I’ve not met many people that are completely teetotal, but the good news is you don’t need to be. In fact, if you have a worklife balance encouraged by many nutritional therapists and dieticians, you’ll be employing the 80:20 rule.
So if you do fancy a drink, are there many options that can reduce the impact on all your hard work?
Brut nature or other zero-dose-champagnes
These champagnes have not had any sugar added to the recipe during the manufacturing process and the alcoholic content is produced from grape sugar only, meaning they’re low in sugar and Kcals. I have also heard some paleo diet experts explain that because the grape is something that can be collected, and because it has no sugar added, it is paleoapproved. Ayala is my personal choice, but Champagne Extra Brut is another option (very dry but with less sugar).
If you like something stronger but you’re concerned about the calorie content, then your best choice is a vodka and soda. You can now purchase grape vodka if you are trying to avoid grains, with Ciroc the brand you need to be looking for. However, unless you get a very good vodka, I find this can be quite a boring drink and let’s face it, there is absolutely no nutritional value. You could choose a gin or whiskey instead and if you go neat or on the rocks you won’t be adding calories or chemicals into the mix.
There are now many organic and gluten-free versions on the market while more and more breweries are experimenting more than ever before. However, don’t be fooled, some still contain sugar and calories, and you need to be careful when some claim to be ‘Gluten free’; the percentage of gluten acceptable for a product to be classed as gluten free does not always mean that it’s 100% safe for a coeliac.
Estrella is one of the most recogniseable names, and their Daura beer is made with barley malt using a proprietary technique that removes the gluten. Interstingly, some supermarkets are reporting huge year-on-year sales of it. If you want to keep it British, try Monty’s, Hopback, World Top Against or Brewdog’s Vagbond.
Of course, you could always go down the Mocktail route. There is such a fantastic selection of non-alcoholic fancy drinks blends nowadays that it almost seems a shame to drink!
Why not try these two recipes? You’ll simply need to blend the ingredients together.
Virgin Pina Colada Recipe
- 1 cup crushed ice
- 1 cup pineapple juice
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1/2 cup coconut cream
- 1 tbsp sukrin gold
Virgin Cucumber Mint Mojito
- 2 large limes sliced
- 1 cup fresh mint leaves
- 100g spiralized cucmber
- 1/3 cup stevia
- 3 cups carbonated water
Who doesn’t love a milkshake? McDonalds have made both the strawberry and chocolate versions into the most desirable of all drinks. Heck, there were even rumours suggesting the ingredients weren’t that bad for you either. However, they remain loaded with calories from sugar and fat. So can you have your fix and still maintain a ‘clean’ diet?
Rebel Kitchen Choco Mylk
This coconut milk drink with raw cacao is a personal favourite, but mainly because it is lactose and dairy free, and suitable for vegans and vegetarians. It contains no additives, no preservatives, it is gluten free and is sweetened with fruit sugars. It is designed for children aged three and upwards, but I have to admit most friends of my own age are secretly addicted!
Oaty Chocolate Milk
This is a dairy-free alternative to chocolate milk with the beneficial properties of oats. It contains a balance of protein, carbohydrates and unsaturated fats. It is soya free, not gluten free, and has 3% sugar. It also has a fat content of just 1.5%, which is fairly attractive.
Alpro Soya Chocolate Milk
I personally use a lot of Alpro products, but I do not choose to include soya in my diet. If you do choose to use it, this chilled chocolate drink combines soya with the luxurious flavour of the finest cocoa beans. It is naturally free of lactose free, dairy and gluten.
Pho Diet Whey Protien Chocolate Drink
Now, if those above don’t enhance your macros enough, there are a couple of examples of ready-to-drink protein milks that you could try instead. PHD is ready-to-drink and is made with skimmed milk and whey protein. It is fat free and contains no added sugar. It has the additional benefit of green tea extract, which reportedly will aid weight loss, as does the L-Carnitine, which is also present in this milkshake. It is part of PhD Body sculpt range but is not dairy or lactose free.
CNP Chocolate Pro Shake
This is a similar product boasting 37g of protein per shake. It is fat free and has no added sugar. There is some sugar present, but only the intrisic milk sugars you would anticipate. It is rich in BCAA and tastes nice, too.
My patients regularly ask what they should be drinking to rehydrate, particularly after they have exercised. One thing’s for sure, put your sports drink back in the cupboard!
This is the cheapest and most obvious choice, but is it effective? And how much should you be drinking? It is excellent for maintaining hydration, but its salt content is not brilliant for replenishing stores after vigorous exercise. The amount you should be drinking is both bodyweight and exercise-intensity variable, but a rough guide would be 11 cups for women and 15 cups for men. Remember, you can get 20% of your water from food, too.
This is an increasingly popular rehydration drink. In fact, recent statistics show that sales of this particular drink are the fastest growing in the soft drinks industry. The market is now so flooded with different manufacturers that I have lost track of the varying options and one of the main reasons for its popularity is the naturally low carbohydrate content (unlike many sports drinks). It remains rich in potassium, perfect for light exercise, but you may need something else to replenish the salt loss of the body adequately after more vigorous work.
I have read a lot of research with regard to the use of milk as a rehydration product. In fact, there are a number of articles suggesting it is just as good as other products. It is well known for being an excellent source of calcium, but if you choose a semiskimmed version it can help with recovery and rehydration, too. Be careful with the fat content, though, as some articles suggest higher fat content can delay fluid replacement.
Coffee is a diuretic I know, but I haven’t gone mad. Recent studies suggest coffee isn’t in fact a cause of dehydration, which means that it might in fact count towards a cup of your daily water needs. We await further research on this subject, but if true coffee could be the booster you need for a sharper memory and to enhance endurance and athletic performance. Not exactly a post work out drink, but drinking beforehand may give you everything you need without any of the detrimental side effects originally presumed.
Make your own recovery drink!
Cherry juice has been shown to aid muscle recovery while chia and poppy seeds can aid with anti inflammatory and pain relief. The coconut water aids rehydration, boosted by the diarolyte salts. The date syrup adds some sweetness and high glycaemic carbs for a quick hit to fuel depleted muscles. Mix them together, hey presto!
50ml tart cherry juice, 1 tbsp chia seeds, 1 tbsp poppy seeds, 25ml lemon juice, 450ml cold water, 150ml crushed ice, 150ml unsweetened coconut water, 1 sachet diarolyte powder, 6 fresh basil leaves (optional), 1 tbsp date syrup (if you want a higher carb version)