I haven't had alcohol in 4 or 5 months over her (except when I was sick and ran out of Nyquil...then I had a beer to help put me to sleep). I have to admit; in a lot of ways it sucks b/c not drinking assuredly decreases the ?fun level? of college. I know I can maintain my grades if I drink but I know the effects of alcohol and it keeps me from drinking. It's kind of a conundrum; the more we know about the harmful effects of something; AND HOW TO COUNTER it; the less we do it (well not in the case of everyone). For example; through trial and error I've found it's extremely easy to counter getting hangovers.
To illustrate this I am going to present my little case study.
When I came back to school this semester before I bought my house I stayed with a few friends at their apartment. Regardless I ended up not lifting or following proper nutritional habits for a period of 2 or 3 months. I also drank quite a bit more than usual during this period. Further; I had never had a serious hangover or anything more than thirst the next day post-drinking prior to this. Strangely though I started getting hangovers almost every time I drank from this period on; even from minor alcohol consumption.
From this I started analyzing why this was happening. I noticed that for one I was only generally eating one big meal a day and then some horrible junk food thereafter. Also b/c of my lack of drinking protein shakes during this period (I generally go through 6lbs of protein powder a week...so 5 or 6 shakes a day with 16-20 oz of water adds up); I wasn't obtaining enough fluids and my urine was neither voluminous or light in color.
Fast-forward a few months later upon which moving out I took my nutrition back to its baseline, good-habit level. I went from emptying my bladder once or twice a day to emptying it 10x a day (as I normally do b/c of my fluid intake). I also had dramatically increased my protein consumption (if you're vegetarian and don't eat soy or drink shakes your protein intake is going to be very low as it was during my "bad" period). I drank on two more occasions during this period before I completely forsaked alcohol. The end result was that even though I was drinking even more alcohol on these nights compared to the other period I was not getting hangovers.
So after this I started analyzing this because our bodies are our own little pieces of data (or at least I like to consider my body a piece of data for my mind). I thought about why alcohol makes us drunk, etc. I came to this theoretical conclusion:
For one, alcohol lowers protein synthesis. Thus if you have inadequate protein intake during the day you're much more likely to acquire a hangover; whereas too much protein should compensate for the lowered levels. Also due to alcohols effects on vasopressin (ADK) (aka anti-diuretic hormone), you lose extra fluid to decreased levels of it circulating in your system. So if you don't have enough fluid in your system and am not eating a proper diet with enough minerals to maintain a proper osmotic concentration in your blood plasma you're screwed. So basically you can counter the effects of a hangover with proper planning.
1) Plan ahead before you drink; if you're cutting approximate how many calories you will be taking in with alcohol ahead of time.
2) Eat protein at regular intervals.
3) Eat whole foods before you drink and while you drink; e.g. maintain your normal diet while you drink (this will also help prevent drunk munchies) for this will lower the rate of the digestion of alcohol...sort of like eating a lower glycemic-index of a food and thus spreading the effect of it out over time.
4) Drink a protein shake before you go to bed. This is pivotal.
5) Maintain proper fluid intake while you drink. Do not count beer as having water. Sorry
6) Since alcohol prevents you from entering deep sleep stages it is probably a good idea to take zinc and magnesium to help counter this. Also b/c of alcohol lowering Testosterone output (therefore in turn increasing LH output making you horny); ZMA might be a really good idea to help restore baseline testosterone levels.
Ok..I'm also going to make this it's own thread.