Nutritionist Liza Rowan lets you know why you should think twice before taking another sip of booze this festive season
With the festive season now in full swing, is anyone willing to admit that they’re partied out already? The celebrations seem to start earlier in Singapore than anywhere else – possibly because many of us leave our Little Red Dot to celebrate with family and friends elsewhere, or we also welcome visitors to celebrate the holidays here in the tropics.
All the socialising can take a toll on our health unfortunately, especially if one is partial to a tipple or two, or three… So, let’s review some the facts, and then see how we can party without over-partying!
- Alcohol has 7 calories per gram, and is very high in sugars (carbs in general have 4 cals per gram)
- It goes directly to our liver to be metabolized, taking precedence over food
- Alcohol can interfere with the efficiency of fat metabolism (leading to fatty liver disease)
Immediate affects, which you already know
- At the time of over-consuming: poor judgment, risk of overeating, thirst for more alcohol
- The next day: hangover, headaches, nausea, heartburn, fatigue, lethargy, feeling of melancholy – often causing us to overeat, and not exercise…
When alcohol is enjoyed in moderation, some of the reported benefits are:
- Relieves stress
- Improves blood flow
- May lessen progression of heart disease as it slightly increases ‘good’ HDL cholesterol
But for many, it’s the enjoying in moderation that is the humungous challenge, right?
I get it. I’m 100% Irish, married to a very fun-loving Scottish bloke — and we both love to party! But, I always say ‘the more you drink, the more you drink…’ If you can stick at one, perhaps a second, then all is well. Go beyond that tipping point however, and well, it can be a slippery slope for some.
My advice here is to commit to your number. If you’re keeping an online health journal, write down your limit there, otherwise note it in your personal device or simply state your number to your accompanying partner or friend – then at least you’re committed. Peg in exercise or some activity for early the following morning, a great motivation to want to wake up fresh and not overdo it the night before…and, as you know, you’ll have no regrets.
For some of you, it might be more the mid-week nightly glass of wine – or two – that you’re struggling to give up. By the way, this is a common challenge for ladies at home with kids, and not just those out to have a ‘social one’ after work — so rest assured that you’re not alone.
Again, arrange activities in the evening that will keep you busy. With young kids it might not be possible to get out of the house, but commit to doing something — write a journal, read a book, dance along to a Zumba DVD, or take an online course to up your skills on something new. I can recommend Revitalize-in-5!
Make some healthy drinks to enjoy in the evening – or experiment with medicinal herbal teas which you can make at home – hot or cold ginger, lemongrass, turmeric, spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.
Last month I hosted #NoSugarNoBoozeNovember, and many people asked why would I ever give up my beloved red wine -which I like to enjoy for medicinal reasons, of course – for a month. Well, Singapore is a social place, and it’s easy to get into the swing of enjoying more alcohol that one really would like – and there’s no escaping December, which is full on.
So I thought, let’s be a little kinder to my aging body for a few weeks, and to do something positive, which attracts more positivity. So red wine, and all alcohol, was out!
How did it go? Well, it was absolutely no problem — in fact I really enjoyed the challenge, and as it was for charity, it made it all the more sweet. Sometimes it’s liberating to have something to commit to, and to be able to say to the alcohol pushers that you’re doing it for your health, and for a good cause.
An important final note: If drinking socially, or alone, is potentially a concern for you, there are online sources that can support. e.g. Hello Sunday Morning and Soberistas.
Regarding what to drink when out socially, and once you’ve had your ‘booze quota’, fizzy water certainly loses its sparkle after a while. You, of course, want to avoid sugary or diet fizzy drinks and mixers – perhaps add some fresh lime juice or orange juice to your sparkling water, sip on a tomato juice. Some bars and restaurants even stock coconut water now.
Hope this helps – and as always, happy to take your questions. Happy holidays, mamas!