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How to Drink Wine and Not Become a Monster

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BY LAUREN VOLPER

I love the taste, the appeal, the bubbles, the tannins, and the overall experience of drinking wine. I love the social aspect, the accessibility, and the way I feel after a glass or two of an excellent vintage. But with all good things, there is a caveat, and wine is no exception. It is alcohol. Alcohol serves NO good purpose for your body, and some health zealots will even go as far to say that it is a toxin. I actually agree that alcohol, even wine, serves more health deficits than benefits.

I drink wine, often, and in high quantities. I have not always been in this habit, but it comes with the territory of being the Chief Wine Educator and Founder of WineUp. I get asked all the time, “How do you combat the undesired physical effects of wine”? I’m here to share the scoop with you my fellow oenophiles!

Take Wine Breaks

First and foremost – take wine breaks. I give myself reset periods where I do not drink – not even a drop. Admittedly, this is getting harder to execute, as I am at several wine events a week. My breaks are shorter, and my span of drinking days are longer – but assuming most of you are not in the wine industry, this will be easier for you than me. When I was training for bodybuilding, I did not drink at all for weeks. I would still go out a lot, but just order soda water, and bring flavor drops, so it looked like I was drinking. I was so astutely aware of my body because I tracked every macronutrient to the gram, that I noticed a massive difference in how I felt the next day even from just one serving of wine.

image from Wine Spice

Always Have a Hydration Station

Today, this is my saving grace. I do not have time for being lethargic, hungover, sick, or puffy the next day. Water. Water. Water. I drink lemon with water for the electrolytes – as your body needs minerals to create a hydration balance. If you just overload with water, and not enough electrolytes, you could still feel lethargic and nauseated the next day. Emergen-C packets are there to save the day! You can also just juice lemons in your water for a similar effect. You actually need sodium and potassium to minimize the day-after bloating than can occur from excessive alcohol consumption. Foods that are high in these minerals are citrus, bananas, sweet potatoes, and spinach. The more colorful – the better. I know I have not hydrated enough when I wake up with puffy eyelids. I down a liter of water with either a whole lemon or electrolyte packet, and the eye puff is down in 30 minutes.

Stop Purple Teeth

Red wine turning your teeth purple? A few things to prevent this. Brush your teeth an hour before you are going to drink wine. The purple teeth come from the wine pigment adhering to the plaque on your teeth, not the actual tooth enamel; kind of gross to think about, but it’s true. To avoid the purple teeth altogether, eat with your wine, especially cheeses, as the fat from the cheese creates a barrier against your teeth getting tinged. Make sure your lips are lubricated with chapstick or a gloss too. That inner lip purple rim is super unattractive, and it’s because alcohol is dehydrating your body, starting with your mouth. If you are moisturized in advance, you will not get the purple ring on your lips. Swish around lemon water in your mouth, as there is a mild bleaching affect the citrus plays as well as optimizing hydration. Try sticking with lighter red wine like Pinot Noir, they are less pigmented then Cabernet, Syrah, and Merlot, and won’t stain your mouth as obviously.

image from Ties.com

Always Eat

Always, always, always EAT. Consuming even just one glass of wine on an empty stomach can have negative consequences like memory loss and impaired judgement. Ever wonder why you are hungover and you only had a glass of wine? Aside from being dehydrated, you probably didn’t eat anything. You can read more about how to prevent a wine hangover all over the internet, but the main thing to remember is that alcohol on an empty stomach is never a good idea. Alcohol is a toxin, and even though there are some minor health benefits to drinking red wine, it is causing more bodily damage than creating health benefits, especially if you are undernourished. Food with alcohol slows the absorption rate into the small intestine and your liver doesn’t have to work as hard to metabolize the alcohol. If you have a substantial meal with your wine, your blood alcohol level will not rise as fast, and you are less impaired mentally, physically, and lessen the chance of causing your body long term damage.

Don’t Drink When You’re Upset

Alcohol is a depressant, and even though a drink or two can provide some temporary relief from a bad day or a rejection, you are much more likely to make poor decisions that compromise your safety when you consume wine with a rickety emotional state. Ever see a sad girl with no shoes sitting on a curb outside a club, or a highly emotional man repeating himself ad nauseam about some ex-girlfriend who cheated on him? Chances are these poor souls didn’t just drink too much, but they started drinking when they were already upset about something. Alcohol is like Mr. Hyde juice and will only put a magnifying glass over your problems. If you are upset, don’t take that show on the road – take a bubble bath, have a friend over, cook a good meal, read a book, or watch a movie. Nothing good came out of drinking while emotional, NOTHING. I have never felt worse about myself or looked more atrocious the morning after excessive drunk crying. It’s not a good look on anyone.

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