Column: What’s A Healthy Drink Limit & Type

July 13, 2020

[Opinion column written by Agathe Holowatinc]

It’s summertime!

That means boat parties, raft ups, weddings and other celebrations, evenings out, live music and amazing DJs, beach parties, pool parties, and more! If you know me, I love to dance and to celebrate important occasions, and I feel that life is truly meant to be enjoyed to the fullest.

However, for a lot of people, this brings up the question of alcohol. In fact, this time of year the most frequent questions I get asked are about alcohol. For instance, “if you want to have the occasional alcoholic drink, should you stick to soda water based at all times?”

Agathe Holowatinc Column Bermuda July 2020

So, here’s my post to you with my recommendations, and I’ve brought in a guest nutrition coach to also share her thoughts and tips.

Guests first, let’s dive into what Kristin Peterson has to say on the topic of drinks:

Tips From Nutrition Coach Kristin Peterson

Such a big topic for one little post, but also such a big factor for some in their fat loss journeys.

When we drink, our bodies recognize alcohol as a toxin and, like any other toxin, turns its full attention towards processing it as quickly as possible to get rid of it. When this happens, our bodies actually stop or slow other vital processes, including metabolising our food. So, on top of adding calories in itself [even low-calorie drinks are typically around 100 cal/glass], it means that the calories you have already eaten aren’t being processed in the way they should be. For someone trying to lose body fat, this can really stall or stop progress [or reverse progress!] if it’s not being consciously managed.

Full disclosure: I drink. This pic was taken on my last day in the office back in March, as I transitioned to WFH. I love a glass of wine, but it is something I actively manage in order to enjoy it without derailing my own goals.

Tips [to mix and match depending on your goals and lifestyle]

  • Have a weekend-only rule, limiting drinks to 2 days a week [Fri/Sat or Fri/Sun for example]
  • Skip sugary drinks entirely. They add a huge amount of calories that arrive with zero nutritional benefit and add a headache. No thanks.
  • Try a “no unplanned drinks” rule, removing spontaneous drink plans and sticking to events/dates only.
  • Alternate alcoholic beverages with glasses of water 1:1. Alcohol is dehydrating, and the extra water will help counteract that.

Thank you to Kristin Peterson for these helpful tips! You can follow her Instagram at @kpnutritionbda.

My Recommendations

My highest recommendation is to stick to non-alcoholic beverages, like a juice [a clean one without sugar] with sparkling water, a Mojito without alcohol [my fave! especially when made with honey instead of sugar and syrups – see photo below], sparkling water with fruit in it, or even a pina colada without alcohol [depends on what they make it with though! Best made at home with real, whole food ingredients, instead of sugary syrups!].

That way, you’re hydrating your body and nourishing your cells, while enjoying a chilled beverage in a social situation.

And my biggest recommendation: bring the fun with you in your personality instead of inside a cup!

I would 100% avoid or greatly limit sodas like ginger beer, coke, sprite, etc.

If you’re really into having an alcoholic beverage, the healthiest thing to do would be to stick to wine, beer or champagne. Three- servings tops, to keep it somewhat healthy, and remember to take water or something non-alcoholic in-between servings so that you stay hydrated and clear out those toxins efficiently!

I love Kristin’s tips about alternating drinks with water, and you can even ask the bartender to make your drinks half actual drink and half sparkling water, so that at 2 drinks, you’re actually at 1 alcoholic beverage, and at 6, you’re actually at 3.

However, even with 3 servings, it’s not healthy to enjoy that many every single day! I would say that maybe twice or three times a week max for alcohol intake. Max. And if you are currently taking any medications, be sure to check that drinking does not interfere with the effectiveness or cause negative side effects.

There are also new products out there that are lower in alcohol and even organic and using healthier ingredients that can be purchased in Bermuda at Miles or Lindos; for instance, Seedlip or social sparkling wine.

Seedlip: “Seedlip is the world’s first distilled non-alcoholic spirit, solving the ever-growing dilemma of ‘what to drink when you’re not drinking’. It is based on the distilled non-alcoholic remedies from The Art of Distillation written in 1651, and now repurposed to pioneer a new category of drinks. Seedlip is sugar-free and sweetener-free.

“We carefully source and select herbs, spices, peels and barks, working closely with growers and fellow farmers including our own farm to find the very best ingredients that our master distiller can work with. Seedlip takes six weeks to make & involves bespoke maceration, copper pot distillation, blending & filtration for each individual ingredient.

“It is then blended and bottled in England. We are transparent about our ingredients, but as we are the first people to make distilled non-alcoholic spirits, we can’t share all the details of our methods!”

It comes in three flavours but I have not tried them yet; it may be something to check out. It meets a lot of my criteria for what I would drink. You can find it at Miles. Here is their FAQ. As always, be careful to not mix it with sugar-laden juices or pop.

SOCIAL claims to be the cleanest alcohol available, organic, sulfite-free, low in calories, as noted on their website: “SOCIAL is one of the most innovative and fastest growing alcohol brands today and we’re here to help you live your best life! While other canned wines contain an average of 150 calories, 10g of sugar, and 9g of carbs in a 12oz. can, SOCIAL scores big at only 88 calories, 1g of sugar, and 4 carbs.

Plus we’re the only USDA certified organic canned wine on the market and our alcohol is from fermented brown rice instead of sugar. Compare us to the other guys and see why we’re the cleanest and tastiest choice!” The % alcohol seems to run at about 4%.

Another new item is called White Claw Hard Seltzer by Made Pure but it has sugar, natural flavours and runs at about 5% alcohol. The highlight is that it’s just 100 calories a serving. This is not something I would select though, even though it’s mostly sparkling water.

If you must have spirits, well, I am 100% not in favour of that for anyone’s health. That said, it is a bit better to have a spirit with soda water instead of a mix of sugary juices or soda pops, yes [to answer the question sent to me that I posted above].

However, alcohol is a toxin nonetheless, even when taken with sparkling water, spiking blood sugar levels, hijacking your metabolism, dehydrating your skin, wreaking havoc on brain function and health, harming the liver and affecting other systems in the body negatively. Again, if you choose to have spirits, then I recommend 2 to 3 max, with healthy, nourishing, hydrating beverages in-between servings.

Too much alcohol also really kills body composition goals, messes with hormones, negatively affects sleep, deflates people’s motivation to exercise, it causes people to eat foods that are super bad for the body and make decisions otherwise that are not healthy overall [impaired driving, unsafe sexual health practices, etc.].

I always just try to bring the fun with me to the beach, boat or party by checking in with myself and getting my physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental health to a high vibration before I head out to be with others; there are lots of activities that enable us to do that.

When To Check In With Yourself

If you feel the pull to drink too frequently, contact me and I’ll send you a self-assessment for alcohol usage to determine if you should maybe slow it down or cut it out entirely. No obligation to sign up for my nutrition coaching sessions or anything. It’s my gift to you.

Also, if you find you’re too stressed with life overall and feel you need to drink, it’s time to reassess your life overall – career, family, relationships, home environment, purpose, spirituality, physical activity, nutrition, etc, for where toxicity exists and/or you feel massively undernourished or completely over stressed.

You may be in a state of what is known as “adrenal fatigue.” Contact me for a free consultation to see if I can help you make positive changes towards wholeness and happiness without the use of substances like alcohol. Bonus: I’m writing about combating adrenal fatigue in my next email – look out for that.

I can also assist if you’re thinking of going off alcohol and want to do a nutritional detox or liver cleanse to rev your body systems up to where they haven’t been in a while.

Interesting Video: “Things That Happen When You Stop Drinking Alcohol For A Month”

This is a fun video, super easy to watch, I found it a few days ago and it’s hardly scientific but very accurate nonetheless. An easy watch, it offers some food for thought, including how you increase your net worth when you quit drinking and you have an incredible sense of accomplishment.

Final Thought

Remember: ”Love yourself enough to live a healthy lifestyle” – Jules Robson

Hope this is helpful – feel free to forward this message to someone you care about.

Stay safe and healthy everyone!

- Agathe Holowatinc is a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, co-founder and director at FUELLED Bermuda Ltd., published author, health food private chef and health industry entrepreneur. She is a passionate advocate of real food, holistic approaches to health and communicating big ideas in a simple way. Visit or call or WhatsApp on 532-0426.


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