-misters fool you, you’re going to be in a desert and it’s hot as hell out there! Drink more water than you think you need throughout the day, at least 1/2 ounce for every pound you weigh (12olbs = 60oz of water- I talked about this in Week 1 of the Coachella Challenge), and if you’re consuming alcohol add in an extra 16 ounces of water for every alcoholic beverage you drink. Booze is a mega diuretic, which I’m sure you’ve come to realize by now; in fact drinking four 2-oz. shots of liquor can have you peeing out an entire quart of urine. Now, to be honest I’m not sure which is worse… running to the port-o-john every hour, or a splitting headache… I’ll let you be the judge of that.
Homemade Electrolyte Replenisher
I found this amazing DIY electrolyte drink on paleo-guru Mark Sisson’s website and adapted it for the Detox to Retox plan. It’s intended to replenish marathoners, but given the weekend you’re about to have I’d say it’s appropriate for you too. As you drink alcohol and sweat your face off you deplete your body’s stores of electrolytes, potassium, and magnesium; I’m not going to promise that this drink is amazingly delicious, but it just so happens to fix all that.
1. Slightly heat 1/2 cup of coconut water on the stove. Don’t let it get anywhere near simmering. Just let it get warm enough to melt the next three ingredients easily.
2. Add a few dashes of sea salt, preferably one with high mineral content. Sea salt provides sodium, an important electrolyte, plus trace minerals. You’re going to be burning through a lot of it during the day.
3. Add 1/4 cup of honey, preferably raw and from a local farm (remember, many store bought honey isn’t actually honey anymore).
4. Add 1/4 cup of blackstrap molasses. Blackstrap molasses comes after the third boiling of sugar cane. It contains less sugar than either white sugar, brown sugar, regular molasses, or dark molasses, but far more minerals and electrolytes. See, sugar cane is a plant with roots that stretch deep into the soil to extract nutrients (some research suggests sugar cane roots may go down as far as six meters). Very few of those nutrients make it into white or brown sugar, and regular and dark molasses contain some, but it’s blackstrap molasses which gets the bulk of the minerals. So, when you add just a couple tablespoons of blackstrap molasses to your energy drink, you’re getting more than twice the potassium than a banana, more calcium than a cup of raw spinach, and almost 100 mg of magnesium.
5. Mix it all together until everything melts and it’s a dark brown murky viscous fluid. Drink 2 tablespoons mixed into 8oz of coconut water before you go to bed, and an additional 8oz when you wake up. I think it’s best to premix them into room-temp Zico coconut water bottles while the fluid is still warm, and then toss the bottles into the fridge for your impending drunk-ass to drink when you get home from the festival.
Now I can’t promise you’re going to be 100% free of sunburns OR hangovers, but I can guarantee that if you use any or all of these tricks and you’ve been following the rest of my Detox Plan, you’ll be spending the morning-after flirting with that babe down by the pool while your friends are all nursing their wounds back at the ranch.