Summertime often reminds me of sitting outside at a little cafe in the South of France, filling up on freshly caught fish and drinking Rose with my husband. I admit, I love to enjoy a good glass of wine or an icy cocktail on a warm day. But, alcohol doesn’t really love me back. In fact, alcohol doesn’t love anyone back.
Keep reading though because once you get through all the ways alcohol doesn’t love you, I’ll be sharing some simple non-alcoholic drinks that will make you happy and you won’t be missing alcohol at all.
Alcohol Increases Dehydration
When you drink alcohol, your body reprioritizes metabolism to get rid of it right away. Unlike protein, carbs and fat, your body can’t store alcohol so it gets a VIP pass to your liver to get processed out. Water and nutrients you’ve taken in get used to help flush out toxins (alcohol) from your liver.
Alcohol Decreases Your Immune System Response
Alcohol is treated like a poison in your body. So when you ingest it, your body raises the alarm to get it out. This creates a stress response in your body which elevates cortisol levels. Chronic exposure to alcohol keeps your body from showing up 100% to fight other stressors, like viruses, and creates chronic inflammation.
Out of curiosity, I checked my temperature before and after having just one 6 ounce glass of wine and it went up 2 degrees creating a low grade fever. This is a great illustration of inflammatory effects of alcohol.
Alcohol also physically damages the cilia that line the top of your lungs. These cilia help stop pathogens, bacteria and viruses from entering the lungs. Alcohol also damages the mucous membrane at the bottom of your lungs which is needed to stop the “bad guys” from entering your body.
It’s not surprising that the World Health Organization and U.S. Surgeon General are recommending that no alcohol is the safe thing to strive for right now.
Alcohol Impairs Sleep
I’m sure you’ve heard these words before or possibly have said them yourself: “Alcohol helps me wind down.” The challenge is that it doesn’t help you get a good night’s sleep.
Alcohol can disrupt your circadian rhythm and block REM sleep. What this means is that you’re likely to wake up in the middle of the night and have trouble getting back to sleep. This has a broader reaching effect on your overall health including impaired detoxing ability and impaired conversion of short term to long term memory.
Okay, Now What?
Well, happily there are plenty of alternatives to drinking alcohol.
Make it Yourself
Blueberry Sparkle Lemonade: Just combine ½ cup lemon juice with ½ cup blueberries and 2 Tbsp of honey in your blender. Blend and then strain into a glass with ice cubes and top with sparkling water.
Watermelon cooler: I love this for a hot day because it’s so hydrating. Just take a handful of watermelon, blend it and strain into a glass with muddled mint and ice. Top off with sparkling water.
Fre Wines: They have a variety of non alcoholic wines from white and light to deep reds. These wines are typically made by removing the alcohol through reverse osmosis or through another distillation process. They won’t have the same aroma or mouthfeel of regular wines but are a great alternative.
Alcohol Free Spirits
Seedslip: Okay, this may sound so very strange but Seedslip is a distiller who makes alcohol free spirits. Their website is filled with fun cocktail recipes to try out with their spirits. I love their Garden spirit, it reminds me of gin and mixes well with sparkling water for a refreshing cocktail.
I know that you may feel you need your wine or cocktail right now but believe me, once you give it up and replace it with these alternative beverages the only things you’ll be missing are the dehydration, inflammation, poor immune system function, and waking up in the middle of the night!
Ready to try these out? Let me know what you think.