I get it… life gets crazy and sometimes (or, most times), a good pour of red wine feels like the holy grail. After all, red wine is good for us, right? Well, one glass is good, but the effects of alcohol on the body turn quickly negative after that first glass.
Often, my ‘healthy’ one glass slides into two. Plus, if hubby has had a glass, the bottle is nearly gone so I might as well just finish-it-up, right? Ugh. Feels great a the moment, but then I wake-up around 2 a.m. with an anxious mind. Topping-it-off with a slow start the next day. Hangovers were rough as a single girl… they’re brutal as a mama.
Yet, the hangover is just the tip of the iceberg of how too much alcohol can wreck your health. For me, many of the health issues directly sabotage the wellness efforts I’m making on a daily basis.
The Effects of Alcohol on the Body that Have Stopped Me at 1-Glass per Day
- Stealing Your Sleep
Alcohol is a sedative, which is fantastic at helping you get to sleep faster. However, the ‘unnatural’ impact on your sleep can disrupt your sleep patterns, confusing your brain and causing you to wake up in the middle of the night. For me, this means my mind starts to anxiously spin on unproductive thoughts, making it difficult to fall back asleep.
- Killing Your Willpower
Folks have joked for years about getting the munchies when you smoke pot. I’m not a pot smoker, but I sure have experienced the downfall of my willpower after a few glasses of booze. “No dessert for me.” quickly becomes, “I’ll make up for it with an extra workout tomorrow.” And of course, tomorrow’s hangover will keep you from actually committing to that extra workout.
- Increasing the Risk of Disease
According to the CDC, “excessive alcohol use can lead to the development of chronic diseases and other serious health problems.” Those problems they list include cancer, heart issues, immune system breakdown, and mental health concerns.
- Thickening Brain Fog
‘Mommy brain’ is bad enough, but drinking too much alcohol can make it much worse! Alcohol messes with your brain in so many ways: dulled sensory uptake, short-term memory lapses, and (gasp) according to a 2008 study in the Archives of Neurology, drinking too much can shrink brain volume.
- Wrecks Your Skin
Vogue magazine has a great article about how alcohol wrecks your skin. They list dehydration and inflammation as the key alcohol-related predators to your skin’s health. The article includes a quote by New York nutritionist Jairo Rodriguez said: “Alcohol is actually one of the worst, most aggressive compounds to destroy your skin.” Ouch.
My Favorite Tricks for Drinking Just 1-Glass of Booze Per Day
Sure, the bottom of just one glass of wine can come-up pretty quickly in your evening. Yet, those nasty effects of alcohol on the body make me think twice about that second drink. I’ve encouraged myself to stop at just one with these wine-distraction hacks:
- Non-Alcoholic / Low Alcohol Cocktails – Sometimes, I am just craving something fancy. Many mocktail recipes can help to feed the need without getting too boozy. I’ll add a link below to some of my favorite options.
- Herbal Tea – I keep some juicy hibiscus berry herbal iced tea in the fridge. I’ll pour it directly into my wine glass and keep happily sipping away. You can also brew some hot tea to satisfy the same fix.
- Dark Chocolate – I ALWAYS have bite-sized dark chocolate in the house. After dinner, I grab one and slowly nibble away. It helps me transition away from alcohol and tames my sweet tooth.
- Sparkling Water with Citrus – A little bubble water with citrus can help refocus your appetite. Adding bitters or essential oils can also help make them fun while reducing alcohol.
- Herbal Concoctions – Right now, I have a bottle of homemade elderberry syrup in the fridge. Sure, it has a touch of alcohol in it, but not as much as a glass of wine. Actually, it totally tastes like port, so it feels like an ‘after dinner drink.’
I’d love to know… does this post inspire you to cut-back on your own ‘wine mom’ ways? Do the effects of alcohol on the body make you think twice? Are there any of the tricks you’d like to try one evening this week?