I clearly remember the weekend before I was to start my new lifestyle, I gorged on cookies, brownies, donuts, beer and wine as if I were a prisoner on death row. I was already at my heaviest, so why not go out with a bang? Bombarded with news about obesity and diabetes with shows like “The Doctors” and “The Dr. Oz Show,” I was well aware that eating sweets was something to have once in awhile, a small treat to savor. However, I didn’t make the connection that beer also contributed to my weight gain. I thought only men like Homer Simpson and Peter Griffin had beer bellies. Not me!
After following my doctor’s advice and continuing the “lifestyle,” I lost 15 pounds. I felt great. Still, I had this gnawing feeling. I wanted to continue my passionate beer adventures. Was I now relegated to the tasteless low-carb, low-calorie varieties? I’d rather drink room temperature flat Diet Dr. Pepper than to give up what my taste buds craved. My body struggled with my mind, and so reluctantly I bought a book entitled “Does My Butt Look Big In This Beer? Nutritional Values of 2,000 Worldwide Beers” by Bob Skilnik. My first thought when the book arrived was “what a buzz kill.” Sorry Bob. Here in front of me were indisputable figures that could affect how I would choose to drink in the future. I want to consume that cask, absorb that ale, savor that stout, and imbibe that IPA without having to worry as if I were downing a pint of Ben & Jerry’s in one sitting.
I must admit it was an eye opener to read the facts and figures in 12 ounces of my favorites (some are pretty reasonable — click on the links in blue for more detailed info). I always believe it’s better to be informed, and now I have a clearer picture of what is going into my body and its effects. It was a relief to later read that the maltose, produced by barley in the beer making process, gets used up during fermentation. So while I don’t worry so much about sugar in beer, I occasionally consider the calories. Do I drink the 64-calorie beer? Never. I’d rather eat 64 calories worth of Hershey’s Kisses. Do I bring the book with me to every pub or brew fest? Of course not. I enjoy conviviality, which is a requirement when tipping back a few with amigos.
In two days I’m off to another brew fest without a care in the world. After going to the Abbey, my taste buds are ready for some excellent craft beer. What’s different today from two years ago? Not much. Mexican commercials that advertise food and drink always have at bottom of the screen “nada con exceso, todo con medida” which means “nothing in excess, everything in moderation.” If I have a beer or two, I skip the donut and vice versa. If I cave in to my cravings and have a delicious donut AND a badass beer, my taste buds will thank me and I start the next day at the gym. Carpe diem!