How to Drink and Thrive

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How to Drink and Thrive

Ahh yes; America’s pastime. Drinking. Ask around and you will get several colorful opinions on how delicious or evil it is.

When it comes down to it though, neither camp is wrong.

The key to alcohol is “conscious application”.

Here are a couple of example scenarios:

  • Can’t wait to get off of work so that you can head to the closest bar and drink away the day’s anxiety and depression?

You’re probably not exercising much “consciousness”.

  • Eat clean all week, complete a big project at work, and celebrate with the team afterwards over a couple glasses of wine?

There you go, Champ! 

The bottom line is, alcohol isn’t some magical weight loss supplement that will result in fat loss and beautiful blood markers.

HPHI Kill Carb Cravings

More often than not, folks actually see a significant amount of progress once they decrease or eliminate alcohol consumption for a specific amount of time.

But, let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water. One should be informed on different approaches, or choices, that can be made based on their given situation.

That is my intention with the explanations below.

Alcohol is a stressor

Alcohol is a stressor, no doubt about it.

Your liver has to remove the toxin from your bloodstream.

If you are not an avid exercise enthusiast, or haven’t “raised your heart rate on purpose” in the last few years, then perhaps you have chosen to follow the latest scientific breakthrough that “One glass of red wine is equal to 30 minutes in the gym”….(Eureka! Finally, the science “understands you”).

Although, if you are on the opposite end of the spectrum and train religiously, at super high intensities, those 2 servings of alcohol before bed could be disrupting your sleep, hormones, and recovery, thus setting up your risk for injury on a silver platter.

And don’t think your mental stress-inferno of a job isn’t the equivalent of an athlete “Over Training”. Because….It’s kind of a big deal.

"But, I drink in moderation - I'm good!"

Ah yes, the “Moderation” excuse? Brace yourselves!

Just because you aren’t slap-faced drunk, but you have a glass of wine at dinner, you are still drinking daily. So, what’s a girl to do?

How might one navigate through the hazy science to discover the golden recipe for your guilty boozing pleasures?

The truth is, there is no research to explain exactly why alcohol may assist human longevity. It’s all correlational.

Maybe it’s because alcohol thins the blood, or because it seems to fit hand in hand with elevated HDL cholesterol levels. Or maybe people who drink, more often, aren’t type-A, anal sticks in the mud.

The beauty of it all is that you don’t have to sift through the research to understand that it can assist in a more healthy lifestyle.

How to Drink and Thrive

Break the Drinking Habit!

This article isn’t suggesting that you pour all your liquor down the drain and grab your bible (which some of you may need).

It’s merely suggesting to break the cycle.

Change things up; turn over a new leaf; (insert generic Pop culture change insinuation cliché here).

You may surprise yourself. Perhaps the extra alcohol and stress could be keeping that sinus congestion lingering (or just the beer … ;). Or perhaps your poor sleep quality has been the root cause of your incessant daily carbohydrate cravings? #scienceisback.

"But its a Sugar-Free drink"

Bethany Frankel got realllll clever with her “Skinny Girl” line of alcohol. Most campaigns may trick some folks with their “Sugar-Free”, “110 calories”, “Beer-Free”…. Sorry…. “Gluten-Free”* booze campaigns, but not you.

No, no, you are much too clever for that.

Don’t get me wrong, the sugar can, and will, still pack a punch. But even too much sugar-free, 70 calories per shot Grey Goose will still kill your progress, if one over indulges.

Let me drop some more Knowledge* on ya. (the * is because there isn’t any real scientific way to individually quantify what I am about to explain. I use this example as an oversimplified way to explain the body’s preferred pathway for energy and detoxification.)

How to Drink and Thrive

Drinking essentially shuts off the pathway your body uses to access and burn stored fat.

Why? Survival, that’s why.

Your liver has hundreds of jobs, one of them being supporting your metabolism. When your bloodstream contains alcohol, your liver’s number-one job becomes to detoxify and remove that alcohol from your body.

Most of the alcohol you consume, actually gets processed by your liver, and one standard drink takes about 10 hours to be completely detoxified (*on average)

{See how this could get “sciency” rather quickly?}.

This means, any sort of fat burning is put on hold while your liver cleans up before your parents get home.

So, if you go out and have 4 glasses of wine, that’s 40 hours* that your fat burning abilities are affected. (Raise your hand if your eye brows perked up a bit…. #onfleek.) Again, Peeps, all of this is completely relative to the individual, but applicable to some degree, nonetheless.

“Alcohol and Health” Commandments

So am I convincing you to run from all alcohol, and fun in general? I hope not! Given my in depth knowledge of the poison at hand, do I partake? Of course!

I’m a Functional Medicine Health Coach; not a Saint. All you have to do is make a change and pay attention to the outcomes.

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For what it is worth, I will lay out some generic Internet “Alcohol and Health” commandments.

1. If you still are going to have beer, go for a quality beer.

And only have one or two. No one with a “Case of Natty” weekend habit looks sexy in a ‘kini!

2. Drink daily? Stop!

Try not doing that for a few weeks and see if you experience any changes.

3. Don’t drink at all?

(Don’t answer that on this public forum please)

Just kidding, but ask yourself why not. If it’s for “fear of health” purposes, you might find some benefit indulging every now and then. (Especially regarding assisting with that nasty late night sweet tooth.)

4. Prefer your Gluten in a bottle? Try this instead.

Try wine, or liquor of choice and club soda, instead.

Notice how you feel for the upcoming days and weeks.

Less bloat and loss of body fat? Then stay away from the beer. If you gain 10 lbs and have severe GI distress from NOT drinking beer, then I can’t help you.

Lol just kidding….Call Us!

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5. Just getting into a really good exercise habit?

Then start to push your evening beverage to the nights that you haven’t trained. As an extra stressor, this could decrease your progress for the reasons stated above.

6. Start with “x” days of sobriety before the reintroduction of “friendly alcohols.”

You have to start somewhere.

Remember “He who starts his first step to drinking healthier tomorrow, spends an eternity on one leg”…. Trademark that!

7. Consider alternatives

Ciders are a great alternative to pounding back regular beer, but they pack a hefty sugar punch.

I personally spike mine with Cinnamon whiskey (Sorry, Dad) to create an inversely proportionate relationship between my sugar intake and my buzz.

Don’t ask me to explain the science after 3, though.

8. Quit Overthinking

And lastly, don’t over think it.

It’s alcohol, not rocket surgery. Live a little.

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