I’ll be honest with you, I gave up alcohol about two years ago. I knew I wanted to get pregnant and I knew that my hormonal makeup plus my age meant it was the best thing to do. Now I’m nine months post-birth, I’m breastfeeding and in recovery mode, so I’m still not drinking and I can’t say I miss it!
But, I’m not here to tell you that you have to do the same or to make you feel bad for having a glass of wine.
You can still have a glass of wine!
One big difference between the Flo Living protocol and the other diets and lifestyles out there is that I don’t believe in perfection. Instead I am all about each of us understanding how our body works so that we can make the best decisions to support our health and then make good course corrections along the way.
It’s not about choosing between “being good” or “having fun” – there’s a middle way that allows you to do both. It’s about taking microactions to balance out your indulgences before they hit and have a negative impact. You can be good AND have fun! I tend to take the 80/20 approach and I encourage my Flo ladies to do the same – you’re allowed to have lapses, what matters is what you do about them.
Because it’s all relative in the end – you have to take your own hormonal symptoms, their severity, and your overall diet into account when you make the choice to have a drink or two. If you’re at the very beginning of your healing journey then, just like with sugar, you are better off going cold turkey for two months at least and seeing how that affects you. If you’re trying to improve symptoms that are related to estrogen dominance then drinking alcohol frequently will slow your healing down.
You have to ask yourself how quickly do I want to feel better and how long do I want the recovery process to take?
In the spirit of body awareness and self observation, I’m going to fill you in on how alcohol impacts your hormones and then provide some useful survival strategies for cutting back and balancing out the effects on your body.
How alcohol impacts your hormones
- Women process alcohol at a much, much slower rate than men. We retain all fluids for longer, in fact, and we metabolize the chemicals in alcohol at a slower rate. This means the physical impact of alcohol is much stronger and faster for women than for men.
- Drinking alcohol forces the liver to use your store of antioxidants and vitamin C to break it down, which leaves you vitamin and mineral deficient. This is especially problematic if you know you are already dealing with a deficiency.
- Alcohol raises your estrogen levels which worsens symptoms of PCOS, fibroids and endometriosis – and any estrogen-dominant hormonal health issue
- Although we often reach for a drink because we want it to make us feel happy or sexy, alcohol is actually a depressant. Drinking alcohol drains the adrenals and makes you feel more tired and down.
- Alcohol disrupts your blood sugar function – so if you’re dealing with blood sugar imbalance as a part of your hormonal health issues, and many women are, this is something to be aware of. Often we will find ourselves making unhealthy food choices when we drink and the day after, which further exacerbates the problem.
What to do to offset alcohol consumption (a.k.a. my recovery protocol for a big night out)
It’s Saturday night and you have a big night out with the girls planned! You think avoiding alcohol completely is unrealistic, but you want to be health conscious and make good choices while still having fun. Here’s how to do it –
Before you leave
- At lunchtime take a good B vitamin complex (so you can recover more quickly from dehydration), a dose of inositol (a nutrient that helps detoxify your liver), and vitamin C ester (which will combat the stress on your cells).
- Make a decision to only have two glasses of wine (red or rose are the best for you as white wine holds too much sugar).
- Eat a good meal before you go out or instead of just meeting your friends for drinks, meet a little earlier for dinner and drinks. Take a tip from the Europeans – don’t drink on an empty stomach. Choose a meal with a little fat in it (although nothing fried) as it will slow down the glucose uptake.
When you’re out
- See if you can have your wine served to you in a carafe with a bottle of seltzer water too. That way your two glasses of wine will magically multiply into four with the additional of the seltzer. One carafe then lasts you throughout the dinner. It feels more abundant and indulgent, and yet it’s still just two glasses!
- If you’re at a bar – order some guacamole or nuts for the table for those good fats. If you’re heading to a restaurant – Japanese food like sushi is a great choice for balancing out the effect of red wine.
- Remember – you don’t need to check out of your body to have fun. You can enjoy your friends with a glass of club soda in your hand! Even times when you’re at a bar can become part of your self-care routine – connect with loved ones, touch, dance your heart out to your favorite song. Giving over to the joys of life with a clear head is so rewarding and makes you feel truly alive!
When you get home
- Take another B vitamin complex to restore those vitamins your liver needs to break down the alcohol.
- Have a big glass of water with electrolyte enhancer (I like the Electro-Mix from the makers of Emergen-C).
The next day
- Have another B vitamin complex and take a drink of warm water with lemon to flush your system.
- Drink coconut water to replenish your electrolytes.
- Have three 8 ounce glasses of my favorite detoxifying juice – combine a handful of spinach, 4 stalks of cucumber, half a bunch of cilantro, one-third a bunch of parsley, half a lemon with rind, half a green apple, and a small carrot in a blender or juicer. So refreshing!
- Take a hatha yoga class to calm your adrenals. The twists involved will help detoxify your internal organs and prevent a backup of estrogen.
- Committing to a fresh start that morning and following these steps will prevent you binging on unhealthy foods and minimize the hormonal disruption from the alcohol.
Always remember, that once you have the right information about how your body really works, you can start making health choices that finally start to work for you! You can do this – the science of your body is on your side!
to your FLO,
Good things come in threes:
I want to hear from you
First, do you feel like you drink too much?
Second, will you try out my survival strategy? Share how it works for you!
Third, you know every one you know is hormonal – spread a little good ovary karma and share this article on social by clicking the buttons below
Need more Hormone Help?
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I’ve designed a 4 day hormone detox and evaluation to help you understand exactly what’s out of whack and how you can start getting back to balance so that your hormones no longer have to suffer.
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