Skinny Spirits: Your Guide to a Guilt-Free Night on the Town
Scenario: You’re doing well with your eating habits, you’re feeling healthy and vibrant, you’re looking great in those pants you haven’t worn in five years, but then you get the call…
“What are you doing this weekend? Let’s go out for drinks!”
Panic sets in. Your mind races several hours ahead to you stumbling around, multiple beers in and feeling bloated, craving gross bar food and already knowing you’ll be sleeping in tomorrow and skipping your workout.
Well, calm down. Accept the invitation, put the phone down and figure out your game plan for the night.
Before you leave the house: Eat. Don’t go out for a late night already hungry. The first thing that will happen after you get a few drinks in your system is you’ll be forced to eat, and it’s pretty much impossible to eat clean at a bar (and even if you have the option, do you really go for a chicken Caesar when you get the late-night munchies?). If you really want to try to prevent a hangover, you can try drinking some green tea or taking NAC and thiamine supplements (Source)
When you get to the bar: Pace yourself and keep track of your drinks. Drink super slowly. No one will notice but you, and you’ll still have a good time. Also, try to avoid taking a lot of shots. Those are harder to keep track of, they hit you way harder and they’ll make it more difficult for you to keep a steady pace. If you can find any, try to eat some healthy fats while you’re drinking. You should also try to drink water throughout the night.
When you order a drink: Think it through. Yes, that girl’s Piña Colada looks heavenly, but remember that it’s mainly sugar and probably isn’t worth the insulin spike you’re going to encounter and the consequent headache that’ll be just around the corner. Try to drink as clean as possible. Here are a few ideas:
- Red wine. It might not be the most exotic drink on the menu, but red wine is usually organic, it’s got antioxidants, and it’s actually good for your heart in moderation. (Source) White wines and sparkling wines are decent as well, but not quite as healthy as reds.
- 100% agave tequila. Let’s be honest; we can’t all handle this liquor. If tequila makes your clothes fall off, move on to the next idea. However, good tequila (Patron Silver, Don Julio) is made totally from the agave plant, which makes it basically the cleanest liquor you can consume. Try nutrition expert Robb Wolf’s popular NorCal Margarita. Your bartender probably doesn’t know this one by heart, so here you go: 2 shots 100% agave tequila, lime juice, club soda, shaken, on the rocks.
- Hard cider. Now, these are gluten-free, but they’re still sugary, so don’t go crazy with them. They’re definitely a better alternative to beer if you are trying to stay away from gluten (which you should be if you have been following this blog!).
- Fruit-based liquor. Most liquors, like whiskey, scotch and gin are made from barley, wheat and other grains—AKA, carbfest. If you have to have liquor and you don’t do tequila, go for a fruit-based vodka like Ciroc, sugarcane juice-based rum like 10 Cane or brandy (it’s made from grapes). (Source)
- Gluten-free beer. Depending on the bar, this might not even be an option. However, if you’re somewhere super hip and it happens to be available, give it a go. My favorite is New Planet Raspberry Ale. Other good choices are Dogfish Head’s Tweason’ale, Omission, Bard’s and Green’s.
Before you go to bed: Hydrate. Don’t forget this! When you drink a lot of alcohol, you end up expelling a whole lot of water and the electrolytes that go with it. Drink at least two cups of water before you go to bed. You can also try something enhanced with electrolytes like coconut water or Pedialyte (Source).
The next morning: If none of this helps and somehow you still wake up feeling like it’s the morning after prom, don’t sue me. Alcohol treats everyone differently, and sometimes our best attempts to “just have a few” simply fail. Take an aspirin, pump yourself full of electrolytes and coffee, then get yourself moving with some kind of exercise to revive yourself. And better luck next time!