Happy 4th of July! Here’s to a workweek broken up by vacation days and fireworks.
If you like enjoying a good cocktail, glass of wine or cold beer with your summer celebrations, but you also want to stay on this side of healthy, this week’s post is for you.
So much of consistently maintaining a healthy lifestyle is about balance: balancing healthy eating + enjoying food, pushing yourself in your workouts + allowing time for recovery, holding yourself accountable to your goals + allowing for flexibility and the unexpected.
So no surprise that when it comes to alcohol, balance is again key.
There are negative health consequences to alcohol: it contains toxins that tax your liver and kidneys and cause you to feel and perform worse the next day, it contributes to weight gain and wrinkles, it interferes with quality sleep, etc.
That said, for many of us it’s a part of everyday life and culture, and a way that we celebrate and connect with friends and family in social settings.
If you choose to imbibe, here are a few tips to help you do so in a healthy way:
1. Keep your cocktails clear.
Tequila, mezcal, vodka and gin: these are all sugar-free, distilled and filtered which cuts down on the toxic burden on your liver. Drink them on the rocks or with club soda and a twist of citrus (lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit) — like tequila + club soda on ice with twists of grapefruit and lime.
2. Choose wines that are dry and organic/biodynamic.
Wine contains sugar but some more than others; choose dry wines over sweeter varieties to cut down on sugar content. As for the red vs. white question, it’s open to debate. On one hand, red contains higher levels of the beneficial antioxidants resveratrol and quercetin; on the other hand, white wine tends to be lower in mold toxins.
A more important consideration is the quality of production. Wine grapes are one of the most pesticide-treated crops, and those chemicals end up in your glass and body. Many wines also include added sulfites for preservation. To avoid these, choose wines labeled as biodynamic, natural or organic.
3. Match every drink with a glass of water.
I know you’ve heard this tip before. It’s a simple step that makes a big difference. Try training yourself to always have a glass of water in one hand when you have a drink in the other. It will help counter the dehydrating effects of alcohol and support your body’s own detoxification processes.
4. Take a high-quality multivitamin before bed.
This one is less scientific and more based on personal observation 🙂 As alcohol dehydrates your body, you lose vitamins and nutrients in addition to water. Popping a high-quality multivitamin (that includes a vitamin B complex and Vitamin C) before going to bed after a night out will provide your body with a boost of nutrition that can help you feel better in the morning.
5. Get a good night’s sleep.
Alcohol in your system reduces your ability to achieve high-quality REM sleep, but allowing your body enough time to rest can make a world of difference in the morning. Think about it like any other time when you’re trying to support your body’s own healing processes — give yourself adequate peace and quiet to allow you to sleep and recover.
(Bonus tip #6: If you’re not into drinking or want to give your liver a break, I highly recommend the mocktail pictured above: just sparkling water + strawberries + ice.)
Hope those are helpful! If you try them out over the 4th, send me an email or tag me on Instagram so I can see your healthy choices in action 🙂