Bar Manager Zdenek Kastanek gives his top tips on how to stay healthy as a busy bartender…
First and foremost, I want to congratulate all you bartenders out there - delivering brilliant service all year round and producing great seasonal serves for bar customers everywhere…I think it’s time you got a little praise for your hard work.
You have to think - what an honourable job we have, however, it does come with its consequences.
Working +15 hours straight, running with trays and shaking drinks for a full bar is not an easy task, as you all know too well.
On reflection it’s pretty exhausting now that I’ve put it like that…
I’ve been asked by many, “How the heck are you always staying so positive and fresh?”
Well I take some steps to maintain a happy and healthy lifestyle. The best part is that the steps are fun…if they were a struggle, I just wouldn’t take them! Let me share them with you.
Because I’m Happy
Keeping positive, happy, focused and therefore successful is always on my mind. It’s very addictive once you see how easy it is.
I’ve been following certain nutrition and exercise rules for quite some time, pretty much since I moved out of my parent’s house and became the master of my own fridge and eating habits.
I recently finished “runstreak” - 100 straight days of running, covering over 505km. There are no particular set of rules or one specific way to go about. Being fit, healthy and happy should come from what works for you and you only.
So if your exercise regime works - keep it up! If it doesn’t, try something new and keep switching until you find something you love.
In combination with my exercise regime I have a flexiterian diet. Flexiterian, as the name suggests, is a pretty flexible diet. It means I only eat meat products on Saturdays and Sundays and the rest of the week I eat a whole lot of fish.
Again, you need to know what works for you but with that said, I have a few diet tricks which are easy to do, easy to start with and which can go a very long way in the process of becoming a “healthy barkeep”.
To start with, I always make sure I drink at least three liters of water per day with a simple set of push-ups and squats to get my heart pumping first thing - these are the best thing you can do to get you pumped for the day.
I couldn’t count how many times a week I cook at home…even when I come back from a busy shift. Preparing your own meals is super good for you. Eating fast-food or ready meals are a no go (even though it’s tempting) - you can’t control what’s on your plate.
Eating at restaurants should be the exception, not the norm but if you do end up eating out a lot try to ‘flip your plate’. Don’t focus on your main course. At least not right away. Focus on how many vegetables you are about to order, only after that focus on the best part – the meat! (…and for you flexiterians, fish is the only option).
I know, I know! Our grandmas always said it, but now I’m starting to pay heed to her advice. Breakfast is crucial in a healthy diet. Don’t think about it as a full English breakfast or anything that takes time to prepare!
Think blenders and juicers and use very simple things like fresh juice with pulp and some fiber rich chia seeds which are great for a morning kick-start. Quinoa and couscous with fresh fruit (banana or avocado) are two other great ingredients for making delicious juices.
No matter how late you wake up it’s important you give your body what it needs to work properly the whole day. No-one wants a sloppy bartender behind their bar do they?
One of my favourite little things I learned a few years ago is to stop using ‘fresh’ fridge drawers. You know how it works, as soon as you put anything in those ‘coffins’ you most likely won’t eat it and the food will be out of date before you know it.
Keep everything in sight - you’ll end up eating it that way.
A good trick is to have your fruits and vegetables for the following day all ready to go next to your juicer so that when you’re hating life in the morning it will be that bit easier for you to get up and go.
If you’re feeling inspired and want to make a change to your life for the better this year I recommend you try out my ‘Detox Concoction’ at least three times a year.
After all, none of this will work, or at least not as well, without a good cleanse.
Zdenek's Detox Concoction
Juice from two oranges
Juice from two lemons
1 inch of fresh ginger
Tiny piece of fresh chilli
1 tablespoon of quality olive oil
2 cloves of fresh garlic
Method: Use a juicer if possible. If not blend it all with a few cubes of ice. Don’t strain it as the fiber is an important part of the process.
So remember - it’s always good to try something new…dream big and see how far you can go.
The hunger to learn, train and improve yourself is what makes you a professional.
Zdenek Kastanek can be found clocking up the miles around Singapore by day and working behind the bar at 28 HongKong Street by night. If you want to keep motivated to live the life of a healthy bartender follow him @ZdenekKastanek.