The holidays are here!
It’s hard to believe that Christmas is less than one week away! With all of the Christmas parties going on and with everyone in relax mode, it’s very easy to over-indulge in the holiday bevvies, not to mention the chocolate, desserts, and rich meals. Here’s a simple guide on what to drink and what to avoid so as not to spoil your health goals!
The key here is to avoid SUGAR. Easily-absorbable sugar, like that in beverages, spikes our blood sugar, which spikes insulin release from the pancreas, both of which cause weight gain. Excess sugar stores as fat, and insulin is anabolic.
Here's what to reach for and what to avoid to keep your sugar- and waistline- in check.
Dry red wine
- Red wine contains very little sugar, less than white wine, and choosing a dryer wine (red or white) also means less sugar. It also contains antioxidants which will partially counteract the inflammation that the alcohol is causing in your body.
- Examples of dry reds: cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, shiraz, merlot, malbec
- Dry whites: sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio
- Champagne is another option: go for brut or extra-sec for less sugar
Vodka and club soda with lemon/lime
- This is one of the lowest calorie alcoholic beverages you can drink at about 60 calories per ounce of vodka.
- You can sub any other clear spirit for the vodka. Clear spirits contain less calories than dark.
- You can also try flavoured vodka and soda but be sure to avoid brands that add high fructose corn syrup to flavour their vodka. Many companies claim to flavour their vodka with fruit, berry, and plant extracts, without adding sugar, such as Absolut Vodka.
Dairy-free rum and egg nog
- Of course you probably want to get a little festive from time to time and have something creamy and comforting like rum and egg nog. There are plenty of dairy (and egg)-free nogs out there these days to avoid the hormones and growth factors in milk. However, store-bought eggnog will have a lot of added sugar so consider making your own using full-fat coconut milk and xylitol. Just be sure to only have one or two, then switch to something lower in calories.
Pop and juice mixers
- These are VERY high in rapidly-absorbing sugar.
- Diet soda has no sugar, but it contains aspartame, a known neurotoxin, and other artificial sweeteners, so if you really want that pop, it’s best to go with the regular version (and it tastes better too!).
- Liqueurs are great for making fun specialty drinks and shots but they are VERY high in sugar!
- Beer is obviously high in carbohydrates aka sugar, hence the term "beer belly", or "wheat belly", the title of the bestselling book by Dr. William Davis, so you’ll want to keep it to a minimum. And guys, that beer belly or, visceral fat, produces estrogen which stimulates breast growth, leading to "man cans" (another term from Dr. Davis' book), just sayin'.
- Sometimes, there’s nothing that quite satisfies like an ice cold spicy caesar. Clamato juice does have some nutritional content as opposed to a plain vodka and soda which is good when you are drinking but it has more carbs than beer, a LOT of sodium, and MSG. If you need to have one, look for an alternative brand with no MSG and low sodium. I also add a ton of ice to my glass to make it last longer. Again, try to get your fix with one glass, then switch.
Add club soda/water
- If you really want that vodka cranberry or rum and coke, try only filling your glass halfway with your mixer, then fill the rest with club soda or water. Then try filling the glass almost all the way with club soda and just adding a splash of mixer. You will eventually enjoy not having the sickly sweet taste of a full strength mix.
Thanks for reading and good luck!
Happy holidays from the Healthy Minimalist!