Wine. Martinis. Beer. Vodka. Ahh yes. Drinking. This is a topic I get asked a lot about as a nutrition consultant and holistic health coach. And for good reason. It’s confusing. But more so we often want permission from someone to say “Yes! Drinking is good for you!” So, to answer the question “can I drink?”- Yes. No. Sometimes. Maybe. Depends. My answer, like this debate, complicated.Keep reading to see where you fall in the drinking debacle.
I don’t have health issues and I feel fine to great on a daily basis.
If this sounds like you, then YES, drinking in moderation is fine. There are always advocates that the antioxidants in red wine can be beneficial and you should have a glass of wine a night. If you feel great and have no severe health issues, then drinking is not going to hurt you! Now, this is not me saying to have three or more drinks a night or pound tequila shots every weekend. Even if you are healthy, alcohol is hard on your liver and the entire system. Balance and moderation is the name of the game!
I have health issues. Somedays I feel bad and somedays I feel fine.
If this sounds like you, then drinking is a MAYBE
for you. Here’s the thing we all will feel better without alcohol. If you have health issues, (like me!) we all know this. However, we are also human. There are times where I haven’t drunk a drop of alcohol for three months and felt amazing. There are also times (like when I went to Mexico recently for Spring Break) where I was on vacation and I wanted a Margarita! Or two. Or maybe three. And I felt amazing!If you have on-going health issues, like Lyme Disease or other autoimmune conditions, a glass of wine every now and then is not going to harm you. In fact, I have times where a glass of wine helps my sanity. If you have health issues you are probably on a super restricted diet and maybe feel restricted in other areas of your life. In this instance, sometimes drinking in moderation can help you feel “normal” despite all of the issues you have going on.Again, find your balance. If you have a “big” night out, then go cold turkey for the following week. If you have a glass of wine and feel awful the next day after only one drink, then maybe it’s time to take a break since your body is telling you “no.”
For me personally, I like to do periods of time where I am sober. I have Lyme Disease, so some days I feel fine and other days I don’t. In order to heal and maintain my gut health, I will go for two-three weeks without drinking a thing to give myself a break. If I want a drink or a fun weekend, I make sure that the following week or weeks I stay off the sauce. Listen to your body and find the moderation that works for you.
I have health issues. I do not feel well.
If this sounds like you, then drinking is a NO. If you do not feel well and specifically if drinking does not make you feel well, then do NOT drink! Sounds simple, but sometimes it’s not that easy. I know it’s frustrating to have to give up one more thing! However, if you do not feel healthy as is then alcohol is most likely hindering your healing. Remind yourself that going off of the booze for a month or so is what is best to help you heal. Remember that if you have health issues and are not feeling like yourself, then stopping drinking for a period of time has the potential to be temporary once your body is more stabilized. Your body works in overdrive to help you heal. Give it and yourself a break.If I do decide to drink, what should I drink?
Say NO to:
- Drinks with lots of sugar or artificial sweeteners
- Gluten filled drinks (beer, some whiskey/rye, vodka)
- Cheap / non-organic wine
Say YES (in moderation) to:
- Organic Wine!
- This has been a game changer for me. Currently, I am loving Natura Wines. This wine is the #1 imported organically grown wine brand. Their grapes are organic (yay!) and it only retails for about $10. Think of wine like organic produce. It is just as important to your wine to make sure it is grown without pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizer. There is NO need to have chemicals in your wine. You can trust that with Natura wine you are getting wine in its purest form. And on top of that, it tastes wonderful. Just in time for rosé season.
- Tito’s is gluten-free. Try it with soda water or water.
- Gluten-free beer
- Note: Gluten-free beers still contain grains. If you are on a Paleo diet, eliminate even gluten-free beer. Be sure your beer is certified gluten-free and not just “gluten reduced” if you are struggling with health issues.
- Like with all spirits, do NOT drink bottom shelf. Drinking is a treat, so get yourself the good stuff! Add soda and lime for your own healthy version of a margarita.