Wow. My back-to-basics paleo January is almost over! That went by quickly. And I got great results, so why stop now?
Well in fact, I have been doing some thinking during this austere month, I realize I enjoy what I am eating, drinking, and doing (good exercise). And I feel great. Really, the only cramp in my style is the extra cooking I’m doing to avoid eating out.
But looking at February, I have at least three parties coming up. PARTIES. That means party food, party drinks, and temptation to eat and drink highly questionable junk in the name of “fun”…
What’s a paleo girl (or boy) to do?
1) Pre-eat. It may not be “fun”, but eating before the party bestows the ability to pass on the crock-pot meatballs smothered in the secret sauce (that I happen to know is made with grape jelly and BBQ sauce). Read the ingredients on those frozen, processed meatballs the next time you’re at the store. Add the high fructose corn syrup very likely in the sauce, and yeah, that’s not paleo.
2) Bring food. Ask the party host(ess) if you can bring the veggie tray, or cut fruit (or the rumaki or bacon-wrapped dates, if you’re feeling wild-and-crazy). At least you’ll know there’s something you can eat and enjoy. And if you bring the veggies, you can control the dip, so you know it won’t be full of canola oil and weirdness.
3) Know What You’re Going to Drink Ahead of Time. The bar at a party is a minefield. It’s good to be nerdly and plan what you’re going to imbibe ahead of time, so you don’t get to the party and say “oh, whatever, it’s a party!!!”… and then wake up with a gluten hangover from the beer you decided would be OK just this once.
Or take vodka, as another example. Since I am from the south and always heard rednecks refer to vodka as “tater juice”, I just assumed that vodka was made with potatoes. Um, no. Or at least, not most of them. In fact, most of them are made with wheat a/k/a The Devil, and/or Rye. Now, whether there’s any gluten in vodka is in dispute, according to the sources I found (here’s just one). Personally, I want to avoid the grain-based stuff. So, if I want to know what’s left without Absolut and Grey Goose, I had better plan ahead.
OK, so what are some other options?
- Robb Wolf’s “NorCal Margarita” recipe is one drink that I’ve tried and actually like. Here’s a good write-up of the drink recipe, and the reasons it’s no-so-horrible for you as other beverages. Not a health drink, but not horrible. NOTE: If you want to be sure the party has agave tequila and limes, bring them yourself. Nobody’s going to be sad that you did.
- Beware the Mixers. Club soda/seltzer is very different from Tonic, which is sweetened. Juices are super-high concentrated sugar. Some “juices” contain sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Again, when in doubt, bring your own.
- If you don’t care about the alcohol part of your drink (after all, it suppresses the immune system and makes you want to eat more food, and less healthy food) a club soda with a lemon-lime twist is a nice drink to swish around with your swizzle stirrer, and at the end of the night you’ll still feel fresh as a daisy.
- Bubbly brews: They’re high-sugar, but if you’re going to do a beer or beer-like drink, there are gluten free beers on the market, or ciders (which are apparently un-manly in some circles, which is just dumb, but be aware of that tidbit if “manly” is what you aspire to be). Of course, there’s also wine and champagne.
- Kombucha. Yeah, your party’s not going to have this. But if it’s the kind of shindig where you can BYOB, I think this is a nice drink to sip. It even has a teeny bit of alcohol depending on the type you get. And some types even taste good, like the Synergy Gingerade I just linked to.
I had other ideas, I promise, but at this moment I need to get some “real” work done. Feel free to post other ideas in the comments, or email me: “paleolawyer” at good ol’ gmail. Work now, party later!