Guest blog: Plant Powered Cyclist on healthy drinking
For those of you that know me personally or follow me on Instagram, you’ll have heard me mention my cycling obsessed other half more than once (especially in recent months whilst he’s been recovering from the cycling accident that broke his back).
TC, also known now as Plant Powered Cyclist recently marked his 31st birthday and in honour of the occasion, he’s getting a little air time to talk about one of his other favourite hobbies: beer.
(Not a typical feature for this site you might think but bear with him, he’s got a point…)
CAN YOU DRINK HEALTHILY?
Neon lights selling alcohol on the cheap. Loud music. A sore and rasping throat from shouting uncoordinated speech at someone you are meant to be socialising with. Blurred vision.
Did you know beers, wines and spirits, on average, consume a decent portion of our spend per annum (almost £800 in the UK per adult¹), a significant portion of advertising space (£800 million in 2013²), supermarket shelves, our precious time and of course – our health?
The health dis-benefits it throws up include significantly reduced recovery times³ through to the cancer causing* and otherwise unpleasant side effects that take place post consumption.
Alcoholic drinks are big business, but they do seem to be diametrically opposed to living a healthy lifestyle. Although knowledge of this opposition doesn’t make me lust for it any less, especially after a hard day at work, when relaxing in the sun with friends or perhaps for the single beverage in the comfort of my own home wrapped up by the fire on a cold winters night (something anyone living north of Paris is very likely to empathise with!)
Do you need to give up booze entirely to be healthy?
Well, for a start, “healthy” is a very personal thing and there is no one size fits all approach. The question really, is how can we moderate our intake and enjoy it from time to time?
The simple ‘alcohol consumption cannot form part of a healthy lifestyle – have a healthy smoothie or vegetable juice instead” approach is not necessarily pragmatic as a first step towards healthy drinking for the regular drinker. As per the founding principle of Can Eat Attitude; feelings of self-deprivation are counter intuitive to leading a genuinely health and happy life.
If, like me, taste is a key motivator in your alcohol consumption you may be wondering if there’s something out there that tastes just as good as your usual “poison” without the negative effects.
I’m an avid beer drinker, former member of CAMRA and all round craft beer enthusiast. I’m also very health conscious, and have been working on a way to ensure I keep my booze intake in check. I’m generally not a binge drinker, instead my tendency is “little and often”. Although that can mean the actual overall alcohol intake can be really quite high) – with almost no concerted period of time for the body to recover.
So here’s the good news…
There ARE far less expensive, less harmful (despite fairly large sugar quantities for which we do still need to be very mindful) and often of equal, if not superior, flavour options out there.
…Alcohol free drink options can actually taste great
Brewdog’s ‘Nanny State’ is really not that far from a number of their other products.
Kopparberg’s alcohol free cider range tastes like sweetened fruits but unlike the others mentioned here, it is not vegan (it is filtered through, but contains no, gelatine).
‘Smallbanger’ by Square Root London is probably one of my favourite drinks (alcoholic or otherwise) of all time.
Erdinger’s ‘Alcoholfrei’ is substantial, refreshing and isotonic – what more could you want post workout than an isotonic beer? And this is to name only a few of an ever increasing market.
I’ve not even begun to explore the non-beer options but they are increasingly receiving rave reviews, good press and importantly – selling. The consumer seems to be voting with their wallets. With these alternatives, perhaps it really is a worthy consideration to shift old drinking habits toward a more body-friendly alternative.
In an effort to curb our increasing consumption of harmful alcoholic toxins, perhaps slowly moving away from “regular” drinks to those less harmful would be a better starting point.
Some suggestions for those looking to reduce alcohol intake
Save alcoholic drinks for a weekend only
Replace your midweek tipple for an alcohol free beverage
Make every other drink at home one ‘sans alcool’
Start with a week on/week off approach
There are many ways to begin, for me, having just cycled for the first time in over three months since I broke my back, I’m opting for a one on, one off approach and, importantly, I’m not beating myself up for it.