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Skip the Stampede hangover this year

By Christie Melhorn, July 7 2017 — 

Whether you’re committed to wearing cowboy boots during Stampede or want to burn every pair you see, Calgary’s laid-back vibe over the next 10 days can tempt even the most Stampede-averse folks to drink an 8 a.m. beer. However, you don’t have to suffer the bed-riding hangover that typically follows. Spare yourself the stomach ache by trying the following hangover prevention tricks.


Washrooms are notoriously packed in any bar or nightclub, in part because alcohol is a diuretic. That means that it makes you need to pee frequently. This can cause dehydration, leaving you with a dry mouth and insatiable thirst — I call it “desert throat.” The ensuing headaches and discomfort can make you grumpy and amplify your hangover.

Before going out, take two multivitamins with a large glass of water. Anesthesiologist Jason Burke explains that inflammation and oxidative stress cause hangovers even more than dehydration. Nutritionist Alti Aranson also recommends having lots of water between drinks.  Loading up on antioxidants and staying hydrated will help prevent a crushing hangover.

Eat well

Eating something hearty and loaded with carbs, protein and fat will prevent you from rapidly metabolizing alcohol. Elizabeth Kovacs, founder of the University of Colorado Alcohol Research Program, suggests eating red meat before drinking. The high levels of vitamin B and amino acids can negate the effects of congeners — nonalcoholic substances in drinks that make you feel like garbage. Between the juicy burgers, jumbo bratwursts and caveman sized turkey legs available at Stampede, finding a suitable pre-drinking meal should be easy.

This year, Stampede vendors like Sal’s Flatbread and Avatari Pizza have carby, protein-rich options for those looking for something meatless but satiating. I also recommend trying the mediterranean bowl at the Greek Grill. It’s loaded with olives, falafel and pita and will prep you for the beer garden.

Drink wisely

According to Aranson, dark drinks like whiskey, cognac and tequila contain high concentrations of congeners. He recommends opting for clear liquor, like vodka and gin, which decrease the chance of getting a severe hangover. However, try to avoid sugary vodka coolers and sodas to prevent a blood sugar crash and killer headache.  

Steering clear of dark cowboy drinks and bubbly beverages is a challenge during Stampede. By all means, drink up. Just stay hydrated and drink on a full stomach!


I’m convinced that the only reason I didn’t get hungover after a night of back-to-back shots of Jamaican rum, wine and margaritas is that my friend made me eat half an ounce of salt. I didn’t pound it back like I did the shots — instead, I ate it gradually by licking it off my pinky. With every drunken pee, you lose a lot of electrolytes. Drinking a Gatorade or coconut water also replenishes your sodium levels and restores hydration. While this is probably a more appealing option than just eating salt, I stand by taking it straight.


Getting a solid rest is the most challenging part of fending off a hangover. Burke suggests taking an Advil with a big glass of water before bed to prevent inflammation induced by alcohol. But Cosmopolitan advises against forcing down a ton of water because constantly waking up to go to the washroom will interrupt your sleep. Instead, keep a full glass by your bed for when you wake up with “desert throat.”

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