That Which Doesn’t Kill Us…

My friend Bruce likes to torment me by posting pictures of ginormous spiders crawling out of toilets or itty bitty arachnids hatching out of wasps’ nests to take over the crawl-spaces in your home. He’s generally a good egg, if slightly cracked – he knows better than to throw a fuzzy, stuffed tarantula on my desk while I’m concentrating on work, so I have not yet beaten him with a shoe or keyboard.

This is not to say I don’t delight in tormenting him with pictures of my breakfast.

breakfastOne friend described this as looking like something that came out of her vacuum cleaner bag. I’d have said “pulp slurry for homemade paper,” but that’s actually pretty close to the same thing. Bruce thought it looked like a bodily function. I suggested he see a doctor about that (honestly, it probably looks more appealing coming out than going in). But here’s the thing – it actually tastes good. This is just what your food sometimes looks like, devoid of artificial colors and preservatives:

I could have made it pretty and neon green, or deep purple, but worked with what I had on hand. I was more interested in nutrients and getting in a decent helping of fruits and veggies than I was in making it pretty. Besides, “pretty” doesn’t pull double-duty when it comes to turning Bruce six shades of sickly green. I’m betting most of you don’t want the recipe, now, but here it is, anyway:

Salad Smoothie

Blend together well:

  • 1 c. 2% milk
  • 3 oz. raw baby spinach
  • 3 oz. raw carrots
  • 1 banana (about 103 grams)
  • 70 grams frozen blueberries
  • 0.33 c. Kellogg’s All-Bran Buds Cereal (ground in a coffee grinder to the consistency of flour)

This, plus two more healthy meals, pretty much ensures you’ll get enough fiber in your diet and it has you covered for one serving of dark, leafy greens; one serving of orange veggies, and two servings of fruit. It’s not the yummiest smoothie ever invented (because that would be called a “chocolate malt”), but it’s pretty good and doesn’t need any added sweeteners. It’s not low calorie, by any means – but here’s a comparison to a breakfast of one McDonald’s Egg McMuffin and hash browns:


Can you guess which is which?

The Egg McMuffin meal info is listed under 3/25. The Salad Smoothie meal info is listed under 3/26.

Nothing wrong with the occasional Egg McMuffin Meal. But the smoothie’s better than it looks and packs a nice nutritional punch to start the day.

Tormenting Bruce is just a little extra reward I allow myself for making healthy choices.

Later, I was talking with my friend Chrystal, who is studying to be a physical therapist, and somehow we got off on the subject of NSAIDS, acetaminophen, and alcohol, which – naturally – led to hangover cures. Because, you know, Tylenol and alcohol do nasty things to your liver when they get together and start partying. But this reminded me it was past time to re-run my annual New Year’s PSA on “how to cure a hangover.”

Hangover Cure

The best way to prevent hangovers is abstinence. Don’t drink. Yeah, right. See how effective this “abstinence-only” education is? If you drink, do it in moderation. Space your drinks out with a nice glass of water in between. If you find yourself thinking, “Oh, crap, who took my car keys?” thank your friends and don’t even think about driving.

The main cause of hangover pain is dehydration and loss of important, water-soluble nutrients, thanks to alcohol’s diuretic effects. If you do overindulge, your fastest way to hangover relief is to take all of the following, as soon as possible, on waking:

  • One high-potency B-complex vitamin
  • One multivitamin
  • One or two full glasses of water (16 ozs.)
  • One large glass of orange juice (if you’ve had way too much to drink, this one may make you throw up – and that’s actually okay, provided you’re conscious enough to drink orange juice sitting up, but drink it slowly so you get most of the benefits of the vitamin C)
  • 400 mg. ibuprofen (optional – skip this if you’re not supposed to take NSAIDs due to any medical condition or medication you’re taking)

As soon as you can bear the thought of it, get some food into your stomach. Start by nibbling pretzels or other salty snack – something that’s not likely to make you gag. Every hour or so thereafter, drink one small (8 oz.) glass of water or Gatorade.

Forget “hair o’ the dog that bit ye” unless you’re simply trying to induce a coma or vomiting. Remember that acetaminophen and alcohol are not a good combination; save the Tylenol until all the alcohol has left the building. Skip the Ibuprofen if you are allergic or overly sensitive to NSAIDs, have a heart condition, or have any circulatory or bleeding disorders.  These are only for added pain relief – they won’t cure anything. The idea is to rehydrate your body and replenish water-soluble vitamins (mainly all the B’s and C) and electrolytes lost due to the diuretic effects of alcohol.

NOTE: I’m not a doctor; I don’t play one on TV or the Internet. Use your own best judgment before trying any of this (or not – would you be here right now if you were in a state to use good judgment?), and do not take ibuprofen or acetaminophen if you are allergic to any of the ingredients or have drunk so much you already have perforations in your stomach lining. None of this is to be construed as “medical advice.” In any case, drink the water. Remember that the main cause of “hangover” is dehydration and depletion of water-soluble vitamins.


* Spider photos found…all over the place. I think they were originally uploaded here: and if they are yours, and want me to provide better attribution or remove them, I wouldn’t mind a good excuse, since I shudder, convulsively, every time I look at this post.


Holly Jahangiri is the author of Trockle; A Puppy, Not a Guppy; Innocents & Demons; and A New Leaf for Lyle. You can find her books on Amazon at For more information on her children's books, please visit
Please share this post!