How to Integrate Alcohol Into A Healthy Lifestyle
You work out, eat healthy, and do your best to care for your body. But you still love to indulge in a glass of wine or French 75 every now and again (emphasis on the now). As moms ourselves, we know that taking a few minutes to wind down at the end of the day with a glass of Pinot Grigio is a small slice of luxury in a life that’s otherwise filled with diapers, overflowing laundry bins, and dirty plates. But the truth is – studies show that alcohol isn’t good for our brains or our bodies . So is there a way to drink alcohol healthfully? Maaaaybe. It’s a simple question with a bit of a complicated answer!
In this blog, we’ll cover why excessive alcohol isn’t good for us, ways to integrate it into our healthy lifestyles, and alternatives that provide all the flavor with none of the alcohol.
Is alcohol bad for you?
The short answer is yes. The World Health Organization considered alcohol a carcinogen way back in 1988. More recently, the CDC states plainly on their website that drinking too much alcohol can harm your health – both in the short-term and the long-term.
Here are some of the long-term potential risks of excessive drinking:
- High blood pressure
- Weakened immune system
- Memory problems
- Mental health issues
- Alcohol dependence
And here are the short-term potential risks of excessive drinking:
- Alcohol poisoning
- Injuiries (car crashes and falls)
- Miscarriage and stillbirth or fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) among pregnant women
So this begs the question: how much alcohol is too much? According to the CDC, anything more than 1 drink per day is considered heavy drinking for women. For men, the number goes up to 2 drinks per day.
Should you stop drinking?
Whether or not you stop drinking is a very personal decision. According to Harvard Health – if you like alcohol, find it doesn’t negatively impact you, and you have no related health problems (ie, you’re not pregnant, you don’t have a history of alcohol dependence, etc) – then, minimal and responsible alcohol intake is probably OK.
Again, this is a personal decision. If you’re concerned, we highly recommend talking with your doctor in more depth.
Ways to integrate alcohol into a healthy lifestyle
If you want to continue drinking but want to do it in as “healthy” of a way as possible – here are some tips to keep in mind.
1. Set Boundaries
Boundaries are a good thing. If you know you have a hard time limiting your intake when you open a bottle of wine, consider buying wine cans or mini bottles. Or if you know a certain type of alcohol doesn’t jive with your body – stay away from it.
2. Drink Lots of Water
Stay hydrated before you drink, while you drink, and after you drink. We also recommend drinking a full glass of water before reaching for beer, wine, or any alcohol. This helps fill your stomach with liquid which we find helps us drink slower.
3. Avoid Super Sugary & Fruity Drinks
Mixers are full of not-so-good-for-you ingredients that can really put you back diet-wise and hangover-wise. Stick with simpler drinks like vodka sodas, martinis, “skinny” margaritas, and gimlets.
4. Opt for Red Wine
Red wine generally takes longer to drink (a good thing) and has some potential health benefits.
5. Count Your Drinks
Whether you’re at home, a friend’s house, or a cocktail party – count your drinks. If you’re easily forgetful, bust out your phone and make a tally in your notes app. Whatever it takes!
Pro tip: when drinking wine, do not fill your glass until you’re completely finished. This will make it easier for you to keep count.
6. Don’t Forget to Eat
We’ve all probably heard this before – but research shows you’re more likely to feel the negative effects of alcohol when you drink on an empty stomach.
5 Mocktail Recipes for Sober Sipping
Whether you are pregnant or just want to skip the alcohol for health reasons, check out these fun mocktail recipes.
Citrus Mint Infused Water (Original Fit Mama in 30 Recipe*)
Healthy Grapefruit Paloma Mocktail (All the Healthy Things)
Sparkling Cranberry Kombucha Mocktail (The Real Food Dietitians)
Carrot Citrus Sunrise Mocktail (Kitchen Cents)
Pomegranate Ginger Mocktail (Champagne Nutrition)
Plus, Other Delicious Alcohol Alternatives
Read more: How to Lose Weight Without Giving Up Alcohol