It is important to acknowledge that being mindful of our relationship with alcohol is important to our 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 you to socialize, so you can come out of events in a more accelerated, expansive way without having to recover and come from behind for weeks to come!
Many people only associate the alcohol-related pain with the next day- but if you look objectively you will see that the pain is yes associated with the next day and then it typically lingers throughout the week in the form of feeling behind, low energy, having to recover and catch up on day 2-3-4-5-6 and at that point, you may find yourself drinking again never fully experiencing your potential. Now there are ways to moderate according to your body whether that is to take a certain supplement protocol or stick to a certain beverage as we discuss below. However for some, this may mean not drinking at all- as long as we begin to see each choice and the impact or consequences as one in the same and not separate, we can begin to engage informed consent when it comes to our individual relationship with alcohol.
If you are having a hard time with alcohol, it’s also important to become aware and begin to understand how and why we are getting in our own way- not in a judgmental way but from a place of observation and empowerment. For example, are we using certain substances or behavior to avoid or bury experiences, has it become a form of distraction? It’s okay if we are- but the moment we begin to see what, how and why we are truly up to what we are up to- we begin to take our power back and break the pattern. So as awareness comes, let it in, let it process and let it change the way you enter into and see the world.
When you do decide to drink, it’s important to be present and mindful while doing so- if you are having trouble with this that is also important to take into consideration. You can allow yourself to enjoy the experience for what it is, and know that it will always remain a prevalent part of many adults’ lives- whether that be in your personal or even professional relationships, it is a social factor.
It may be normal for your friends and colleagues to complain about being tired and hungover- but it certainly does not have to be normal for you. You are too smart for that- so own your intelligence and apply it here.
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
Some other notable wine brands include Usual and Dry Farms Wine!
True Champagne hails from the Champagne region in the northeastern nook of France. While all Champagne is sparkling wine, not all sparkling wine is Champagne!
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:
Johnnie Walker (Scotch), Jameson (Irish Whisky), Jack Daniels (Tennessee Whiskey), and Woodford Reserve (Bourbon).
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).
Our favorite tequila choice: Casamigos and Don Julio Blanco
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
Preventing Hangovers With Supplements
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 experience. All information, including precise dosages, can be found in our online supplement dispensary Fullscript for 15% off!
- B-complex: B vitamins are often depleted when drinking alcohol, make sure to support your system through a comprehensive high-quality multivitamin or a b-complex the 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.
- DHM: Dihydromyricetin activates a cascade of mechanisms that erase alcohol from your body quickly, which can benefit your liver. DHM helps the body metabolize alcohol faster, offsetting alcohol-related effects and long-term risks.
- 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.
For more on alcohol, please feel free to check out our special holiday edition article, on all things alcohol, appetizers, clean beauty, gift ideas, and much more- right here: Brooke’s Very Merry Christmas Party!
Whatever your plans are for this year, we truly hope that this article could help your experiences with alcohol be a little more calm and bright. For extra support and the opportunity to connect with others implementing a gluten-free or dairy-free diet, please check out Let Go & Grow®’s Mind Body Reset. In the Mind Body Reset, Dr. Brooke Stuart will be there to guide you through every step of the way, healing your system through fundamental shifts in mindset, diet, lifestyle, and other natural methods. You will also be able to engage in an elimination provocation diet to personalize and tailor a diet that works for you.
You can also schedule a free 20 min. holistic consultation with Dr. Brooke Stuart- we would love to help you in any way that we can and hope to connect with you soon!