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Love Alcohol? Hate The Calories? Read This.

Here's to some guilt-free drinking.

Food & Drink

I have moments when I want to lose 5-7 pounds. Typically, when I come up with a plan to do it, I really only have to cut out one thing. What is it? Juice. I am someone who adores me some fruit juice. Thing is, juice contains quite a bit of sugar which means quite a bit of calories. Shoot, you'd be lucky to find a brand that is less than 110 calories per serving, and if you drink four glasses throughout the day, that's already 440 calories (when we as women basically only need 2,000 calories a day)! See how easily we can get a ton of extra calories into our system, simply by drinking them? Alcohol is no better, chile. Beer is around 150 calories per serving. Liquor is 80. Whiskey is 70. Vodka is 64 calories. Wine isn't bad. It's around 24.

So, what do you do if you really like having a cocktail at the end of the day or a beer while watching a movie or a game and still, you want to make sure that it doesn't show up on your waistline? That's a good question. If you're interested, I've got a few drinking hacks that can help you to enjoy your favorite drink without regretting it a week later.

1. Lay Off of the Cheap Stuff. If You Can.

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While this first point may cause you to roll your eyes, it's still a valid point. Just think about it. A burger at Mickey D's is way cheaper than one from a higher end restaurant. A part of the reason why is because the quality of meat at the restaurant is way better—and better for you—than one that you can pick up at a drive-thru.

For similar reasons, that's why cheap alcohol isn't really a good look. The more manufactured it is, the higher amounts of sugar and acids it contains. And all of that sugar only leads to more calories. Case in point—a Boone's Farm Strawberry bottle (which is roughly six bucks)? Guess how many calories are in one serving? A whopping 520 calories! Need I say more?

2. Have No More than Two Drinks at a Time

As with just about everything in life, moderation is key. When it comes to alcohol specifically, there are some health professionals who say that 1-2 drinks a day is cool. Eh, you might want to cut even that in half because alcohol can definitely throw off your metabolism and put some stress on your liver over time. And when your metabolism is totally out of wack, that can result in you putting on more weight. So, maybe a half glass a day (at the most) or, if you are a much more moderate drinker (like you only do it on the weekends), only have a couple of drinks at a time. Then make sure to follow my next tip.

3. Chase Your Drinks Down with Water

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Something else to keep in mind is alcohol is a diuretic. This means that it has the tendency to dehydrate you. And when your body needs more fluids, it can either cause you to feel hungry or mimic symptoms related to hunger like fatigue and lightheadedness. A hack that can help you to get around all of this is to drink a glass of water for every glass of alcohol that you consume. Not only will the water help to flush out your system, it can cause you to feel fuller, so that you don't end up overeating.

4. Eat Before You Drink

Out of all of the suggestions in this article, if there's one thing that you've probably heard before, it's that you should eat before you drink. Back in your college days, you probably did it to avoid getting drunk faster (understood). However, it can also help to keep you from gaining weight because, with food in your body, your blood sugar levels will be more balanced and that can prevent you from craving junk food or wanting to go on some random late night eating binge.

5. Consume Protein More than Anything Else

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And what kind of foods should you eat before you consume alcohol? It's a good idea to eat protein, if you can. It's a great way to keep your blood sugar levels in check so that you're not wanting to eat everything in sight. Foods that are high in protein include eggs, almonds, poultry, Greek yogurt, pumpkin seeds, fish and lean beef. For the record, some other foods that can balance your blood sugar include broccoli (the sulforaphane in it reduces blood sugar levels), okra (it's got polysaccharides and flavonoid antioxidants that lower blood sugar levels) and raspberries (they've got fiber and antioxidants that can keep your levels in check too).

6. Do a Little “Comparison Drinking”

Sometimes we end up drinking more calories than we ever planned because we have no clue what's in our favorite drinks. Just for the record, mixers are loaded with calories. As you could see from the intro, beer bellies are a real thing because beer has a ton of calories in it as well.

Schnapps has almost 200 calories in a single shot. Cognac is clocking in at a little over 100 calories a shot. Champagne is 95 calories a glass. And, to give you a little perspective on a few other drinks, a piña colada contains the same amount of calories as a donut and a frozen margarita has the same amount of calories as a cheeseburger.

Something that I oftentimes say is "Google is your friend." So yeah, taking a little time to seek out how many calories are in your favorite drink before making it or ordering it can never hurt you in the long run.

7. Let Up on Sweet Wine

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Since I've seen enough of the comments on this site to know that our readers are big time red wine consumers, I want to stress something about sweet wines. For one thing, the caloric intake of them typically equals out to being the same thing as having a slice of cake (who knew, right?). Not only that but when you opt for a sweet wine rather than a drier one, it's got a lot more sugar in it and offers a significantly lower amount of health benefits. So yeah, push back that bottle a little more if it happens to be your thing.

8. Have One You Really Want Rather than a Few You Kinda Like

There are a few health benefits that come from drinking certain kinds of alcoholic beverages (check out "Liquors That Are Gluten-Free (& Beneficial In Other Ways)"). Still, let's be real. Most of us drink alcohol for the taste and/or how it makes us feel. That's why it really is best to order up a cocktail that you know you're gonna really enjoy instead of settling for something lighter in calories and less satisfying, only to end up having 2-3 of those, thinking that you're better off going that route when all you're doing is drinking more calories.

9. Don’t Drink Yourself to Sleep

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A glass of wine before bed may help you to feel more relaxed. However, it doesn't actually give you the kind of quality sleep that you might think that it does. For one thing, alcohol has a way of throwing your REM sleep off. And when it comes to packing on the pounds, since the alcohol tends to raise blood sugar levels in your system, it can actually cause you to wake up in the middle of the night and hit your fridge in order to balance your levels out a bit. So go with some herbal tea and honey or warm almond or oat milk instead. There will be less calories and you'll be able to sleep more soundly.

10. Exercise

There really is no way around it, sis. Eating right and exercise is the strongest combo when it comes to keeping your body tight and right—especially if you enjoy drinking alcohol on a regular basis. If your tummy area is your biggest area of concern, cardio along with some sit-ups and crunches, for 30-45 minutes, 2-3 times a week, will help to burn belly fat and strengthen your core. That way, you can have your alcohol with less weight-related concerns. Enjoy!

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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