lifestyle

How to fit alcohol into a healthy lifestyle

Is alcohol bad for you?! I think the default answer that pops into our minds is yes but I don’t necessarily believe that’s the case. If we’re consuming a lot of anything then yes, it probably is bad for you. This stands true for not just alcohol but anything; croissants, smoothies, carrots! Obviously eating 10 croissants or having 10 cocktails a day is harder on our bodies than eating a ton of something deemed ‘healthier, like carrots for example, but you get what I’m saying.

Since summer’s almost over you might be having some thoughts about those poolside cocktails, positive or negative! This blog is going to touch on what a healthy limit looks like, alcohol from a caloric point of view, identifying dependency and strategies for cutting back. 

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Healthy Limits 

The key when it comes to alcohol is finding your own unique balance! The balance between indulging in a drink or two at a summer pool party or a patio dinner vs. binge drinking every weekend. The balance between a glass of wine at the end of the evening and an unhealthy habit like dependance or reliance on alcohol. 

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It can be hard to know what a ‘healthy limit’ is. You might guess it’s based on weight and body size. Your own personal limits are based on the rate that your body metabolizes alcohol which is impossible to really measure other than through trial and error. Most people know how many drinks it takes them to feel ‘drunk’ or how many will push them over. This is influenced slightly by body size but also the liver size and the number of specific enzymes your body produces! 

Let’s talk about enzymes for a hot minute. When someone is lactose intolerant they are not producing enough of an enzyme called lactase. Genetics play a similar role for alcohol and some people have different amounts of the ADH and ALDH enzyme (source) . So if you are low in these enzymes you won’t be able to metabolize alcohol as fast and your tolerance will be lower! 

Know that everyone’s limits very! By definition, binge drinking is over the healthy limit for everyone. By definition binge drinking is: 

“a pattern of drinking that brings a person's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 grams percent or above. This typically happens when men consume 5 or more drinks or women consume 4 or more drinks in about 2 hours.” -The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism  

This might seem vague. Is an unhealthy limit based on your enzymes or what the NIAAA says?! I keep coming back to the importance of knowing what your body can handle. 

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While social media glamorizes drinking with pretty cocktails, healthy/skinny alternatives, and elaborate bath time setups featuring a crisp Sauv Blanc, or a velvety rich Cabernet Sauvignon and a lit candle, drinking still has serious consequences. We’re all aware of what it can lead to so I don’t have to list it down, but I think it’s important to have a gentle reminder that alcohol can be an addictive substance and some very horrible things can come of intoxication. 

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From a Caloric Point of View 

Unfortunately, alcohol does add calories and those calories add up. If you have body goals that revolve around a certain caloric intake then make sure you’re considering the fact that alcohol has 7 calories per gram! This might sound confusing but don’t worry about the science. Basically, 1 ounce of pure spirit is going to have 90-120 calories. Yes, even those ‘0 Carb’ drinks are still probably 90 calories minimum. And the biggest catch..alcohol molecules digest similar to carbohydrate! So even though it might not spike your blood sugar, alcohol still follows the same metabolic pathway as a carbohydrate. Stressful, I know! I’m only telling you ‘cause I love you and I think you deserve to be well informed! 

If you’re looking to make healthy choices opt for something lighter or low calories. You can also make your own and choose soda water and fresh citrus like lemon, lime, orange or grapefruit as your mix. Alternatively, you can use a diet soda or a sweetener like Mio or Crystal Light sometimes I even mix my spirits with kombucha or a probiotic drink for a healthier cocktail. Give sparkling wine and kombucha a try for brunch option with the girls or even Gin and Kombucha.

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One of my favorite spirits happens to be Mezcal which is an agave-based liquor. The flavor profile is very different than Tequila because it is typically smokier. There are also lots of rumors going around saying that Mezcal is healthier because it's viewed as an aperitif which stimulates the appetite. Using mezcal as an aperitif and digestif is nothing new. It helps with digestion, as well as the regulation of blood sugars. Mezcal is also naturally gluten-free.

Alcohol Dependency

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes a nice glass of wine at the end of the night is a perfect way to end a long day. For me, it doesn’t matter if I’m celebrating a super accomplished day or a long and stressful one. The drink isn’t a way to forget or hide, it’s an opportunity to slow down, reflect and enjoy. I could spend this same hour of my evening with a cup of tea, or a bit of CBD. It’s the act of slowing down not the drink that accompanies it. 

When that drinking becomes a habit and that habit becomes a dependency, then the relationship is no longer healthy. 

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • “Am I thinking about this drink all day?”

  • “Would I be upset if I was completely out of this alcohol and couldn’t have my nightly beverage?”

  • “Has weekend drinking become evening drinking?”

  • “Has an evening glass of wine become an evening bottle?”

If you’re feeling uneasy with your answers to any of these questions that’s okay. You are supported. 

Cutting Back

If you feel like your relationship with alcohol isn’t at a healthy stage it may be time to implement some boundaries to help you restabilize that relationship. You 

Helpful Tips:

  • Don’t keep any extra alcohol in the house 

  • Buy only what you need when necessary

  • Gift/regift unwanted bottles 

  • Talk with your spouse about your decision to not drink/drink less. Ask for support. 

  • Visit your local AA meetings 

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Know yourself and your limits

At the end of the day, it’s all about moderation and self-awareness. Drinking a glass of wine is good for you, drinking an entire bottle could do some damage and can lead to an unhealthy lifestyle. Find a healthy balance for yourself based on your body and lifestyle needs. Enjoy those end of the summer cocktails if it suits you and don’t forget to mix in some water and nourish and love up your body the next day! 

Hilton Aruba Wellness Travel Hotel Review

Hilton Aruba Wellness Travel Hotel Review

I was lucky enough to be able to experience some of the wellness offerings at Hilton Aruba, one of the 10 hotel resorts that Hilton has to offer in the Caribbean. It was my first visit to Aruba and although I didn’t have much time to plan for this trip there were plenty of things to do on the hotel property and in the surrounding area that gave me a chance to explore and fulfill all the areas of my personal wellness journey that’s important to me.

5 Simple Ways to Go Green

This blog post was sponsored by Love Beauty and Planet, but all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. 

Ever since moving into our new house we’ve been trying to find ways to go green. I had this big lofty idea that we’d go cold turkey and just be completely green, sustainable, and 100% eco-friendly. I quickly realized that transitioning into a more sustainable lifestyle wasn’t going to happen overnight. Just like approaching any exercise or diet change, an ‘all or nothing’ mindset can just lead to shortcomings when the expectations are set a little too high. What I discovered is that sustainable living is just like a yoga practice. You have to set the right intentions and take it day by day. 

Here are five small, easy, green choices we can make in our homes. 

Reducing water usage in the shower.

I’ve been using the new brand, Love Beauty & Planet and love how it’s made my hair feel. The conditioner has a fast-rinse technology that can help you save water and rinsing time in the shower. I do my part by going easy on the tap.  Since there are 3 ladies in my household this is extremely beneficial in cutting down water usage and costs. Another shower saver tip is to bring the plants in the shower when watering or when plants need humidity from misting. Yes, I’ve taken crazy plant lady to a whole new level. 

p.s. I’ve been using the purposeful hydration shampoo and conditioner – it’s infused with wild shea nut butter and ethically sourced Australian Sandalwood Oil – smells so good! 

5 Simple Ways to go Green

5 Simple Ways to go Green

Recycle and compost food scraps.

Use a trash can that has a built-in recycling bin which has helped us mindfully recycle in our home. We recently picked up a Simple Human dual compartment trashcan and it has been a game changer. Truthfully, we purchased it for aesthetics and functionality, but we had no idea the amount of trash we would be reducing because we’ve been more mindful of the things we recycle. On top of that, we've also been more mindful of composting food scraps and other compostable materials, which has helped reduce the trash. We recently picked up a little container that we place right next to our kitchen sink as a reminder to toss any food scraps into the compost. What we’ve seen is a major reduction in our trash by garbage pick-up and the recycling and compost/yard trimming bins are filled.  

Upcycle used jars and bottles.

In the past, we’ve normally recycled old jars of pasta sauce, but this year we’ve been making a more conscious effort in upcycling them and using them to store nuts or other pantry items. I love doing this because it’s like giving jars another purpose or value instead of them getting smashed up in recycling facilities. Another thing you can do is use them for propagating plants, which we did for a few of our plant babies here at home before we repotted them in their new pots. I can’t wait to do this with my Love Beauty and Planet bottles when we’re done using them because I can think of a few other ways I can upcycle the bottles. 

Ditch the plastic water bottles!

Use a reusable water bottle and carry it everywhere! If you ever catch me out and about you’ll know I carry around a S’well water bottle everywhere I go. Occasionally there’s even more than one sitting on my desk during my work day. A reusable water bottle not only helps the environment by reducing our usage of plastic, but it’s healthier too. Carrying a reusable water bottle can even help you save nearly $260 a year. 

I carry around a S’well water bottle everywhere I go as one of the ways I go green.

I carry around a S’well water bottle everywhere I go as one of the ways I go green.

Ride your bike instead of driving your car to work.

Since I work from home I can’t really ride my bike to work, but what I have done from time to time is swapped out my workouts for a bike ride which saves me time from getting into my car, driving to the gym, and even reduces my carbon footprint. If you’re walking distance from the store, try walking or biking instead of driving. 

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Going full green at once can be daunting, but if you take small baby steps you’ll quickly see it’s easier than you think. Which one of these will you try first? 

In 2018 my goal is to have harmony

In 2018 my goal is to have harmony

Accepting my body for where it is today and creating harmony in my beautiful messy life is my biggest goal of next year. Reconnecting with my creative side in the kitchen, eating more plant-based meals, and getting outside more are also on top of the list! I’m leaving 2017 extremely grateful for the truths it’s shown me and walking into 2018 feeling powerful beyond measure. 

Top 10 Tips on How to Slow Down

There's no surprise I'm the kind of woman who loves to be on the go. This past week I was in Portland with my barre3 fam and in San Diego to shoot a wedding with the hubs. For some people I know a life thats this busy and chaotic can seem very overwhelming and when people ask me "How do you do it all?" I have to remind them of the very important thing I learned at Institute for Integrative Nutrition which is perception of pressure. 

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TOP 10 TIPS

on how to slow da F&*K down

LIFE IS TOO SHORT

Some people, like myself, thrive in high pressure environments. It's one of my strengths and I utilize that strength often in life. Sometimes too often, and life begins teaching me to slow down through physical injuries, catching a cold, or by experiencing reactions such as breakouts, water retention, and my psoriasis flare ups due to increased levels of cortisol. 

In this digital age we have more tools at our disposal to help us become more productive and help us accomplish our tasks yet it leaves us feeling like our to-do lists are never ending. Life is too short and time flies way too quickly especially in today's world. 

Here are 10 exercises to help you slow down, enjoy life, and focus on the important things.

Top 10 Tips to Slow Down

  1. TAKE THE TIME TO PRIORITIZE DAILY OBJECTIVES. By focusing on the most important tasks to get done, we eliminate the stress of trying to accomplish everything at once.
  2. CUT PERSONAL INTERNET USE IN HALF. Technology has become a major element in most of our lives. Social networking, email, and web surfing hinder our ability to focus by throwing hundreds of ideas at us. Reduce your Internet use by 50% and use that time to explore new hobbies, exercise, or meditate.
  3. ENJOY NATURE. Take a 5-10 minute break to step outside and breathe fresh air. Disconnect from the rest of the world and admire the beauty of nature.
  4. EAT SLOWER. A lot of us speed through meals, missing the chance to appreciate our food’s textures and flavors. Start to chew slower and fully experience the smell, taste, and texture of your food.
  5. CONNECT WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS. We all want to spend quality time with close friends and family, but how often do we get to truly listen and connect? Put away the cell phones and steer clear of noisy environments. Connect on a deeper level.
  6. MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF. When did you last spend valuable time with yourself? Take a night to find a new book, watch a favorite movie, try yoga, meditate, or cook a new recipe.
  7. GIVE YOURSELF MORE TIME. Some of us like to stick to a tight schedule and plan all our daily events. Next time you’re jotting down new tasks in your planner, factor in a few extra minutes when estimating how long things will take. This will help you not rush through daily tasks.
  8. TAKE THE SCENIC ROUTE. Next time you’re driving somewhere, take the scenic route. Driving through open fields, mountains, or in view of a city skyline can be very relaxing.
  9. SIT FOR A MOMENT WITH YOUR EYES CLOSED WHEN YOU START YOUR COMPUTER. Even just a few moments of meditation can set the tone for the rest of your day. Try to empty your mind and take deep breaths before jumping into your tasks.
  10. REMEMBER YOUR GOALS AND ASPIRATIONS. Each morning when you wake up, take a few moments to think about your life goals and aspirations. Recall the milestones you’ve already reached in your life, and your drive to achieve new ones. Try doing this for five minutes before getting out of bed to start your day.

When life get's too chaotic, what are the things you do to hit that pause button?