Hello Everyone and Happy Thursday!
I am sorry about the delayed post here. Generally I get my Musing posts out on Wednesday, but I took a redeye flight back from Seattle Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. Therefore, yesterday was a blur of travel and unpacking and I decided some extra sleep would produce a better post then to power it out yesterday. I will still have a recipe post for tomorrow as well. It’s a really fun recipe that my friend made for me during my trip to Seattle and when I had it, I just knew I had to share it and she was generous enough to oblige. Keep an eye on that for tomorrow.
I am a firm believer that following a Ketogenic lifestyle is one that is totally individual, and should be long term. I honestly consider that living this life is the best way to health and allows our bodies to function at its most optimal. Along with this, I don’t believe Keto is a six month fix meant to get you into your wedding dress or ready for that High School Reunion. I understand that those events may be goals and may have even been apart of what got you to make the shift, but the idea is that we are learning to live long term in a ketogenic way. What this means is that there will be events and parties that occur while living your life. You can’t become a keto hermit afraid to go out into the public and you also can’t have these times be full binge-fests or “breaks” from Keto. We have to learn how to navigate these situations without them derailing us.
I know that for years, even before Keto, when I was on Weight Watchers, parties had a tendency to be a place to go overboard. I would justify making poor decisions, saying “It’s a party, I should celebrate,” and then, feeling like I need to take advantage of the moment, I would eat everything in sight. A lot of this had to do with alcohol intake. Once in a celebrative mindset, and a few drinks in, my best laid plans would crumble and I would end up face first in the chips and dip, hands full of cookies and a mind full of regret. I knew that to be able to make this a lifestyle change, I had to be able to conquer the social gathering without it derailing my previous progress. For me, this means little to no alcohol. I enjoy a glass of wine and a cocktail as much as the next person, but in a situation, where much is not under your control and could be difficult to navigate, alcohol can alleviate that mindfulness, making it much harder then it needs to be. I am not saying don’t have the glass of wine at all, or that you are destined to drinking water all night, quite the contrary! What I am saying is keep it to one or two, and don’t start off, right away, with an alcoholic beverage. Chances are, this is a multi hour situation where the turtle beats the hare every time, so you have to be prepared for the long haul.
Again, this does not mean you are giving up the celebratory spirit. Contrary to popular belief, food and drink don’t make the party, people do. There are a few tricks I abide by to get through situations like these that allow me to enjoy the party even though I am not imbibing. I went to a wonderful birthday party this weekend where I had no control over the food or beverage being served, and I was able to not only get through the party unscathed, but enjoyed it to the fullest. Below are my tips to enjoying the party, while staying on track.
First of all, talk to your bartender.
They aren’t scary and they are often extremely nice and accommodating. They are in the service industry, and aside from some bad bartenders I have had, most are ready and happy to help you. For the party this weekend, I talked to the bartender, explaining I was avoiding alcohol for the evening and don’t like sugary drinks (a way to avoid being given a sugary non-alcoholic beverage) and asked if he had any non-alcoholic alternatives that looked like a cocktail (so you don’t get a bunch of questions). Not only did he get me a delightful unsweetened turmeric shrub that was gorgeous, he promised to keep my glass full so that I didn’t get any questions or have to deal with any awkward conversation. He kept his promise and I enjoyed the entire night, glass full. Now he went above and beyond, but I promise they are often far more accommodating then you would think, you just need to ask… and tip well.
If and when you decide to get a beverage, get a large bottle of water or sparkling with it.
The idea here is that you can add a little bit of water as you drink your alcoholic beverage. Yes, it dilutes the flavor slightly but you will barely notice it with all of the awesome conversation you will be having, and when the party is going for their second, or fourth beverage, they won’t think to ask you, because yours will be full. My mom has a great trick, where she gets her white wine with a little ice and adds some sparkling water. Then, throughout the night, she goes to the bar and has more sparkling water added. Again, this keeps her hydrated and feeling like she’s drinking someone celebratory, and no one is the wiser.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate.
This is obvious, and I might even be getting a few eye rolls but seriously, be sure to drink a lot of water. Drink a few glasses before you head out, right when you get there and then through out the night. This will help you stay full and subside many food cravings, but will also stop you from chugging that gin and soda because you are thirsty.
Order any one of these super fun, non-alcoholic options that fool the crowd, and your tastebuds, but keep the festive atmosphere ablaze.
I have learned that feeling restricted or like I don’t get to enjoy something when others do can be detrimental to my success, so it’s important for me to have something that is festive, delicious, and makes me feel like I am being apart of it, without the morning hangover. Make sure to have a few packets of your favorite, natural non-sugar sweetener or a bottle of stevia to add as necessary. If you forget, Splenda is fine for a one night celebration and most places will have it. Most bartenders will be happy to make any of these below beverages for you if they have the ingredients. Just be clear about what you want, make sure they put it in a festive glass, and always make sure to tip for the extra effort.
- A Shrub– A shrub can be one of two things, either a fruit liqueur, of which you would want to stay away from, or, as what is most popular right now, a vinegar based syrup generally made from a fruit with vinegar and spices and/or herbs, allowed to steep into a concentrate and mixed with some bubbly water. They are low in sugar and are a wonderful adult beverage alternative that are fairly low in carbohydrate and are full of complex flavors.Order half unsweetened iced tea, half seltzer, over ice in a highball glass, a lemon squeeze and half of a Splenda, or whatever sweetener you have available to you.
- Order seltzer with lemon or lime in a lowball glass (a refreshing classic).
- A splash of grapefruit juice (1 tbsp has one carb) mixed with seltzer, mint sprig and a orange peel.
- A Virgin, No-sugar-added, Tom Collins: Basically, have them put some lemon juice and seltzer over ice in a highball glass. Then add one packet of the sweetener you brought, or a couple drops of stevia.
- Iced Coffee, or Cold Brew: Have them serve it in a lowball glass and I would keep it unsweetened and without milk. The bitter coolness in the lowball glass makes it fee like a adult beverage that is easy to sip all night. You also get a little buzz from the caffeine. It is the best if they happen to have it on draft because it makes for a frothy top which adds to the fun, so if you see, make sure to get one.
- Sugar Free Syrup and Soda: Take a gander at their bar. If it is also a breakfast place, they may have a a sugar free vanilla syrup. I am often shocked at how many restaurants have it. Just have them mix one pump of sugar free vanilla syrup with seltzer water in a glass. It has a little creamy flavor that isn’t too sweet with the seltzer. Make sure it is in a fun glass with a sprig of some herb and enjoy your delicately sweet beverage all day into the night.
- Sugar Free Syrup and Iced Tea: Just like the drink above but instead of bubbles, use iced tea. The iced tea adds a bit of complexity.
- No Sugar Added, Virgin Mojito: Ask them to make a virgin mojito without the sugar (basically muddle a lime slice with mint in a highball glass, add more lime and top with seltzer). If you want the sweetness, pull out that packet of sweetener you brought and mix it right there. A fresh and delicious beverage for a hot summer party.
- The Un-boring, Unsweetened Iced Tea: I know, I know, this seems boring and a total giveaway but ask the bartender for your unsweetened iced tea but instead of just the iced tea, ask them to add a slice of lime, and a couple of sprigs of an herb, with a dash of bitters. This will have a ton of complexity, a little bitter with the savory herb and acidic lemon. This is tasty with basic Lipton iced tea (unfortunately the go-to for many restaurants) but only gets better if the restaurant makes their own specialty teas.
- Bitters and Soda:Every bar will have angostura bitters so this drink is easy to get and easy for your bartender to make. Also, it will feel more celebratory then anything you drink at home since I doubt you are putting bitters in your LaCoix. The bitters gives the beverage a more savory flavor and since it does have a very very small about of alcohol, your tastebuds will think you are enjoying an actual adult beverage.
- Sugar Free Sparkling Apple “Cider”: This is one of my favorite drinks, period. I came up with this because I was trying to find a way to get in some Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar on a regular basis since it’s so crazy good for you. Basically mix 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar with seltzer and a packet of sweetener. It’s tangy, a little apply and super yummy not to mention wonderful for your tummy! Garnish with a little bit of mint and I bet you start enjoying this one pretty regularly around the house and at your next party.
- Let your bartender have fun: If you feel like you have a good rapport with your bartender let him or her have some fun and be creative. Make sure they know it needs to be without starch or sugar and no alcohol. I have ended up drinking some pretty fun beverages doing this, including a delicious Lemon Flip where he added a packet of Splenda, one egg yolk and lemon juice, shook it really well and then strained it into a glass over ice. It was the most velvety, delicious drink.
So have fun and don’t be afraid. You can have a fun, festive, party filled time without the alcohol, or the awkward conversations about why your aren’t drinking. I can’t wait to hear about the fun beverages you end up having at your next shindig. Make sure to take pictures and tag me @theeverydayfeast on Facebook and Instagram.
Until next time, Happy Feasting!