If you’ve found yourself reaching for an extra cocktail or two over the past few months, you’re certainly not alone. Summer + pandemic + fear, anxiety, and boredom = a recipe for more alcohol cravings than ever. Newsweek reported that hard liquor sales spiked 75% in the first week of the pandemic alone, and CNN says that the sustained increase over the last 3 months has been about 27%.
I’ll be honest, the first week of the pandemic felt like a strange mix between vacation and extreme stress as my client visits came to a screeching halt and I wondered whether this would be the end of the business I had worked so hard to create (I know, dramatic, but let’s face it, everything felt dramatic at that time!). I found myself having a drink every single night that first week, which is out of the ordinary for me! Luckily, I realized pretty quickly that that habit wasn’t serving me, and turned it around. If you’re working on that, this post is for you!
Is alcohol healthy or unhealthy?
I’m not against alcohol all together, for people who have a healthy relationship with it (if you don’t, please seek help). I personally tend to have 1-2 alcohol drinks, 1-2 times per week, and this works for me. I enjoy the taste, it helps me relax and unwind, and it’s a nice way to signal the end of the work week or connect with my husband or friends.
There are plenty of studies that show some benefit (like this one linking light to moderate red wine consumption with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, as well as the 90+ Study, which shows that of over 14,000 participants, those who drank moderate amounts of alcohol and / or coffee lived longer than those who abstained).
But truthfully, too much alcohol on a regular basis is not all that healthy. Besides being a source of empty calories (calories without any nutritional value), it can affect your organs and cause complications like fatty liver disease, can lower our inhibitions and lead us to eat more food or less healthy food than we would otherwise, and can inhibit quality of sleep significantly.
How to break the habit
If you’re in the habit of pouring a glass of wine once work ends, or cracking open a White Claw when the clock strikes 5, and you want to experiment with drinking less to improve your sleep, health, or waistline, here are a few things to try out!
- Create a healthier ritual that you look forward to. What if, at 5pm, you and your roommate / dog / podcast / husband / self went for a walk through the neighborhood every day? You might look forward to the opportunity to unwind, get some fresh air, and get some movement in those legs! Or, start a meditation habit, a home dance party habit, a call-a-new-friend habit, or any other habit or ritual that sounds fun! When we cut something out, it can feel like we’re robbing ourselves of joy … unless we replace it with a new source of joy!
- Keep a log of how you feel when you do and don’t drink alcohol. Simply commit to a journal for one week. Note how many, and what type of, drinks you had on any given day, then keep notes on how you sleep that night (if you like tracking, I love my Oura ring, which gives great quality sleep data!), as well as how your digestion, energy, skin, cravings, and bloating feel the next day. This alone might help you realize that the daily habit is just not worth it!
- Replace it with a mocktail. Sometimes, we just want something to hold and sip on that is different from water, tastes like a fizzy treat, doesn’t contribute a ton of extra sugar, and takes the place (mentally) of a cocktail. Am I right? If so, read on for my 7 favorite mocktails!
7 Healthy Mocktail Recipes
- Apple Cider Spritzer by Journey Undefined. Take something I drink every day and put it in mocktail form? I’m sold!
- Sugar Free Blackberry Ginger Mint Mocktail by Veggies Save The Day. I do love Zevia on occasion, and it makes this mocktail pop!
- Refreshing Salted Watermelon Mint Cooler by Little Sugar Snaps. You had me at salt, which I love. This one is simple and tasty!
- Hibiscus Iced Tea Sparkler by The Schmidty Wife. May I suggest using Organic India hibiscus tea from this link, and getting 15% off with code “Megan”?
- Raspberry Lemonade Virgin Mojito by Sofa B Food. Super simple, refreshing, and tasty! I recommend using 12 drops of liquid stevia like this one instead of the 1 oz simple syrup!
- Strawberry Basil Mojito by Nutrition Stripped. So many fresh herbs, and this link also includes a recipe for a simple syrup made with stevia!
- Coconut Mojito Mocktail by Cook At Home Mom. With a nice creamy touch from the coconut milk, this one will make you feel like you’re on a luxury beach vacation!
Now it’s your turn … Have you been drinking more than usual lately? Which of these mocktails are you excited to try?