This holiday season snuck up on us like no other… 2020 has been quite a year and I think we are all happy to have grown from it, and ready to move forward into the new year with momentum. We hope this article can help you have fun and allow you to lean into the festivities and celebrate the season without the next day fluctuations of guilt or shame. From alcohol to attitude, here’s your guide to it all.
Key Takeaways From Reading This Guide:
- Learn how to remove negative holiday party connotations
- Learn about healthy options for alcoholic beverages
- Cocktail Recipes (Alcoholic & Non-Alcoholic)
- Preventing Hangovers
- Holiday Side Dishes (Keto & Dairy-Free)
- Family and Friends (Personal Decisions on Holiday Drama)
- Getting Ready with Clean Beauty
- Fun, Clean Decor
- Holiday Gift Ideas
So cue- Brooke’s Very Merry Christmas Party! Ready? Let’s begin!
Different Types of Alcohol & Choices
During the holiday season, it is important to acknowledge that being mindful of our relationship with alcohol is important to overall health. Alcohol is a natural part of many people’s life experiences, and it’s up to each one of us to evaluate our relationship with it- which can range depending on genetic predisposition and also previous experiences. The intentionality in how we go about drinking is key to take ownership of because it directly impacts the substance of itself.
It is also important to be aware of your experiences the next day (Are you more anxious? Hungry? How are your blood sugar levels?). Don’t avoid your experiences, but rather observe and work with them so that you can put real solutions into place. This can help allow yourself to socialize, so you can come out of events in a more accelerated way!
First, we will look at fermented beverages. These are your beers, wines, and ciders. Fermented alcohol beverages only go through the fermentation process- which means that they are lower in alcohol content than distilled beverages, and because of this, they are more approachable. Typically, fermented beverages won’t exceed 15% in alcohol (without being modified in some way).
Wine is fermented grape juice and usually ranges between the 12-15% ABV mark. There are five broad categories of wine: red, white, rose, sparkling, and fortified. The differences between them are the types of grapes that are used and the processes in which they are made. Note: wine is much lower in carbs than beer.
Some of the most common red wine varieties are: Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah (Shiraz), and Grenache.
Pinot Noir has been proven to have the highest concentration of resveratrol (an antioxidant that improves heart health by lowering bad cholesterol and high blood pressure), and also has lower sugar content and fewer calories compared to the other red wine varieties.
Our favorite red wine choice: FitVine Wine
A few of the most common white wine varieties are: Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris (Grigio), Chardonnay, Moscato, and Riesling.
Typically, white wines tend to be lower in alcohol and calories than red wines. The lighter white varieties are Riesling and Pinot Gris (Grigio), which have fewer calories than the white wine varieties with higher ABVs like Moscato, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc.
Our favorite white wine choice: Winc
Some of the most common styles of sparkling wine include Champagne and Prosseco. It is the winemaking process that determines this style of wine. Sparkling wine is always carbonated, and appears light in color.
Our favorite sparkling wine choice: Avaline
Beer is fermented grain juice and usually sits between 3-8% in ABV. Usually, the grains barley and wheat are commonly fermented to create beer. It is also important to note that beer is typically flavored with additional spices to enhance certain characteristics into the beverage. There are two main types of beer: Ales and Lagers. The difference between them is in the way they are made and the type of yeast used. Ales are heavier, fuller in color, and more flavorful. Lagers are light, crisp, and clean tasting beers.
Devil’s Backbone Brewing Co. makes a low-carb ale that tastes light with a side of citrus. The drink has 2 grams of carbs, 90 calories per 12 oz., and 4% ABV. Check out the Bright Tangerine Sparkling Ale!
Cider is fermented apple juice and usually sits between 3-8% in ABV. Because it is fermented fruit juice, it is considered a wine for tax purposes.
King Highway Cider makes a 0 sugar cyder that looks difficult to get but unbelievable at the same time!
Distilled beverages take fermented drinks and make them stronger by putting them through a process called distillation. They are higher in alcohol percentage, and can range from the 20% mark to around 60-70%. Though, most spirits are around 40% ABV. These pure forms of alcohol like whiskey, vodka, gin, rum, and tequila- contain zero carbs (but be careful of mixed sweet drinks which can be full of sugar!)
Vodka is produced generally by the distillation of any plant matter rich in starch or sugar. These plants can include various grains such as corn, rye, wheat, and other sources such as potatoes, grapes, and soybeans. This liquor is a carbohydrate-free and sugar-free drink that provides very few calories when consumed without any mixers. Plain (or sometimes called standard vodka) contains only water and ethanol alcohol, aside from some trace nutrients (this means that all the calories that come in vodka come from the alcohol). As the alcohol percent rises, so do the calories.
Tito’s Handmade Vodka is made from corn and is completely gluten-free. The Texas-based vodka is 40% alcohol, and has 98 calories per 1.5 oz.
Whiskey must be distilled from fermented grain juice, which is essentially beer, and depending on where it is made, it must adhere to strict legal requirements. For example, Bourbon, Scotch, Irish Whisky, Blends, Single Malts, etc. have specific requirements to follow in order to earn these names.
Here are some of our favorite brands of Whisk(e)y choices:
Rum is distilled from sugar cane or molasses. It’s usually aged in wooden barrels and primarily made in the Caribbean islands. The requirement laws for rum are nowhere as strict as the ones for whiskey. It’s important to note that just like some craft beers- some rums have fruit or additional spices added.
Ron Zacapa 23 Centenario Rum contains a blend of rum aged from 6 to 23 years, and are blended together in a solera process. This rum is a winner of a platinum medal and ranked first place by the Beverage Testing Institute.
Tequila is made from distilling fermented blue agave juice, which is a plant native to Mexico. A substance called agave tequilana, found in the blue agave plant, can improve the absorption of calcium and magnesium (two minerals which boost bone health). The plant also contains high levels of insulin, which helps induce better digestion and lowers blood sugar. Pure agave tequila is low in sugar, and has zero carbohydrates (due to the distillation process).
Brandy is made by distilling fermented fruit juice. Any fermented fruits can be made into brandy, but the majority of the time, fermented grapes are used (wines!). Brandy is often aged for several decades in barrels before they are bottled and consumed. Cognac, Armagnac, Calvados, and Pisco are types of brandy.
Our favorite brandy choice: Hennessy X.O
A Few Cocktail Recipes
Mrs. Claus Margarita:
2 ounces of Don Julio Blanco
6 ounces of Cranberry Waterloo soda water
A few wedges of lime
**Don Julio Blanco – 96 calories, 40% ABV is the healthiest rated you can buy**
6-10 fresh mint leaves
3/4 oz fresh lime juice
1.5 oz Denizen Aged White Rum
6 ounces of Waterloo soda water
Christmas Mocktails (Non-Alcoholic!)
Virgin Apple Cinnamon Sipper:
- 2 oz Ritual whiskey alternative
- 2 oz apple cider or apple juice
- 2 dashes bitters
- Cinnamon stick
- Apple slice
- Combine first three ingredients in a tall glass with ice.
- Stir until cold.
- Pour over fresh ice, garnish with cinnamon stick and apple slice, and serve!
Classic Apple Cider:
- 10 oz apple cider
- 1 tsp pumpkin butter
- Heat the apple cider and stir in pumpkin butter.
- Garnish with star anise and cinnamon.
Other Non-Alcoholic Brands to check out include: Surely Rose, Spirity Cocktails who have a Mindful Margarita, a Mindful Mule and a Mindful Negroni which are a little high in sugar- but we wanted to provide some initial options. When Brooke looks at sugar content, she wants it to be under 5 grams.
Healthy Keto-Friendly Appetizers
Brooke personally loves to keep things simple with charcuterie boards, curated meats, fresh seafood, gluten and dairy free drips, fruit, nuts, simple vegetables and chocolate! But here are a couple of easy side dishes that the team came up with as must-haves for your holiday party! Make sure to bring home the leftovers for the next day’s lunch…
Christmassy & Char Green Beans:
- 2 1/2 lb. green beans, trimmed
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- Flaked salt
- Coarsely ground fresh black pepper
- Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Toss green beans, oil, and 3/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a bowl.
- Add about a quarter of beans to the skillet and cook, without stirring, for 2 minutes, then toss and cook until charred and just tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a platter and repeat with remaining beans. Season with salt and pepper.
Brussels Sprouts with Shallots and Hazelnuts:
- 1/4 c. red wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp. sugar
- 2 sprigs thyme, plus 1 tablespoon leaves
- 3 shallots (2 thinly sliced and 1 chopped), divided
- 6 tbsp. olive oil, divided
- 2 lb. Brussels sprouts, halved
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1/2 c. toasted hazelnuts
- Combine vinegar, sugar, thyme sprigs, and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let sit 5 minutes. Combine sliced shallots and 3 tablespoons oil in a bowl. Pour hot vinegar mixture over shallots and let sit at room temperature 2 hours or refrigerate up to 48 hours. Drain; discard thyme.
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Toss together Brussels sprouts, garlic, chopped shallot, and remaining 3 tablespoons oil in a roasting pan. Season with salt and pepper. Roast until brussel sprouts begin to brown, 12 to 15 minutes.
- Melt butter in a small sauce-pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until light golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Add hazelnuts and toss to coat. Season with salt.
- Serve Brussels sprouts topped with pickled shallots and hazelnuts.___Ta-Ketos:
- 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 onion, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 2 c. shredded chicken
- 2/3 c. red enchilada sauce
- 4 tbsp. freshly chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
- Kosher salt
- 4 c. of shredded “cheese“
- Preheat oven to 375° and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a medium skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add onion and cook until slightly soft, 3 minutes. Add garlic and spices and cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes more. Add chicken and enchilada sauce, then bring mixture to a simmer. Stir in cilantro, season with salt, and remove from heat.
- Make taquito shells: In a medium bowl, mix together cheeses. Divide mixture into twelve 3 ½” piles on prepared baking sheet. Bake until cheese is melty and slightly golden around the edges, about 10 minutes. Let cool 2 to 4 minutes, then peel shells off parchment. Add a small pile of chicken to each and roll tightly. Repeat until all taquitos are made.
- Garnish with cilantro and serve with paleo-dairy free dipping sauce such as sour cream or queso.
Alcoholic hangovers refer to unpleasant symptoms such as dizziness, headache, fatigue, and nausea, that appear when people sober up after drinking. Several strategies may help reduce the severity and symptoms of hangovers. These include, first and foremost- drinking responsibly by choosing alcohol that matches your system, drinking lots of water, considering supplements, getting adequate sleep, a good sweat (through workout or sauna), regulating blood sugar and having a healthy breakfast the next morning.
Alcohol may contribute to dehydration, and although dehydration itself is not considered the main cause of hangovers, it can contribute to symptoms such as thirst, headache, fatigue, and dry mouth. Make sure to drink plenty of water – a good rule to follow is to drink a glass of water between drinks, and to have at least one big glass of water before going to bed.
You can also consider taking supplements to help your body repair and prevent hangovers. Although they won’t completely prevent the hangover, particular plant-based supplements may significantly ease your symptoms. You can also take activated charcoal before going to bed, and getting an adequate amount of sleep.
Morning After Breakfast Ideas
Breakfast can be simple and delicious from gluten free, paleo pancakes with ghee, sugar free syrup and bacon to a simple fresh toast with fruit or pre-made granola– with better food technology, we no longer have to compromise on taste.
Here are some of my favorites to look into:
If you are not in the mood for either of those…maybe try a smoothie or keto collagen hot chocolate recipe with sugar-free coconut whipped cream!
Brooke’s Mint Chocolate Chip Smoothie:
- 6 ice cubes
- 8 oz. of unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 1-2 scoops of Vanilla Collagen Powder
- 2 tbsp. Of raw cacao powder
- 1 drop of peppermint oil
- Bonus: for a calm, energized focus you can also add matcha. I add Green Foods Ceremonial Grade (Use code LETSGROW35 for 35% off!)
- Bonus: top with organic – responsibly sweetened chocolate chips or cacao nibs for a crunch (I use lakanto’s)
- Bonus: cinnamon can also be added for a blood sugar stabilizing effect, and mint leaves and spinach can always be added for extra greens or ½ a banana or a couple of dates for additional sweetness
- Blend and enjoy!
Brooke’s Hot Chocolate + Coconut Whipped Cream:
- 8 oz. of unsweetened vanilla almond milk (I use Califia Farms)
- 1 scoop of Vanilla Collagen Powder (I use PaleoPro)
- 1-2 tbsp. of raw cacao powder (I use Navitas)
- a dash of cinnamon
- Whipped Cream Recipe: 1-4 cans of organic coconut cream, monk fruit sweetener, whip and freeze!
- Blend in a Vitamix for 3 minutes or until hot, top with whipped cream and enjoy!
Goodie Bags + Hangover Cures
For supplement basics, we strongly recommend looking into the core supplement protocol for men and women (see our Practical Guide to Supplements + Fullscript). From there, I would look into adding the following throughout the day and night for an optimal, hangover free party experience. All information, including precise dosages, can be found in our online supplement dispensary Fullscript for 15% off under Parties!
- B-complex: B vitamins are often depleted when drinking alcohol, make sure to support your system through a comprehensive high quality multivitamin or b-complex day or and morning after.
- NAC: NAC is a precursor to glutathione, a master antioxidant, and it has been found to support liver health, regulate blood sugar, renew and rebuild cellular function and unhook addictive behavior and support mental health.
- Activated Charcoal: One activated charcoal capsule can be taken with each drink- in combination with water activated charcoal can bind to toxicants to assist the body in processing any excess and irregularities.
- DAO and additional enzymes and blood sugar regulators (as seen in Fullscript): These items can assist the system in breaking down histamine, optimizing functionality and release. Many people overeat the next day as an effort to regulate the system but this becomes unnecessary when we feel level and still.
Getting Ready With Clean Beauty
Are you ready to get glam for the party with clean, non-toxic products? We believe in using beauty items that meet high standards in terms of pure ingredients and formulations. Most importantly, we believe in using brands that are transparent about what their products stand for.
“Clean beauty” falls in a spectrum, and everyone may have their own standards for this term, but we want to help you get started! Some ingredients should be avoided altogether because they have been proven or have been suspected to be harmful to our health.
A few of these common harmful ingredients include:
- Parabens – These are a group of preservatives and antimicrobial chemicals that are put into products for the purpose of preventing bacteria and mold growth. Studies have confirmed that parabens can mimic estrogen in the human body, linking to problems such as thyroid disruption, and hormone-related health issues.
- Ethoxylated Agents – These include the agents polyethylene glycols (PEGs), ceteareths, oleth, and sulfates. Some sulfates are synthetic, and some are made from sulfur and petroleum, as well as oils from coconut and palm.
- Refined Petroleum – These are mineral oils (petrolatum, paraffin), and are often found in lip products and face creams. From an environmental standpoint, there are many reasons to avoid this ingredient, but untreated (or even mildly treated oils) are listed as carcinogens!
- Talc – This ingredient is often found in eyeshadows and is a mineral made from magnesium, silicon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Talc that has not been purified by manufacturers can be contaminated with known human carcinogens.
Again, when it comes to the definitions of clean or organic, these definitions are subjective and can often change from company to company. But, for us, clean means that the product is safe for people and the planet! Products that use nontoxic elements as a baseline and plant-based ingredients that give active results are ideal.
These are a few of our favorite things…
- Lawless Beauty
- Ellis Brooklyn Perfume
- lotuswei Flower Remedies- expansive presence
- Versed Skincare Line
- Tenoverten Nail Polish
Friends & Family During the Holidays…
“My family is wild, and I have personally decided to love them more because of it. I love them for their crazy, embracing them as they are while being equally aware of the patterns that they carry.”
– Dr. Brooke Stuart
Though the holidays are thought of as a time of celebration and cheer, we also understand that some of us may feel a bit uneasy due to additional stressors (such as socializing with family and friends). It’s important to have realistic expectations when it comes to these social gatherings, meaning that we should try not to expect people to change when they have behaved in the same way for years. We all have our own little quirks, and maybe you find certain ones in other people irritating, but we should try not to take these behaviors personally. The only thing that we can choose are our own choices. We can apply our power of choice by leading conversations, steering clear of certain topics and focusing on connection, leaving the drama at home.
We can always bring a happy reminder to the table! Are there any favorite pictures of family members or friends that you can share? Funny text messages? Or just something that makes you smile that you think others would like? We can always try to choose to focus on subjects that we enjoy and value and that promote connection.
Quick Holiday Gift Ideas / Fun Decor!
Environment matters and Dr. Brooke is a huge fan of creating an ecosystem conducive to health and well-being sending a signal of safety where each guest and occupant can relax and unwind- you may want to do this through an essential oil diffuser, holiday candles, opening the doors to the outside, an emf protection-holistically harmonizing system (like the somavedic, you can use promo code: drbrookestuart for 10% off!)or sprays like sage and or the lotuswei flower remedies to help people subconsciously exhale!
Whatever your plans are for this year, we truly hope that this article could help your holiday season be a little more calm and bright. For more information, support and a tried and true springboard that can help you address the fundamentals and experience the power you are meant to have, make sure to schedule a free holistic consultation and check out our Let Go & Grow® Mind Body Reset. Pre-sale available now for a January 1, 2021 start date. $100 Off with the Promo Code: LETSGROW, sale ends midnight on 1/3/2021. We would love to have you in there!
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