Most of us start off the new year with the best intentions for our health. But this is New Orleans and once the King Cakes start popping up, resisting that sticky cinnamon goodness is just too much to bear. It’s sugar season in the Big Easy and it’s truly a wonder anyone can still bend over to pick up a stray Mardi Gras bead. So how do we keep from going over the edge into a full blown sugar/carb comatose? How can we keep our party stamina up, have a good time without falling over the edge? After chatting with local experts, the answer proves to be two-fold. One, continue eating nutritious whole foods and two, make smart substitutions.
According to Healthline, consuming a diet rich in antioxidants helps your body reduce damage caused by free radicals and may lower your risk of diseases that can impact detoxification. So, eating antioxidant rich and detoxifying foods like kale, beets, coconut, grapefruit, cabbage during Carnival can help keep things in check. Claire Steiner of Clairly Vegan loves adding cabbage to her diet during the Carnival months. Cabbage as well as garlic, lemon and ginger have glutathione which aids in the detoxification of the liver. When it comes to avoiding overeating at parties and parades, Peggy Rodriguez an RN and nutritional coach at Everybody Wellness suggests filling up on fiber rich foods before going out to avoid later bingeing on carb heavy, sugary foods. “I carry celery with me in my purse for snacking,” she says. And last but not least, she suggests drinking plenty of water! “It sounds so simple but it’s true.” She sips on water or club soda in between cocktails to avoid unnecessary alcohol consumption.
Molly Kimball, registered dietician, and founder of Eat Fit Nola, a nonprofit collaborating with local restaurants to develop select nutritious menu items, likes to keep the focus positive. “Instead of obsessing over what not to eat, my preference is to put the focus on the good stuff that I’m adding into my diet.” For example, Molly recommends eating a simple egg, mushroom, and spinach sandwich to help the body recover from a night of overindulgence. “Egg yolks have a high level of cysteine which breaks down acetaldehyde- one of the root causes of hangovers.” And also, when it comes to alcohol excess, she suggests subbing NOT cutting out your favorite things. She recommends Surreal as a great sub for carb-heavy beers (use code: 15SBCAFF40 for 15% off) and Ritual for the dedicated tequila, whiskey and gin drinkers. Also, a great hack is using hibiscus tea or kombucha as a mixer with your favorite liquor -and instead of adding two shots, just add one.
So you see, all hope is not lost on maintaining some sort of composure this Mardi Gras season. Where there’s a will, there’s a way…and it might just taste delicious! Here are MY top picks for GOOD TASTING antioxidant rich, hydrating foods and subs that I’m hoping will keep me in line between the heavy pours and king cake highs:
- Milkshake IPA, Surreal Brewing Co
Keep it Carnival:
Eat Fit King Cake at Home Malone– both locations
King in a Jar Stacheballs order online at Papa Ted’s
King Cake Latte at Evolve Co
Eat Your Way Through:
Try: Cabbage and tomato soup at Clairly Vegan