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2011 December 27
by Mike

My wallet is unmoved: Liv-ex Fine Wine 50 index down double digits in 2011, matches 2008 decline.

Boom times abroad for buttery Chardonnays: California wine exports were up 23 percent through first 10 months of 2011.

Insert requisite Harold & Kumar reference: White Castle considers adding wine, beer to its menu.

Canadian, American—what’s the difference?  A fun BBC report about the state of French cuisine, with hilarious anti-American gibe aimed at the Canadian reporter (21-minute mark).

Oh, the morning after: In time for New Year’s Eve, The New Yorker re-posts an illuminating piece about hangovers.

3 Responses leave one →
  1. Zack permalink
    December 28, 2011

    Mike, You’re right. The mother of prevention is moderation. Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I had a hang over mostly due to moderation, but that being said I’ve pretty much trained myself to drink plenty of water and I almost always eat something while I drink and I think this is basically what wine culture is all about.

  2. December 28, 2011

    Zack, this is really interesting, and thanks for posting it. I go for the easiest remedy of all–I try to avoid the problem by not drinking too much. I have pretty high alcohol tolerance (go figure), but I make a point of staying well within my limits. I truly hate hangovers, and with two young children, I don’t have the option of lying in bed all day and waiting for the pain to subside!

  3. Zack permalink
    December 27, 2011

    That hangover article, while interesting, focuses on the strange remedies without providing a true way to stave off a hang over. Yes you can do some misdirection with spicy food etc, but it’s somewhat misleading and biochemically inaccurate.

    Here are the 4 main culprits:

    1) Dehydration: I’m convinced 66% of a hang over is simple dehydration. ETOH blocks antidiuretic hormone in the kidney and molecular biology is just like math. The negative of a negative is a positive and an antiduiretic blocker is a diuretic. DRINK WATER.

    2) Alcohol is a toxin. Specifically a gut toxin, neuro toxin, heart toxin, liver toxin Occasionally it carries other impurities too. I have no proof to back up the theory that cheap alcohol has more impurities/toxins but based on my personal history drinking Kami Vodka and Burger Beer (12 cents a can!), I’d certainly believe it. So flush your kidneys and DRINK MORE WATER.

    3) Hypoglycermia. Alcohol isn’t exactly calorie light, but it causes a functional hypoglycemia. People wonder why food tastes so much better drunk, that’s because your body is hungry, biochemically speaking. EAT WHILE YOU DRINK. The only thing worse than dehydrating and poisoning your brain, is to dehydrate it, poison it and starve it.

    4) Sympathetic nervous system response (aka withdrawl). If you drink long enough and hard enough your body will become used to the alcohol. Alcohol is a depressant in that it literally turns your brain off and slows down your body. You have a nervous system that reflexively responds to situations to either rest and digest (parasympathetic) and fight or flight (sympathetic). Depressants push you to the rest-digest mode and as the alcohol is broken down your body will rebound and you become super sensitive. This means you get the shakes, palpitations, and don’t feel like eating because it’s like a shot of adrenaline. It can even knock a few sensitive individuals into an arrhythmia (aka Holiday Heart, because you drink too much over the holidays and then go into atrial fibrillation). Honestly you can’t do too much to stop this except take another depressant, so here is where the hair-of-the-dog come in. As a physician, I can’t tell you to drink an eye-opener, but your shakes will go away.

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