If you want to fit in in today's health conscious society you have to become gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free and if possible turn vegan. Your colleagues at work accept that you can't have the sandwich anymore because the gluten is causing your stomach to inflate like a balloon. No-one is questioning your soy-latte or when you ask the waiter whether the buddah bowl contains any dairy. But woe betide you are not taking an after-work beer or skip the wine with your dinner because you live alcohol free. How can you? Come on it's just a glass. WHAT, you are ordering a water?
People are going crazy about their health and their fitness. Spending hours in the gym, making sure not to have any carbs in the evening and topping their smoothies with all kinds of super-foods - Just to go to the bar after work and order the stress relieving, long-awaited bottle of beer.
There are basically four macro-nutrients
- Carbohydrates - 4kcal/gram - Energy-source
- Proteins - 4kcal/gram - Building block of life
- Fats - 9kcal/gram - Energy-source, isolation
- Alcohol - 7kcal/gram - Toxic
Looking at those four nutrients you can clearly see that the first three have vital functions in our body. Alcohol, on the other hand, is toxic and we don't need it to survive. So why do we cut out nutrients that are crucial for our body to function properly, but still incorporate the one thing that is toxic? Why are there people opening health cafés with options such as gluten free, dairy free, nut free and whatnot, but they wind down in the evening with a bottle of wine? Why not promote alcohol free?
I get it - it's social
But so is a pot of pasta you share with your family!
If you want to lose weight everyone tells you to cut out sugar, eat low-carb and exercise. But the first thing you should do is quit alcohol. Not only does it add a huge amount of (non usable) calories, it also slows down your fat burning engine. First question a nutritionist or health coach should ask his or her clients is "how much alcohol do you drink daily and why?"
I do understand that people who suffered with bloating their whole life and finally get rid of it by cutting out gluten and/or dairy, are very careful when it comes to eating. However, when those people drink excess amounts of alcohol, my understanding stops. You are trying to take care of your body by carefully choosing what you eat, so why not take your drinks into consideration as well? Or why not sometimes make an exception and maybe accept the bloating the day after? When we had one glass of alcohol too many, we also live with the fact that we'll have a hangover the next day. Does that stop us from drinking? No.
I think it's time that society gets more tolerant when it comes to alcohol and someones decision not to drink. Especially now during the festive season with lots of drinking we should accept someones decision to be alcohol free the same way we accept the gluten-free trend.
Cheers to that,
PS: To clarify - I do love that people are getting more health conscious overall but it should also include their alcohol consumption.
PPS: I do believe that there is space for some alcohol as well as all the other foods. It's about finding your balance and don't get too obsessive about anything (unless you have real health issues such as allergies) - whether it be gluten, sugar, dairy, alcohol, exercise or animal food.
Article inspired by Essgestörtes Deutschland Podcast von Frédéric Letzner