Sunday, September 9, 2012

Keeping it Light pt 1

4 years ago I weighed 230 pounds and was completely unhappy with the way that I looked. As my, now larger size, clothes kept getting tighter I knew that I had to do something to avoid becoming Homer Simpson.   On my own I managed to drop 17 pounds down to a more reasonable 213 by doing things like switching to Coke Zero from Coke and eating yogurt instead of cake or candy after lunch. But 213 wasn't cutting it for me either. There were some size XL shirts that were just to tight across my gut for me to feel comfortable wearing them. While listening to the Nerdist at work the guys had an interview with Tim Ferriss talking about his book the 4 Hour Body and the diet that he lays out in it. I've been on some version of the slow carb diet that he laid out in that book for about 18 months now and I'm down to 187 and holding pretty steady within the 185-190 range.

The slow carb diet from the 4 Hour Body is effective, and for me at least, reasonably easy to maintain. In a nutshell, it's no carbs and no sugar, calories aren't a concern. Despite these restrictions he does say that a glass or two of red wine doesn't seem to impair the weight loss process. He also has said in interviews that a "Nor-Cal Margarita" is acceptable, consisting of tequila, lime juice, and soda water. He says that the lime juice limits the body's insulin response and tequila being made from agave sugars also won't trigger the insulin response.

So with the guidelines that he has laid out of no carbs no sugars I started examining what I could use to make my own drinks. Unfortunately, beer was right out from the start, being basically liquid breads; carbs would be unavoidable in beers that I would want to drink. Also out are sweeteners like simple syrup and liqueurs that contained sugar. Additionally prohibited by the diet are fruits and fruit juices. So my beloved tiki drinks are definitely out.  And while Tim says that red wine doesn't seem to affect weight loss, it does have sugars, but it does open up things like port or vermouths as a possibility.

While tequila is mentioned as acceptable because it doesn't have sugars or carbs, any spirit should be fine. The distillation process concentrates the alcohol while leaving behind the residual carbs or sugars. If you distill beer to make whiskey the result of the distillation is almost pure alcohol, no carbs and no sugars. The same goes for rum, despite being made from sugar, distillation gives you alcohol, no sugars are left in the final product. While silver tequila is recommended in the nor-cal recipe, there is no reason why aged spirits aren't acceptable. The color and flavors come from the oak barrels, still no carbs and maybe trace plant sugars from the oak. So relaxing after work with a glass of Ron Zacapa Solera 23 for sipping is fine.

To summarize for cocktails we can use any distilled alcohol, (vodka, whiskey, rum, tequila, gin, etc.,) low sugar citrus juices, (lime, lemon,) wines and fortified wines (port, vermouth,) bitters, (dash is too small to have real consequence,) seltzer and tonic waters. We've laid out our ingredients and in part 2 to come we'll have some recipes.

Some further research and resources

Also Don't forget about the DrinksBurgh Anniversary Show

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