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Alcohol: Diet Friend, or Foe?

I love summer. After months cooped up indoors, we can finally get outside and be social. It’s patio season, it’s BBQ season, its well, party season if you ask me. With the summer sun shining, it is very tempting to ditch those post-work SoulCycle sessions for happy hour, which leads me to our topic today. Is drinking really that bad for us when it comes to reaching out wellness goals? Lets weigh the pro’s and con’s of getting our buzz on. The Good- Alcohol, especially organic red wine, has been linked to improving heart health. Alcohol can also be a good stress reliever and social bonding activity. The Bad- When looking to feel great and improve overall wellness, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol isn’t the best idea. Drinking a beer is a lot less virtuous than a green juice, or a kombucha, and booze bogs down your liver, your primary detoxifying organ. The Ugly- If you have a family history of cancer, alcoholism, liver disease, diabetes, or another condition where there is evidence you should abstain from alcohol please do. However, with all things considered, I am a firm believer in moderation. Restrict anything from your diet completely and you’re bound to go overboard. If your goal is overall wellness, there is no harm in enjoying a couple social drinks on the weekend. My best tips for not letting alcohol derail your healthy lifestyle:
  1. Select the Cleanest Choice: You’ve heard the saying “keep it clear” right? Well referring to alcohol, a vodka-water is a really good choice. This way you are hydrating while you drink alcohol, which has a dehydrating effect. As a less sugary drink than mixing liquor with pop, or a beer or cooler, this will be better for hangover prevention as well. Have a 3-drink maximum and stick to it.
  2. Pair with Protein: It’s never a good idea to go out on an empty stomach anticipating a night of boozing. How often have you tried this and ended up becoming more inebriated, and or hung over after? Exactly. Eating good quality protein meals throughout the day will help to slow the rate at which alcohol enters your system. Good choices include would be poached organic eggs, quinoa, raw nuts, legumes or organic fresh fish and tons of veggies to nourish your body.
  3. Hydrate Like it’s Your Job: Alcohol dehydrates us and throws off our electrolyte balance. Between each alcoholic beverage, have a glass of water. Having coconut water ready for post-bar is always a good idea, as it restores some of our potassium lost while drinking.
  4. Supplements: B vitamins are depleted when we drink, therefore popping a B complex before and after drinking is a good call. I like to have some dandelion tea with lemon and milk thistle to help my liver recoup.
  5. Shots: Just say no. You’re not on spring break.
My go-to drink is organic vodka, water and a splash of fresh grapefruit juice. Let me know what your favorite healthy cocktail is in the comments below. Cheers to you Sakaralites!! Bailey Brown is a Toronto based fitness instructor and nutrition expert. Bailey is currently studying holistic nutrition at he Canadian School of Natural Nutrition and specializes in teaching ballet barre, kickboxing and bikini bootcamp fitness. Hobbies and interests include blogging at www.baileybrown.ca, baking gluten-free vegan treats, kale smoothies, travel and instagramming post-workout selfies at @bodybybailey.

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