Are you sober curious? A nutritionist shares tips on how to cut back

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I wouldn’t call myself a heavy drinker. At best I’d say it suits social drinkers, but honestly I’m not even sure if that term is definable these days. The pandemic made many of us safe at home and drinking out of the box. *Insert visions of boxed wine here. Liquor delivery services were plentiful, the lack of structure made life seem more tolerant of certain behaviors, and any hour could become happy hour with the post-Zoom pop of a cork. Having returned to a somewhat more normal (again normal?) pace of life, I have certainly relaxed in the cocktail category before cocktail hour, but it has occurred to me lately that my bottle rack at home is always stacked, and having my bar cart ready for guests is more important than ever. So, I started researching the curious sober movement and ways to reduce my alcohol intake.

It made me wonder if alcohol is on my brain too often for personal comfort. Am I asking my friends to join us for dinner, but we’re really itching for drinks? I found myself looking towards the beginning of this new year with goals that exceed my usual clean up other detox standards I began to examine all the “Dry January” goals, memes, gifs, and hashtags on a more personal level. Were these social media initiatives or more of an invitation to look within?

All this aroused a sober curiosity in me.that. Now, could this be a reaction to a month of joy? tiny And on vacation in December long enough to be drunk on milk punch until July? sura But even the fact that thoughts had begun to migrate into my mind made me consider cleaning up my act. To fulfill my resolution to “lower libation, level up,” I sat down with the health coach and founder of the Healthy + happy method, lauren sandoval FNTP, to talk about how much alcohol we should really be drinking and why balance is one of the key factors in the success of being sober curious.

Take it off, Lauren…

Photo Credit: Joann Pai

Let’s face it: how much alcohol should we really be drinking (maximum!) each week?

For men, 14 drinks per week and for women, 7 drinks per week. Ideally, no more than 2 per day. Be sure to compare your pours to a standard pour to ensure you get accurate numbers.

What are some potential health benefits of cutting out alcohol?

Eliminating alcohol can lead to weight loss, better liver function, reduced anxiety and depression, more stable energy, better digestion, easier periods and fertility, better immunity, and better eating and lifestyle choices. life. Even reducing it a bit can reduce some of the stress this causes on the body, helping it to heal itself.

Thoughts on how to develop healthy relationships with alcohol?

I think the first step is awareness. Pay attention to your thoughts and conversations about alcohol. Consider when you feel better versus when you feel worse. Create loving limits on how much you can safely consume without interfering with your health and life goals. With my clients, we also do food diaries and that record allows them to clearly see a correlation between their consumption and feeling worse.

Photo Credit: Hannah Haston

What does it mean to be sober curious?

For me, it means exploring your relationship with alcohol rather than an all-or-nothing approach. Being sober and curious means you have the opportunity to find the balance that works for you, there are no hard and fast rules for it.

Do you have tips on how people can reduce their alcohol intake?

There are generally two ways people like to approach change: dive right in or take baby steps. I recommend finding out what kind of person you are and what suits your personality and lifestyle best. To immerse yourself in people, maybe a dry January will help you realize how good you feel without it and give you some hard guidelines on how to do it. Whereas maybe baby step folks just need to drink more water between drinks and stick to no more than two a night. I would also recommend finding a community to talk about this. Find sobriety influencers on Instagram or find a group to join, and take it easy. You don’t have to do it perfectly to see the benefits, just be consistent. And don’t sabotage yourself when you don’t follow it exactly.

You would start by simply being aware of how your brain works around alcohol. Most people are pretty disconnected from their body, so paying attention to how you think and feel before and after consumption can be quite revealing. Commit to one glass of water for every alcoholic drink. Take small sips and try to drink slowly. You can also find great non-alcoholic alternatives. (More on that below!)

Why is it so beneficial to take a break from alcohol?

A little bit of alcohol can be really beneficial in our lives for stress reduction, antioxidants, pain relief, etc. But too much quickly leads to a host of problems. Alcohol can affect everything from weight and hormones to mood and good health. Excessive consumption can cause blood sugar imbalances, hormonal disturbances, spikes in cortisol and stress hormones, liver disease, and affects the gut-brain connection.

Photo Credit: Kristen Kilpatrick Photography

How long does one have to go without alcohol before one can start to see results?

Most of my clients feel better within a week. It’s pretty wild how quickly you can feel the difference. The problem usually lies in maintaining consistency. But even simply changing a few drinking habits can offer immediate results.

How do you stay consistent?

Have a plan for how to say no when people ask. You could say “I already have one,” “I have to drive,” or just “No thanks.” I also recommend having a glass in your hand so that it does not attract attention, sparkling water with lime in a bucket works for me. Ultimately, it’s up to you how much you care to share. Alcohol is a big part of our culture, so it’s natural to assume there will be comments. Feeling prepared to respond can make things feel less awkward. If you have social anxiety, try a guided meditation or breathing technique on YouTube to help calm their nerves before heading to your event.

What do you think about having a ‘mindful drink’ once in a while?

I definitely think you can get to this point, as long as you are aware that it can be a slippery slope. I don’t think it has to be all or nothing, you just need to be self-aware enough to know your limits and goals. When you realize the benefits of drinking less, it’s easier to challenge your habits. Armed with this knowledge, you can make smarter decisions about how and when to engage.

Photo Credit: Kristen Kilpatrick Photography

Favorite mocktail recipes and alcohol substitutes?

My favorite non-alcoholic cocktail right now is the adrenal cream cocktail with DO, half and half, cream of tartar and sea salt. I also like to make virgin White Russians with coconut milk and decaf shake, then add cinnamon on top.

For alcohol substitutes, I love kombucha, sparkling water with fruits and herbs, and basically anything served in a fancy wine glass.

Speaking of which, we reached out to the editors at Camille Styles for a list of their tried-and-true non-alcoholic substitutes. Read on for our favorites and let us know what your booze replacements are.

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