6 Smart Ways to Drink Alcohol and Still Keep Healthy
15 March 2016
One of the most common things I hear from my clients, is “but can I drink on my wellness plan?” I think one of the biggest concerns for many people when embarking on a health journey is around social gatherings. I completely understand that it can be difficult to avoid alcohol completely. And that is why I am pleased to be able to tell you that you can do still enjoy alcohol along your health journey (in moderation of course). Whether it be a barbecue, a party, dinner, lunch, or social gathering, alcohol inevitably pops up in one form or another. And it really is ok for you to enjoy a little every now and again. The key here is how you manage your alcohol intake - from what you do before and during, to what you do after consuming alcohol.
Most people don't realize that apart from the empty calories and being a depressant, alcohol drains and interferes with the body's absorption of vitamins and minerals. Simply put: alcohol is a toxic substance. Drinking too much may result in dehydration, lack of sleep and other side effects to throw your body out of balance. That being said, everything in moderation is key and I don’t believe you have to cut it out completely, especially if it is something social that you enjoy.
There are plenty of smart ways to counteract the effects of alcohol on your body so that you can still reach your health goals while indulging a little. I am by no means suggesting excessive drinking or drinking every night, I am however saying that you can enjoy a modest amount every now and again without compromising on your health.
Here are my five favourite tips to stay in balance while enjoying an alcoholic beverage:
1. Eat especially well on a day you know you'll be drinking.
I'm talking lean protein and green veggies. Try and fill up on green juices (with less than 10 grams of sugar per juice) and purified water with minerals. I recommend one serving of electrolytes the day of your event, one in a large glass of water after your event, one before bed and one when you wake up the next day. Add the juice of half a lemon if you want to rev up your digestive system, too.
2. Avoid other triggers if you know you want to drink.
On the day of your event — and also on the day after — stay away from foods that might deplete your energy, such as dessert and other sugary foods. Your sugar intake for that day is in your alcohol, so either enjoy a dessert or a drink ... but not both. Also be aware of foods that are hard to digest and can cause bloating like dairy, gluten, beans and starchy vegetables.
3. Pace yourself
A "standard drink" is about 60mls of hard liquor, or 150mls of wine, which is also the rate at which your liver can keep up.
4. Choose the right stuff
I recommend vodka or tequila over dark liquors like brandy or whiskey,but whatever you choose, stick with one type of alcohol. Light liquors have fewer "congeners," a minor toxic chemical element of alcohol that gives it it's distinctive characteristics and may contribute to hangovers.
My favourite trick…
Order 60mls of alcohol with a lot of fresh-squeezed limes/lime juice and a side of sparkling mineral water, no ice. Every few sips, fill your glass with water. This method serves two purposes: (1) you drink less alcohol, which equals fewer calories and (2) you hydrate while you drink, filling up on water instead of wine. If you decide to drink wine, choose white. Keep that glass of sparkling mineral water nearby.
5. If you're drinking beer…
choose a gluten-free, lower carb version.
6. Stay Clear of the Sparkly
Stay away from champagne and sparkling wine. These can go straight to your head. Studies have shown that the effects of bubbles in alcohol increases the delivery of alcohol through your system and can cause you to become intoxicated faster. They can also lead to bloating.
So yes its ok to drink and be merry every now and again….do what is good for your soul, let your hair down and live a little, but just always remember, moderation is key!
Yours in Health Always,