In the Pursuit of Health: Alcohol Experiment

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Pomegranate Juice and Coconut Water

At the beginning of this year, I dedicated each month to an intention, an intention that would lead me towards a healthier lifestyle.  This month I am participating in The Alcohol Experiment by Annie Grace. I’m not a heavy drinker, but I do enjoy the nice glass of Malbec or Pinot Noir in the evenings. 19 months ago I decided to make my health a priority in my life, and I adopted a whole food plant based diet.  Most of the decisions that I make are in line with being healthy.  I desire a Quality life when I am older, and I believe it is how we treat our bodies now that will determine that.

Before I explain what sobriety can do for your body, I must make a confession: I gave in on Friday night.  I had a drink while watching a movie with my family.  I had missed that rush when the alcohol first enters my system. But, I will also confess: the moment my blood alcohol normalized again, I felt guilty and mad at myself.  IT WAS NOT WORTH IT!!! Since the rush didn’t last as long as I was hoping for, I felt way worse than I did before the drink.

During this month, I have been trying to guide my intention with actual science-based research and studies. I have not only discovered a lot, but I have also experienced many of sobrieties benefits.

It is not what we are giving up, but it is what we can gain.

better sleep quality

once you stop relying on alcohol to help you fall asleep, your body will begin to do this naturally.  Once you’ve allowed this to happen (probably will take a week or so – once all the alcohol is out of your system) you will also fall in an out of Deep and REM sleep naturally.

eating less-

Alcohol depletes your blood of sugar.  Low blood sugar makes you reach for breads, chips, popcorn or pretzels.  When you consume less alcohol or stop drinking all together, you are able to normalize your blood sugar and control that careless snacking.

dropping pounds

alcohol is more quickly stored as fat in your body than excess sugar, carbs, and protein. Alcohol has 7 calories/gram and it is quickly absorbed and because of its density the liver prioritizes the alcohol over any other food you are consuming with the alcohol – which in turn becomes fat.

better hydration-

(and if you were following me last month, you already know the benefits of hydration.)

your risk of cancer falls-

Alcohol – also known as ethanol- is a known carcinogen. “According to the National Cancer Institute, the risk of breast cancer was higher across all levels of alcohol consumption.” (pg. 183)

blood sugar and pressure normalizes

Without the alcohol toxin running through your body, your heart and organs don’t have to work so dang hard.

stronger immune system

When you consume alcohol, your immune system is weaker because your body is working so hard to break down those sugars, ethanol, and detoxify.

So, if you can gain all of these from giving up or consuming less alcohol- guess WHAT?  You lose all of these when you consume heavy amounts of alcohol.

In my own pursuit towards a healthy lifestyle, I have discovered a trick that has helped me out these last few weeks. (minus my 1 set back)

experiment with your hydration 

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1c Pomegranate juice – a great antioxidant and 1/2c coconut water – great hydrator

24 oz citrus water with 2 tsp of chia seeds – great hydrator and fat killer

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Waterloo brand waters – the sparkly adds a little something extra

Kombucha- the fermentation adds a little bit of alcohol, but nothing worth talking about.- great natural probiotic

  • Trick yourself

 

By giving you knowledge, I hope I have given you the tools to make the right decision for yourself.

 

Optimum Hydration

waterAs this month’s intention comes to an end, I can tell you that hydration has become a habit that I actually enjoy because it makes me feel so much better. I have absolutely no digestive issues; and as someone who eats a lot of vegetables and beans throughout the day, this is a huge celebration, my joints feel good – even after my 9 mile run this weekend (my knees did not hurt). I confess-  drinking water in the morning has become an essential part of my morning routine along with drinking 8-10 oz before every meal.  I now have 2 water jugs in my fridge at all times, one carries my sliced lemons and the other is plain filtered water.

in a previous post, I stated that 75% of people suffer from chronic dehydration.  Signs that you may be dehydrated…

Your urine is dark– when you are hydrated your urine is either clear or khaki colored, but remember some medications and foods can affect the color – Watch out for beets!!!!

Constipation– Water is very important for digestion and dehydration is the #1 cause for constipation (and kidney stones). Yes, there are a lot of factors that can cause constipation (travel, foods, health conditions or medications) but if you are hydrated then your stool should be loose and predictable.

Dry mouth- This is one of the first signs of dehydration.

Headaches– When you are dehydrated your brain can actually shrink which causes the headache

Fatigue– When your body is dehydrated your muscles get fatigued

So, when your mother says, ‘ drink water’ as an answer your problems- she was probably right

This past few weeks, I have been focused on eating my water by mixing a couple of smoothies before work to drink when I am starting to recognize some of these signs throughout my day.

2 of my favorite smoothie recipes not only taste great they also 

Detox

Cleanse

and are Quick to make 

Green Mango

1c filtered water

1c frozen mango

1 medium frozen banana (once my bananas start to get bruised, I peel the skin and add them to a ziplock bag in the freezer for JUST this occasion)

2c chopped celery

1 handful of parsley  (you can replace the parsley or cilantro)

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Spinach Meets Cinnamon

1 1/3c almond or coconut milk

1-2 stalks celery

1 handful spinach

2 pitted dates or 1TBSP date syrup

1 frozen banana

1/2 tsp cinnamon (you can add cardamom for a chai flavor)

  • add a scoop of protein powder if you prefer this as a meal replacement

 

optimum hydration starts with you and just a few changes: drink 8 oz of your salted citrus water as soon as you wake up, drink 8-10 oz of water before every meal, eat your water, add chia seeds to slow down the process of water leaving your body and ADD smoothies.

img_2716.pngSometimes intentions can be scary because we are always worried about what we are missing out on, but what if we don’t try and we miss out on so much more- Next month begins my very scary intention of sobriety. I am focused on the following books to keep me mindful and smart about the next 30 days.  Please join me on my journey.

Don’t forget to comment and share.

Eat Your Water; Top 15 Hydrating Foods

As you all know, my intention this month has been on hydration, and in just 3 weeks I have already noticed a change in some of my habits.

A. I used to go to sleep dreaming about my 1st cup of coffee 

B. Now, I wake up eager for my glass of salted, citrus water

A. I am used to having a glass of wine 5 out of 7 days of the week (don’t judge). 

B. This last week, I only had a drink 3 out of the 7 days (and I didn’t miss it)- so, I might be ready for my February intention.

A. Drinking water used to be a ‘chore’

B.  Now, it is just apart of everything, and even a little interesting. 

This was a tough week as I have been dealing with, NO battling, vertigo all week.  I was in denial early on in the week, but after three days of dizziness and nausea (and a difficult 15k,) I decided to finally stop trying to WILL it away and get some help.  One of the side-effects of vertigo is dehydration due to the constant nausea and sometimes being dehydrated can be a cause, so I made sure to be very intentional this past week with the food choices I was making because drinking a lot of water made my stomach very queasy. Here are just a few things I did to make this a bit easier and better for me…

  • I intentionally packed soup and salad in my lunchbox every single day for a hydrating lunch
  • took out some of the dehydrating foods from my diet (list is below)
  • Premade my ‘Quench Your Thirst’ smoothie on Sunday for an easy snack throughout the week
    • I purchased an $8 water carafe for my bedside table
    • Added a humidifier to our bedroom (the heater was drying us out)

The top 15  hydrating foods one should add to your weekly diet…

  • Cucumber
  • coconut
  • Celery
  • Romaine
  • Tomato
  • Watermelon
  • Strawberry
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Green pepper
  • Pineapple
  • Butternut Squash
  • Cantaloupe
  • Raspberries
  • Spinach

I created 3 recipes this last week that added as much from this list as possible

quench your thirst smoothie 

  • green apple, cucumber, celery, coconut milk, spinach

instant pot cauliflower potato soup

  • spinach, cucumber, tomato

Top 10 dehydrating foods you should cut from your DAILY diet – These should be foods that are used with caution and in moderation. 

  • coffee – Use Coconut milk to cream your coffee
  • alcohol – a great alternative is to add a tonic or sparkling water to whatever you are drinking 
  • asparagus – this is why it alters the smell of your urine
  • bacon
  • ham
  • sausage
  • soy sauce – great alternatives are Coconut aminos or liquid aminos because they have less sodium
  • popcorn (this was one of the hardest for me to hear) – try air popcorn or Quinns sea salt Popcorn – stay away from the microwaveable buttered popcorn. 
  • fried foods
  • sugary drinks (soda, diet soda, Gatorade, Capri-sun, JUICE)

Please, leave a comment and share this post if you find this information useful.

Thank  you