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Fun And Healthy Alternatives To Alcohol And Drinks

Fun And Healthy Alternatives To Alcohol And Drinks


There is nothing wrong with the odd tipple with friends, it’s of course part of being sociable. With my Irish experience, I often say ‘the more you drink, the more you drink!’


Consuming more than one or two alcoholic beverages easily leads down that slippery slope of having more than intended.

Consuming excess alcohol often leads to nibbling or over-consuming unhealthy or junk food. This is in addition to the fact that alcohol itself doesn’t provide much nutritionally (there are some benefits -yeah!) and is often mixed with sugary fizzy drinks.

Here are some facts about alcohol that might help you steer clear from overdoing it — but not to feel bad about enjoying a little socially. The big caveat – In Moderation!

Some Facts

  • Alcohol has 7 calories per gram (carbs & proteins have 4, fats 9) and is high in sugars
  • It goes directly to liver for metabolism, taking precedence over food
  • It can interfere with the efficiency of fat metabolism, which can lead to fatty liver disease
  • Our body reacts not only to drinking excess over the years but also to short-term over-consumption

Short-term effects – poor judgment, risk of overeating, thirst for more alcohol.

The next day – hangover, headaches, nausea, heartburn, fatigue, lethargy, feeling of melancholy – often causing us to overeat, and not exercise.

Long-Term Potential Risks

Heart disease, high blood pressure, addiction, emotional problems, obesity, ulcers, type 2 diabetes, hypoglycemia, gout, nerve & brain dysfunction, and poor immunity.

Possible Benefits Of Alcohol

When alcohol is enjoyed in moderation, some of the reported benefits are stress relief, improves blood flow, may lessen progression of heart disease as it slightly increases HDL (good) cholesterol

Suggested Safe Social Intake

Various recommendations are put forward, here at Health & Vitality we suggest 5-7 units a week for ladies (not all at one sitting), with one unit being a 125ml glass of wine, 250ml beer or 25 ml of spirits.

To avoid excess drinking, commit to a number before you start. Focus on the social aspect of the occasion, taking the opportunity to catch up with friends, or to strike up a conversation with someone new — you never know where it might lead!

If social drinking does become a concern, there are online sources that can support (e.g. soberistas or HelloSundayMorning.org).

Commit to a ‘dry month’ so that alcohol isn’t your only social focus; perhaps donate savings to charity as a motivating factor. You will feel all the better for your achievements and it puts you back in control.

Recommendations

  • Order water first, and always have a water glass on hand — water can be made palatable by adding fruit slices, fresh juice and herbs
  • Sip slowly and alternate with water
  • Don’t let the waiter or host top up your drink until your glass is empty; this way you can monitor how much you are actually consuming
  • Try spritzers (wine with soda water), or good quality low-alcohol beers
  • Make a mental note beforehand of what is reasonable to enjoy
  • Don’t drink on an empty stomach
  • Eating some carbs, protein and fat will delay absorption
  • Don’t let alcohol be the focus – socialise, laugh, flirt!
  • Find a purpose to avoid overindulging, e.g. plan activities for early the next morning
  • When on holiday, find activities to fill time so as to resist late afternoon happy hour and 2-for-1 deals

Healthy Alternatives

Drinks in general, from mixers to sugary fruit juices, contribute nothing to your good health. In my Eat Healthy, Lose Weight eGuide, we promote healthy alternatives to all sorts of foods that you might enjoy, including ‘treats’; and alcohol needs to be considered as such also.

Enjoying an occasional glass of red wine (which contains the antioxidant resveratrol) is fine, but like with any treat, it should be planned and limited. Contrary to what you might think, refreshing drinks, including mixers for the occasional alcoholic beverage, need not be laden with sugar or nasty additives.

Some of my favourite refreshing summer drinks include flavoured water kefir, iced coconut water with some pureed fruits or herbs or simply infused sparkling water.

Here are a few water infusion ideas and alternative healthy drinks which you can make at home:

Water Infusions

Flat Belly Water Cucumber and lemon slices, with mint leaves and chopped ginger

Spiced Orange Orange slices with cinnamon sticks

Cool Greens Kiwi and green apple slices, lime and coriander

Healthy Alternative Drinks

Water, coconut water, some natural fruit juice (e.g. freshly squeezed orange juice)

Pre-soaked dried fruits (e.g. apricots) puréed with a little orange juice and soda water

Banana or mango puréed with some fruit juice, coconut water, and sea salt

Fresh strawberries puréed with water, coconut water, sea salt

 

To our health!

Liza Rowan

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Liza Rowan

Liza Rowan, founder of Health & Vitality, is passionate about educating, motivating and inspiring all of us to be healthier - by taking control of our own nutrition and other aspects of our wellbeing. She believes that optimum health is the foundation in helping us achieve our aspirations, and ultimately to leading happier, more fulfilled lives. With the success of her programs in Singapore, Liza now offers her expertise internationally through Revitalize-in-5 online nutrition and lifestyle course.

Liza is an energetic, sporty and fun-loving mother of 2 young boys. She spent her early years in Ireland, and has since lived in Australia, Scotland, Austria, Canada, Hong Kong and now Singapore. She embraces the challenges that each ‘new life’ brings, with particular interest in all matters relating to natural and holistic living, especially nutrition.

This post was first published on Health & Vitality and has been reposted on Connected Women with the permission of the author.
Edited by: Amber Valencia, 
Image credit: Pexels

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