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Do You Need a Break from Booze?
By Vital Plan Posted 05-21-2015
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If you aren’t feeling your best, it’s time to rethink your drink.

During summer celebrations, alcoholic beverages are often flowing at every turn. We live in an extroverted, drinking culture, and sometimes it can be hard to say no to alcohol when it’s all around.

It’s important to remember that the aftermath of alcohol consumption can really take a toll on the body and the summer combination of sun + alcohol is a surefire recipe for dehydration. Listen to your body and it will tell you what it needs. Know that it’s okay to opt for a non-alcoholic alternative when your body tells you it needs a break!

How does alcohol affect the body?

When taken orally, alcohol (ethanol) numbs nerves but also stimulates certain areas of the brain, causing intoxication. In shot glass-sized doses, the effects can be pleasant, but toxic effects increase exponentially with every added glass.

Healthy individuals can tolerate a certain amount of this toxin and pay only with mild discomfort for the brief euphoria experienced. For individuals with any sort of chronic stress or illness, however, the pleasant effects are very short lived and the toxic side effects are compounded. In addition, if the healing systems of the body have been compromised, toxic metabolites of ethanol stay around longer and are even more harmful. This can actually worsen the person’s condition and impede recovery.
Everyone needs a break from the toxic effects of alcohol from time to time, and for individuals recovering from excessive stress, it is especially important to take a break until the body recovers completely.

Additional benefits of cutting the booze:

Brighten your mood. Since alcohol is by its nature a depressant, it can disrupt the delicate chemical balance of the brain. Too much alcohol can influence mood and make you feel down over time. Taking a break from drinking can promote mental clarity and better moods.

Wake up feeling more refreshed.Having a drink before bed may help you to feel sleepy and relaxed, but it actually disrupts REM sleep and often results in restless, wakeful nights. If you want to wake up feeling fresh, skip the nightcap and opt for a relaxing hot tea instead.

Slim down for summer! Alcoholic drinks are full of empty calories that contribute to weight gain. They can also cause bloating in the stomach and puffiness in the face. Take a break from the booze to look and feel your best!

Hydrate your skin. Alcohol dehydrates the body and can contribute to dry, dull skin. It also increases blood flow, which can cause blood vessels to burst and leave red spots. Staying hydrated is a key strategy for skin that has a bright, youthful appearance!

Stay sharp at night. Don’t lose that extra hour before bed! Put it to good use with reading, writing, thinking, meditation or prayer.

Encourage healing in your body. If your body doesn’t have to work overtime to neutralize the toxic effect of alcohol, it can focus on healing and repairing other functions in your body. You may find that symptoms like headaches and indigestion disappear when you take a break from alcohol. You are also helping to lower your risk of serious diseases like cancer and heart disease.

Skip the anxiety hangover. It may seem counter-intuitive that drinking could contribute to anxiety because it is well-known for reducing anxiety in the moment. What many people don’t realize is that the aftermath of drinking can cause increased anxiety and, over time, can cause the condition to worsen. By taking a break from alcohol, you can put a halt to this vicious cycle.

Help your body to better manage stress. That cocktail might seem to “fix” stress temporarily, but really it is doing the opposite. The amount of energy required to process alcohol is very taxing to the body and can compound the effects of stress even further.

Have more meaningful interactions. Although it might seem daunting to be limited from meeting friends at the pub for a drink, it might improve your social engagements in ways you weren’t expecting. You will likely find that you are more alert and aware during conversations.

Find out all that you are capable of achieving. Increased clarity will lead you to find out who you really are and what you want from life. You’ll feel better about your life knowing that your decisions are completely your own; never wake up with shame or regret.

Splurge on specialty organic ingredients with your new-found savings! With all of the money you are saving by cutting alcohol from your drinks, you have some extra wiggle room to purchase high-end ingredients to make your non-alcoholic option pop. You may be surprised how much you enjoy hydrating once you give it a twist.

 

Summer Drink Swap

Non-alcoholic drinks don’t have to be boring! Pair the right combinations of fruit, herbs and spices, and you’ll easily forget the booze is missing. Plus, its a great plan to hydrate and detoxify your body so you can feel your very best!

Whether you decide to skip the booze completely or not, we challenge you to think twice about your drink this summer. You will be amazed by how empowering it can feel to make this decision to love your body and honor your health.

For your Summer Drink Swap, stick with fresh ingredients and steer clear of sugary mixes. There are many natural ingredient combinations that offer an upscale flavor combination—hydration and detoxification has never been so classy!

CITRUS

lemon
lime
orange
blood orange
grapefruit
tangerine

BERRIES

blueberries
strawberries
raspberries
blackberries
cherries
pomegranate

MELON

cantaloupe
honeydew
watermelon

OTHER

pineapple
coconut
cucumber
peaches
jalapeños
bitters
ginger ale

HERBS

lavender
rosemary
thyme
mint
ginger
basil
green or black tea

Ingredient Inspiration

For ingredient combination inspiration, check out our Pinterest board.

Get ready to toast to good health with a glass of shampagne or cheers with a nojito!

about the author
Dr. Bill Rawls
Dr. Bill Rawls has practiced conventional medicine as a gynecologist for
over 20 years and is also the co-founder and medical director of Vital Plan, a wellness and herbal supplement company.
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