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What to eat before/during 3-4 Hour tattoo session.

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Im wondering if the board has any advice about what to eat before/during a 3-hour tattoo session. Getting tattooed will involve some minor blood loss, and elevated endorphin levels due to the relatively consistent (but relatively minor pain)

I was wondering if perhaps there were some experts on the board who might suggest the appropriate eating to prepare, sustain me for this event.

Drinking and taking drugs, by the way, are not good ideas. Alcohol dilates the capillaries close to the skin and can cause blurring of the ink.

TIA for any help/

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  1. whole grains. fruits like berries. stuff that has iron in it, like a nice steak.
    mostly though, this will depend on how you normally eat. if you consume nothing but cheese burgers and Jim Beam your choices would be different from someone who is on a raw food diet. so, just make sure you eat enough calories and try to replace any junk items with something a little more wholesome.
    good luck, and thanks for admitting that it hurts.

    1. I've never seen a need to eat or do anything special before or during even a lengthy tattoo session, except to ensure that I'm not starving by the end of it. Last time I brought a smoothie (fruit, juice, protein powder) with me; easy to sip by straw without too much movement and helped tide me over.

      1. I certainly wouldn't drink a lot of fluids if you plan on sitting still for that long. ;)

        1. If anything stay away from Prune's!!

          1. That's a long session. Most work I have ever had is an hour at a time, except once when I had some recoloring and additions which was long, drawn out, and burnt like a son of a bitch. I felt like I had been drawn through a wringer. I have never felt a need to eat before or during a session. Except advil. Blood loss is negligible. Pain is not minor when you get that much work done, especially with lots of colors. I would eat normally several hours before the work but not within an hour at least, since you may feel queasy. Afterwards you won't feel hungry for awhile either.

            1. Hmm. I have five tats and all of them ran into that time frame. Several of them multiple sessions of three hours each. It never occured to me to eat anything particular, or to avoid anything - except the alcohol. I'd avoid aspirin or any other blood thinning agents as well. One time the tattoo guy ordered in thai and offered me some, but that's it that I can recall.

              1. My one tatto took about 1.5 - 2 hours and is on my right shoulder blade. I didn't eat or drink anything special, but as you say, avoided alcohol and any drugs of any kind--especially aspirin. That goes for a few days before the session if you want to minimize bleeding.

                I can't tell if this is your first time, but it's not especially painful. More like someone persistently scraping at the skin--it's that kind of irritated feeling. The only places where it was painful was near the edge of the shoulder blade where there's not much padding.

                The best way to minimize any pain is to distract yourself. Bring a book, or if you and the tattoo artist are chatty, start talking. It really helps.

                Other than that, make sure you're eating properly and getting the required nutrition. Look after it the way they tell you to--aloe vera cream (after the first 24 hrs) works wonders. Mine healed very fast.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Colleen

                  Thanks for the replies, everyone.

                  This latest tattoo piece (#6)is intended to tie in a tribal design on my shoulder with another tribal design on my back. I'm anticipating a certain level of pain as the clavicle and shoulder blade are close to the skin in those areas, and I figure that good nourishment would be helpful in approaching the experience.

                  I think that I'll have my regular lunch, and maybe have a snack on the way over to the tattoo studio (Rising Dragon on 23/7)

                  Anyone know of a good sandwich place between there and 19th/5th?

                  Also, the smoothie idea sounds great. Thanks again for the responses.

                  1. re: Boneywasawarriorwayayix

                    "Anyone know of a good sandwich place between there and 19th/5th?"

                    Boneywasawarriorwayayix, please pose this question to the hounds on your local board, and help us keep great local tips in the right place. Thanks!