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Mindful Drinking Tips, Italian Style

Our Health & Wellness expert provides some tips for mindful consumption of alcohol inspired by the Italian lifestyle.

Aperol bottle and 2 glasses

Aperol Spritz.

As a board-certified health and wellness coach, I appreciate the delicate balance between enjoying life’s pleasures and prioritizing our health. For example, I LOVE to enjoy an Aperol Spritz on a hot day with my friends. And often I don’t have just one. 

Alcohol has become a part of mainstream American culture, and we’ve normalized overconsumption. This is an interesting topic from an Italian perspective, as well, where drinks often accompany meals or gatherings, though not in the same binge fashion as in American culture.

Recent reports highlight the perils of alcohol and advocate for a mindful approach to prioritize our health. Scientific evidence has established that alcohol consumption increases cancer risk from the impact of acetaldehyde and hormone changes. Also, there is no "safe limit" for alcohol consumption, which is a stark reminder of its potential health risks. Even moderate consumption can compromise our health. 

To address this, a cultural shift is needed—where valuing quality social interactions over alcohol quantity is emphasized to promote healthier drinking habits.

However, I recognize a cultural shift can’t happen overnight, and while eradicating ingrained social drinking habits is unrealistic in the near future, advocating for a mindful approach allows us to balance enjoyment with health awareness.

Mindful Drinking Tips:

  1. Moderation is Key: Embracing moderation allows us to enjoy alcohol responsibly without compromising our health goals. This mindset allows us to savor a drink or two without overindulging, which can reduce the negative health impacts.
  2. Understand Standard Drink Sizes: A new friend from Australia opened my eyes to the fact that drinks are often totally unstandardized in the US. As a refresher, a standard drink constitutes 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, 1.5 ounces of liquor. This can help us be more intentional about what we’re consuming.
  3. Choose Lighter Options: Spritzes, like the classic Aperol spritz, are a summer favorite for their refreshing qualities, larger volume of liquid, and lower alcohol content compared to stronger cocktails. Here’s a recipe to make an Aperol Spritz. Mixing in the sparkling water further reduces alcohol concentration while enhancing enjoyment. 
  4. Embrace the NA Alternatives: The rise of the sober-curious movement has led to innovative non-alcoholic alternatives gaining popularity. Brands like Lyre's and Ghia offer non-alcoholic spritzes that capture the essence of Italian aperitivo without the alcohol.
  5. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate: This is your reminder to mix in a water! Alternating alcoholic beverages with water supports hydration, which is especially necessary on hot summer days. It also slows down the pace of drinking, promoting a more mindful approach.

Let’s embrace mindful drinking practices to enjoy our beverages with intention, mindfulness, and without compromising our health or wellness goals.

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