The holidays can be a difficult time for people who, for whatever reason, do not drink alcohol. Holiday parties, festive dinners and lunches, office celebrations – they all involve booze, including yummy specialty cocktails like rum and eggnog and peppermint mimosas. What’s a non-drinker to do?
It isn’t that I’m a non-drinker, but I find that the festive season can be a bit much, with the extra food and putting a strain on my system at a time of year when it is difficult enough to stay fit and healthy. Why is too much alcohol consumption bad? So many reasons. It robs you of precious sleep, it can make you feel groggy, or worse, the next day, and that takes all the pleasure out of what should be a merry time of year. Instead of enjoying visits with loved ones, you end up struggling to get through it and find yourself reaching for another drink just to feel better. Ultimately, if consumed regularly, alcohol can lead to disease, cancer, obesity and addiction. There is also that look: the generally ravaged look of some people who drink too much. It just shows, in my opinion, and you don’t have to be an alcoholic to get the look. So during the holiday season, I am extra careful to limit my intake, which also has the advantage of reducing the risk of alcohol-related injury or accidents. It saves on Uber costs because I’m able to drive everywhere.
Here are some tips on staying alcohol-free during the holidays:
- Learn to say no. Encourage your friends to be supportive. If that doesn’t work, shame them into being supportive.
- Try to stick to a two-drink limit, stretched over a period of a couple of hours at least. A standard drink contains approximately 10 grams of alcohol e.g. a 100 mL glass of table wine; a 60 mL glass of fortified wine; a glass of regular beer; or 30 mL of spirits.
- You know how, when you are sitting in a restaurant and there is a tip-hungry waiter hovering to top up your glass with wine whenever it is less than half full? Don’t let him do that. Keep track of what you’re drinking.
- For every alcoholic beverage you have, drink a glass of water.
- Don’t drink on an empty stomach. You’ll get drunk quickly and the hangover will be killer.
- If you can’t say no to too much alcohol, see your doctor. Or go to a meeting. Or call a buddy who also doesn’t drink. You know what to do.
- Is something triggering your desire to over-drink? Find a way to avoid mingling with mean aunt Harriet or obnoxious cousin Fred. Life is too short.
- Avoid open-bar parties. If you must show up, just limit it to a brief appearance. Show up a little late; leave early. Think of it this way: you will be the one to avoid the embarrassment of having worn a lampshade on your head. You are the professional, and everyone will respect you.
- Meditate. That’s right; it has been solidly proven to beat stress and anxiety, two big triggers for self-medicating. Some forms of exercise, like swimming and yoga, count as meditation.
Still feel like you’re missing out? Here are some amazing non-alcoholic drinks to enjoy over the festive season, courtesy of Town & Country magazine: www.townandcountrymag.com/leisure/drinks/g3122/christmas-mocktail-recipes. My absolute favourite is the Non-Alcoholic Eggnog (recipe also below). No ill-effects attached to these. No hangovers. No regrets about bad behaviour. No drunk driving. Peace on Earth.
Non-alcoholic eggnog: Combine 2 cups of ¼ cup of condensed milk with five whole cloves and ½ tsp. of cinnamon, and heat over a medium stove, bringing it gradually to a boil, then turn it off immediately. Meanwhile, in a bowl, beat together 4 egg yolks and half a cup of sugar. Add one tablespoon at a time of the hot milk mixture into the egg and sugar mixture (do it gradually so it doesn’t scramble the eggs). Put it all back into the pot and heat all over again. Then add a cup of heavy whipping cream, a tsp. of nutmeg and a tsp. of vanilla extract. Put it in the fridge and let it cool for an hour. Yum. And no rum.
For more tips to help you stay healthy during the holidays visit www.healthy-worker.ca.