Having a Healthier Relationship with Alcohol

By: Suzanne Boothby

Alcohol is a staple of many social situations from family and office parties to sporting events and concerts. But you don’t have to drink to have fun with friends and family.

For years, the message has been that moderate drinking is okay, but new research shows that even small amounts of alcohol on a regular basis can impact your risk for developing breast cancer or negatively affect your brain health. Of course, having a drink on a special occasion is okay for most people. If you suspect you have a drinking problem, please seek help as soon as possible.

Social pressure can be intimidating when you are first re-evaluating your relationship to alcohol. Don’t feel the need to always have a drink in your hands at social events and experiment with what feels best for you.

Healthy Diets & Alcohol
When many people switch to a healthier diet, they cannot drink as much beer, wine or spirits. They tend to lose their tolerance, meaning maybe a glass or two is the limit, or they lose the desire to drink at all.

If you’re on a new healthy kick or have recently completed a Reboot, you may find that alcohol does not have the same appeal. You might feel more sluggish or hungover the next morning, even from small amounts of alcohol.

When you are drinking alcohol and eating a healthier diet, be sure to stay well hydrated, especially if you know you may be indulging. A good rule of thumb is one glass of alcohol to two glasses of water. Drink slowly and enjoy your conversations with friends.

Still on the fence about drinking? Here are few more ways to reduce alcohol in social settings:

Skip Happy Hour

Meet up with friends for a walk in the park, a yoga class, or at a juice and smoothie bar instead of meeting at a bar. Put the emphasis on the socializing and take away the alcohol component. You may be the first to suggest it, but your friends may enjoy the break too!

Bring Your Own Bubbly

For years, I would bring kombucha (a fermented tea drink) or sparkling water to parties, if I wasn’t in the mood to drink alcohol. You can still put these drinks in a fancy cup. Many times, you can order a sparkling water with lime at a bar too, and only the bartender will know you are not drinking alcohol.

Half and Half

If you are at an event and would like to drink some alcohol, consider drinks like a shandy, which is beer mixed with ginger beer or lemonade, or a michelada, which is beer mixed with tomato and lime juice. It’s a great way to reduce alcohol—just be careful about the sugar content of your mixer.

Watch Out for Sugar

Many alcoholic drinks are made from sugar-based spirits. But a 100% agave-based alcohol such as a top-shelf or artisan-made tequila or mezcal will not give you a hangover the next day. You may find you can imbibe these drinks responsibly without repercussions the next day.

Talk About It

If you’re in a social setting and someone offers you a drink, take a moment to check in and decide if you really want one or not. If someone notices you are not drinking and tries to persuade you to have a drink with them, don’t be afraid to speak up and say something. “I don’t feel like drinking tonight,” conveys a clear message without judging the person who is offering you a drink.

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Suzanne Boothby

Suzanne Boothby is an author, journalist, writing coach and wellness instigator who has covered everything from spiritual workouts to kale cocktails. She is a freelance wellness writer for Omega Institute and has published stories on Yahoo! Health News, EdibleBrooklyn.com, NBCNews.com, Eatthispoem.com, and more.

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