Here’s an interesting challenge.  Search the term “Healthy Cocktail” and count the number of interneHealth and Alcoholt hits.  My bet is you’ll get upwards of 20 million.  There are countless websites, books, products, and gurus that will tell you they can sell you safe drinks that will keep your waist trim and require no restriction on your end.

I call BS.  Most of these “healthy cocktails” are called healthy because they are low in calories.  But I believe that counting only calories is an incomplete picture.  Calories do not take into account macro or micro nutrient make-up, hormonal impacts, or toxin load.  And the issue with alcohol is that it can be very toxic on your body.

When alcohol is metabolized, primarily in the liver, it is converted into acetaldehyde, a short lived but toxic compound.  Alcohol is taxing on your system and is linked to everything from increased body fat to cancer.  Of course, since we’re all unique snowflakes, we all process it a little differently. But do not be misled- alcohol consumption could have a devastating impact on your health and fitness goals.

I don’t say this because I’m the fun police.  I’m saying this because I see far too many people drinking a 64 calorie beer, believing that it is healthy, and drinking lots of it.  Low calorie drink be darned, that’s still a high load of toxins in your system.  Not to mention the poor choices you make after a few drinks or while trying to manage a hangover.

But to be fair, not everyone who enjoys alcohol is a booze hound.  With the rise in popularity of local breweries and wineries, I get it.  I know that for many people, myself included, alcohol can be about savoring and enhancing a culinary experience.  Not keg stands or flippy cup.  So what’s a health minded individual to do?

If You Must Drink:
  1. Quality over Quantity. If you must drink, do so selectively.  Focus on quality wines and unique beers.  Richer beverages tend to be more satisfying and most of them are so full bodied it’s next to impossible to chug.
  2. Drink one glass of water in-between each drink. This will keep you from getting dehydrated and slow the overall consumption.
  3. Set a limit. One drink or two drinks may not wreck you, but a half a dozen probably will.  Remember- there is strength in restriction.
  4. Be honest with yourself. If you are stalled on your progress, this is a habit you must consider as potentially detrimental.  Or be comfortable not making progress on your goals.  It’s your call.


For the Abstainers:
  1. Get Creative. Just because you are not drinking alcoholic beverages doesn’t mean you can’t have fun.  I like getting herbal teas and icing them for a different spin on poolside beverages.  My favorite right now is iced hibiscus tea.
  2. Get Sneaky. If you haven’t worked up the courage to tell your friends you don’t want to drink, try a mocktail!   For example, try club soda with a fresh lime.  No one has to know there’s no vodka.
  3. Grow a Thick Skin.  Unfortunately, people expect certain behaviors that have been normal in the past.  If you are new to the abstaining lifestyle, it will be an adjustment for you AND your friends.  Be ready to say no and repeat yourself.  And check out my video how to politely, but effectively, decline an alcoholic drink: 
Can Health and Alcohol be BFFs?

No, I don’t think they can be BFFs.  However, I don’t think they have to be Frenemies either.  You know that friend that is SUPER fun, but may bring out the worst in you?  So you’ve set clear boundaries with him or her and you don’t hang out all that much?  Yeah, I think that’s alcohol and health.

What do you think?  BFFs, Frenemies, FWBs (Friends with Boundaries)?  Let’s discuss in the comments!





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