A common question we hear is “If I’m going to drink alcohol, what’s the best choice I can make?”
Personally, as someone who considers her diet to be healthy and clean, I am no certainly no saint! I love to unwind with a glass of wine at the end of a long week.
I usually do a dry January every year just to make myself feel better about the usual Christmas binge, and I definitely see and feel the benefits of cutting out alcohol completely. Clearer skin, brighter eyes, flat tummy, more clarity etc.
However, on the whole I’m happy to drink socially when I want to. I just try and make as “clean” choices as possible and I personally avoid mixing my drinks, but that’s just me. Mixing my alcohols = Me spending the entire next day staring into the toilet bowl. Not Fun.
Real world rules
In an ideal world alcohol wouldn’t be around nor would the temptation to drink it! After all alcohol does not provide us healthy nutrients, it’s hard on the liver, can cause ageing, weight gain and hormonal imbalances to name but a few. That being said, this isn’t a perfect world! It’s just the way it is, and with all of life’s stresses, celebrations, and social events it is frankly quite hard to avoid the stuff all of the time.
So, if you are going to drink, from a health perspective I think a good rule to follow is the “every other” one. So trying to drink a glass of water between alcoholic beverages. Your head and liver will thank you in the morning.
Our Cocktail cocktail
There are many opinions as to what the best choices of alcohol are if you’re going to drink. I believe that what you mix your drinks with also plays a part.
For instance if you like drinking a good quality Vodka I would consider that to be a decent choice if mixed with say Soda Water and fresh lime. But maybe not the best choice if you’re going to mix it with a Coke or sugary fruit juices.
The plus? Not only will your “skinny bitch” (the new trendy name for Vodka/Soda) be lower in calories but you also get the slight added hydration from the soda water and the alkalising properties from the lime. Score!
In some of the “health geek” circles of which I am clearly a part of, it’s often suggested that Tequila is one of the best choices, being that it is more of a natural alcohol and made from the Agave plant (well, the higher brands all should be).
“Yuck!” I hear you say, as so many of us have never quite recovered from that first Tequila hangover. However, mixed with Soda Water and heaps of fresh lime (Named a “SoCalMargarita”) it’s actually quite pleasant and definitely a taste you get used to. I did, and that was AFTER a serious case of Tequila induced alcohol poisoning in my teens. So if I can do it you can at least give it a go!
Supping v supplements
Wine is another kettle of fish, or barrel of grapes should I say?
I’m a huge wine lover and must admit I do enjoy a good organic glass of red with a steak dinner. Although wine is said to have antioxidants in it, I personally don’t feel that the amount of antioxidant in a glass of wine outweighs the damaging affects of alcohol that come with it. Resveratrol (antioxidant found in the skin of grapes) can also be found in supplement form or in other berries without using wine drinking as an excuse to get it! Plus the research isn’t quite 100% convincing. Take this exert from recent research for example:
“The Linus Pauling Institute has an interesting table that displays the resveratrol levels of various wines, showing that an average glass of red wine will range from 0.2 to 2.0 mg per glass of wine. In contrast, the typical resveratrol supplement contains anywhere from 100 mg of resveratrol to 500 mg of resveratrol per capsule”.
Don’t lose balance
Look, let’s get real here. Too much wine, too much alcohol or too much of any one thing is not going to be ideal. You just have to find a balance, try your best, not deny yourselves (as this often leads us to bingeing on the things we’ve denied ourselves at a later date).
The only advice I can give is just to be smart about your drinking. Stay hydrated. Eat before drinking so that your body absorbs the alcohol slower and try not to reach for the pizza at the end of a night out.
We help our members with a nutritional programme that works for them, if you’re struggling, give us a shout at our gym or try out our personal training in London and we’ll help you work out a plan that suits you.
You may also find our nutritional e-books helpful to eating healthier.