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Your guide to a healthy St. Patrick’s Day

Your guide to a healthy St. Patrick’s Day

It’s that time of year again.

We all know what the average Chicagoan’s St. Patrick’s day looks like (hint, it involves drinking, more drinking, a parade, and probably more drinking). We’d like to offer a healthy solution while still celebrating your Irish heritage.

1. If you’re going to drink, don’t overdo it. It seems like fun to pound beers down, but it’s a rookie move. Drink a beer, have a glass of water, repeat as necessary, but also responsibly. Alcohol inhibits your posterior pituitary gland, which is the gland that secretes anti-diuretic hormone to your kidneys, which is the hormone that tells your kidneys to retain water, and without that, it means you get dehydrated. So if you’re going to drink alcohol, drink more water. (And remember, even “lite” beer usually has 100 calories per 12 ounces.)

2. When you drink you’re more likely to make poor dietary decisions, too. Plan in advance. If you’re going out with a group of people and you know which bar/restaurant you’re going to end up at, pre-plan on ordering something that doesn’t have bacon all over it. Or, get a buddy to split a burger with you (and maybe a side salad, too). Or try the veggie burger (you don’t have to be a vegetarian to eat a veggie burger). Also, if staying in, cabbage can be made in a myriad of healthy ways. Find some recipes here.

3. No, green beer is not a vegetable.

4. Sitting on a bar stool for the majority of a day is going to wreak havoc on your musculature, mainly your hip flexors and your low back erectors. Try some simple stretches throughout the day so those minor aches and pains don’t turn into something more serious. Every once in a while, stand up, bend your knee (as if kicking yourself in the rear), grab your foot and pull your leg backwards. You should feel a stretch in the front of your thigh. If those muscles are left in a shortened position for too long your muscles will adapt their length to that position, and your posture is much harder to remedy after that. Also, touch your toes every so often, and alternate between straight knees and bent knees (straight knees stretch your hamstrings, bent knees stretch your back). If your feeling really ambitious the following day, maybe hit up a yoga class, too. Or try some of these yoga stretches at home.