Nutrition

Women's Health Week // Nutritional Biohacking

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It’s Women’s Health Week and studies show that while women today are leading healthier lives physically, there are still quite a few missing pieces to the overall picture of health and well-being. This week is all about reminding and encouraging women to: listen to their bodies; put their own needs first for a change; be kinder, gentler and more compassionate with themselves; and to share knowledge to help make better informed decisions about overall health and well-being.  

Over 6 days, I’m sharing scientifically proven biohacking tips on taking charge of your overall health and wellness. Men, stay with me. You’re up in June — and you’ve got ladies in your life that can use your support.

BIOHACKING 

Biohacking is the process of making changes to your lifestyle in order to “hack” your body’s biology and feel your absolute best. As humans, we are made up of very complex systems. Everything we put into our bodies — our foods, our thoughts, our physical movement ­— are inputs to our biology and have an enormous impact on our outputs — how we behave, feel, function, and perform on a daily basis. 

If the goal is better outputs such as increased energy, clearer thinking, better moods, happier relationships, reduction in illness, optimum performance, and so on, then we need to adjust our inputs.

DAY 2 // Biohacking with Food

Women are biochemically different than men so it’s important to adopt different approaches that are designed to work for each of our unique differences. And although proper dietary intake can help maintain hormonal balance, reduce symptoms of PMS, improve energy, mood, and fertility, it’s too often overlooked. Below are a few tips on biohacking your system with food.

WATCH YOUR ENERGY BALANCE:

Low calorie intake and high energy output is not the end-all-be-all equation for fat loss, weight management, or body composition changes. While this method can work for some, it’s not sustainable, it’s not universally applicable, and can be detrimental in certain situations.

Calorie restriction has been linked to thyroid imbalances, a sluggish metabolism, sleep issues, fatigue, brain fog, lackluster hair, skin and nails, and an increase in cortisol (which aside from the hair, skin and nails symptom) are all factors in weight gain.

  • Stop restricting and start eating balanced meals every 3-4 hours to manage blood sugar levels, avoid cortisol spikes and mood swings, and help regulate metabolism

SUPPORT WITH FOOD:

Balance your hormones, maintain a healthy weight and keep your body working FOR you with the following tips.

  • Choose organic as often as possible and always wash your food (see Day 1 about EDC’s)

  • Choose fresh and frozen (but not processed) food as often as possible and limit the amount of processed foods, which contains preservatives, dyes, and added oils and salt (again, Day 1).

  • Make sure to incorporate healthy fats in your meals such as avocado, walnuts, and salmon

  • Eat more plants. Always.

Cycle Syncing:

Once you understand how your hormones shift throughout your cycle and what phase you’re in, you can begin to maximize (and appreciate) your hormonal superpowers (again, see Day 1) and gain better control of your overall health through the foods you eat.

Menstrual Phase During this phase, progesterone drops and estrogen rises and then falls. It’s best to focus on blood-building foods that restore and re-mineralize the body while avoiding high fat and heavily salted foods, limiting your caffeine intake, reducing or eliminating alcohol and sugars, and drinking soothing teas if you experience cramping.

Specifically: kale, mushrooms, beets, adzuki beans, kidney beans, watermelon, warm soups or bone broth (rich in collagen to help with rebuilding), sea vegetables, flaxseed

Follicular Phasethe body is preparing for ovulation, hormones are at their lowest point (as well as your energy), and FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) rises to tell the ovaries to prepare to release an egg and increase estrogen. Support healthy gut balance and help metabolize estrogen with probiotic-rich foods and boost energy with iron-rich foods and vitamin B-12.

Specifically: sprouted and fermented foods like broccoli sprouts, kimchi, pickled veggies, sauerkraut, grass-fed beef, wild fish, pasture-raised eggs, organic chicken, and dark leafy greens.

Ovulation Phaseestrogen is at an all-time high, testosterone surges, FSH continues to rise, LH (luteinizing stimulating hormone) increases, an egg is released and you’ve got yourself an increase in libido and sexual energy (praise the lord). Since estrogen has an appetite-suppressing effect, you’ll feel less hungry yet still have lots of energy. As a result, focus on protein and fat for energy and incorporate foods that are high in fiber and antioxidants to support the detoxification of the increased in hormone levels.

Specifically: brussels sprouts, berries, coconut, almonds, seeds, dark leafy greens, and asparagus and choose lighter carbohydrates like quinoa and lentils.

Luteal Phase hello rollercoaster. the phase before your period includes a wave up and down of estrogen and progesterone and a time when many women experience more symptoms (aka PMS filled with bloating, mood swings, forgetfulness, and irritability), an increase in appetite and a craving for more comfort foods. Support this phase first and foremost with making sure you are eating enough calories to prevent dramatic shifts in mood and eat at regular 3-4 hour intervals throughout the day. Opt for foods that are rich in B-vitamins, calcium, magnesium, and fiber help reduce sugar cravings, fight fatigue, and promote elimination to flush hormones. Additionally, attempt to avoid foods that may trigger discomfort, cramps, or mood swings like caffeine, sugar, and alcohol for a more balanced mood.

Specifically: sweet potatoes, squash, dark chocolate, spinach, and pumpkin seeds; produce serotonin, like leafy greens and quinoa

Adaptogens for Women’s Support:

Below are two adaptogens I personally swear by throughout the month…

Maca — an indigenous Andean nutritional powerhouse shown to boost energy and mood, enhance sex drive, support a healthy libido, aid the body in natural liver detoxification, stimulate the adrenal glands to balance hormone levels, support a balanced transition through menopause, help with fertility, and studies have shown it may help with hormonal issues, including PMS, menopause, and hot flashes, as well as psychological and sexual symptoms during post-menopause. Add in to your morning smoothies, or simply mix with water and drink before you head out for the day.

Chaste berry - a member of the mint family with health benefits mostly related to reproduction and menstrual health. This herb stimulates the pituitary gland to create more luteinizing hormone (LH) which triggers the ovaries to increase their production of progesterone. Balancing the ratio of progesterone and estrogen has shows to: alleviate PMS symptoms such as bloating, depression, and irritability; decrease breast discomfort, cramping, and painful periods; regulate periods for those with an irregular cycle after long-term hormonal birth control use; ease endometriosis symptoms. This herb requires consistency to feel the benefits.

STAY WITH ME OVER THE COURSE OF THIS WEEK FOR MORE TIPS ON BIOHACKING YOUR HEALTH AND EMPOWERING THE AMAZING WOMEN AROUND YOU TO DO THE SAME.

Day 1 - Hormones. Are. Real.


LET ME KNOW…

Have you tried biohacking with the foods/nutrients you put in your body? What other adjustments have you made to your lifestyle to support your overall health and wellness? Share your favorite tips in the comments below — others in the community might benefit from your recommendations!

Come connect with me on Instagram @running_with_forks

Do you have any questions not answered in this post? Comment below or send me a note so I can continue to add information to answer your questions.

Curb Your Cravings With These Blood-Sugar Balancing Tips

Question of the week: “How do you deal with cravings?! I eat one sweet thing and then end up gorging all day!!!” 

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Our cravings are primarily related to blood sugar, stress, hormone imbalances, and food choices. By keeping nutrition quality high, getting adequate sleep, calming the nervous system, reducing stress, and getting in daily physical activity, you can help keep your cravings at bay.

Understand that cravings come and go and if you can accept their presence while trying to determine why they’re happening, you can change your reaction to them.

Here are a few reasons you might find yourself with a hankering for that 2pm cookie:

  • Low blood sugar

  • Consuming an imbalanced meal

  • Stress

  • Lack of sleep (less than 6 hours)

  • Dehydration

  • Hormonal changes during pre-menstrual period

  • Travel, especially with time-zone changes

  • Attempting to soothe boredom, anger, sadness, anxiety, depression, etc

  • Looking for a distraction

  • Overly focused on food and nutrition

The more honest you can be in recognizing your cravings, understanding the reasoning, and addressing them appropriately without giving in to them, the more you'll feel in charge of your own decisions.

How food choices affect blood sugar:

Don’t get me wrong, I love sweets and recommend you live a little, too. But understanding how and what affects your blood sugar can help you in making the right choice and how to prevent yourself from spiraling on the rollercoaster that can be the blood sugar response.

A diet consisting of a high intake of carbs with a minimal amount of fat and infrequent protein feedings (hello, American diet), eating carbs by themselves, or choosing high glycemic index foods (candy, sweets, bread, pasta, natural sweeteners, etc) causes frequent spikes and drops in blood sugar, which in turn, makes you crave more sugar and more carbohydrates.  

STRESS AND SLEEP:

Sleep, emotions and stress all negatively affect cortisol levels (the stress hormone), blood sugar, inflammation, hunger hormones, and mood, all which lead to more sugar cravings. And reversibly, your ability to control blood sugar can also affect your sleep, mood, and stress. Welcome to the vicious cycle.

To keep your blood sugar stable throughout the night, eat a snack before bed consisting of a healthy fat and carbohydrate. This is the only time I don’t recommend protein, as the digestion of protein can interfere with sleep.

A single night of inadequate sleep can elevate blood sugar levels and when we consistently don’t get enough sleep, our body enters a state of chronic stress. Improve your overall health by creating a sleep routine that enables a consistent 7-9 hours of sleep.

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Pre-Menstrual Period

While the hormonal effects during the a woman’s cycle varies from person to person, it’s not uncommon for there to be greater fluctuations during the pre-menstrual period. If you’re someone who tends to be more irritable and notices significant swings in mood, it may help to increase your exercise and decrease the amount of carbohydrates consumed during this week.

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Consistent blood sugar balance is KEY:

Begin your day with a healthy breakfast consisting of at least 15-20 g of protein, a high quality fat (like avocado, grass fed butter, or a straight tablespoon of coconut oil), greens, and a low glycemic carbohydrate (brown rice, quinoa, sweet potato, or seasonal fruit).

 

Ex: 2-3 eggs (12-18g protein), arugula, ½ an avocado, ½ c brown rice, lemon, olive oil, salt, tablespoon of pesto

Eat at consistent intervals throughout the day, feeding yourself every 3-4 hours.  Lunch and dinner should consist of a fish or animal protein (the size of 1-2 palms), 2 fists of vegetables, 2 thumbs of healthy fats, and an optional 1 cupped handful of whole grains.

Snacks in between meals can consist of seasonal fruit or vegetables and a smaller amount of protein such as a serving of nuts or a serving of greek yogurt. 

6 TIPS FOR STABLE BLOOD SUGAR

  1. Eat at consistent intervals throughout the day, feeding yourself every 3-4 hours. 

  2. Always eat a balance of protein, fat, and carbs and try to avoid eating carbs by themselves. If you can’t find all three macronutrients, choose at least 2 of the 3.

    - Lunch and dinner should consist of a fish or animal protein (the size of 1-2 palms), 1-2 fists of vegetables, 1-2 thumbs of healthy fats, and 1 cupped handful of whole grains.

    - Snacks in between meals can consist of seasonal fruit or vegetables and a smaller amount of protein such as a serving of nuts or a serving of greek yogurt. 

    - Eat a snack before bed consisting of a healthy fat and carbohydrate.

  3. Get adequate sleep (7-9 hours) for more stabilized blood sugar, more energy, less hunger, better decisions, and a happier mood.

  4. Take frequent “breath-breaks” throughout your day (10 focused breaths of a 5-count inhale and 5-count exhale) to calm the nervous system and lower stress hormones.

  5. Adaptogens can help regulate the hormonal imbalance in the body. Use this guide to help you in determining what your body might benefit from.

  6. If you’re a female, increase your exercise and decrease the amount of carbohydrates consumed during your premenstrual week.

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5 Tips for KICKING CRAVINGS when they arise:

  1. Keep healthy food choices on hand always, not only for balancing blood sugar quickly, but also healthier options for when you still need to satisfy that craving for something sweet -  keep these in your bag, in your car, in your desk drawer, etc:

    - avocados, olives, nuts, seeds

    - primal kitchen bars

    - chia seed pudding (3 tbsp chia seeds, 8 oz almond milk, vanilla, cinnamon

    - fresh pressed green juice with half an apple and half a lemon

    - coconut water

    - apples, berries

    - seasonal fruit

    - 70% cacao dark chocolate

  2. Drink a full glass of water

  3. Take a “breath-break” of 10 deep breaths (5 count inhale, 5 count exhale) and check back in

  4. Chew a piece of gum

  5. Eat a protein/fat combo or a serving of almonds (17) and then check in with your craving 10 minutes later.

MINDFULNESS:

When you first begin thinking about your craving, ask yourself if anything was missing from your last meal. Did it contain enough protein and fat to keep your blood sugar stable? Are you actually hungry? Is what you’re about to eat what your body actually needs in that moment? Eat it if you know it will bring you true joy and isn’t an attempt at filling a void, calming your stress, or your body’s cry to boost your energy levels.  If you do eat it, balance it, savor every bite, relax, and move on.

If you find that you still can’t kick your cravings after following this advice, you may want to consider getting your hormones checked.

Let’s Chat!

Do you have a question regarding blood sugar, nutrition choices, and your fitness goals? Do you have any words of advice for others trying to navigate creating a healthy lifestyle? Ask or share below or start the conversation on social using #runningwithforks.

Alcohol & Fitness: How to find a healthy balance - Part 3

Healthy Tips For Before, During, and After Alcohol

I FREQUENTLY GET ASKED IF I DRINK ALCOHOL AND IF I MAKE CLIENTS CUT IT OUT, AND IF YOU KNOW ME, YOU KNOW THAT ANSWER!

If alcohol is something you've decided can be a healthy part of your life, I've compiled some clear information on how it affects the body and how to take care of and replenish your body before, during, and after in this 3-part series.

PART 1: HOW ALCOHOL AFFECTS OUR BODY

PART 2: ALCOHOL, NUTRITION, AND FITNESS GOALS

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 BEFORE

  • First, know your limits and set a boundary for yourself before your first drink.

  • Pace yourself and aim to savor and sip rather than gulp and guzzle.

  • Eat a well-balanced meal beforehand to slow down the absorption into the bloodstream and help stabilize blood sugar.

DURING

  • Go simple. My favorites: red wine, sparkling rosé, prosecco, blanco tequila with fresh lime juice and chili salt.

  • Avoid sugary mixes, concentrates, juices, and mixing various types of alcohol.

  • If you do choose to enjoy a more sugary cocktail (because...live a little...), follow up with extra water and move on to a low sugar drink after one.

  • Hydration: Alcohol is dehydrating so aim to drink 1 glass of water for every drink consumed and sip on water with your drink to avoid drinking down your delicious cocktail all too quickly and reaching for snacks when you aren’t actually hungry.

  • Eat a Balanced Meal: If you show up to happy hour or dinner with an empty belly, choose a healthier option with protein, complex carbohydrates like a grain or starchy vegetable, and a healthy fat such as olives.

  • Avoid eating heavy carbohydrates with alcohol to avoid a blood sugar spike (especially before bed).

  • Avoid consuming alcohol too close to bedtime to help improve the quality of your sleep.

AFTER

  • If you’re feeling hungry before bed, reach for a healthy fat like olives, cashew or sunflower seed butter, raw nuts, or half an avocado with rice vinegar and flaky salt to help stabilize blood sugar.

  • Drink a full glass of water before you head to bed along with a multivitamin that has a good dose of vitamins A, B, C, Zinc, and Magnesium.

  • Supplement with milk thistle (silymarin) – an herbal supplement that helps protect the liver, reduce inflammation, and metabolize toxins (aka alcohol) while helping balance blood sugar.

  • The Morning After: drink 12-16 oz of water with juice of one fresh lemon before anything else hits your system to stimulate the digestive system, support the liver and give your body a dose of vitamin C.

  • Follow the lemon water with healthy fats and fiber, a good dose of greens (perhaps a juice of all greens and lemon) or 1 tsp of liquid chlorophyll (since I know you won’t be craving a gigantic salad) before your coffee.

  • (In case you forgot last night..) Nourish your liver, help remove toxins, and replenish vitamins A, B, C, E and Magnesium with a Multivitamin.

  • Take a Probiotic.

  • GET A WORKOUT IN AND SWEAT! (non-negotiable)

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LOOKING TO CUT BACK? HERE ARE A FEW TIPS:

 
  • Choose a few nights a week that are Alcohol-Free

  • Choose drinks with a lower percentage of alcohol

  • Keep track of how much you drink in one sitting and per week

  • Drink a glass of water before and after an alcoholic beverage

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You can still enjoy moderate alcohol consumption and the social aspects of drinking and stay on track with your health and fitness goals. Determine how important your health goals are to you, consider your personal bio-individuality and genetics, pay close attention to your motivations behind drinking, and follow my healthy tips for before, during, and after.

And make sure that whatever you choose to drink, it’s totally worth it! Because life is too short for it not to be enjoyed and a good cab tastes extra delicious with a healthy meal. 

IMPORTANT: Make sure the drinks you are consuming are enjoyable rather than a form of therapy, numbing, social anxiety, peer pressure, or because you believe it’s beneficial to your health and well-being. Our relationship to alcohol, knowing our personal limits and how to maintain a healthy balance is extremely important.

Let’s Chat!

Do you have a question regarding social drinking and your fitness goals? Do you have any words of advice for others trying to navigate creating a healthy lifestyle? Ask or share below or start the conversation on social using #runningwithforks.

Alcohol & Fitness: How to find a healthy balance - Part 2

Alcohol, Nutrition and body composition

I FREQUENTLY GET ASKED IF I DRINK ALCOHOL AND IF I MAKE CLIENTS CUT IT OUT, AND IF YOU KNOW ME, YOU KNOW THAT ANSWER!

If alcohol is something you've decided can be a healthy party of your life, I've compiled some clear information on how it affects the body, tips for combining eating and drinking, and how to take care of and replenish your body before, during, and after.

PART 1: HOW ALCOHOL AFFECTS OUR BODY

ALCOHOL and BODY COMPOSITION GOALS

The alcohol and fat loss question can be confusing when you see certain individuals consuming alcohol on a regular basis and still maintaining their lean and fit physique while you feel like alcohol has the opposite effect on your body. It's true that alcohol has a better place in weight maintenance than in weight lossThis could be due to your body's hormonal response, the excess empty calories, the types of food combinations consumed while drinking, or a combination of these factors.

If your goal is to gain lean muscle mass and increase your strength, alcohol isn’t helping support those goals either. You’ll have less energy the next day to carry you through your workout and the ability of your muscles to recover and rehydrate will be impaired after drinking.

Ask yourself if drinking alcohol makes it more challenging to stay on track by increasing your cravings (which may lead to overeating or making poor nutritional decisions), affecting your sleep, and hampering your workouts. If the answer is yes, drinking alcohol may not be something that supports your goals right now. If it does fit into your lifestyle, come up with a game plan for how to enjoy it without derailing your current progress. This might mean switching the type of alcohol you typically choose, cutting back on the quantity or being conscious of the foods you eat before, during, and after drinking.

 

ACTION: Plan your drink choices ahead of time, set a limit for yourself, and eat a healthy balanced meal beforehand to stabilize your blood sugar and slow down absorption.

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NUTRITION facts of alcohol

While fun and enjoyable, alcohol contains 7 calories per gram and is considered "empty calories", with no nutritional value and no place to be stored in the body.

The amount of calories and carbohydrates/sugar will vary with each type of alcohol (wine, beer, liquor) as well as within each type. For example, the calories and carbs will be lower in a glass of dry wine vs sweet wine due to the sugar content and a light beer will have less calories and carbs than a strong IPA. For a lighter and healthier option, your best bet is to choose a dry red wine, a glass of bubbles, a light beer, or a cocktail made with clear liquor, citrus, fresh herbs, and bitters.

Side note – you still need to be aware of the sneaky ingredients that may be hiding in your alcohol. I recently learned that some tequila brands contain corn syrup (shame on you Jose Cuervo) and are not made from 100% agave. Choose blanco or silver tequila for more the purest options.

 

CALORIES / CARBOHYDRATES

  • 1 oz liquor 90-100 calories / 0 g carbohydrates

  • 5 oz glass of wine 100-125 calories / 4-10 g carbohydrates

  • 12 oz light beer 100-160 calories / 5-10 g carbohydrates

  • 12 oz IPA or craft beer 160-425 calories / 12-40 g carbohydrates

REPLENISH LOST NUTRIENTS post-alcohol:

Even in moderate amounts, we still get depleted of certain nutrients when consuming alcohol. Those nutrients primarily include: B-vitamins, vitamin A, vitamin C, zinc, and electrolytes.  It’s important to replenish these nutrients the next morning to help reboot your system and get you back on track more quickly. See Part 3 for how to replenish and my tips on taking care of your body before, during, and after.

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FURTHER READING/TIPS:

PART 1: HOW ALCOHOL AFFECTS OUR BODY

PART 3: HEALTHY TIPS FOR BEFORE, DURING, AND AFTER

The Take Home Message

You can still enjoy moderate alcohol consumption and the social aspects of drinking and stay on track with your health and fitness goals. Determine how important your health goals are to you, consider your personal bio-individuality and genetics, pay close attention to your motivations behind drinking, and follow my healthy tips for before, during, and after.

And make sure that whatever you choose to drink, it’s totally worth it! Because life is too short for it not to be enjoyed and a good cab tastes extra delicious with a healthy meal. 

IMPORTANT: Make sure the drinks you are consuming are enjoyable rather than a form of therapy, numbing, social anxiety, peer pressure, or because you believe it’s beneficial to your health and well-being. Our relationship to alcohol, knowing our personal limits and how to maintain a healthy balance is extremely important. 

Let’s Chat!

Do you have a question regarding social drinking and your fitness goals? Do you have any words of advice for others trying to navigate creating a healthy lifestyle? Ask or share below or start the conversation on social using #runningwithforks.

Alcohol + Fitness: How to find a healthy balance - Part 1

The Science: How Alcohol affects our Bodies

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I frequently get asked if I drink alcohol and if I make clients cut it out, and if you know me, you know that answer!

It’s not uncommon for alcohol to be on the “avoid” list in the wellness community, and recent studies have shifted from the once held belief that alcohol in moderation can be beneficial to our health. Now, this doesn’t matter all that much if you’re someone who doesn’t care to drink, but for those that do choose to enjoy it, and want to keep it in your diet, it can be a confusing topic when it comes to your health and fitness.

If alcohol is something you’ve decided can be a healthy part of your life, I’ve compiled some clear information on how it affects the body and how to take care of and replenish your body before, during, and after in this 3-part series.

ALCOHOL AND METABOLISM

Okay, here is the simple science behind alcohol and how the body digests it. First, understand that alcohol is not processed like other foods and the body has no place to store it, therefore, it has to be immediately metabolized. 

As a general guideline, our bodies are only able to process about 1 drink per hour, which will vary with gender, weight, food intake, supplements, medications, etc. With that in mind, if you’re drinking faster than your liver can metabolize it, the alcohol hits the blood-brain barrier – which is why you start to feel tipsy and uncoordinated, those inhibitions go to the wayside, and your appetite is stimulated. Avoid drinking with an empty belly to help slow down the speed of absorption into the bloodstream.

Because alcohol elimination becomes top priority, your metabolism on the whole transitions to a fat-storing state until it’s eliminated. So, that pizza you think is a really good idea on your way home from drinks…not so great for your fitness goals. 

 

HEALTHY TIPS:

  • Slow down how quickly alcohol is absorbed by keeping a moderately full belly when drinking and primarily choose fat and protein combinations to help stabilize the blood sugar.

  • Limit your intake to no more than 2 drinks/day for men and 1 drink/day for women and no more than 8 drinks/week for both men and women.

EFFECTS ON BLOOD SUGAR:

Alcohol consumption interferes with your blood sugar, the hormones that help maintain healthy levels, as well as many other major bodily functions. So while you might be craving carbohydrates and are thinking it will help absorb some of the alcohol, in actuality, you’re craving carbs due to a blood sugar response and the effects of alcohol on hunger and inhibition. The bad news, refueling with carbs will only leave you crashing again a few hours later, or in the middle of the night, thus interrupting your sleep.

 

HEALTHY TIP:

  • It's ok to occasionally choose a fresh muddled cocktail or margarita (the real kind obviously), but if you plan to have more than one drink, fully enjoy, sip, and savor that delicious cocktail but then switch over to a low sugar beverage.

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EFFECTS ON SLEEP:

Have you ever noticed that you toss and turn a bit more on nights you’ve had a few drinks, or that you crash when your head hits the pillow but then lay wide awake at 3am? Alcohol elevates certain hormones that make you more alert, preventing deep REM sleep, and causes a nighttime dip in blood sugar (hypoglycemia) that can lead to restless sleeping.

So if you have plans for a workout the next morning, be aware that the lack of sleep, added fatigue, and impaired muscle recovery will in turn affect your performance.

If you’re someone who already has trouble sleeping or has issues with hormones related to blood sugar (insulin) and stress (cortisol), alcohol will only make matters worse. 

 

HEALTHY TIP: 

  • If you're feeling hungry before bed or know you experience nighttime hypogycemia, eat a small snack of healthy fats to help you stay more stabilized throughout the night.

HORMONAL EFFECTS:

The effects listed below are more likely related to alcohol intake above what is considered 'moderate consumption', but more than 1-2 drinks a day and you could start to experience problems and wreak havoc on your hormonal and long term health.

LADY  HORMONES…

Ladies – what doesn’t affect our hormones?! Seriously. Alcohol affects our hormonal cycles by increasing cortisol (stress hormone) and estrogen, and decreasing progesterone. If you’re someone who already wildly fluctuates with your hormones and your mood, you may want to consider how much you consume and begin tracking how your body reacts at each phase. 

Additionally, studies clearly show that alcohol creates a moderate increased risk of developing breast cancer. If you know you carry the gene for breast cancer, you may want to consider how drinking affects your long-term health and wellness.

 

ACTION: Use a tracking app such as Clue to track drinks, mood, and physical response and if you carry the breast cancer gene, speak to your doctor and consider cutting back or eliminating from your diet.

MANMONES…

Gents – (and the ladies too, actually!) – while your body is metabolizing alcohol, the liver is unable to produce testosterone. Testosterone is an important hormone for both men and women in regards to building muscular strength and making changes to your body composition, therefore, decreased levels may make it more challenging to reach your goals. If you have a specific goal you're working toward, it may be more beneficial in the short term to cut back or eliminate during this time. 

Additionally, low levels of testosterone can lead to symptoms such as fatigue, irritability, decreased motivation, decreased sex drive, and fertility issues. 

 

ACTION: Consider cutting back and moderating your intake if you experience the negative symptoms above or are having difficulty conceiving.

further READing/tips:

PART 2: ALCOHOL, NUTRITION, AND BODY COMPOSITION

PART 3: HEALTHY TIPS FOR BEFORE, DURING, AND AFTER

The Take Home Message:

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You can still enjoy moderate alcohol consumption and the social aspects of drinking and stay on track with your health and fitness goals. Determine how important your goals are, consider your personal bio-individuality and genetics, pay close attention to your motivations behind drinking, and follow my healthy tips for before, during, and after.

And make sure that whatever you choose to drink, that it’s totally worth it! Because life is too short for it not to be enjoyed and a good cab tastes extra delicious with a healthy meal. 

IMPORTANT: Make sure your consumption is enjoyable rather than a form of therapy, numbing, social anxiety, or peer pressure. Our relationship to alcohol, knowing our personal limits and how to maintain a healthy balance is extremely important.

Let’s Chat!

Do you have a question regarding social drinking and your fitness goals? Do you have any words of advice for others trying to navigate creating a healthy lifestyle? Ask or share below or start the conversation on social using #runningwithforks.