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How to Cure Your Fourth of July Hangover In 5 Easy Steps

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Congratulations on celebrating America's independence with so much awesome.

This morning you are feeling kind of low. Your head hurts and your thoughts are fuzzy. Your nostrils are filled with the scent of burnt fire powder and charcoal. Your stomach is staging a rebellion. It tastes like a cat slept in your mouth and died there. You regret things you don’t quite remember.

In short, you are hungover.

Fortunately, I know exactly what you need to do.

1. Remember that hangovers are physical, not metaphysical. Nothing is punishing you for having too much fun or misbehaving for three or four days in a row. There is no God who hates you for drinking. Karma isn’t out to exact retribution. Nature is not balancing your fun with misery. Everything you are feeling is produced by chemicals reacting to other chemicals you ingested or that your body produced because it was exhausted.

2. Sleep in. You were out late. Again and again. In a few short days you ate more hamburgers, hot dogs, tacos and potato chips than you ordinarily do in months. Maybe you danced. You talked a lot. You didn’t get much sleep. And the sleep you did get wasn’t as restful as it might have been because your body was combating the effects of drugs or alcohol, which takes energy. Go back to sleep for a bit. The world won’t wait for you but the world isn’t a train leaving the station. It will still be here when you wake up later.

3. Drink Coffee. You are tired from staying up too late. You need the caffeine to boost your energy. It will also clear your head, make your thinking faster and sharper. It will boost your mood, as well. Remember a huge part of that depression and regret you are feeling is purely chemical. Coffee will pick up your spirits.

Coffee also cuts the risk of alcoholic cirrhosis by 20 percent. So this is a matter of your health.

4. Eat a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich. Alcohol depletes brain neurotransmitters but bacon and eggs, which are rich in protein, contains amino acids that top these up. This will make you feel better. The carbs in the bread will be easily converted to sugar, boosting your metabolism and helping you get rid of the alcohol more quickly. Eggs and cheese are good sources of Vitamin B, which helps you better digest any alcohol still in your system.

5. Drink a Bloody Mary, Dummy. Do you think it’s just a coincidence that Bloody Mary’s are the quintessential brunch drink? It’s not. Although most people probably aren’t aware that they enjoy Bloody Mary’s so much because of the drink is a highly efficient hangover fighter, that’s surely one of the reasons for its popularity.

Heavy drinking causes dehydration, which in turn deprives you of body salts, including magnesium, potassium and chloride. These are what the sports drink makers call electrolytes (but there’s too much sugar in most of sports drinks and they are otherwise nutritionally dead, so avoid them). Fresh tomato juice is a great source of these. Add celery salt and Tabasco sauce to replenish your lost sodium and help you rehydrate. Add some freshly squeezed lemon juice and Worchester sauce for Vitamin C, which helps you better metabolize alcohol. The vodka will ease the alcohol withdrawal, the shock caused by your system by the binge followed by deprivation.

I'm not a doctor. The doctors say you should avoid coffee, avoid drinking alcohol, drink water, and go to the gym. Feel free to take their advice, if you're the sort of person with a lot of faith in the wisdom of medical experts.

The summer dashes rapidly toward autumn after Fourth of July. The days grow shorter. The sun sets earlier. Feeling hungover and sorry for yourself is no way to face the end of the summer. Now you know how to recover.


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