Thursday, April 26, 2012

Experiment: Hangover Prevention Methods

Hangover Prevention Study
DeBurgh, Katharine E., MPH; Davis, Nathan M.

The purpose of this study was to test two recently introduced hangover prevention tools: The NoHo hangover defense drink and the After Burner hangover prevention patch.

Researchers recruited fifteen individuals to participate. All participants were known to the research team, lived in or near Sacramento, California, and were Caucasian. Six (40%) were female and nine were male. After arriving at the study, participants were assigned a code by Researcher 1. Researcher 1 delivered this code to Researcher 2, who remained behind a partition. Not knowing the identities of the participants, using a 4-sided die, Researcher 2 randomly assigned each participant into one of four groups: NoHo beverage, placebo beverage, After Burner patch, or placebo patch. Researcher 2 then delivered the selected intervention to the participant through an opening in the partition. Both real and placebo beverages were served in an opaque cup to limit participant’s scrutiny; and both real and placebo patches were applied to participants’ skin underneath a layer of duct tape.

The following day, via text message or, when no response was received, via in-person interview, the participants were asked three questions:

·       On a scale of 1 to 10, how drunk were you last night? One is not drunk at all, ten is the most drunk you’ve ever been.
·       Based on that level of drunkenness, on a scale of 1 to 10, how hungover did you expect to be? One is not hungover at all, ten is the most hungover you’ve ever been.
·       On a scale of 1 to 10, how hungover are you in reality? One is not hungover at all, ten is the most hungover you’ve ever been.

Only after all this data had been gathered was Researcher 2 given access to the codes revealing which participant had received which intervention.

Overall, participants reached an average drunkenness level of 6.7.  The average expected hangover level was 4.9; the average hangover level in reality was 3.5. Participants tended to expect a higher level of hangover when they experienced a higher level of drunkenness. The participants did, in general, experience a higher level of hangover with a higher level of drunkenness, but the hangover was generally not as severe as expected.

Table One: Drunkenness, Expected Hangover, and Actual Hangover
Drunkenness Level
Expected Hangover
Actual Hangover
After Burn Patch
NoHo Beverage

Table 1 (cont’d)
Difference Between Drunkenness and Hangover
Difference Between Expectation and Hangover
After Burn Patch
NoHo Beverage

The average difference between expected hangover and actual hangover was 1.40, indicating that, in general, hangovers were less severe than expected. For those who received the After Burner patch, the difference was 2.67, indicating a high level of effectiveness. The placebos resulted in an average difference between expected and actual hangover of 1.6. The NoHo beverage resulted in an average difference between expected and actual hangover of 0.6.

The participants who received the placebos had the lowest level of hangover. However, the After Burn patch resulted in the highest difference between the expected hangover and actual hangover. The NoHo beverage performed worse in all respects than both the patch and the placebos.

There are several problems with the data collected during this study. The sample size was small and non-diverse. Therefore, the results of this study cannot be generalized beyond the sample population. Furthermore, while every attempt was made for a double-blind study, Researcher 2 did recognize two of the participants through unavoidable recognition of physical characteristics. This may have resulted in some bias in the results.

The NoHo hangover defense beverage was found to be less effective than the After Burner patch and less effective than a placebo. While the After Burner patch resulted in a slightly higher level of hangover than the placebos, it resulted in the highest difference between expected and actual hangover. Therefore, the After Burner patch may be an effective hangover prevention method.

Neither Ms. DeBurgh nor Mr. Davis received any financial consideration for this study; nor do they have any financial relationships with the industries being discussed.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Exploration: Nacheez

I am a sucker for cooking contests. It's always fun to experiment with a specific ingredient - in this case, Nacheez. Nacheez is an amazing food that is delicious and bright orange just like 7-11 nacho cheese - but is somehow healthy and free of animal ingredients. In short, it is amazing.

Full disclosure: Nacheez is the creation of my dear and lovely friend, Ilsa Hess.

I tried out a number of different recipes for a local Nacheez cooking contest and will list them all below. But personally, I think Nacheez is best just warmed up (or not) and put onto tortilla chips. But since you can't eat nachos every day of the week, no matter how good they are, here are some other ideas.

The first is the actual recipe I entered into the contest. It was the winner of my personal quest for the best Nacheez recipe I could develop, and it took second prize at the contest itself.

Banana Nacheez Empanadas

You will need:
Spicy Nacheez
Pizza dough (I used Trader Joe's brand, but you can make your own)

Heat the oven according to instructions for dough. On a floured surface, roll out dough into empanada-size rounds (hint: they need to be bigger than you think they do).

Chop up the banana and place a few slices on each empanada, covering less than half of the round so that you can later fold it over.

Top the banana with one or two tablespoons of Nacheez.

Fold the empty half of the empanada round over the filled half. Pinch edges down with fork.

Heat according to instructions for dough and enjoy!

Figure 1: Banana Nacheez Empanada How-To

Figure 2: The final product (after a couple bites)

Another good recipe was Nacheezy Scalloped Potatoes, adapted from my mother's Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes recipe. Originally, I used rosemary in the potatoes, but it interacted badly with the otherwise delicious tang of the Nacheez.

Nacheezy Scalloped Potatoes

You will need:
3 jars of mild Nacheez
4 medium potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 tsp chopped thyme
1 cup Panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spread two jars of Nacheez in the bottom of a casserole dish.
Layer potatoes and onion in dish, then top with rosemary, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste.
Spread one jar of Nacheez over the top.
Top with Panko.
Bake until potatoes are tender – about one hour.
Makes 8 (3/4 cup) servings.

Figure 3: Nacheezy Scalloped Potatoes

I made the same recipe With cauliflower to great effect - I liked it better, but my boyfriend Nathan preferred the potatoes.

Figure 4: Here it is with cauliflower

And finally, my second-favorite: Baby Ghandi Hot Dogs. I grew up in a Christian household, and we would eat "Baby Samuel Hot Dogs" named after a story from the Old Testament. They were a scrumptious and simple dish consisting of a hot dog frank and a small slice of cheese, wrapped in a Pillsbury crescent roll. When we had them near Christmas one year, I called them Baby Jesus Hot Dogs. And it seems only fitting that this vegan version is a Baby Gandhi Hot Dog.

Baby Ghandi Hot Dogs

You will need:
Your favorite veggie hot dog frank
Spicy Nacheez
Store-bought crescent rolls (check the label, but most brands are vegan)

Preheat over according to instructions on crescent rolls.
Cut a slit into each frank, about half-way through to the bottom, and not quite reaching the ends of the frank.
Carefully (or not) fill the franks with Nacheez.
Roll each Nacheezy frank into a roll.
Bake according to instructions on crescent rolls.

Figure 5: A Baby Gandhi Hot Dog, a basic Nacheez crescent (also delicious), and the control: a plain crescent roll.

It is a testament to the beauty of Nacheez that as I was experimenting with all these recipes over the course of weeks, I never got tired of the stuff. And of course, there are a million other different ways it can be used. The winner of the contest was a Nacheez cream of broccoli soup. I'd recommend this stuff to anybody.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

CHALLENGE: Create a delicious vegan breakfast

CHALLENGE: Create a delicious vegan breakfast

MODIFIED CHALLENGE: Create three delicious vegan breakfasts in 24 hours

ACCOMPLISHED: Created two delicious vegan breakfasts and one imaginary one in three hours

BACKGROUND: I deeply admire my vegan friends and their commitment to abolish animal suffering caused by the human diet. But I've always considered breakfast nearly impossible to make without using animal products. So I challenged myself to create some morning meals that were free of dairy and eggs, yet still satisfying and nutritious. And I did it!

I invited some friends over at noon on Saturday, and had hoped to spend Friday night and Saturday morning getting ready. However, my Friday night went off-track and I ended up with only a little bit of time on Saturday morning. I am listing the three breakfasts I planned to make below, but I had to give up on "The Sweet Tooth" because I didn't make the oatmeal the night before. This is usually an extremely delicious way to start the day, but it does require a little bit of forethought.

1. Crockpot Oatmeal
2. Toast and Peanutbutter - your favorite brands
3. Fresh Fruit - your preference

1. Grits - store bought, following instructions on the box
2. Sweet Potato Home Fries (recipe below)
3. Sweet Potato Biscuits - note: I also made "Buttermilk" Biscuits but this one was the clear winner and MUCH easier to make
4. "Sausage" Gravy or Mushroom Gravy - note: there was no clear winner between the gravies. It would be quite simple to create your own using your favorite ingredients from each - they are both very simple to make. You can even ignore the instructions to shake some of the ingredients together in a jar. Just mix them together and see what you get.

1. Chilaquiles (recipe below)
2. Corn Tortillas - store bought
3. Pinto Beans - store bought, sauteed with a touch of onion and jalapeno

I am amazed at how easy it was to make so much food in so little time, none of it involving animal products. I set the various components on the table with a tub of Earth Balance Spread and voila! Delicious vegan breakfasts.

Recipe for Sweet Potato Home Fries - my apologies for losing track of who gets credit for this.
You will need:
  • 1 lb sweet potatoes or yams
  • 1/2 cup leek, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Plenty of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

Peel the sweet potatoes and chop them into bite-sized chunks. Steam them until just tender, about 5 minutes. Do not overcook. Plunge them into cold water to stop cooking.

Transfer sweet potatoes, leek, garlic, and rosemary into baking dish. Cover liberally with olive oil, preferably extra virgin. Toss in some salt.

Bake at 500 degrees until they look delicious, about 15-20 minutes. Serve.

My Very Rough Recipe for Vegan Chilaquiles

You will need:
Enchilada sauce (use this recipe or just buy it at a store - Rosarita is the best brand according to our blind taste tests)
Corn tortillas
Plenty of vegetable oil
Yves Meatless Ground Taco Stuffers
An onion, diced
Half a jalapeno, diced

First, heat a couple of inches of vegetable oil in a saucepan. Cut the tortillas into strips and fry them in the oil until crisp, but not quite as crisp as a tortilla chip. Dry the tortillas on a towel.

In another pan, sautee the onion and jalapenos in a bit of oil. Add spice as you see fit - I put in some cayenne and some chili powder. Once the onion is transluscent, add the package of Yves Meatless Ground. Sautee a few more minutes then add enchilada sauce until the mixture is the consistency that you desire.

Serve over the fried tortilla strips and enjoy!