I wouldn’t call myself a big drinker. I’d best say social drinkers, but honestly, I’m not even sure if that term is definable these days. The pandemic has kept many of us safe at home and instilled outside the box. * Insert pictures of canned wine here. Booze’s delivery offerings are plentiful, the lack of structure makes life seem more bearable for certain behaviors, and any hour can turn into a happy hour with a pop-up sound later. Zoom of a cork. After returning to a more normal life the new normal?), I’ve certainly enjoyed the before-hours-cocktails category, but it’s occurred to me that lately the price of alcohol in my home has been on the rise. are always stacked, and preparing my bar cart for guests is more of a priority than ever. So I started looking into the sober curiosity movement and ways to cut down on my alcohol consumption.
That makes me wonder if alcohol hits the brain too often for my personal comfort. Am I asking my friends to have dinner with us but really, we’re mostly looking forward to drinks? I find myself heading into the beginning of this New Year with goals that go beyond my usual cleansing and detoxing standards. I started looking at all of the “Dry January” goals, memes, gifs, and hashtags on a more personal level. Are these social media initiatives an invitation to introspect?
All of this makes me very curious-ish. Now, could this be a response to a month of ‘tinis and holiday’ fun enough in December to get milky until July? Sure. But even the fact that thoughts have begun to move into my mind makes me consider cleaning up my act. To put my “cool down, level up” solution well, I sat down with health coach and founder of the Wellness + Happiness Method, Lauren Sandoval FNTP, to talk about how we really are. How much alcohol to drink and why to balance. is one of the key factors for success with sober curiosity.
Take it, Lauren…
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Image source: Joann Pai
Let’s get to the facts: how much maximum!) should we really drink each week?
For men, 14 drinks per week and for women, 7 drinks per week. Ideally, no more than 2 times per day. Be sure to compare your pours with a standard pour to make sure you’re getting the correct numbers.
What are some potential health benefits from cutting out alcohol?
Cutting out alcohol can lead to weight loss, improved liver function, reduced anxiety and depression, more stable energy, better digestion, easier periods and fertility, improved immunity, as well as better food and lifestyle choices. Even cutting back just a little bit can relieve some of the stress the body puts on, helping it heal itself.
Thinking about how to develop a healthy relationship with alcohol?
I think the first step is awareness. Pay attention to your thoughts and conversations around alcohol. Weigh when you feel your best versus when you feel your worst. Create loving boundaries around how much you can safely consume without compromising your health and life goals. With my clients, we also keep a food diary, and that record allows them to clearly see the correlation between consumption and feeling worse.
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Image source: Hannah Haston
What does sober curiosity mean?
For me, it means exploring your relationship with alcohol rather than an all-or-nothing approach. Sober curiosity means you stand a chance of finding the right balance for you — there’s no hard-and-fast rule for that.
Do you have tips for how people can reduce their alcohol intake?
There are usually two ways people want to approach change — diving right in or taking small steps. I recommend finding out what kind of person you are and what suits your personality and lifestyle best. As for diving right in, maybe Dry January will help you realize how good you feel without it and give you some strict guidelines on how to proceed. While perhaps new babies just need to drink more water between drinks and no more than twice per night. I also recommend finding a community to talk about it. Search for serious influencers on Instagram or find a group to join — and take it slow. You don’t have to do it perfectly to see benefits, you just need to be consistent. And don’t sabotage yourself when you don’t follow it correctly.
I would start by just being aware of how your brain works around alcohol. Most people are pretty disconnected from their bodies, so paying attention to how you think and feel before and after you consume can open your eyes wide. Commit to one glass of water for each alcoholic beverage. Take small sips and try to drink slowly. You can also find great alcohol-free alternatives. More on that below!)
Why is a break from alcohol so beneficial?
A little alcohol can really benefit our lives in terms of stress reduction, antioxidant, pain relief, etc. But too much can quickly lead to a host of problems. Alcohol can affect everything from your weight and hormones to your mood and gut health. Excessive consumption can cause blood sugar imbalances, hormone disorders, cortisol and stress hormone spikes, liver diseases, as well as affect the gut-brain connection.
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Image source: Kristen Kilpatrick Photography
How long should a person not drink alcohol before they can start seeing results?
Most of my clients feel better within a week. It’s pretty wild as you can quickly feel the difference. The trouble often lies in keeping up with consistency. But even just changing some habits with alcohol can bring immediate results.
How do you stay consistent?
Have a plan on how to say no when people ask for it. You can say “I already have one”, “I have to drive” or simply “No thanks”. I also recommend holding a glass in your hand so it doesn’t draw attention — the frothy water with lime in the bucket works for me. Ultimately, your level of shared interest is up to you. Alcohol is a very important part of our culture, so it’s natural to assume there will be commentary. Feeling prepared to respond can make things less awkward. If you have social anxiety, try guided meditation or YouTube breathing techniques to help calm your nerves before attending the event.
What do you think about having a ‘mindful drink’ every now and then?
I’m sure you can get to this point, as long as you’re aware that it can be a slippery slope. I don’t believe 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 will be easier for you to challenge your habit. Armed with this knowledge, you can make smarter choices about how and when to participate.
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Love mocktail recipes and alcohol substitutes?
My favorite mocktail right now is the creamy adrenalin cocktail with OJ, half & half, cream of tartar and sea salt. I also like to make the pure white Russian with coconut milk and decaf coffee shake, then add cinnamon on top.
As for alcohol alternatives, I like kombucha, carbonated drinks with fruit and herbs, and basically anything from a classy glass of wine.
Speaking of which, we’ve updated the editors of Camille Styles for their list of tried and true alcohol-free alternatives. Read on for our favorites and let us know what alternatives you’d like to drink.