Thursday 22 November, 2018

Wellness with Natalie: 5 reasons to quit drinking alcohol

I have had a love affair with alcohol from I was a teenager and started drinking (I won’t self-incriminate by saying what specific age *whistles and looks away*).  Of course, while expecting my children, I abstained but other than that alcohol was always a part of my life.  Social drinking did not interfere with my effectiveness in any way.  Or so I thought until the day I first quit drinking.  I say first because the first time was for just 30 days, the second was for life, but more on that in a moment.

When I made the decision to quit for 30 days, it was difficult because all my social activities involved alcohol; most of my friends drank. Although I was always energetic, the first time I quit drinking, I realized that I did not really know what energetic was.  

I was obviously robbing myself of energy, a crystal clear mind and emotional strength.  After a few days of abstaining altogether, I felt a constant surge of energy, my mind was sharper than I ever knew it to be, I felt like a fire cracker was going off inside my brain; in short I felt like I could literally conquer the world.  I had a drive to keep going, to be more productive.  It was so intense, I actually started to hope it would soon wear off because I felt couldn’t keep up with this level of intensity.  The puffiness in my body went away, little aches and pains I occasionally experienced went away. I looked and felt great!

After my 30 day stint, alcohol was allowed back in and I slowly went back to square 1.  At this point I was feeling a little hypocritical as I was a health coach doing something I knew first hand was not my healthiest.  I share this personal information to let you know I UNDERSTAND why and how much you may enjoy drinking.  But here is why your body DOES NOT!

1. Alcohol sabotages fat loss as your body burns alcohol consumed for energy prior to other calories.

2. Alcohol increases intestinal permeability by causing inflammation in your gut and elsewhere in your body.

3. Alcohol threatens your hormonal health by:

- reducing testosterone levels in men

- raising estrogen and decreasing progesterone levels in women

- impairing regulation of blood sugar levels by reducing your body’s response to insulin

4. Alcohol robs you of restorative restful sleep and interferes with your body’s ability to cope with stress.

5. Alcohol can cause calcium loss from your bones and is directly toxic to bone-forming cells, contributing to osteoporosis. It also depletes your body of Vitamin B’s, A and damages your liver.

To drink or not is a very personal choice.  My partner and I decided to completely give up alcohol forever 11 months ago.  It’s been awesome!  If you want to make that decision as well, I can help you, just drop me a line.

If you do choose to entertain alcohol in your life, here are my suggestions:

- Have at least three completely alcohol-free days a week. Keep your drinking to less than three drinks on any day and less than seven drinks a week for women and men older than age 65, and less than four drinks on any day or less than 14 drinks a week for men age 65 and younger.

- Never drink on an empty stomach.

- Consider supplementing with:

  •    B-complex plus extra thiamin (100 mg) on days you use alcohol. This will help protect your nervous system and potentially avoid the nerve damage seen in alcoholics as the result of thiamin deficiency.   
  • Vitamin A as long term consumption lowers vitamin A levels in the liver.
  • Women in particular should supplement with folate.
  • Milk Thistle to stimulate regeneration of liver cells and protect them from toxic injury. 

The choice is yours.

Natalie Murray is an Integrative Health Coach.  She runs individual and group detox programs, offers corporate wellness programs and maintains an individual coaching practice.  If you want to learn more about how working with a health coach can help you make gradual sustainable shifts towards a healthier lifestyle visit www.natalie-murray.com or email her at info@natalie-murray.com. You can follow Natalie at: Instagram: nataliemurray.jm and Facebook: nataliemurray.jm.