When someone refers to summer as “dog days,” I picture my dog lying around in the sun. She’s just so lazy out there, all flopped over and barely lifting her head to defy me when I call her inside. She’s the very definition of laziness. I should know—it’s what I look like on my boat from that first sunny day to the last. I’m lazy and, though I do try, it seems I let my health flop, too. Things I would never allow into my body any other time of the year somehow slip through the cracks. I know better. Even worse, I know it doesn’t have to be that way. This summer, my goals are strong: I refuse to sacrifice my health. There are easy healthy summer cocktails and food options that won’t keep me from all the fun. No FOMO here! I’ll have plenty of time with these simple tricks.
Healthy Summer Cocktails
I’ll get right to this because it’s one many of our clients cling to when setting their health goals. I want to have a cocktail this summer—what do I do? It’s the most depressing thing to be told you can’t engage in social hour. Believe me, I know. I’ve gone through my own program at Forum Health Clarkston. We’re not mean people here—we don’t want to keep our clients from having fun. When you’re detoxing, healing, and trying to lose all that bloat and inflammation, alcohol will only make it worse. I still go through my bouts of alcohol avoidance from time to time. During my quarterly rejuvenation, my friends don’t understand why I pass on that glass of cabernet. Even worse, most adults have not lost that peer pressure thing.
“You’re really not drinking? Seriously?”
“Oh, come on. You can have one. It’s not going to kill you.”
The pressure is real, my friends, and it tends to hit an all-time high from June through August. We understand. So, in the summer, for those who are in maintenance and have met their goals, there are a few healthier summer drink options to help stay somewhat on track.
The OG of spiked seltzer is made using a blend of seltzer water, gluten free alcohol base, and fruit flavor. With 100 calories, 2g carbs, 2g sugar, and 5% alcohol in a 12oz can, it comes in 5 different fruit flavors. Notice the alcohol content: 5% Yikes! Just one or two is plenty. Drink with caution because a healthy good time could turn into a sloppy one.
My favorite—Henry’s Spiked Seltzer:
I stumbled across this one when I was searching for something with less alcohol—right after an afternoon of too many White Claws made me “fall asleep” on my raft on Dollar Bay. With only 4.2% alcohol, I was excited to read that this tasty brand is also gluten free, has 88 calories, and 0g of sugar and carbs. The blueberry lemon flavor tastes like a blueberry muffin, so I call that a win. Not a blueberry fan? They have an array of flavors to choose from. I love it because it’s clean and free from that lingering sugar substitute aftertaste.
Bon & Viv:
If I can’t find Henry’s, this is my new go-to. With 90 calories and 0g sugar, this gluten free drink has a little bit more alcohol at 4.5% per can.
*See also similar brands such as Truly, Spiked Seltzer, and Smirnoff Spiked Sparkling Seltzer, among many others popping up every month. REMEMBER TO READ THE LABELS!
Mix Your Own Drink
We teach this in our grocery store class—there’s nothing healthier than making your own food. The same can be said for your drinks. It’s easy to walk into the store and grab a premade mix for your favorite summer drinks, but have you ever flipped the bottle around to see what else is in it? The added sugar alone is astronomical—as in 100 grams of sugar or more. It’s so unnecessary, especially when it doesn’t take much to make your own mixed drinks, too!
The somewhat good news is that hard alcohol — including vodka, gin, rum, tequila and whiskey — has 0 grams of carbs or sugar per ounce. It’s distilled alcohol. The bad news? It’s pretty dense in calories, so there’s that. It’s also difficult to metabolize. If you’re going to drink, like all things, you want your liquor without pesticides and GMOs. Like your food, make sure it’s organic. Check out this list: https://www.hungryforever.com/10-best-organic-alcohol-brands/
Vodka and Sparkling Water:
Vodka Adrian doesn’t really like anyone—especially her husband. I avoid her at all costs. I do have friends and family who enjoy a crisp cocktail of organic vodka and some kind of sparkling water, flavored or not. You can add a lemon or lime wedge to add a little something extra.
My boat friends do this a lot and I usually always take a cup when they offer because it looks so refreshing: Puree watermelon (or strawberries) and keep it in a plastic mixer in your cooler. You can add it to a shot of either organic tequila or organic vodka later. Simply delicious!
Frozen pineapple (crushed or chunks), coconut milk, coconut water ice cubes (make these the night before), a pinch of sea salt, lime juice, and organic white rum—obviously. Blend it all together or serve it on the rocks. You can pre-make this in big batches for the boat, canoe, beach, little league game (kidding, don’t be that guy), or anything you want for on-the-go. Just don’t drive. Safety first!
I don’t drink beer because most beer has gluten and leaves me feeling horribly bloated. There are gluten free beers available, though. I haven’t tried them, but I did find this nifty article highlighting the tastiest ones: https://www.shape.com/healthy-eating/healthy-drinks/12-gluten-free-beers-really-do-taste-great
Again, read the labels. Know what you’re putting in your body.
*Disclaimer: These suggestions are not unlimited. This isn’t a pass to drink as much as possible. Always keep this in mind: Alcohol means extra calories. It’s simple math—The more you drink the more calories you add to your daily intake. Alcohol may also have other adverse effects. It affects your liver, digestive system, and actually blocks the absorption of certain essential nutrients. Needless to say, drink with caution and say no once in a while.
Healthy Summer Foods
It’s so easy to run into the party store and find every junk food item you can carry with two arms. Why do I only want licorice when I stop at those little party stores off the water? WHY. I don’t want licorice any other day of my life for any other circumstance. But I walk into those charming stores with all their northern glory and head straight to the Amish Old Fashion licorice. I don’t even share with my family. It’s that bad. Summer trips don’t have to be full of processed junk. You don’t eat Doritos in real life—you don’t need Doritos in summer life. Especially while hanging around in a bathing suit. Hello! Here’s a list of my quick, satisfying snacks that won’t leave you doubled over in pain or shame.
This is my go-to summer snack or side. Chop up a whole cucumber into small pieces. Add some organic feta or crumbled goat cheese, slivered almonds, beets, and organic creamy Greek dressing. I make this ahead and find myself craving it. It’s refreshing and a fabulous way to sneak in a serving of greens. So yummy!
Another great way to get those greens in! Chop up a whole cucumber into small pieces. Add a chopped tomato, purple onion, lime juice, cilantro, and a combination of whatever salsa seasonings you might like such as chili powder, cumin, oregano, thyme, and/or paprika. Sometimes I chop up jalapeno and throw that in there to spice things up. Play around and see what you come up with! I serve it with avocado and gluten free crackers. Delicious!
Celery and Hummus:
Sometimes you just want a crunchy treat. I always have celery handy. Pair celery sticks with a little hummus, (or a nut butter) and you have yourself a satisfying snack!
It always amazes me when I chop up a variety of fruits and put them out for everyone to share. The bowl is always empty by the end of the day and it’s the junk I’m left trying to get rid of. I don’t do anything to it—no extra sugar or chocolate. Simply throw a bunch of berries in a large to-go container and poof it’s gone! See? I don’t need the licorice. It’s not even missed! Amazing.
Get a portable grill! I have a small propane grill that’s really easy to use and perfect for my pontoon. You’ll never leave. I promise. We made the most delicious gluten free tacos the other night. It was magical. You don’t have to just keep it on a boat, either. Grills are great for tailgating, camping, beach trips, and even on the patio at home.
Some other easy things we’ve made are burgers with avocado, chicken fajitas, chicken kabobs, steak, and salmon! Pre-make your sides and marinade your meat the night before. Serve with pre-made veggies and salads. You’ll be happy with how you feel and how much money you saved from not eating out!
*Cook with caution.
*Do I really have to warn you not to start a fire? Please be careful. You shouldn’t put the grill by anything that can burst into flames or even melt. Cook according to the guidelines of the grill. You know, flat surface and everything.
Stay Healthy this Summer and MOVE
When I first starting running, I had it in my head that I could eat and drink whatever I want. I ran five miles this morning—hello, pizza! Sadly, this was inaccurate and kind of dumb on my part because running < pizza. Sorry. With all those healthy summer cocktails and food options I just gave you, you won’t have to worry about pizza! But you still need to move. No matter the time of year, always exercise. You want to do something—anything—at least 30 minutes per day or more. Don’t be a lazy dog and flop around all summer. Stick to your schedule. Ride your bike, walk, run, dance, weight train, do yard work…anything! Just MOVE.
We work so hard after Christmas to get our bodies in summer shape. So why do we let it all crumble once we’re there? We don’t need to go crazy on drinks and foods that will harm us in the end. We can still have fun. Remember this summer to stick to your eating schedule and always be mindful of what you’re putting into your body. There are healthy summer cocktails and food options for everyone to enjoy. When September comes and you’re basking in health and vitality, you’ll thank yourself.
Forum Health Clarkston
7300 Dixie Hwy. Ste. 500 Clarkston, MI 48346