Monthly Archives: May 2011

Memorial Day AFTER

It’s Sunday morning of Memorial Day weekend.  You’ve been celebrating with your friends, drinking beer all day, and partying most of the night.  You haven’t made some good decisions food-wise (just a couple of chips turned into half a bag, with guac, a burger, and a huge piece of apple pie).  You wake up feeling kind of gross – between the drinks and the food you feel like you may have been rolled over by truck a couple times.

Sound familiar?  We’ve all been there, and while I can give you tons of tips on how to eat healthfully at a barbeque, how to not overdo it on the drinks, etc…  guess what?  I’m not going to.  Sometimes you just don’t want to think about that!  And that’s ok as long as you don’t make having one indulgent night a weekly thing!  What I will do is give you some tips that will help you bounce back quickly from a bender.

  1. Ditch the Booze-brunch:  It’s a common misconception that after drinking and eating heavily the night before, it makes sense to have a bloody mary the next day.  A little hair-of-the-dog that bit you right?  While initially the alcohol does make you feel better, by breaking down any remaining ethanol in your system into less dehydrating compounds, the hangover will just come back harder and with more of a vengeance later in the day.  And that’s no party for anyone!
  2. Fried foods are a no go:  Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it sucks the water out of your system like a very dry sponge.  So anything salty or fried will only dehydrate your system further and make you feel more like poop.
  3. Hydrate like it’s your job:  Water, gatorade, and coconut water will all do a good job at replenishing your system and helping to beat any morning-after bloat.  Also, try eating foods that have a high-water content, like cucumber, celery, fennel (helps to debloat!), apples, and watermelon.  All of these foods will help to balance out your system and replace any electrolytes your body lost.
  4. Skip the gum:  Avoid anything that is sugar-free or contains sugar alcohols, which will bloat you up like the dickens (yes I just said that).  So skip it and stick to real food.
  5. Break a sweat: I know this probably sounds like really annoying advice, but the absolute best cure I have ever found for a hangover is working out.  You may feel yucky at first, but sweating out those toxins will do your body a world of good, not to mention your digestive system.  Even forcing yourself to go for a brisk walk outside can help get the blood flowing again and help your body repair and recover.

Have a very happy, healthy, relaxing and fun Memorial Day, be safe and thank a serviceperson if you can (it is THEIR holiday after all!!)

Whey to go!

Saturday night, D and I were hanging out at our friend, J’s apartment uptown before going to a bday party.  We were all congregating in his kitchen, and I glanced over a saw a ginormous tub of whey protein powder supplement.  I said to J, “You know you really don’t need that stuff.”  Being ever the politician, we both got into a little debate over it.  So the question remains…do normal, regularly weight-lifting and exercising individuals really need that stuff?  Besides, the icky ingredient list (corn syrup and red dye #40 were present…not so good), it’s a common myth that you need tons of protein in your diet.

Believe it or not, a regularly active individual needs only about 15-20% of their diet to be protein.  In a normal, 1800 calorie diet, this means about 270-360 calories should come from lean protein sources such as lean cuts of beef, chicken, or turkey, fish, tofu, beans and lowfat dairy.  Did you know that you also get protein in grains too?  A slice of whole wheat bread usually has about 3 grams of protein!  So a 150-lb individual needs about 55 grams of protein per day, which translates into one medium piece of grilled chicken, a greek yogurt, and two pieces of whole wheat bread!  So where does the extra protein go?  Well, let’s just say that protein supplements make your pee really, really expensive.

You may ask — but what about building muscles after a workout?  Protein supplements are often touted as the ultimate post-workout muscle building drink.  The truth?  You’re better off drinking a glass of chocolate milk.  A study in the International Journal of Sports and Exercise Metabolism, found that athletes drank chocolate milk, that beloved childhood favorite, they recovered faster and better than drinking water or sports drinks like Gatorade!  The findings suggest that chocolate milk contains the optimal ratio of carbohydrates and protein needed to quench thirsty muscles.  Not too mention that moo juice contains key nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D, which high-tech, highly processed sports supplements do not.

Bottom line?  EAT REAL FOOD.  If you eat a balanced diet full of whole grains, plenty of veggies and fruit, lean meats/legumes/soy, and dairy, then you’ll get all the protein your body needs.  Supplements, bars, and powders aren’t real food.  You may get extra protein, but you’ll also get a slew of artificial flavorings, dyes and sugar.  If you fuel yourself regularly throughout the day combined with good solid workouts and strength work will do a better job at keeping your metabolism humming and your body lean and mean than any protein shake ever could!

Mexicana Mama

Happy Cinco de Mayo!!  I must admit — I love – no- ADORE Mexican food.  And while there’s always a place in my heart for gooey, cheesy, bean enchiladas and chips and guac, those are more “special occasion splurges” than regular incidences.  So to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, I’m going to “Gotham skinnycize” a typical New York City Mexican restaurant menu, and makes the best pick for you (and your bum!).

DRINKS:

  • Order a light beer such as corona light with lime, wine, or a margarita on the rocks without sweet and sour mix (instead add lime) and only a dash of triple sec.  Avoid any and all mixed drinks like the plague.  They add up to 500 calories before you’ve actually eaten anything.  And always remember to drink plenty of water and try not to go to crazy with the alcohol.  The more you DRINK, the less you THINK.  And that means that those 3 chips you ate can quickly become 20 and half a bowl of guac.

STARTERS:

What to eat:

  • Salsa: This condiment often comes with chips.  Salsa is virtually calorie-free, tastes spicy and delish and goes on everything!  Try to limit yourself to only a few chips, and ask if they can give you veggies to dip rather than chips!
  • Guacamole:  Avocados are great for your skin and provide essential Omega-3 fatty acids.  But BEWARE, the calories add up fast here, so try to only take a big spoonful.
  • “Market-style” corn on the cob:  Grilled corn is super healthy and delish!  Just ask them to leave the cheese / butter off and enjoy it straight up!
  • Ceviche: Basically marinated fish, super healthy and fresh.
  • Tortilla soup:  Like a Mexican version of chicken soup, filling and light.

What to avoid:

  • Queso Fundido: Basically just cheese fondue.  I can feel my arteries clogging already.
  • Nachos:  Cheese, beens, meat, guac and sour cream all loaded onto fried chips.  Need I say more?
  • Salads: Most salads at Mexican restaurants are salads in name only.  Add fried tortilla strips, cheese, beans and creamy dressing and you’ve got yourself a pretty unhealthy starter.
  • Anything that says battered, fried, or cheesy!

MAINS:

  • Tacos with grilled fish, grilled chicken, lean beef (try to get corn tortillas instead of plain flour tortillas) – make sure that they don’t have a lot of condiments such as sour cream, cheese, etc or ask for them on the side.
  • Fajitas: Because you can pretty much build your own meal here, fajitas can be a great option.  Take your protein of choice – just makes sure ask for them to go light on the oil – and load it up with sauteed veggies, salsa, and a sprinkle (and I mean a sprinkle!) of cheese.  Opt for a green salad or extra veggies instead of the beans and rice that usually come on the side and are often prepared with gobs of oil.
  • Chicken enchiladas: Believe it or not, chicken enchiladas can actually be a decent choice!  Just ask to skip the cheese and rice, and opt for black beans instead of refried and you’ve got yourself a great deal (about 300 calories per enchilada).  Split it with a friend and order some veggies on the side and you’re golden!

What to AVOID:

  • Quesadillas: Cheese, cheese and more cheese.  And then fried.  With a sprinkle of chicken or veggies.  Not so good.
  • Burritos: A big flour tortilla that is usually stuffed with rice, refried beans, ground beef, sour cream and cheese.  Also not a great choice.
  • Chimichanga: Yes, the name may be exciting, but it’s not doing anything thrilling for your beach bod.  It is a deep-fried burrito.  So take everything I said above and then fry it.  Oy.

Have a great night and do it up!  Olé!!!