Nobody knows . . . how dry I am

Posted on March 16, 2011. Filed under: Nutrition | Tags: , , , , , , |

There is a very odd assumption about a healthy lifestyle.  For whatever reason people tend to assume you have no social life.

This is an odd assumption to say to least but very common.  For whatever reason cutting back on junk food or alcohol in order to get in better shape people seem to equate to the idea of living a monk lifestyle.

In fact recently a client told me that their new healthy lifestyle was killing their social life.  Considering in the near future I will be attending  an all day and all night bachelor party.  I found this statement to be odd.

Just because you cut back on drinking doesn’t mean you should cut back on being social.  And if that is the impression you have about a healthy lifestyle, I encourage you to re-examine this view.  What’s the point of being healthy if you are going to just make yourself miserable.

Biases up front, I have been a teetotaler all my life.  Many find this odd but I’ve never given it much thought.  Maybe it’s because there was no real peer pressure for it, maybe because my friends in the old neighborhood were into other recreational substances ;), who knows.  But I have never drank alcohol nor have I taken part in any recreational drug use.  And yet, I have still been to bars, clubs, raves, house parties, frat parties, many a time with no problem.  And even found a friend or two at them.
I have been doing this for so long I forget sometimes for those who are making a transition in lifestyle this can be a challenge, and can promote awkward situations.  Usually the source of these awkward feelings is either ‘friends’ who keep trying to get them to drink.  Or possibly professional social situations where others you are networking with are drinking and you don’t want a potential client to feel put-off by you.

I don’t usually have to face the latter anymore, as people who meet me would do so recognizing me as a fitness professional.  Thus, they are more understanding of my teetotaling position.  The general social situation has also lessened as I have found a core group of true friends, who accept my choices.

But before then, I did have to apply a few survival tricks which I will share.  So whether you don’t drink at all or don’t want to drink that night, here are a few suggestion and ways to go about things in a non-confrontational way.

First we have the situation where you want people to think you are drinking.

This gets easier as the night goes on.  Because once people have a nice buzz going on they assume everybody else is drinking.  This was really easy at frat parties, a anything shiny in your hand (can or bottle) as assumed to be beer.

One of my closest friend for years got in to a debate with me because he thought I had a drink at a recent party.  After a while he realized that in his slightly buzzed eyes, everything just looked like alcohol.  And honestly, unless someone is going to take the drink out of your hand, or do the pouring themselves, they will never know unless you meant them to.

Many of us have encountered that one friendly person who wants to “get everybody another round!”  The friend who tries to make sure that the whole group is drinking and getting as wasted as they are. There’s nothing wrong with this person; they just want everyone to have a good time and have fun.  Although more often than not, this person could stand to slow down their own drinking.

Groups of people also like to buy rounds and may get you one if you don’t state otherwise.  But if you always have a full one in front of you, you can politely decline.  And if you have friends that will ridicule you for not drinking. By hiding that you’re not drinking, you can avoid this problem.  Which gives you time to focus on more important things than fighting them off, like looking for new friends. 🙂

OK, so how do we do the covert thing.  Here are a few ideas.

Juice is great.  Know the difference between how a glass of orange juice and a screwdriver look side by side.  Neither does anyone else.  If you want to look like you’re drinking wine, apple juice in a wine glass looks like a Pinot or Chardonnay to the untrained eye. Grape juice can look like a lot of red wine if no one is paying attention. Sparkling white grape juice looks like champagne, and mixed with peach puree or orange juice can stand in for a Bellini or a Mimosa. I learned that tip from a friend who was pregnant and was at a social event.  She didn’t want to tell anyone yet, so she asked the bartender what she could do.

Soda water, Tonic water, Seltzer, or a Citrus Soda like 7-up or Sprite can all be easily poured in a glass and served with a citrus wedge to fool anyone into thinking you’re drinking a clear liquor with a clear mixer. A vodka tonic looks exactly like plain tonic water in the same glass side by side. If you’re going to be drinking a lot of these however, choose soda water because of the lack of calories. The others can have a lot of calories and sugar, and what’s the point of cutting out alcohol if you are going to gain a gut anyway.

As far as non-alcoholic(NA) beer goes I have no real experience with this.  And I have heard mixed reviews about taste. But it works great for hiding that you’re not drinking, because in a glass it looks just like any other light lager.  If you are going to go this route, my understanding is avoid O’douls by An-Busch.  ‘Tastes horrible,’ is the review I got.  Instead try some of the lesser known ones.   Heineken makes one called Buckler, and Guinness makes one called Kaliber. On the domestic side, most old-school domestic beer drinkers like Busch NA because they say, of all the ones they’ve tried, it tastes the most like beer. Also heard good things about Kaliber.  Again, watch your calories.

Iced tea, on the rocks, can look like whiskey or a light scotch. A lot of people mix their dark liquors with cola, so having only cola in your glass will fool anyone.  If you like Bloody Marys, get one without the vodka. You’ll still get all the  garnishes, so you can get something to eat as well as something to drink.A mix of cranberry juice and lime juice can look like a Cosmopolitan.

Now if you don’t care that people know you drink (my preferred route) there are as many options for you as there are alcoholic drinks.
Shirley Temple is citrus soda and grenadine. A Roy Rogers is cola and grenadine. An Arnold Palmer is lemonade and iced tea.  You can also mix apple cider and ginger beer, juice and citrus soda.  Personally I just do Ginger Ale.  Or if the guys want to do a round of shots I’ll do a shot of grenadine syrup.  It’ about as unpleasant as an actual shot, including the usual “after shot” face.  I’ll only do one, but it adds a bit of camaraderie.

Remember you don’t have to be a shut-in to have a healthy lifestyle.

Best Health

Coach W


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One Response to “Nobody knows . . . how dry I am”

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Very appropriate topic for the upcoming drinking holiday 😛

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