Our modern world influences our digestive and hormone health, from the food we eat to what we consume around us. Our daily habits are essential to the outcome of our thoughts and feelings, and vice versa. But it takes bringing awareness to our routines before we can expect to take action to make those conscious shifts.
You might already know that drinking alcohol can impair the functions of the glands that release hormones. Did you also know that it also affects your microbiota (bacteria, cells, viruses, and fungus) inside your gut? I like to call this microbiota your "home." When I talk with clients about their home, they're often caught off guard when I ask them to list out how they nurture their internal habitat. It's a new concept, but when you think about it, just like tending to your guests that stay for a holiday, you also need to bring that conscious benevolence to care for yourself.
And to be honest, the simplicity of prioritizing your health comes from the respect and love you have for yourself. The devotion you have to want to do better, not just a need to do better. It comes from a passion for nourishing your body.
Have you heard of the word Hygge? (Pronounced hoo-gah.) It's a Danish word used to acknowledge a feeling or moment, whether you're out with friends or alone at home. It literally only requires consciousness and a certain slowness. It's the ability to recognize and enjoy the present. Another definition of hygge is "an art of creating intimacy," whether it's with yourself or your home.
There's a creative craft to it, but also it's a state of being. Just like a hygge atmosphere is being intentional about what you are bringing in, it's also a lot like your dwelling. Are you being conscious of what you are permitting to enter your body or mind?
In November of 2019, I decided to cut alcohol out of my diet. It was a personal choice based on many factors but mostly because of my health. A few months prior to that decision, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's thyroiditis when I went in for a routine doctor visit. It was completely unexpected, but I can't say I was surprised. I had a history of gut and hormone issues, and even though I took care of my body, it wasn't enough to undo the damage I caused to it in my childhood, teens, and twenties.
Alcohol was the last thing I expected to let go of. I enjoyed my wine after a long stressful workday and an old fashioned cocktail while out to dinner with my husband. I knew it didn't make me feel great, but I also didn't know how to live a life without it.
That may sound dramatic, but it's true. In a modern world where our society influences us that drinking is "normal," it's hard to have the steadfast mentality that we don't need it to fit in. And we all have that inherent need to be liked and go with the flow. Declining a drink at a friend's birthday dinner will rock the boat. It will cause others to question why. But if you choose to join the sober-curious community, it'll eventually become part of your wellness practice, and soon, you won't even feel the need to explain your choices.
I've had to examine and evaluate a lot of foods and ingredients over the years. Alcohol being the last big category to eliminate. My internal home is just too meaningful to let something enter it that is going to do it harm. For example, it wasn't until I connected the dots between a head cold and dairy that I realized those cheese boards were making me sick. Or that caffeine consumption made me anxious and moody.
When I tell my story, I often get asked if it's hard, and I always say it's the easiest decision I've made. There's an abundance of alternatives out there now, and it's been really fun to experiment with non-alcoholic cocktail recipes. You can even find a mocktail menu at most restaurants these days, and if they don't, you can ask them to create one!
If you're interested in creating some mocktails at home, here are some of my favorite recipes. They're simple, and you can swap out ingredients for different ones that you prefer.
Non-Alcoholic Cocktail Recipes
- 1 fluid ounce elderflower cordial
- 1 dash soda water
- Fresh mint
- Non-alcoholic Prosecco to top
I love the non-alcoholic Prosecco from the brand Gruvi.
- ½ cup pomegranate juice
- ½ cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 oz sparkling water
- 4 cups seeded watermelon
- 2 cups water
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice
- 4 tbsp pure maple syrup
- Mix in blender until smooth
- 1 can ginger ale
- 2 tbsp pineapple juice (or any juice you like)