Okay ladies, let’s talk booze.
I know us mamas have been told that the only way we can make it through the witching hour of motherhood is with wine or an evening cocktail. Our culture has brainwashed us into thinking we need “Mama Juice” (aka adult beverages) to manage whiny kids, calm kids, kids who misbehave and heck – even kids who behave … because, we need to celebrate their goodness! After all the hard work we put in mothering, we deserve it.
We are told we this “juice” will help to manage the stress of work or staying at home. It is also supposed to help us relax and unwind so we can be lighten up and have fun. Even health professionals have touted the health benefits of moderate alcohol consumption, which for women is 12 ounces of regular beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor.
If you fall in that moderate alcohol consumption category – congratulations.
But if “Mama’s Juice” has become part of your daily routine or you have found yourself going back for seconds and thirds before the night is over, I have a challenge for you.
Do you think you could give up alcohol for 40 days?
I know the thought of going alcohol free for 40 days may feel a little intimidating or overwhelming. But honestly, I see the way you have shown up for all the other challenges this thing called motherhood has given you. I see the way you rise up. I see the way you fight for your family. I hear you want to be the best version of yourself for your kids.
And these are the reasons I want to share share the third annual NOLA.com #AlcoholFreefor40 challenge with you and invite you to join in.
Here are the details:
For the 40 days of Lent, give up your Mommy Juice completely, turning it into your own self-experiment to experience the impact it has on your mind, body and spirit. See how it impacts your relationships, your work, your motherhood.
Read what other who done had to say here.
The challenge: Give up all alcohol from February 14th until April 1st, which is actually 46 days, if you include the six Sundays in Lent, which is highly encouraged.
Before you begin abstaining, record your baseline metrics. Do this before February 14, before you stop drinking.
- Record your weight.
- Take a close-up photo of your face so that you can see the details of your eyes and skin.
- Ask your doctor to run the following labs.
- CBC (Complete Blood Count)
- CMP (Comprehensive Metabolic Panel; includes liver enzymes AST & ALT, as well as electrolytes and indicators of kidney function)
- Lipid Panel (includes triglycerides, which can be affected by alcohol)
- GGT (Gamma glutamyl transferase, a specific liver test that’s most affected by alcohol)
- Vitamin B12 and Folate Panel
- hs-CRP (high-sensitivity C-reactive protein; a marker of inflammation)
- ESR (sedimentation rate; a marker of inflammation)
Why Take the Challenge?
This self-experiment isn’t about cutting out alcohol forever. Nor am I saying that alcohol is inherently a bad thing.
There are some reasons giving up alcohol for a dedicated period can benefit us, maybe an evening cocktail has become a habit or a crutch. One that you mindlessly participate in and don’t even realize how that habit could be negatively impacting your health or day to day life.
The simple act of surrendering a daily habit and replacing it with healthy alternatives like hot tea, sparkling water, or an evening walk can help instill more mindfulness and self-awareness.
Isn’t Wine Good for Me?
Over the years, there has been a lot of press and hype on the health benefits of moderate alcohol consumption. What we don’t hear as much about are the drawbacks of even just a little more than moderate alcohol consumption.
Alcohol interferes with our sleep. Sleep deprivation can take a toll on our energy, increase food cravings, alter our mood, impact our hormones as well as the health of our skin.
Not to mention the empty calories alcohol adds, which over time can contribute to unwanted weight. From a mental health perspective, alcohol is linked to depression, anxiety and dementia.
Alcohol also increases our risk for certain cancers. For example, just one alcoholic drink a day can increase breast cancer risk in both pre- and post-menopausal women, and as little as a single serving of wine or beer a day increases pre-menopausal breast cancer risk by 5 percent and post-menopausal risk by 9 percent.
And, the more you drink, the higher your risk.
With continual over-drinking, our whole-body well-being isn’t as good as it could be. We just get used to it, accepting a less-than-good feeling as “normal.”
So why not give yourself a gift and give up the booze for the next 40 days? You have nothing to lose, but instead the opportunity to see just how good you could feel.
What You’ll Notice:
Within a week or so, you’ll likely notice more energy – both when you wake up and in the evening. You will think and sleep better. You’ll probably notice less puffiness, especially in your face and around your eyes. You might even shed a few pounds.
You may even surprise yourself at how much more engaged you are with your kids and spouse. The cravings for alcohol will dissipate and you will notice that the habit of your evening cocktail becomes easier to replace with other habits.
Ready to take the challenge?
Throughout the 40 days, we will share tips, encouragement and recipes for alcohol-free cocktails via Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook accounts (@MollyKimballRD, @nolanews, @wherenolaeats), using the hashtag #AlcoholFreeFor40.
Use the #AlcoholFreeFor40 hashtag to on social media. All personal information will be kept confidential.
The bottom line:
This won’t last forever – it’s only 40 or so days. Giving up alcohol may not be something that you choose to continue long-term, but depending on the results of your own personal #AlcoholFreeFor40 challenge, you may decide that it’s worth it to at least dial things back a bit over the long term.