7 Questions on How To Drink, Be Thick, And Stay Fit // Thick N Fit Kitchen (October 2018 Q&A with Dr. Dan)
Hi, Queens! Welcome to the first ever Thick N Fit Kitchen livestream recap with our special guest, Dr. Daniel Reardon aka Dr. Dan (@drdanreardon)!
Dr. Dan is a doctor, educator, entrepreneur, and the CEO/co-founder of a company called Fitness Genes. Fitness Genes delivers custom diet and exercise plans based off of your DNA, and is the program that I did in 2017 that completely changed the way that I now eat and exercise, and helped me lose around 30 lbs in a year.
Every month I will be hosting a livestream with him on a special topic related to health and wellness, and our very first one is all about how to best incorporate alcohol into our diets without compromising our health/fitness goals. So here are the key highlights from our conversation. Hope you find it helpful, and please feel free to follow me on Instagram to find out when the next livestream will take place!
Question #1: If I'm trying to be fit, do I need to cut out all alcohol, or should I just cut out certain types? And what certain types of alcohol I should consider having less of?
So first off, Dr. Dan reminds us that when embarking on the journey to be a fitter, and healthier version of you, it all has to start in the mind. So he says that instead of focusing on what to cut out of your diet, or focusing on what’s ok for you to keep (and thus make excuses to overindulge in), you should actually focus more on what you should be eating. He says that if we are dealing with a person who eats high quality proteins (lean meats, fish, tempeh/tofu, etc), quality carbohydrates (sweet potato, quinoa, brown rice, etc), lots of fruits and veggies, and that exercises regularly, then having a drink or two a week isn’t going to do you any harm, even the cocktails (although because cocktails tend to have extremely high amounts of sugar, they should be consumed more sparingly). He does, however, suggest trying to cap your alcohol consumption to a 1-2 times a week (as an active person) as consistently consuming a moderate amount of alcohol a week could lead to excess weight.
But surprisingly, Dr. Dan let us know that drinking high levels of alcohol actually has little to no effect on our body weight (but rather has a bunch of other unpleasant health consequences).
Question #2:Are there certain alcohols that are healthier than others? For instance, is red wine actually good for you?
“The reality is that there isn’t an alcoholic beverage that’s healthy for you” says Dr. Dan. He’s clear to state that this is his personal opinion, but he doesn’t believe that the purported health benefits of popular alcohols like red wine actually exist. He says that the only potential health benefits he can see to drinking alcohol are the social/communal feelings one would get by hanging out with close friends while consuming it. “It’s not so much the relaxation of the drink, but rather the relaxation of that social environment that could have very positive mental health effects for the right people.” But he’s clear to indicate that if you are someone that has alcohol abuse problems or mental health issues like anxiety then “it can be detrimental.” So it’s actually one of the first suggestions he’ll offer up for people to consider cutting from their diet if they are trying to take their health/fitness results to the next level.
But one of the reasons why Dr. Dan is a true homie is because he gets that for people like you and me, we’re just trying to find the intersection between healthy and human. So if alcohol is an important part of your lifestyle that you can’t realistically imagine taking completely out of your diet, he suggests that instead of finding a drink that’s “healthy” ( and that we would, real talk, consume in unhealthy proportions because it’s “healthy”), we should actually focus on finding a drink we enjoy, and consuming it in moderation.
Question #3: Is taking a shot, or having something on the rocks better than having a mixed drink?
“Not really,” says Dr. Dan.
Again, he says that if you are eating a balanced diet of healthy fat, carbs, and proteins, exercising regularly, and consuming alcohol in low moderate amounts, then the only benefit that you would get from having a shot or something on the rocks is that you’d be avoiding the high amounts of sugar that live in mixed drinks.
So, bottomline, if you don’t enjoy shots or drinks on the rocks then don’t do it. Just have your mixed drink if that’s what you enjoy, but remember that this should be in moderation, and in conjunction with healthy lifestyle changes like eating better, and exercising regularly.
“to be a fitter, and healthier version of you, it all has to start in the mind.”
Question #4: Does the time of day that you drink affect anything? is it better to drink in the afternoon or the evening?
“Later on in the day,” he advises, as there is a greater chance for you to have already exercised prior, and to have eaten a good meal throughout the day. But he stresses that you should aim to be well hydrated before and after.
He also says that there are small amounts of evidence that suggest that 6-8 hours after you drink, you could potentially trigger a testosterone boost that would be great for helping you power through a workout. So he suggests definitely trying to squeeze in a workout the morning after a night of drinking.
Question #5: How much alcohol can I consume before it impacts my fitness results? Is there a reasonable amount that one can drink while trying to be fit?
Dr. Dan indicated that this was a real tough question to answer as it really does depend on the person and their history/relationship to alcohol. But for the sake of answering the question, he says that it’s whatever amount of alcohol that inhibits your ability to eat properly, exercise consistently, and that keeps you from fully participatory in your healthy lifestyle.
Question #6: If I'm out at the bar, and I want to drink but I want to be healthy, what would you say are the best drink options to go for?
If you’re not someone that drinks regularly or goes out to bars often, then Dr. Dan says to have what you enjoy as it won’t have any significant impact over your health.
But if you live for a 2 am bar crawl every weekend, then he would suggest drinks with a tonic water base. He’s also not an advocate for drinking diet soda regularly, but, humbly, he admits that he’ll indulge in the occasional diet soda at the bar. He also offers up carrying an amino acids drink mix that you could spike with your favorite tonic water based drink.
“The reality is that there isn’t an alcoholic beverage that’s healthy for you.” — Dr. dan
Question #7: Do you have any tips or tricks about how to drink in a way that won't negatively impact fitness results? Does drinking a lot of water help afterwards?
He just says to make sure on a day that you’re drinking that you eat all the right foods, but notes that you might want to consider taking in less carbohydrates (about 20-30 grams less than usual). But he stresses that importance of being well hydrated on that day, and suggests having an isotonic solution before you go to bed. He also suggests that having B vitamins and vitamin C would be great to consume on a day of drinking as alcohol can sometimes drop your immune system.
So overall, if you’re not a consistent drinker, and you participate in an active and healthy lifestyle, then Dr. Dan says to drink what you enjoy. But if you know you have a more consistent relationship with alcohol, then the big takeaways would be:
Making sure to keep up with your diet and exercise consistently
Capping your alcohol consumption to a 1-2 times a week
Keeping in mind that there’s no type of alcohol that’s more healthy for you. So as long as you are eating well and working out consistently, then you can just focus on finding a drink you enjoy, and consuming it in moderation
Always aim to be well hydrated (Try a homemade isotonic solution)
Consider taking in about 20-30 grams less of carbohydrates on a day you know you’re gonna drink
Consider drinking later in the day
Try to squeeze in a workout the next morning if you can to capitalize on the slight testosterone boost you get from drinking
Aim to order drinks with a tonic water base and consider adding an amino acids drink mix to give it more flavor
Hope this was helpful, and please feel free to join us on the live streams! Remember to follow me on Instagram (@dayshaveronica) to find out when they're happening. And if you'd like to give Fitness Genes a try, please feel free to take advantage of my 10% off discount code: QUEEN10
Drink responsibly, Queens!