The question we get most often when we talk to people about living a healthier lifestyle is their assumption they will need to cut out alcohol.
Don’t worry, those words will never come out of our mouths.
As we’ve said often here at pretty healthy family, we believe in balance. We believe in living a healthy life AND incorporating the aspects of life which bring you joy.
For us and maybe for you, this is alcohol.
Alcohol can be a stress reliever and a way to celebrate with friends. So here are a few quick tips on how to enjoy alcohol without it sabotaging your health goals.
Enjoy the Buzz
There’s the point in all of us when we start to feel the buzz that alcohol provides. For a lot of us, that’s the sweet spot where we feel a lot of our stress melt away.
….then there’s the point where we feel the buzz turn into a little more.
The buzz is where we want to hang out.
The tricky part is finding where that is for you.
For the average man, it’s under about 40oz of beer, 13oz of wine or 4oz of liquor. For smaller individuals, you may need to decrease the portion sizes.
If this doesn’t even crack the surface for your buzz then maybe you could look at your overall alcohol intake to see if the overall alcohol volume is negatively impacting your health plan.
One thing we recommend is to have your drink prior to your meal. That means if you're prepping dinner, go ahead and have your glass of wine. Or if you're eating out, enjoy your cocktail prior to your food arriving. This gives you the opportunity to experience the buzz prior to eating... considering food usually kills it anyway.
Watch Out for Extra Calories and Additives
One of our favorite breweries here in Charlotte has a head brewer who has a wife with a gluten allergy. So all of their beers are gluten free and they are DELICIOUS! Are all of the beers we drink gluten free? Nope, but it's nice to have that option.
If you’re having a vodka drink, maybe have it with soda water and fresh lemon. And if you're home, spruce it up with some fresh orange juice and/or raw honey.
We actually have a wine subscription service (dryfarmwines.com) where they provide organic wines without any additives or fillers including no added sugars or sulfites! You can taste the quality.
It’s things like that we take into consideration when picking alcohol. These little changes add up over time.
Keep Processed Food Out of Sight
Pizza and nachos never sound better than after a couple of beers.
This is why we stress keeping processed food out of sight.
I know it’s nearly impossible when you’re hanging out at a sports bar or brewery. But if you know you’re the type of person who likes to snack, then immediately order some fresh veggies or proteins. Grilled wings with some carrots and celery are a great choice to feel satiated while downing a few cold ones. It’ll reduce the temptation to order a plate of nachos.
Don’t Let Today Ruin Your Tomorrow
Stop drinking a few hours before bed.
Alcohol can affect sleep by disrupting your normal sleep cycle which can impact your recovery. I know some people believe in the nightcap, but it’s disrupting your sleep. (I know because I used to be one of them.) You end up waking up still tired and not fully recovered which makes it harder to make those goal-oriented decisions.
There’s nothing wrong with letting loose with a few drinks and a pizza. As we've all experienced though, the key to long-term progress is getting back on the plan time and time again.
Getting good sleep by stopping your consumption of alcohol about three hours before bed will help.
I know this is a weird concept because we're talking about liquid and saying you need to drink water to stay hydrated. But alcohol dries you out and leads to a harsh hangover. To combat this drink some water before and after your alcohol consumption. Some activated charcoal will help too.
The rule of thumb is to have a glass of water for each serving of alcohol.
You’ll thank me in the morning.
Keeping these simple tips will allow you to enjoy a few drinks with friends while keeping your health goals in check.
Use these tips for the next big game or holiday party.