With St. Patrick’s Day this weekend, it’s estimated that over 13 million pints of beer will be consumed. That’s a lot of hangovers. Why does beer have that kind of effect on us?

It’s not just the calories from the drinks, but that sweet sweet sugar that the body breaks down from those frosty, crispy, intoxicating pints. Alcohol and gluten from the barley irritate the gut lining, causing bloating.”

Sugar increases inflammation that affects our bodies in so many ways. Our man Jordan Bowers, trainer and co-founder of All-City Athletics Boxing Studio and self-described “trash panda,” talks truth about what we eat, how it affects our body, and the current hype around celery juice in this week’s blog post...


Jordan Bowers, All-City Athletics in Vancouver

To introduce and clarify: I had this title in my head before I truly understood how I would justify the statement. I had a few teenage years as a pretty inactive Chubby Bunny, and as an athlete, in my 20s I was training for endurance and speed so heavy weights and size gains were avoided. Safe to say I was always trying to lose that same 5lbs we all want to ditch after a holiday. Now I've heard that if you want to lower your body fat percentage, you can put some muscle on and stats improve and everything hangs better. I also believe that it’s not about the number on the scale, but how you feel in your jeans. 

The experience of sticking to and grinding out a training regime and working toward goals gave me great respect for the value of hard work and discipline. It also makes me aware of certain behaviors of mine and dietary decisions I make that might counteract the positive effects and results of said hard work. That being said, I like to run the full gamut of tastes and flavors from bitter pale ales, savory sandwiches, sauced up pasta, sweet steamed vegetables, and sour keys. Not a ton of restrictions to be honest.

I’m not a health care professional but I do spend a lot of time on Google. When I search foods I always add “+ TCM” for info on Traditional Chinese Medicine. Super interesting stuff. You get a different perspective on the properties of food: energetic stuff, like does this food cool, heat, moisten (potentially dampen) or dry the body. What’s best for the season? Cooling foods for the summer heat, warming and drying for autumn and winter? I'm no doctor, but it seems to make a lot of sense. Depending on your personal situation and body type you might have an imbalance, say you have signs of heat, you’d benefit from eating cooling foods. There are also flavors like sour, bittersweet and salty. All the flavors correlate to their own organs… bitter effects the liver, sweet targets the stomach.. highly interesting topic. 

TCM talks a lot about Dampness. Feelings of distention, bloating, gas, heavy limbs, brain fog, low energy and unwanted weight gain all tie back to Damp. Too much sugar, not enough physical activity, even inadequate rest can all result in excess Damp. [ref #1]

Wheat, sugar, and beer are a couple of culprits in the creation of damp and inflammation. I’m bringing these up as they are also some of my favorites. Anyone else drink like 4-8 pints, make it to the store after and load up on ice cream and brownies/cake/donuts, drag them back home and feast hard like a Trash Panda tearing into improperly packaged garbage? Feels good, right? Who else falls asleep almost right away only to wake up 3 hours later, wide awake 3am? It can't be just me.

Ever wake up from a decent night of beer drinking and look in the mirror and think, “Damn, I'm shredded,” start flexing and remember the old saying: “Young gun is cut up like a bag of dope.” It’s just dehydration. Sooner rather than later, we are back to looking like a partially deflated balloon. Speaking from my own experience, maybe this never happens to anyone else.

Jordan Bowers, All-City Athletics

I would propose that it’s not just the calories from the drinks, but that sweet sweet sugar that the body breaks down from those frosty, crispy, intoxicating pints. Alcohol and gluten from the barley irritates the gut lining, causing bloating.  Perhaps cider doesn't give you the same irritating bloat of beer. Can my paleo eating friends confirm? [ref #2]

Turns out sugar effects your sleeping patterns and increases inflammation. Damn, a deadly combo. Eating sugar, or drinking a ton of beers, increases inflammation in your body and does not facilitate deep restful sleep. Sleeping poorly? The body doesn't get the rest it needs. [ref #3]

So, then you end up tired, bloated (guts inflamed), dehydrated and still so puffy because you're trying to retain all the water you've got left! [ref #4]

I’ve heard that when you don't sleep well you also crave sugar. 

If abs are made in the kitchen, we are not following the right recipe.

Ready for the quick fix that will make you a lean, strong, highly mobile and best life living machine? Me too, and Lord knows we've been waiting… haven't found one yet and not kidding myself that I'm going to cut out all the delicious food and drinks. I do feel like small/simple changes can be made to get us pointed a little closer to optimization. Something we can fold into the routine without too much disruption. I know it’s hot right now, even if the vegetable itself is cooling, but have you tried juicing up some celery?

“Celery is full of anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting compounds. It can alleviate irritability, depression, and anxiety, reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol. It can also aid in digestion and weight loss. It helps soothe menopausal symptoms, and prevents gallstones or kidney stones.” [ref #5]

Word is that celery juice is best taken on an empty stomach, 15 minutes before eating anything else. 16oz or roughly one bunch is a dose I've commonly heard recommended. [ref #6]

These tall, crispy, green stalks have a lot going for them. They are known to cool the body (alcohol, smoking- any kind of smoking- are major contributors of heat in the body). Celery cools the liver, helps to detoxify, relives damp, inflammation and flatulence…in case your food choices or beer drinking has ever had that come up [ref #7]. Celery juice is also rumored to be an aphrodisiac, so as your organs and the rest of your body get an assist in feeling better.. you might also start to feel better *wink*.

Want the benefits of anti-inflammatory greens but want to steer clear of the Celery Juice bandwagon? Try this: Finely chop 1 cup of any combination of parsley, green onion, collard greens, kale, cilantro, watercress…any greens you like or have in the fridge. Boil a cup of water, blanche the veggies and throw in a blender. Drink it warm and think “soup” not smoothie when you do. Good for the liver, good for the guts. Try it as a day starter or as a light spring lunch. Got this recipe from the back of a macrobiotic cookbook that I have since lost so might have to take my word on this one.

Was it Kate Moss who said that nothing tastes as good as skinny feels? It would be hard to really test that as there are so many things in this world that are delicious. Let’s remember that it’s about the journey and not the destination so let’s travel in comfort. Say no thanks to a bloated, congested commute down the highway of life. Let’s stay cool, stay calm, stay celery. 

Thanks for reading my Ted Talk... cheers.

Jordan Bowers and Anna Farrant from All-City Athletics in Vancouver, Canada


Jordan Bowers is co-founder of All-City Athletics, a boxing studio located in Vancouver, Canada. He's a rock star trainer with a work hard, play hard mentality that'll make you laugh as much as you sweat. 










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