Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wellness Tips for the Alcohol Enthusiast

In the words of the band, Sublime, "It's summer time and the living's easy." I've compiled a list of 10 facts/tips to help guide any alcohol enthusiast towards maintaining their wellness goals while enjoying the hot days of summer and having fun.

1.Moderation is key. As in all things in life when practiced in moderation drinking alcohol can be a part of a healthy lifestyle. Some benefits have been proven and associated with moderate consumption, however, if you haven't drank alcohol before the pro's do not out weight the con's so don't start now. Whether or not you choose to drink is a very personal matter and all individuals should consult with their doctor if debating this decision.

According to the American Dietetic Association, moderate drinking is defined as:
2 drinks or less per day for men
1 drink or less per day for women

1 drink = 1-12 oz beer, 1.5 oz liquor, or 5 oz. wine*
*Traditional servings of wine are 6oz.

2. Hydration is important! Alcohol in it's very nature is drying and dehydrating for the body. If you choose to enjoy an alcoholic beverage drink an extra glass of water afterwards to compensate. Especially in the days of summer it's important to drink water all throughout the day.  Sometimes enriching your beverage intake with electrolytes and minerals is also helpful.  

3. Empty calories. Alcohol contains 7 kcal per gram and the calories provided are "empty" meaning that they are a not providing any noteworthy nutrients.  Choose to emphasize eating all the nutritious foods you can over consuming empty calories like alcohol, soda, candy, and all processed sweet treats.  

1-8 oz. margarita = 300-700 calories
1-12 oz. beer = 90-300 calories
1-6 oz. glass wine = 100-150 calories

4. Filling up on alcohol and other empty calories prevents us from taking in adequate amounts of life sustaining nutrients. By drinking in moderation you allow your body to crave foods and beverages that are nutrient dense and will promote the health of your being.

5. Set limits for yourself and stick with them. Sometimes volunteering to be a designated driver will help you to keep your drinking in check. Also, setting a limit the amount or frequency of your drinking and communicating with friends will help.

If you know you want to have a maximum of two drinks only bring enough cash with you into the establishment to cover the cost plus tip.

6. Listen to your body. When you're having a get together with friends and responsibly drinking alcohol pay attention to how your body feels during the process. Your body will send you tons of signals when you're approaching your limit or you've had too much. Practice ahimsa or nonviolence. Drinking yourself into a drunken, angry, or nauseous stupor may be fun in the moment but will have lasting health effects. The body is an innately intelligent being and a night of heavy drinking can be both stressful and harmful.

7. Think quality over quantity. Have a nice drink - the one you really want. That way your less inclined to crave more!

8. Prevent the alcohol munchies. Pace yourself with the alcohol and make sure to drink plenty of water to prevent the ravenous alcohol munchies that many people experience. We are mostly like to sabotage our healthy eating habits after 10pm.

9. Choose low-calorie and low-carbohydrate mixers! Some simple favorites: water with fresh juice with no added sweeteners (lemon and lime work well), club soda with a splash for fresh squeezed juice with no added sweeteners, diet sodas (limit the amount of artificial sweeteners you injest as these are newer substances and they are believed to "sit" in the liver and accumulate). Also, reconsider drinking that energy drink paired with alcohol due to the fact that energy drinks are high in calories and carbohydrates in the form of simple sugars! Alcohol is a suppressant and energy drinks are an upper - what message are you sending to your body?

10. Enjoy yourself and be mindful of your decisions. When we falter what is important is that we stand back up and keep going. Life is guaranteed to produce change and emotional roller coasters once in a while... smile and stick with what you believe in! :-)

Peace and love! 

Keri is an internationally Registered Yoga Teacher, Culinary Nutritionist, and Wellness Educator.  She owns and operates BAYA Wellness, LLC offering Yoga and Nutrition Services and Products.  Keri teachers both privately and publicly around the Greenville area offering on-going classes and special events.  Her path as a nutritionist is all about making healthy living approachable... she teaches the components of healthy cooking, eating, and thinking while also offering specialized services like menu planning.  Healthy living is about the whole pictures of wellness... find your path to living well.

BAYA... Be As You Are!
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