Do you find yourself longing for that glass of wine at the end of the day to soothe the days stresses and challenges? I see a bunch of hands up. Does your social life revolve around meeting friends in bars after work or on weekends? Around the holidays and celebrations of any kind, I see alcohol consumption increases and it can be tough not to create a habit of regular and even daily consumption. It can easily become your ‘new normal’.
The habit of cracking open a bottle of wine, or pouring that martini from the chilled shaker seems soothing, relaxing and even like an act full of self-love.
But is it?
I know that life is getting on top of you and you’ve had another full-on, stressful, exhausting, mind sucking day and you’re just exhausted. Whatever your trigger; whether it be a difficult working environment, long, frustrating and stressful commutes, raising children (with or without the support of a ‘village’), strained marital and familial relationships or low self-esteem, it is likely that you may reach for a glass of wine in order to ease away the stresses of the day and process your thoughts.
From a nutritional perspective, there are a number of reasons why it would be important for mental and physical health to break the cycle of drinking daily or regularly and find a new way to unwind.
While that drink seems to melt your stresses with every sip, you might not realize that the aftereffect is not working for you, for your mind or body. Can you relate to any of this list below?
- A restless night’s sleep after drinking
- You find yourself thinking about your tipple during the day, longing for your next drink
- Feelings of remorse or regret that affect your mood and how you feel about yourself
- Feeling nauseous, fatigue and headaches on waking and persisting throughout the day
- Sensitivities to environmental chemicals such as perfumes and household cleaners
- Change to stools after drinking – such as loose, darker and stronger smelling
- Dehydration – skin doesn’t ‘snap’ back quickly after pulling it, strong-smelling and deeper colored urine, and constipation
No one wants to wake up feeling foggy, headachey, or off in the morning, and for some, they don’t actually notice how lousy they feel anymore until they stop. The tolerance of daily drinking can build to a place where you don’t know any different and think that it’s not negatively affecting you. You won’t know for sure, until you stop, slow down, or add in supportive ways for your body to deal better.
Your liver and kidneys, your pancreas and digestive system all have a lot do for you every day. Then add in regular alcohol consumption and that workload increases like your to-do list before you go away on vacation. Here are some nutritional interventions you can easily implement to help you make some habitual changes:
Managing stress is key to try and break the cycle and feel in a stronger position to make better life and health decisions:
- Exercise and meditation are two of the best stress-busters that are at the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of activity. Make the commitment and exercise with friends. It’s way more fun and the accountability of meeting up gets you out the door.
- Up your B vitamins, Vitamin C and minerals. The B’s and C are both used up in times of stress and the first to be zapped with any amount of alcohol consumption. Minerals are easily depleted and in constant need of topping up that may help you have a better night’s sleep, a lift in mood, faster recovery after a workout, ease in headaches and improved energy.
- Extra vitamin C is a good idea, as it is rapidly used up in periods of stress for the production of cortisol and related stress hormones. It can reduce blood pressure, cortisol, and response to acute psychological stress.
- Support healthy sleep cycles with healthy serotonin production and add in probiotics to your daily vitamin regime.
Blood Sugar Support is vital as alcohol is a big carbohydrate and can increase cravings for unhealthy foods and yes, another drink:
- Including Superfoods in your diet like berries and greens. If you can’t manage that every day, incorporate a superfood powder daily.
- Ensure you are eating good quality protein at lunchtime so that by the time dinner comes you are starving and more likely to make unhealthy choices. Try quinoa, beans, chicken, fish, nuts, and seeds.
- Keep nuts, trail mix or your favorite bar in the car for quick and easy snacks. Pack sliced, raw fruit and veggies for the drive home so you don’t end up ravenous as you walk in the door.
Support detoxification and elimination:
- The best foods to support healthy a liver include broccoli, strong-flavored leafy greens like watercress, arugula, radish leaves, cilantro, parsley and kale, turmeric, artichoke, avocado, apples, and pomegranate.
- Swap your coffee for water and electrolytes, coconut water, and green tea. Electrolyte minerals include magnesium, sodium, potassium, and calcium.
New daily habits of going for a walk with some soothing music, an audiobook or uplifting podcast, even for 10 minutes (better if in a park or nature) can have a profound impact on feeling more grounded and getting out of all your normal routine.
You know that doing the same thing, expecting a different outcome isn’t going to get you feeling and looking as vibrant as you could. When the decision is made to change a habit that’s not healthy, you want far-reaching benefits within your health and family.