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Can Alcohol Be in a Healthy Diet?

Uncategorized Oct 29, 2020

"Blame it on the juice... got you feelin' loose, blame it on the alcohol." Jamie Foxx

With the holidays approaching many people are thinking of ways to celebrate. Alcohol is generally included in celebrations and at times when there's not much to celebrate. I never really gave alot of consideration into how alcohol impacts health until I became a health coach and nutritionist. I became curious about the short and long term impacts of alcohol. I want to share some of that in this blog. I hope it inspires you to look at your own relationship with alcohol.

There's a gap between what's accepted culturally and the actual health facts. Alcohol is one of those things that many people turn to at different times in their lives. I used to joke with my husband that anyone in the alcohol business is in the perfect business.


Because when people are happy, they drink. When people are sad, they drink. The way that alcohol is marketed to us, you would think it's some kind of superfood. If you look a little more deeply into alcohol it's clear that alcohol affects multiple systems in the body in a negative way.

The Not so Good Effects of Alcohol

Brain- Long term exposure to alcohol can result in shrinking your frontal cortex. Yikes! Who needs a smaller brain? It also impacts mental clarity and can lead to changes in behaviour.

Heart- Not many people know that chronic drinking damages your heart.

Liver- Drinking is hard on your liver, whether you do it once in a while or every single day. Not only does alcohol damage your liver but it actually prevents your liver from getting harmful substances out of your body.

Lungs- Those who drink frequently have a hard time fighting bacteria and viruses, pretty interesting considering that we're in the midst of a virus pandemic. It can also make you more susceptible to tuberculosis and pneumonia.

Stomach- Too much drinking can lead to bloating, gas and painful ulcers. Plus alcohol is very damaging for gut health. 

Some of the other concerns with alcohol has to do with its connection to osteoporosis as well as malnutrition due to the improper absorption of nutrients. There can also be issues for those with diabetes in terms of balancing blood sugar. Lastly chronic alcohol consumption has been linked to several cancers, predominantly cancer of the throat, mouth, larynx, esophagus and breast cancer.

Jules...You're Killing my Buzz

I get it. No one wants to know all this about alcohol. I mean I remember when I used to party like a rock star. Ignorance was bliss. Now I'm a little older (shhh!) and wiser. This adulting thing is a total buzz kill. When looking at the health implications, it's clear that alcohol does much more harm than good. Any benefits to alcohol can easily be met by having whole foods.

You only have one beautiful body. Much of how food and alcohol is marketed to us is blatantly false. It's not based on any nutrition science. Advertisers play on our emotions to sell us the very things that are making us sick. Think about it. In what world do you think a Happy Meal can possibly be good for you? How can you think that a night on the town doing tequila shots has some magical health benefits? It doesn't.

Unfortunately many people are thinking solely about the short experience vs. the long term health implications. With how food and alcohol is marketed to the unsuspecting public it's an act of radical self love to pick whole foods and abstain from the things are damaging to your body.

Can Alcohol be in a Healthy Diet?

Ultimately if someone wants the best health possible there isn't a place for alcohol. There is a lot of social pressure to drink. What if you were to replace alcohol with cigarettes? What if there is as much pressure to smoke as there is to drink? Would you give in to the pressure?

It's up to you to decide what to do with your body. From a health standpoint there are few health benefits to alcohol and many drawbacks. If someone has a really amazing diet and occasionally has a drink it's much easier for their body to recover. If it's a daily or weekly thing, that's a different story.

It's also important to examine why one is drinking. Is it a way to avoid strong emotions? A way to deal with stress? An attempt to fit into the crowd? On the road to health it is worth while to find ways to process emotions in a healthy way. When it comes to societal pressure to drink it's also important to have boundaries with others.

This year I went six months without drinking alcohol. It started in January and lasted until late June. Since then I've had a drink here and there but have often gone weeks without drinking. The more time I've spent thinking about alcohol, the more I've come to realize alcohol doesn't have much of a role to play in my life anymore. When I was in more unconscious phases of my life I've used alcohol to self medicate or deal with stress. Since those days I've found other ways to process my emotions and deal with the highs and lows of life.

I have quite a few friends who don't drink at all. It's inspired me to look at my own relationship with alcohol. With a new year approaching I'm feeling a call to once again go alcohol free and see where the road takes me. Anyone else want to join me? Connect with me if you want to join an informal Dry 2021 challenge. 


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