Celebrate the season with these health promoting beverages that are so much fun you'll never miss the alcohol.
Just because you can, doesn't mean that you should- I'm talking about alcohol here friends. While I enjoy a glass of wine or a local IPA as much as the next girl, but when you stack up all the social engagements of the holidays adding alcohol to the mix is just too much.
The good news is that there are some delightful non-alcoholic or #mocktails that can actually have health benefits instead of the sugary sweet, dehydrating, and heavy cocktails that you'll pay for both physically and fiscally.
The down-side of alcoholic cocktails
Aside from the dehydration, extra calories, and drain on your wallet there are some real side effects to drinking alcohol. Keep in mind that the occasional glass of wine with dinner or football Sunday seltzer aren't going to have a lasting impact on you if you drink plenty of water and stick to moderation- but I think we can all agree that sometimes the holiday season indulgences are anything but moderate.
Let's look at the down-side of drinking too many traditional holiday cocktails:
The obvious: disrupting sleep, digestion, and moods. It only takes one sugary concoction to have an impact on your digestion, not to mention the poor food choices that tend to accompany that festive punch. Not only that, but even though you fall asleep quickly, your restful sleep is impacted and you're more likely to wake up in the middle of the night. Plus, alcohol is a depressant- so the already fraught holidays don't get better when you drink.
Alcohol is and endocrine disruptor. Alcohol interferes with blood sugar balance and reproductive hormones like estradiol, LH, progesterone, and FSH. What does all that mean? It means that your period, weight, and moods are going to take a hit- and the more days that you drink consecutively, the more your system will take the hit.
The not-so-obvious: Vitamin D metabolism and calcium absorption are impacted. Both are super important to staying healthy and being your best self (hello moods and metabolism. Best to not make it harder to keep your D and calcium levels where they should be- especially for women who already struggle with maintaining vitamin D and calcium levels.
The up-side of mocktails
The benefits are as limitless as your imagination here, but since we're talking the holidays lets look at some specific recipes and talk about what's working.
First up: Golden Milk
A comforting concoction full of anti-inflammatory benefits. Many yogi's know about the benefits of golden milk and imbibe often, but it can be a delightful holiday season drink served warm at your holiday gathering. Because it has no caffeine it's a great choice for those gatherings that tend to go all night.
You can find a recipe anywhere, but this one at www.mccormic.com is simple.
Winter Sangria like this one at www.immaeatthat.com is a wonderful way to boost your immunity with vitamin C loaded fruits and tons of anti-oxidants in cranberries and pomegranates.
I'm in love with the concept of kombucha instead of alcohol! This Cranberry Kombucha Cocktail from The Real Food Dietitians makes use of some digestion boosting herbs as well as giving you a dose of probiotics.
Simple is the name of the game with this not-hot-toddy recipe from The Spruce When you have a complicated menu and need a simple cozy beverage a spicy tea is exactly what you need. This simple toddy will chase away any cold weather sniffles with lemon, honey, and cinnamon.
And finally for my latte-loving-friends this gingerbread latte from a crockpot is genius! If you want to be the star of the office pot-luck forget the boring veggie tray...this caffeinated treat is less about the health benefits and more about the guilt-free celebration. The Busy Baker version is going to save your coffee budget this year.
I did the research so that you don't have to...and if you simply want to check out the recipes you can get the PDF version here.
Remember that there is a time & place for all foods- even the alcoholic ones- so you don't have to be super strict. Let's face it, we have missed a lot over the last few years, so go ahead and indulge a little! Just pace yourself.
A few mocktails, your favorite wine, and a dose of mindfulness for a balanced holiday season.
This article contains links to the original creators of these recipes- please support them and visit their blogs for these and more fabulous recipes.