Ah alcohol...a blessing and a curse? There are millions, if not billions, of opinions on the healthfulness (or lack thereof) of alcohol and research to support whatever opinion suits your fancy. So, what’s OUR opinion?
Is there a place for alcohol in a healthy diet?
BUT, before you bust out the Jager shots in celebration, if you are suffering from an acute or chronic disease or condition, such as ulcerative colitis, Chron’s disease, IBS, etc. alcohol in any amount is probably NOT a good idea.
That said, if you are healthy (and only you can be the honest judge of that) you can certainly imbibe from time to time. And, as with eating, there are healthy ways to drink and some not-so-healthy ways to drink.
The healthiest ways to drink alcohol:
If you tolerate gluten, feel free to skip this part. If you are someone that avoids gluten, know that many kinds of alcohol contain gluten – and we’re not just talking about the obvious beers and whiskeys. Spirits including vodka and even some wines can contain gluten, so look for gluten-free on the label or brands that you know are certified gluten-free.
Our favorite brands:
- Chopin vodka – made from potatoes
- Casamigos tequila – made from pure agave
- Hendrick’s gin – made from juniper berries
Watch your sugar
As you may already know, too much sugar can cause blood sugar fluctuations and lead to dehydration, which leads to a hangover. Pure spirits are usually a safe bet as they (should) have no sugar, but many pre-made cocktails - both at restaurants and sold in stores - are often loaded with added sugar in the form of simple syrups, liquors, or mixes, and many wines also have added sugar, which they don’t have to disclose on the label.
If you’re a cocktail person, a great way to keep your sugar in check is either to make your own drink, if you’re at home or a party where you can do so. If you’re at a restaurant, simply order your spirit of choice straight-up or on-the-rocks, with soda water and ask the server for a SPLASH of fruit juice if you want to sweeten it up.
Wines are a bit tricker… red wines typically have less sugar than white, as well as the more expensive varieties or those from small, independent wineries. Unfortunately, when it comes to wine, you (usually) get what you pay for. Cheap, mass-produced wines typically have more added sugar, along with more unnecessary ingredients such as additives and preservatives.
Did you know that grapes are one of the most heavily sprayed crops in terms of pesticides? Yes, grapes are on the Dirty Dozen and that includes all the grapes going into your wine. The good news is that organic wines are becoming more popular. We love Dry Farm wines, which source natural wines from small, sustainable family farms – all of which have minimal added preservatives, no added sugar, and are lab tested for purity.
If you don’t want to commit to a monthly subscription, you can find organic wines at Trader Joe’s (!!!) and more and more large-scale retailers, you just have to look for the organic certification seal.
How to avoid a hangover:
Even the “cleanest”, lowest sugar, gluten-free, organic, most magical alcohol in the world will make you feel like crap if you drink too much because alcohol is a toxin. That’s why they call getting drunk getting, “intoxicated.”
But there are a couple of ways to avoid or mitigate the hangover, in addition to drinking clean alcohol...
If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. This is because alcohol causes you to pee more, which causes you to lose water and electrolytes.
Headaches, nausea, fatigue, aches, and pains can become present at only 2% dehydration!
Many people advise the 1-to-1 rule: for every alcoholic beverage you consume, drink one glass of water. This is a great strategy as it will help you stay hydrated as well as low down your rate of drinking (which we’ll get to in point #2…)
Hydration BEFORE you start drinking is just as, if not MORE, important than hydrating while you’re drinking. In fact, one 2010 study found that individuals who were normally hydrated secreted less urine after drinking two beers, compared to their dehydrated counterparts.
If you know you have a night of boozing coming up, make sure that you’re mindful of how much water you’re drinking throughout the day, leading up to the event.
If you want double, extra bonus points, add a pinch of sea salt and squeeze of lemon juice to your water, or an electrolyte mineral supplement. You can also boost your hydration levels with bone broth while also getting in that whole-food collagen protein. Just sayin’…
Dehydration isn’t the only cause of a hangover. Food is also extremely important BEFORE you start drinking. Drinking on an empty stomach means that the alcohol has nothing to slow its entrance into your bloodstream. This means that you get drunker faster. If you’re a 19-year-old college kid on a budget this may be great news, but if you’re someone who doesn’t want to be THAT person at the office holiday party, you know that "drunker, faster" usually doesn't end well.
Not only does no food mean that alcohol affects your brain faster and stronger, it also sends your blood sugar soaring, only to come crashing down later. Hello, late-night munchies!
Drinking on an empty stomach leads to a lowering of inhibitions which typically means that you:
- Drink more.
- Eat more.
- Do more things that you’d rather not speak of the next day.
But, do we REALLY have to tell you this? If you’re reading this blog, chances are, this isn’t your first rodeo and you’ve probably had this experience once or twice before.
So, let’s learn from our mistakes and, this time, have a burger before you go out.
If you think this will add unnecessary calories, it won’t. These calories are extremely necessary and eating a sensible meal full of healthy fats and protein will actually save you from launching face-first into a plate of nachos at 2 o’clock in the morning. It’s the healthier option and it will make for a much better evening overall.
Slow your roll
When you drink more alcohol than your liver can process, the toxins are re-released back into your bloodstream. This leads to the feeling of drunkenness and eventual hangover.
If you drink at a rate that your liver can handle – experts say about 1 oz of alcohol per hour – you will still feel a pleasant buzz but you won’t overwhelm your body’s ability to handle the toxin and you’ll be much less likely to get stupid drunk and/or experience a hangover.
So there you have it. Eat (first) then drink and be merry!
Know someone who might need this info? Please share it with them!!
Any questions? Comments? Leave them below or DM us @bonafideprovisions