A Health-Conscious Guide to Ordering Drinks
How to have a few cocktails without the inevitable day-after regret (and a killer hangover) according to the clean-eating geniuses behind Sakara.
Blink twice if this sounds familiar: you’re out for drinks with a business contact or Tinder date, asked by the waiter what exactly you’d like and you’re stumped. The cocktail list (with prices ranging from $15-$25—yikes!) is overwhelming and requires close reading to actually order something you might like. And, well, it all looks like a ton of sugar, and today was so not supposed to be a cheat day. Just any average Thursday, right?
We all know that alcohol is a secret calorie killer, even when that bottle of Sauvignon Blanc and a season of old school 90210 is looking extra tempting. So what exactly are a couple of health-conscious, but not totally boring (as in not totally sober) women like us supposed to order when the drinks question inevitably comes up? In other words, how can we enjoy our night without the deep regret that comes from extreme gluttony?
So many questions, you guys. And as they do when any healthy consumption concerns are raised, Sakara Life meal plan gurus Whitney Tingle and Danielle DuBoise came to the rescue (they’re the same experts who are guiding us on what to order at restaurants, BTW). “We love being healthy, eating our daily greens, drinking a Gravity juice with E3 Live from Juice Press, hitting Physique57 and decompressing with a little Ram Dass,” they told us. “But we’re also New Yorkers, so socializing over drinks (bottomless mimosas) and dancing until sweat drips down our backs at a dingy underground club is also part of our lifestyle.” So it’s not just us.
“While these [lifestyles] don’t always go hand-in-hand, we have developed some practices over the years that allow us to go out and nourish our souls while doing minimum damage to that radiant health we work so hard to achieve. It’s all part of the balance. Below are our tips on how to be a, ahem, ‘healthy’ drunk.” And to that we say, amen. Bring on the weekend.
How to Pick Your Booze
“This is a question we get all the time. Which alcohol is the healthiest??
“When it comes to drinking red wine (ask for organic!) takes the cake for the healthiest type of alcohol. It is loaded with heart-protecting, anti-oxidizing polyphenols—in particular, resveratrol, which has shown to reduce inflammation in the body (a.k.a. aging), helps to prevent blood clotting, and lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol. So while you’re out boozing, they can be working on that thumper of yours. There was also an interesting study out in 2012 that linked red wine to lower estrogen levels, which could help reduce the risk of breast cancer in the long run.
“While red wine is beautiful, heart-healthy and delicious, it’s definitely not our go-to drink of choice for long nights on the dance floor. Here are five easy tips to help you indulge in those crazy fun, boozy nights while minimizing the harm to your hard-working body. Balance our friends… that’s why we’re here!”
1. Buy local liquors or craft beers
“Just as you avoid super processed food, don’t drink super processed alcohol. The FDA requires all food and non-alcoholic beverages to list their ingredients on the label in retail stores, but does not regulate the ingredients in alcohol. In fact, a whole other federal agency regulates the alcohol industry, the Department of Treasury—the people who collect your taxes! If you haven’t noticed, there are no ingredient lists to be found anywhere near most alcoholic beverages on the package (whoa!).
“In most big business liquor and beer companies, you’re likely to find GMO ingredients, corn syrup, artificial coloring, which are known carcinogens, and even animal bi-products. Not to worry—there are lots of great trustworthy alcohols and craft beers with ingredients that are clean and simple. Cleaner drinks are easier on your body and cause less of a hangover too.”
Core Small Batch (check out their black raspberry vodka!)
Tito’s Handmade Vodka
2. Pace yourself
“When searching for the healthiest drink, what it really comes down to is not what you’re drinking, but how much of it. Excess consumption of alcohol in any form does harm to your body. Period. Because alcohol is a diuretic, it dehydrates you, forcing your organs to soak up h2o from anywhere they can. As you become more and more dehydrated, that’s when the headache sets in. Since we all metabolize alcohol at different rates, find a number that works for you and limit yourself to that.
“Add the H2O Factor. This one is easy. Drink a glass of water between every drink. Every single one! Swear, it works.”
3. Sweat it out before going out
“A sweaty workout before a night of drinking will rev up your metabolism so that your body will be better able to metabolize the alcohol you drink. Your metabolic rate will stay elevated for up to 24 hours after exercising, so your body will be able to break down the alcohol even while you sleep! Bonus points for keeping the workout going into the night! Just make sure that you eat a full, balanced meal before going out—healthy fats such as coconut oil or olive oil, complex carbs such as brown rice, and protein from nuts and beans. And don’t forget your greens! If you drink alcohol directly after exercising without refueling your body, not only will you get drunk faster, but it will also impair your body’s ability to repair itself and slow the recovery process, resulting in a dreadful hangover. Not to mention the late night pizza, burgers, tacos galore.... (that only happens once in a blue moon…)”
“Pop some B vitamins before drinking. As your body loses water, it loses a number of essential vitamins and minerals with it, the most important ones being vitamin B and C. Taking a B vitamin complex before drinking and again the next morning with food will help to combat hangover and restore your body’s nutrient levels. Vitamin B12 plays a vital role in cognitive function and will lessen your post-booze pounding headache.”
5. Mix & mingle carefully
“This one is obvious, but we have to say it. Fruity mixers are loaded with sugar and often contain unwanted chemicals or artificial additives. Stay away from the soda—bye bye rum and Coke—and that cranberry stuff that comes with bottle service hardly deserves to even be called juice. The best way to go is to mix with water (sparkling or flat). Not only does it dilute the alcohol content to keep you going at a steadier pace, but it helps to level out the dehydration caused by your drink. Club soda is definitely better than carbonated fake juices—even better, try sparkling water and a squeeze of lemon or lime. A wonderful hydrating mixer to keep you going through the night is coconut water! Loaded with health benefits, this hydrating drink is additive-free, and will replenish your electrolyte levels to help you wake up happier the next morning. And one trick that we use when we really want to be good girls is to make our own mixer—we order straight vodka on the rocks with 3 orange slices and then mush them up in the bottom of the glass.
“We learned a little secret from David Rabin’s new place, Skylark, to making a healthy and delicious cocktail. In their Fort Knox cocktail, they freeze pieces of lemon into the ice cube. It adds flavor, fresh fruit, and fun!”
Photo: Caitlin Mitchell