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Drinking alcohol every night to get through this? Why it’s the worst idea ever.

We are going through a crazy time. Undoubtedly the craziest time in my lifetime.

I’ve been having long, personal conversations with my friends about everything going on, doing what we can to build each other up. And many of them expressed frustration about one thing… 

Ever since the quarantines started they’ve been drinking more alcohol…way more than they normally do. What used to be maybe a weekly (or monthly) occurrence, is seriously becoming an every night of the week habit that is getting out of control. 

They aren’t working, they’re bored and completely stressed out – and turning to booze to make them feel better.

I hate to be a buzzkill, but honestly, I have to say it….

Drinking all the time, especially during this crisis, is one of the worst things you can do right now. You are relying on something that (ironically) is horrible for your health because you are feeling stressed out. There are better ways to handle this situation. 

I know you probably don’t want to hear this, but hear me out. 

Those nightly “Quarantinis” are detrimental to your immune system. 

You’ve heard alcohol is bad for your liver – but that’s not the only organ it’s affecting.

Disrupts healthy gut bacteria…

Drinking too much alcohol disrupts the healthy balance of bacteria your gut. You see, we all have a garden of bacteria living in our intestines (1), which is vitally important to the health of our immune system as a whole (2). The “good” bacteria in your gut helps to keep you healthy (3, 4, 5). When you drink – you create an imbalance in your gut bacteria (6) – which in turn compromises your body’s ability to fight infections (7). 

Further down the line, this can lead to leaky gut syndrome (8) – which creates tiny little holes in our digestive system organs that leak out the good bacteria we need to stay healthy and keep our immune system strong.

Diminishes your immune defenses…

When you drink, certain white blood cells that are your “front-line” of defense against infections essentially get shut down and are only about ¼ as effective as fighting viruses as they usually are (9). It is a major blow to your natural immune defenses.

Impairs nutrient absorption…

Heavy drinking can lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies as well, because it impairs your body’s ability to absorb nutrients (10). Without necessary nutrients, you’re more susceptible to infections and won’t be able to heal as quickly. 

Increases risk of respiratory infections…

And if all this isn’t enough, drinking too much alcohol is known to specifically increase the risk of respiratory infections (11), such as pneumonia and ARDS. Knowing what we know so far about COVID-19 and how it affects the respiratory system… do you think those nightly drinks are worth the risk?

It’s not just the alcohol that’s shutting off your immune system. Most alcoholic drinks are filled with unhealthy ingredients that are sabotaging you. 

What’s in your booze (besides booze)?

Ever wonder what makes Bailey’s Irish Cream so deliciously brown, or Blue Curacao so tropically blue? What makes Malibu Rum so sweet, or what gives Captain Morgan its golden hue?

You may never know because ingredient labeling on beer, wine, or liquor is not required by the FDA.

The alcohol industry has lobbied for years against ingredient labels because they don’t want you to know what you’re drinking. As a result, we know more about what’s in a bottle of Windex than we do about the world’s most popular drinks. After we petitioned beer companies (12) to tell us what’s in their beer, the two largest beer manufacturers began listing their ingredients online (13) – but there is still a lot we do not know.

My research for The Food Babe Way uncovered a slew of unlabeled additives (14) and crazy ingredients you’d never guess you were drinking. To give you a recap, this might be lurking in your favorite drink:

  • Artificial Colors
  • BHT
  • BHA
  • Carrageenan
  • Class IV Caramel Color
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • Corn Syrup
  • Artificial Sweeteners
  • Artificial Flavors
  • Natural Flavors
  • Benzoic Acid / Sodium Benzoate
  • Sodium Citrate
  • Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO)
  • Tribromophenol (contaminant found in some wine)
  • Roundup Weedkiller / Pesticides (contaminants found in some beer and wine)

See what’s in these popular drinks… 

NOTE ABOUT WHITE CLAW: White Claw says their full ingredient list is “proprietary” – which means it is a secret. “The alcohol in White Claw Hard Seltzer comes from fermented sugars derived from malted gluten-free grains” – which could mean corn syrup, but who knows? They haven’t responded to an inquiry from my team to clarify this yet. 

Liquors don’t list ingredients, but what are you mixing them with?

The decision to drink alcohol is a personal one. 

I enjoy wine, champagne, and tequila every now and then. When I do, I make the best choices I can. Having alcohol is not a judgment call that any of us should make for others, unless excessive drinking is ruining someone’s health, family, and personal life. The important thing is to be educated about alcohol, what’s in it, how much should be consumed, and whether you feel it’s something you want to have in your lifestyle.

If you are finding yourself drowning your quarantine-sorrows in booze, there are healthier and more effective ways to handle your stress.

So, set down that cocktail and let me show you some strategies that work for me to keep my sanity, which I’m sure could help you as well.

Ways to relieve stress naturally – Without Alcohol:

  • Stop going down the news rathole. The news is overwhelming right now and this can cause a lot of stress. And you know what? Stress is a huge immunity killer! So do yourself a favor and use this time to spend with your loved ones. Play games, watch movies at home, cook together, and take time to relax and de-stress. If you live alone, set up online video chats with your friends and family to stay connected. Limit yourself to checking in with the news once or twice a day to stay informed – and then put it away!
  • Write it all down and practice gratitude: Start jotting down your feelings about all that is happening in the world and how you are personally handling it. Tell your own personal story as if you are writing it for someone else. Expressing yourself in writing is very therapeutic. Research has shown that journaling helps people heal during times of stress and trauma (15). Also write out what you are grateful for each day. There is always much to be thankful for and when you start paying attention to it, magic starts to happen. 
  • Exercise more, and regularly. Stress hormones like cortisol are reduced when you exercise regularly (16) – plus you release endorphins, which are “feel good” brain chemicals that make you feel happy. Even if the gym is closed, you can still do workout videos at home without any special equipment (besides perhaps a wifi connection or a DVD). You can also go for bike rides, jogs, an long walks outdoors. 
  • Start meditating. This a is a majorly effective tool to decrease your stress levels (17), and also reduces your chances of getting sick because chronic stress leads to bodily inflammation, which makes you more susceptible to illness. When you meditate, you calm your mind – and your brain is intimately connected to your organs and the immune system. You don’t need any equipment and there are several free guided meditations available online if meditation is new to you. The practice of yoga is related to this as well and is another great option.
  • Get some sun. When you expose your skin to the sun, you help your body produce more Vitamin D – the “sunshine vitamin”, which supports a happy mood. The simple act of going outdoors has been shown to lower stress and increase well being (18). 
  • Make sleep a priority. This is a never-ending cycle. If you are stressed out, it might keep you up at night. And when you don’t get enough sleep you get cranky and more anxious – leading to MORE stress. Do whatever you can to get more sleep to break this cycle. If anxiety is keeping you up at night, try taking some magnesium or melatonin. Get some sun exposure in the morning to set your internal body clock and increase natural melatonin production at night.
  • Take stress-supporting supplements. Adaptogens such as ashwagandha and maca help to support a happy mood and sleep quality. These may make it easier for you to deal with all the stressors in your life. 
  • Call up a friend or loved one. It’s really important to stay socially connected. It’s been shown that when you have a social support system around you, you are less likely to feel depressed or anxious (19). Sharing good laugh will keep all your spirits up and relieves your stress like none other! I you can, use Skype, FaceTime, Zoom, or some other video sharing app, so you can see each other too! 

What are you doing to relieve stress during this crazy time? Tell me in the comments. Let’s share our ideas and support each other. It’s more important right now than ever! 

Xo,

Vani

P.S. If you know anyone who is drowning their quarantine sorrows in alcohol, please share this post with them. I hope it inspires everyone to try healthier ways to get our stress under control! 

 

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41 responses to “Drinking alcohol every night to get through this? Why it’s the worst idea ever.

  1. I drink alcohol, but wouldn’t touch anything that’s listed here! Just like with food, it’s best to be mindful of what you drink too. I usually only drink on the weekends …. some organic red wine, organic vodka mixed with sparkling water/seltzer (I prefer Waterloo) with lots of fresh lime and lemon juice. I also take extra Vitamin C along with Milk thistle/dandelion to “help” my body overcome it all.

  2. I laugh. I am a Certified Laughter Yoga Leader and I facilitate classes and workshops call “Laugh-Firmations.” Right now i run these classes on Zoom and not only are the participants saying they feel happpier and more energetic, but i do, too. I have a class coming up on June 15 at 7p.m. I will send you an invite.

      1. I’ve been watching a movie every night for the past 2 months ..dont feel to good about it anymore its was fun the first month but now I’m seeing I’m using Netflix as a stress reliever…not good..but I definitely dont want to take to drinking

  3. I am a fiber artist and all my shows have been cancelled so I concentrate on my tapestry weaving, bright colors and uplifting arc designs. I am almost finished with my fourth piece since quarantining. My drink of choice is our cold well water. I cannot read the news other than briefing blurbs online. Keeping stress at a minimum. Jigsaw puzzles on my iPad are my go to relief when needed.

  4. I agree, my favorite beer is Stella and I know it is full of crap. But I did some research and I found a company that sells wine and tests it and guarantee’s a clean crafted wine. I became a consultant for Scout and Cellar so that I could help others who love having a glass of wine with an amazing steak or some grilled chicken. As a Nutrition Coach, I am all about clean organic food. Scout and Cellar have very low residual sugar, low or no Sulfites, and they do not allow chemicals or pesticides. It is the *Clean Crafted Standard the stands behind and I love it. Organic from grape to glass.

  5. I started doing a simple 10 minute guided meditation and daily stretches to help with my anxiety. It has done wonders for me.

  6. People who live in northern Alaska, where during a good part of the year it’s dark most of the time, will tell you the way to get through it is booze or a hobby. So get a hobby or start a project around the house. Pursue an interest in online classes. Read. Set a goal. Improve yourself. None of this even has to cost money. If you’re bored, take control and change that.

  7. I had been a regular drinker myself for many years, but it was in the aftermath of 9/11 in 2001 that it got way out of control. On Oct. 7 I decided I really needed to do something about it, quit drinking entirely and gave both Alcoholics Anonymous and Smart Recovery a try. Although I did stay sober and haven’t touched a single drop since, I didn’t find either of those recovery fellowships, with their one-size-fits-all “programs of recovery” (Twelve Steps and REBT respectively), the least bit helpful. Eventually I discovered an alternative program called LifeRing (their website is lifering.org) that takes it for granted that each of us needs their own Personal Recovery Program, and encourages members to discover their own peculiar issues and find a way to directly address those directly. In my own case what really helped a LOT with the cravings was switching from a Standard American Diet to eating pretty much the way that Vani suggests, especially reducing my consumption of refined carbohydrates to nearly zero. I noticed that a lot of AA members had simply switched their drug of choice from alcohol to an equally addictive white powder drug called sugar, and 20 years later they were still talking about staying sober “one day at a time” while gulping down donuts and lots of coffee loaded with tablespoons of sugar. Thankfully I somehow managed to avoid that trap.

    Eventually I discovered that in my own case substantially increasing my daily intake of the amino acid glycine made a huge improvement in my ability to stay relaxed while under stress. I still take it both as a supplement (four 500mg capsules per day) and in the form of home made “bone broth” made from chickens’ feet (two cups per day.)

    1. Thanks for sharing your story with others that may need to explore options for healing. Sending love!

  8. How do I say this…my entire perception of our human experience has changed. On March 22nd (the equinox) I experienced an NDE. Since that time there has been much unfolding and continues to unfold. Stress? It’s a matter of perception and when I drop back into separation perception there is stress and sadness, otherwise all is bliss. These physical isolation times have been a my salvation as I integrate the experience.
    I have been an organic purist for many years and my food choices mostly come from my garden. I support your efforts 1000% in educating others. It is very needed right now. I love how you empower others to take back their health and power.
    About my experience: Love one another!

  9. My father was an alcoholic, so I decided at an early age to never drink. During this time of isolation, I run most mornings and walk my four dogs every day with my husband. FaceTime most days with my 16 month old granddaughter. My beverage of choice is organic green tea with cranberry. Late in the afternoon we eat a healthy organic plant-based meal (This ethical vegan is finally learning to cook) on our deck with four sets of canine eyes on us, then pick out something funny to watch on Netflix, with two of the four mutts on our laps (pitbull mix and lab mix are doing security!) So, healthy food, exercise,and loving companions, canine and human, get me through each day. (And I take your Turmeric, Vani, along with a vegan multi and extra vit D.) Stay safe, everone!

  10. I only drink organic wine and beer. I wonder if this is ok. By the by, I only drink a glass, maybe a glass and a half per day.

  11. 75 years old. learn patience, gratitude and trust your inner self.
    know when to draw a line and be able to do it. get a good mate
    you love and don’t settle for less. have each others back, give each
    other room and don’t go to sleep angry. take some calculated chances.

    1. Love it!77 and much the same lifestyle,no alcohol.When people say “have a nice day” my answer is,”always,as long as I only let me inside my head.”

  12. Every day all day long we talk to Jesus. Its just a simple running conversation. He is a good God. He saved our marriage. He wants to help us.
    Bill and Susan Burtness

  13. Oh, and to answer your question: I exercise my dog, a Bernese Mountain dog, with hikes and take bike rides, as well as doing some bouncing on a mini tramp.

  14. Alcohol also makes you fat!!!! How??
    Say you need 2000 calories made up of protein, carbs and some good fats to be balanced.
    If you drink (say) 1 bottle of wine per day, that’s about 600 calories….. now say you drink at the evening mostly….. The body can’t do anything with alcohol, can’t store it, can only BURN it. In the order of burning off your daily (now 2600 c) 1st is the alcohol, 2nd Carbs, 3rd Protein, 4th fat….BUT the balance was 2000! Now you have 600 c of fat going to bed – where you hardly burn it – result (basically) you put on FAT. Very simplified.

  15. Great post and something I have been troubled about since the Covid Crisis began. I, too, have noticed numerous posts on social media about daily drinking, complaining about juggling work and educating their children, yelling at their family, and packing on pounds because they are eating garbage. I quit drinking last year (one of my birthday gifts to myself, LOL) and have been homeschooling my 12yo while running a business since she was born. My business includes a farm, so the Crisis has given me time to expand our gardens to grow more food. I have run almost every day and prepared most of my meals from my garden. I have given myself time to explore other interests and finally learned to throw a frisbee accurately. I have embraced the slowdown and hope that as our world reopens we all continue the good habits developed during the Crisis but let go of the unhealthy ones.

  16. One out of 15 things I did during the coronavirus:
    I live in a senior living complex with 58 apartments and we have a nice gazebo. I decorated it in a Christmas theme
    ( because Christmas makes people happy) It was near Easter and many people put up lighted crosses in front of their apartments. A large cross was placed outside the gazebo to represent Christ’s resurrection so the correlation being Christ’s birth(Christmas) and his resurrection( Easter). Everyone loved it!

  17. I have been extremely fortunate to have discovered Dynamical Neurofeedback- which is the most powerful way of calming the nervous system known to date. It transformed my life, and now I’m a provider and I rent and sell systems worldwide to others who are struggling with unwanted symptoms related to overworked nervous systems. I have been running daily sessions (sometimes I’ll even train once in the morning and then again at night) on myself since COVID started and I’m so grateful that because of this I have been able to avoid much of the fear and panic going on outside of my little world at home. I’ve been ramping up on the training for everyone in my house, since Each of us are also dynamical systems, and thus, our systems all affect each other in powerful ways.

    It’s a brain optimization tool that is a stress resilience/peak performance training. Any condition related to the nervous system can be eventually shifted and calmed with regular training. I’m happy to help anyone here who is suffering. Please reach out and I’d be happy to zoom chat and explain more to anyone who would like to stop drinking. I was raised by two alcoholics who never got help. They didn’t know any other way to calm their over-wrought nervous systems, so they drank a lot, like so many others. I am just lucky that I found this amazing tool.

    I am devoted to helping others calm their systems without any judgment and with the confidence that your brain is a self-organizing, self-healing dynamical system that’s can reset itself to previous states of being with regular training. I ship my rentals directly to people from where I live in California, usually it takes two days to arrive anywhere in the US/Canada, and then I do phone/text/email/zoom support for the duration of the time they have my system. If this sounds interesting to you and you just want to know more, it’s my pleasure and honor, as well as my job to answer you, so please reach out just to talk -no pressure ever! https://neuroptimal.com/member/roz-light/

  18. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is The Good News of salvation!
    “For God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”
    God is my Hope and my Savior.

  19. Play *Disc golf.
    Low initial cost. Discs are very affordable compared to ball golf clubs. No country club membership required, no greens fee’s or any fee’s for like 3000 different courses.
    Typically walking a course is a bit more than a mile, maybe 2.
    You get out in the sun. Throwing your stress away. Super fun. Almost anyone can play.

  20. I quit drinking 4 years ago on September 8th so that hasn’t been a problem during this social distancing. I recently quit smoking and I’m trying to manage lifelong back pain I know is big in part 2 inflammation as I’ve been learning. I’m glad my friend shared your site with me and your story.

  21. My recipe for happiness is: brisk walks in the abundant Southern California sunshine, thinking of everything I’m lucky enough to be grateful for, making other people laugh (friends, strangers, anyone I encounter on those brisk walks or in the supermarket), and cacao (dark chocolate maca bars or hot chocolate with cinnamon & ginger). At home: brain games on the computer, and zoom visits with far-flung friends.

  22. Vani, thank you for this expose. Please go after companies that make dryer sheets/fabric softeners. I was severely chemically injured from inhalation of these products. Our bedroom window was not installed “tight” and when neighbors did laundry, the scented toxins entered our unit thru the windows and the exhaust fans in the bathrooms. I suffered severe nerve damage. I was bedridden for several years and developed MCS. Our cat started having seizures. It’s 4 years later and I’m still chronically ill. We moved and the cats seizures stopped. I began a very long road to recovery. Who would ever think that this could happen? But it did. The companies that make these products should be called out and Americans should demand that the toxic chemicals be removed from their laundry products. Thank you.

  23. Hi all. Great topic to roll out! Here’s my thought on that and I hope it will give rise to serious personal consideration for some of you. Seven years ago I was sipping wine or beer every night and decided to break the habit that I had enjoyed for a long long time. BTW, I will be 80 next year,. Here’s what I did.
    I stopped going to the package store and did not keep any alcoholic beverages at home. My alcohol consumption was over dinner out on the weekends; 1 or 2 with dinner. At home during the week and some weekends when we didn’t go out, we would have our fruit or vegetable juice “cocktail” before dinner. or late afternoon. I also increased my intake of hot teas; first thing in the morning and last thing at night accompanied with filtered water. On special occasions, family or friends would bring beer or wine as their contribution to our meal but that’s only a few times a year. This has totally worked for me.
    At first I missed the buzz but surprisingly I started forgetting about it in a few weeks, I know it could be age) 🙂 and just enjoyed the healthful alternatives. Also, since I am well into the “retirement age” which I do not believe in, I down sized my business and began a serious “hobby” career, if you will, of restoring stringed instruments. I have my shop at home and I look forward to every day working on projects of my own or for others. I also write and play music as well. All this keeps me moving and busy which is my recipe for staying healthy.
    So my recommendation is to replace the alcohol time with healthful alternatives and an activity that keeps you inspired whether it’s a craft or reading or pursuing a subject you really enjoyed in school or something totally foreign to you. The main thing is to take charge of your time and do it.
    Sorry if I seem to be preaching, but it works so well for me that when the subject of alcohol came up, I excitedly had to share my story because I was quite concerned about my increasing alcohol consumption. Now that problem is solved. Blessings to all.

  24. I created a tea based drink containing spirulina, and it’s been wonderful for 18 years…

  25. I practice daily prayer, scripture reading, and meditation on the words I have read. As an addict, I have avoided all intoxicants since 1999, but only began living a healthy lifestyle (organic whole foods, pasture raised meats, adequate rest) in the past few years. One result is that I have gone from 300+ pounds to currently about 175. I sleep much better now. Eating just 3 meals per day, no sugar or flour, and weighing my food to ensure that I get enough, but not too much.

  26. I’ve never drank a sip of alcohol on my life (or tried any drugs/smoking). It’s unreal what kind of crap is in drinks, let alone how much money is wasted on them! Thanks for helping others be aware! 🙂

  27. In stay in prayer and meditation knowing that my Lord, Jesus Christ is in control of all things.

  28. Vani,

    What a great topic. I am a physician who maintains licensure in multiple states. Although I no longer see patients, there are options that are only available to 20% of Americans. Namely, legalization of cannabis. In CA, cannabis has now been used medically for 25 years and is part of the standard armamentarium in dealing with a wide variety of conditions. It is now legal for any consumer. The best practice is by inhalation route with very quick peak serum levels and elimination from the body within two hours. There are organic strains that alleviate stress, pain and motivate one throughout the day and others that help at bedtime for a nice sleep. All it takes is one vaporized puff from a pure, organic oil.

    It should be removed as a Schedule One drug and legalized throughout the US. The benefits to society are profound. Less domestic violence, anxiety, depression, pain, etc. resulting in more personal productivity and enthusiasm for an overall healthy lifestyle. It is certainly healthier than alcohol.

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