With the "stay home" orders and recommendations flying around, most of us have had our normal lives pretty thoroughly disrupted.

And that means our patterns and habits are disrupted as well. We can't hit the gym or the spin class or the pool. We're making lunches at home rather than grabbing a bite out. Even our sacred coffee routines are different!

But some things you can continue to do or even do better, and hydration is one of those. It's your own bathroom, and it's likely closer to your work area than in the building you normally work in. And if you don't have ice or a clean glass, well, that's no one's fault but your own!

Hydration is incredibly important, especially during the menopause transition and after. It feeds your brain, lubes your joints, helps hydrate skin and other tissue — all things that are harder to do after estrogen declines. 

  We talked with Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and owner of Champagne Nutrition Ginger Hultin about why proper hydration is necessary and how to stay hydrated (and not drink too much alcohol) in this time of online Happy Hours.

To see the webinar of this conversation, check out the Gennev channel on YouTube. Prefer to listen while doing other things? Listen to the podcast version on Stitcher or wherever you listen to podcasts. Transcript below.

 

Do you find yourself drinking too little water or too much alcohol or both during these strange times? Come share your hydration strategies (and how you keep liquor consumption under control when everyone suddenly wants to have an online Happy Hour) with us in the Gennev Community Forums!

TRANSCRIPT

Coach Stasi Kasianchuk

Hello and welcome to our webinar on hydration and alcohol consumption. So I am Stasi Kasianchuk,  a registered dietitian, nutritionist, exercise physiologist, and the director of Gennev’s health coaching program. Today I'm here with Ginger Hultin. She's going to give us some background information on herself. And she is an amazing dietitian, wonderful person and has lots of experience. So I'll let Ginger give her introduction on what she's, what she's doing right now.

Ginger Hultin

It's really nice to meet you. Thank you for the introductions. Stasi. I'm Ginger Hultin. I own a company called Champagne Nutrition. It's based here in Seattle. It is a nutrition company and I see private clients virtually and I’ve actually been virtual even before everything that has happened this spring. So I just love the flexibility. My company's name is Champagne Nutrition because I do love champagne. I'm just going to throw that out there. But also I really believe in the joy that food and drink that we love what that brings to us. And so with my clients, I really try to be more about balance and getting people off that diet roller coaster. And instead of include the foods that they like in their lives in a more balanced way. So that really is how I work with my clients.

Stasi

So I'd love to start off with talking about the connection between hydration and immune function, especially in light of the COVID 19 pandemic. Ginger, what types of questions have you been getting from your clients? How have you been helping them around hydration? Specifically related to immune function.

Ginger

Yeah. I’m having some really interesting conversations with people right now because everyone's lives have changed so much and I think there are some struggles with like, do I meet my hydration needs at home? You know, like what does that look like versus what I used to do at work. Also just like healthy eating, focus on health versus some stress eating and you know, really this joy of baking, which is so fun.

But how does, how does all this fit together? So those are the things I'm talking to my clients about. As far as the immune function, it's really interesting because the most important thing is that our bodies are as optimized as possible. And so part of that is really protecting the fluid balance in your body and making sure that the cells that are so important for the immune system, like those spider cells and natural killers, the white blood cells, those are able to circulate to the best of their ability. So part of getting enough fluid is really providing that volume and the blood and the healthy circulation so that we're energized and we've got that volume moving around. And secondarily, fluid’s really important for detoxifying our body. So we're making a little toxins all the time just by breathing, eating. It's part of our body's natural, natural process. And we have really amazing ways to flush that out through urine, through bowel movements, through sweat.And so fluid is really important to be keeping things moving along. So it's important in a number of ways.

Stasi

Ah, that's such a good point. And I like what you mentioned around optimization. It's really how to make yourself optimal, and what is optimal for you may be different for me, may be different for our panelists that are watching. We know that hydration is important though because it is going to play a role in a lot of the things that that you mentioned from, from the standpoint of that cell production and the detoxification, getting things out. We know when we drink more we have to typically go to the bathroom more. There's a great example of how that excretion process is helping the body to work optimally. Yeah. So when we're thinking about hydration, Ginger, you know, I get a lot of questions from clients, well what about, you know, does juice count? Does coffee count? Does tea count? Bubbly water? Is that bad? Is that good? And how do you navigate those? Or what are some of the recommendations you have on like what counts as hydration?

Ginger

Yeah, that's an awesome question. I actually get the bubbly water question all the time. So I've dug into that research. I've given several interviews on that specifically. And the bottom line with that actually is that bubbly, sparkling water counts as much as regular water. And the thing is, it's kind of filling cause it's got that gas bubbles in it. So you often can't drink as much quantity. So it is important to have plain regular water be the base of your day. But I'm drinking some bubbly water right here. It absolutely counts. And there's also this kind of old myth that coffee and tea, soda, anything that's caffeinated is a diuretic and so it doesn't count towards hydration, but actually it does.

So let's say you drink a coffee, you know, like a 16 ounce coffee, you're drinking 16 ounces of fluid. It's not like one per one, like all of that doesn't magically go out through the urine all at once. So you definitely retain some though caffeine is a mild diarrhetic. So anything without caffeine like herbal tea or juice definitely counts. I do want to remind listeners to pay attention to added sugars. So that's another part of this conversation. Juice with added sweeteners can be not dehydrating, but just a challenge for balancing our needs during the day.

Stasi

Yeah, that's a good point of looking at what is in the hydration choices that you have. And I think it's always a good reminder that coffee and tea are made with water. You can't make them without water. And so you are getting the hydration benefits from that.

And then just paying attention to how that, how it makes you feel. I know some women that I work with, they noticed that coffee does make them go to the bathroom more because of the stimulus, the stimulus to the bladder. So you may need to balance that with additional water, whether it be bubbly water or regular water on that.

The other thing that I have found has been helpful is adding things to water. I had a client yesterday telling me that just by adding chia seeds to her water, she enjoys it more. She thinks about drinking it more. That gives her the benefit of the fiber and the healthy fats. But it's something that creates a little bit more excitement around that drink, the water that they're, they're having. Do you have any other suggestions on things that can be great to add to water or things that have worked for you or your clients around that?

Ginger

Yeah, I actually have a passion around this. So as much as I talk about alcohol, there's actually this big trend right now, especially among younger people. Like gen Z, even younger than millennials, they're actually a population that's not statistically drinking as much as people maybe in our age category or older. So I'm doing more mocktail recipes and I'm doing infused water recipes on my blog. I recently did a big pitcher of water infused with mint leaves and pineapple and it was so delicious and I ended up like keeping like going and grabbing for it because it was just delicious and so hydrating. So I really suggest that. It's a very smart idea.

Stasi

And that's another way, speaking of the immune function, if you're adding things like herbs or flavor additives, you're going to get the anti-inflammatory properties around that. That can certainly, again look at that…how can you support being optimal as much as possible. So you're getting another dose of nutrients with those additions.

Ginger

A hundred percent.

Stasi

Awesome. well you mentioned like speaking of different types of drinks and the alcohol, let's jump over to that. Cause I think that's really what our panelists probably want to hear about. When it comes down to it, I am getting a lot of questions now on, you know, is it okay if I drink during this time? Is that gonna suppress my immune system? Or I'm drinking more during this time. I'm home, I don't need to drive. What else am I going to do? We're having Zoom happy hours. So it's a big topic right now and I consider you an expert in the like creativity around drinking. And we'd love just your insight and your thoughts too, again, on that balance piece as well. Cause that's always important. So a lot there, but we can unpack it together.

Ginger

Yeah, I mean I am literally talking about this with every one of my clients. And it's funny, even clients that didn't drink much or hardly at all before, they're drinking way more now and it's just like you said, we're home. There's all these Zoom happy hours and it's very easy to sort of slip into this daily drinking. I think this is also a very stressful time for so many people. It's not maybe the most ideal coping mechanism, but it, it does have that relaxation effect. And so we can talk maybe later about other ways to get the relaxation effect. But I think a lot of people use use wine and alcohol for that. So the most important thing, and people get mad at me when I say this, but I have to say it, is understanding the guidelines for alcohol. They're actually very clear.

They're well researched and many large organizations state these guidelines. So for women specifically, the guideline is one alcoholic beverage a day. And so more than that they do see an increase in health risk. And I think very important for this population is an increase in cancer risk, specifically breast cancer. And so I know that a lot of people are really keeping that top of mind and we just can't deny that there's a link between alcohol and cancer.

However, there's also some really interesting research that shows with moderate drinking, again, that one a day or less, there might be some cardiovascular benefits. There might be some blood sugar regulation or lower diabetes risk development. So there's definitely like a little seems to be okay, maybe even beneficial; too much definitely is harmful to some systems of the body, but it really is the guidelines. One drink a day. We can talk about the portions if you'd like. That's a common question. And just so you know, you can't not drink for two days and then have like four drinks on one day. It doesn't quite work that way.

Stasi

Yeah. This the stockpiling effect, I want to save those for Saturday. Yeah, no, that's a good point. And it also talks, it really speaks to how the body works in balance that way. You know, our bodies work day to day. It's not working one way on Friday and one way on this on a Saturday, which again goes back to the immune function. If we want, we want our immune function to show up for us to be that armor every day. So it does require consistency in those habits.

Ginger

I'm glad that you mentioned that. I did want to talk about the way that alcohol affects the immune system and unfortunately there is a lot of evidence that it suppresses the immune system. It's very hard to give you guys specific guidelines on exactly how much affects your immune system how much. I wouldn't say that like a glass of wine is going to tank your immune system. Like it certainly doesn't work like that, but it will lower some aspects of some of those fighter cells for you. I think anybody with alcohol abuse disorder or somebody that's binge drinking or drinking much higher than the guidelines, there's always going to be more natural risk there. I'm not familiar with the specific research on exactly how much alcohol could hurt the immune system, but if you are immune compromised where you're very concerned, it might be worth the consideration to really cut down or out alcohol.

Stasi

No, I think it's important that you mentioned that. And, and also you know, working with women who are going through menopause and perimenopause or post-menopause, they all report that they notice a distinct difference in how their body processes it. They will say, you know, this time last year or two or three years ago, I could have two or three glasses of wine and maybe feel a little buzz, but I didn't wake up the next morning with a killer headache and fatigue. And now I have one glass of wine and the next morning I'm like, what just happened? And then it can also vary as their hormones are fluctuating. So I think you know, your point too of what is your own individual situation and that can you know, so that's why there isn't this distinct, here's the amount of alcohol that you can drink and it doesn't affect your immune system. Everybody's different. So knowing what works best for you is more important than just being able to say like, what is the blanket recommendation, which really may not exist.

Ginger

I know that it's frustrating to hear, like, you know, it is individualized and you know, I don't have the specific answer for you. And that's why it's so important for individuals with these questions to work one on one with dietitians like us because we can look at the whole picture and the risk factors and how you are as a person, your tolerance can change to alcohol through your life. It's really interesting the way we metabolize alcohol. It has to do with the stomach specifically. And I know that that can change in menopause. A lot of people are like, Oh, it doesn't sit right with me as much as it used to. And then absorption straight to the liver and the liver has to do the heavy lifting, but the liver does a lot for us and there's all these enzymes there that can either make you a faster or slower metabolizer. And so that's where a lot of the individualization comes in that we have to talk about as clinicians because not everyone's the same.

Stasi

Yeah, that's such a good point. And those enzymes and those pathways are those ones that are influenced by our genetic makeup too and how we might process the alcohol?

Ginger

That's exactly right. So there are a lot of people in this world that actually don't have a enzyme that works very well and they are the people that naturally get that alcohol flush. A lot of people will turn bright red and they feel very sick and they don't process alcohol well at all. If you're a person listening that's had that, you probably know I'm one of those. And that's actually an example of the liver, just not quite having an enzyme that's working as well as it might be in other folks. And I got asked the question recently, does that mean some people naturally have a higher tolerance, and said, I would say yes, but we, it's hard to know who is who. And so it's very hard to, to know without maybe some very in depth genetic testing.

Stasi

Yeah, absolutely. And, and listening to your own body you know, we're all masters of our own our own understanding of how our body responds to things. So taking those things and then figuring out what's gonna work best for you. And like you said, working with the dietitian to help you with that could guide the process. Awesome. Well we have a couple of questions or a few questions that have come in. So one says is hard alcohol such as vodka, better for you than wine because there's no sugar?

Ginger

Yeah, that's such an interesting question. So I chat a lot about alcohol and sugar and I think that it's very confusing because you have to actually talk about the way that alcohol is made. And so there's this spectrum of wine that can either have more residual sugars — it's often called RS — or less. And actually dry wines are very much the trend right now. They can have very little sugar, hardly any carbs, so a lot of them actually aren't innately sugary. They do have more carbs, as does beer, than spirits, but they also generally have less antioxidants. And there is some interesting research that the antioxidants in red and white wine could be beneficial.

I think the most important thing here is to understand the portions. So a serving of wine is five ounces. A lot of times when you pour a glass, it's much more than five ounces. Beer is 12 ounces and again, people often drink several beers and that's several servings. And for liquor it's 1.5 ounces. And so you can sip on, on spirits for sure. But a lot of people will do some sort of mixer and that's important too cause if you're mixing it with juice or Coke, then you're adding a lot of sugar. If you're doing water, sparkling water, or a non-nutritive sweetener, that changes it too. So it's very complex.

Stasi

Yeah. Again, no, there's not one to answer to these things, but thinking about the whole process. And I like what you pointed out about the portions that is going to be a key thing. Enjoying one glass of wine, two glasses of wine, is different than five and six. And how the body processes that, whether it's sugar or the alcohol component. Yeah. The next question is, ah, this person says they love water so much and I'm so thirsty all the time that I wake up thirsty. Is there anything wrong with me?

Ginger

Well, that's a really interesting question. I hear so many different things from my clients as you do to Stasi, I'm sure. I hear people that say I never get thirsty. There's something wrong with me. And I have people that say I always get thirsty, is there's something wrong with me. It's always important to make sure that you're getting medical care, you're getting your blood sugar levels tested, you're making sure that your blood pressure is normalized. So I would definitely make sure you're, you're checking off those boxes and talking to your provider if there's any testing you need. But short of that, I think it is important to know that different humans have different needs and you should drink to thirst. So if you're waking up thirsty, grab a big glass of water and start off that day. Like what a nice way to to get your body going.

Stasi

Yeah, that's a good point of the basics. And then definitely that making sure that there's nothing else that, that thirst isn't indicating another underlying condition. By you mentioned having your blood blood sugars checked, extreme thirst may be indicative of diabetes. So that blood sugar piece is important. And then obviously the cardiovascular function because hydration plays a role in our circulation. So if something's up in terms of that regulation, there could be something there. So always a good reminder of just getting those checks, those checks and balances and that those things checked off. One thing that I noticed with menopause, so the thirst sensation can change during this time. So I do have a lot of women that don't feel like they're as thirsty. And one thing that I'll sometimes talk about too is just making sure they're regularly drinking throughout the day.

So if they get to two o'clock in the afternoon and they're thinking, I have not had anything to drink except my first cup of coffee, then all right, we probably need to work on increasing that. But another tool that I found to be helpful is looking at urine color. When you're going to the bathroom. So if you when you go to the bathroom, it should be lemonade ish color does it need to be clear? But if we're looking at school bus orange and you're not taking a lot of multivitamins, which could influence your urine color but consistently that color that's maybe an indicator too that you need, need a little bit more hydration.

Ginger

Yeah. I'd also get that that's really important. And I also get, you know, a lot of people that say, Oh, I just had a headache all of a sudden, or I felt really fatigued. And so one of the first things I'll do is to suggest a glass or two of water and see if it makes you feel better. Often it really does.

Stasi

Yes. Yeah. And I another thing around that, when people are starting to exercise more I'll notice that sometimes that increases their thirst and so they'll, they'll be prompted to drink more. But the other piece, they start to notice when they aren't optimally hydrated. That exercise is a lot harder. And exercise is hard as it is, we don't need to make it harder. So that could be another indicator.

Ginger

That's such a good point. There are some days if I'm doing a workout, I'm like, ah, why is this so challenging? And I’ll think, and I honestly believe that fuel with food and hydration, it really affects your body's energy.

Stasi

Yeah. And that's, and that's one way to feel it too. When you're asking more of your body, then you start to feel that way. And that comes back to that optimization. How can we support our bodies being optimal? Because when it's in an optimal state, that immune function is going to be more optimal. All right, another question here that says how, how many calories are in about one glass of wine? This is a concern of hers. Okay.

Ginger

Yeah. This is a really interesting subject and guess what? It's complicated. Let me break it down. I love talking about alcohol because it's just, there's a lot to talk about. At a baseline alcohol itself is kind of high in calories. So just to put it in perspective carbohydrates and protein are four calories per gram. Fat is nine calories per gram. Alcohol is seven calories per gram. So if you think about the spectrum, it just is kind of a high calorie liquid. There's so much more to think about though, because the amount of alcohol that's in a beverage and the quantity that you're drinking really makes a difference. So a glass of wine, like a light white wine or a lower alcohol red could be around a hundred to 120 calories. If you bump up towards that 16%, like a big heavy red, that could have, you know, pushing 200 calories.

So there's a big range and it depends on the alcohol by volume, which you'll see ABV. So if you want the lower calories go towards like more like an 11, 12% wine. Beer is exactly the same. So the light beers, you know how you see the commercials and they're like 90 calories. How do they do that? Well, it's a little bit lower alcohol. And so if you have like a big IPA, like IPAs and porters are heavier, but they're notoriously much higher in calories, they have way more alcohol by volume. So that, you know, alcohol itself, like there's a range. So lighter in general, lower alcohol content is just going to slash the calories.

And then with mixed drinks it's not so much the spirits like, like I think, you know 1.5 is, is around a hundred, 120 calories, 1.5 ounces across the board, unless it's more sugary like port or something. But it's the mixer — if you have any sort of cream, coconut, sugary juice, things like that, you're going to really boost the calories. Margarita, pina coladas, those are classically very, very high. So it really depends on what you're drinking.

Stasi

Yeah. And that gives some perspectives to just some guidelines around, you know, what you should look for if you're looking for that lower calorie option. This next question here is why after drinking, do my breasts feel more lumpy? Are you familiar with this at all?

Ginger

That is very interesting. You know, the only thing that comes to mind and I need to dive into the research is I wonder if there's some dehydration going on there and maybe some changes in body fluid. Yeah, I, I wonder about that. What do you think, Stasi?

Stasi

Yeah, I'm not familiar with that either. Just, you know, one thing that comes, that I would think of is perhaps if there's any hormonal shifts that are happening and again, alcohol is going to be a stress on the body. So is there some level of stress response or some type of, it's a toxin. The body's trying to detoxify, so something going on there, but that would also be, I think a great question for a medical practitioner, OB GYN, primary care, just again, rule out anything else that might be creating that, that lump sensation.

Ginger

Yeah, I'm glad that you brought up that alcohol’s a toxin. I mean, it really is. The body is very excited to get rid of it. So so the body's working hard to do that. It is kind of inflammatory. So especially if you're drinking higher higher levels, it can be inflammatory to the body. So yeah, that would be a good one to get checked out. That's an interesting question.

Stasi

Okay. Another one here, going back to the infused water recipes, this person would like to know where you post your recipes for the fusion. And you mentioned on your blog if you want to share the, the address or something, feel free to do that.

Ginger

Yeah, definitely. It's at champagnenutrition.com and my infused water recipe’s pretty far up in the blog category. I’ve got some really great stuff up there right now. Lots of mocktails, cocktails. And another thing that I really focus on is lighter alcohol options. So I have spritzers up there, which is like white wine with some soda water or you know, that sort of thing that is lighter in alcohol, uses very minimal added sugar, uses natural ingredients so that maybe you could have two and you're kind of at a party and you're enjoying it, but it really is very light and fits into your health goals.

Stasi

Awesome. Great options there. And we'll make sure to link these resources as well in the followup email that everybody gets with the link to this presentation. So we'll make sure to put the link to Ginger's blog there. Well thinking about that socialization and alcohol do you have any recommendations, things to make to help make this social isolation fun and still be able to enjoy and find that balance with alcohol? Anything that you've tried? I love seeing all of the things on Instagram that you've posted with your creativity, but things that you're excited about right now.

Ginger

Yeah. You know, I really am trying to make the best of this and I'll tell you some things that have worked for me and for some of my clients. One is I learned pretty quickly that I can't be on like a two hour Zoom happy hour drinking wine. Like that doesn't fit with my health goals. And so I go to a lot of happy hours now with no alcohol. I'll bring like some soda water. So really mixing that up and just making sure to take breaks throughout the week and then have nights that I'm not drinking. Like that's been really, really helpful. One of my clients texted me today and said, you know, I'm going to take a break for the rest of this week, no alcohol til Friday. I was like, okay, great. That sounds like a good plan. She's kind of just testing the waters.

Another thing that I've really been focused on is being active in new ways. So I'm like you, Stasi, I'm deeply committed to exercise and I was really into weightlifting and going to the gym every day and that I can't do anymore. So I started implementing this thing that I'm in love with, which is every morning I'd get up and I start my day with a walk. So that really helps me stick to a schedule, get up early and just really get outside. I want to keep this forever like it has been so really, really positive for me. So that's been just very grounding and a really nice part of, of this experience, I must say.

Stasi

Yeah, that's a good point of having that routine something you know, that you're going to do and then starting your day with that. And that's something if you're looking forward to that, if you have that set aside time in the morning that's maybe perhaps a little bit on the earlier side than drinking late into the evening may not be as much of an option. Cause you know, how, how, how you might feel and that walk is, is more important.

Ginger

Yeah. A hundred percent. You think about it the night before.

Stasi

And I like what you mentioned too around like having nights where there isn't any alcohol or it's okay to go to a Zoom happy hour without an alcoholic beverage. And really if you're concerned about what other people think, I mean, what better way to pretend? There's no, you know, no one has to see it. You can be creative. And that's another option there to know that just because there might be Zoom happy hours all the time doesn't mean that your beverage has to contain alcohol. Great points. We had another question come in on how warm versus cold water. I perform prefer warm water all day. It helps me stay warm. Any concerns with that?

Ginger

You know, from my point of view, not at all. I actually, I know there's some cultural differences too. I think that around the world, different cultures prefer cold versus warm water, which is always interesting. I'd say cold, hot or warm, do what's best for you and your body. Especially up here in this chilly weather makes a lot of sense to me. There shouldn't be a difference in hydration at all.

Stasi

Yeah, no, it still can definitely provide the benefit again comes back to that individual preference. I will say, women that are experiencing hot flashes, warm water may increase that or initiate a hot flash. So be aware of that. And on the flip side, cold water having and really like ice cold water having that when you feel a hot flash coming on or I have some clients that will have a little bit before bed, not too much that they have to wake up and go to the bathroom, but they report that having that cold water before can help to decrease the intensity of the hot flashes at night and adds to hydration.

Ginger

That's a good point. On the flip side, I’ve definitely heard a lot of clients talk about how they notice alcohol, including wine can really bring on hot flashes like almost immediately for some people. Is that something that you guys talk about a lot?

Stasi

Yes. I think it goes into, again, that metabolism is of alcohol is just different. And, and certainly it can be a trigger for hot flashes. So be aware of that. And that another reason where mitigating the alcohol intake or alternating alcohol beverage, and then making sure you're having a glass of water after that. So you have a good balance there. Yeah, good points. Another question here, does green tea contribute to my hydration quota?

Ginger

Great question. It absolutely does. It contains a little bit of caffeine. So especially if you're a person that notices when you have caffeine that you're going to the bathroom more. Just like Stasi said earlier, add an extra glass of water on. But green tea has a really potent antioxidants that are very supportive for the body, linked to lower levels of inflammation even for some people. So I often recommend people boost their, their intake of green tea. If you are caffeine sensitive, you probably want to do it earlier in the day and maybe avoid it right before bed depending on your body.

Stasi

Okay. Yeah. Good, good point there. And another way, teas with their herbal components are a way to add some nutrients. You know, there's some nutritional value to that. Again, looking at how to support the immune function. Next question here says, will black cohosh cancel out alcohol so I won't suffer from hot flashes. So can that be a a link to take more black cohosh and drink more, can that, can that work?

Ginger

That's such a great question. There are a lot of herbal supplements out there. I look at them all the time and I dive into the research. There's just a lot to say about people that are trying to lessen the effects of alcohol or, you know, move it along in the liver faster. I'm not familiar with specifically black cohosh, but in general, the body has got to metabolize alcohol the way that it does. It has to go through these steps and through these pathways.

And I've never seen an herbal that can actually speed that up or change it because it literally is following like biochemical, enzyme-driven pathways and the liver. So I wish that there was something that could change it, speed it up, that sort of thing. But actually the reality is you need to be careful with alcohol and some herbals. Again, I'm not familiar specifically with black cohosh, but there can be some interactions with many medications including ones for diabetes, including statins of even NSAIDs, things like that. Very common medications interact with alcohol and some herbals can too. So definitely use caution there. Talk to your dietitian, doctor, or pharmacist.

Stasi

Yeah, great point. So especially if people are drinking more right now than they’re used to. Consider medications or supplements you may be taking and what that interaction would be. And they would say, you know, my understanding of black cohosh there, the research there is research out there to support that it can help with hot flashes. But what you've, what you've described, the pathways are most likely different that what the alcohol is being metabolized versus the the black cohosh, even if they're both going to the liver, the liver has a lot of pathways. There's a lot of different things going on there. So the interaction is probably limited. That the, the likelihood of it counteracting is probably not going to be as straightforward as just, you know, okay, here's here, we'll take this much black cohosh, this much alcohol and there'll be a a zero net effect. So careful depending on that. Next question here. How about for women who have had COVID 19 and are on medication? Are there concerns about mixing these meds with alcohol?

Ginger

That's a very good question. I'm not familiar specifically and I don't want to speak to those specific medications, but I will tell you that if I ever pick up something from the pharmacy, I always say, do I need to think about the interactions with alcohol? I'll read the list because it always says it on that. So definitely ask your pharmacist. That's a really good question. There are some medications that have pretty violent or negative interactions with alcohol, so I really want to keep you safe and I'm glad you've recovered from COVID.

Stasi

Yes, yeah, absolutely. Something to definitely celebrate perhaps with a glass of wine when you're able to. The next question is about recommendations for water intake. So how much should a, an individual, what are recommendations around hydration per day?

Ginger

Yeah, it's interesting. There was that whole, you know, eight, eight cups of water a day and it was just very generalized and then it came out some research like, well, we're not really sure. The Institute of Medicine, which is now the National Academy of Sciences. I think I think for women it's 2.7 liters. So it actually still is around like, you know, the eight to 10 glasses of water a day. So it's not drastically more or less than about that much. But you know, I thought the, the question that that person had about being really, really thirsty, it was interesting. If you're a really thirsty person, you might be pushing more like 12 to 15 glasses. I don't think anyone should be having, you don't want to live dehydrated and be having like two or three glasses because you want to be monitoring the urine color. But around that eight is typically what I see be the best fit for folks.

Stasi

Yeah. And I think it gives a great starting point. And again, experiment with yourself and notice urine color, other things, you know, fruits and vegetables or water containing foods like oats or pasta, rice, things that have water in it. It can contribute to your hydration. So if you have more of those in a day you may notice, you know, a difference in the amount of water or other fluids you may have. So just paying attention to how you feel. And again, going back to are you more fatigued or do you have a headache? Could you use more water or do you feel like, you know, I'm good and I'm in this place where you're feeling more balanced?

A follow up to that. And I think we've kind of covered this, but just to clarify alcohol should not be counted towards that hydration. Is that your understanding?

Ginger

Yeah. So typically when you look at the guidelines, it says alcohol like, isn't counting towards the hydration. But that being said the vast majority of wine and beer especially, is water. So if you drink one or two beers, you actually are getting a pretty good amount of liquid. However, alcohol actually is specifically dehydrating, kind of like the tea and coffee. It's not like I drink this much beer and then I have this much urine. You know, some of it's probably assimilating, but alcohol is dehydrating. That is one theory of why people get hangovers is that it is in some ways connected to dehydration.

Stasi

And then same with so now going back to the hot flashes, is it true that green tea can contribute to hot flashes? You're familiar with that?

Ginger

I'm not familiar with it because of the compounds, but I am thinking it has to do with our previous discussion about the heat.

Stasi

Yeah. That's what I would that's my familiarity too. It's the temperature more so than actually the compounds in there.

This next question is when I wake in the night, I often drink water. Does drinking fast affect your body differently than sipping?

Ginger

Not to my knowledge, especially in the middle of the night. I think if you had a lot of food on board and then you added a lot of water, like you might have some, some fullness or, or even like some like burping, things like that. But in general I would do what works best for you.

Stasi

Yeah. And I think, you know, figuring out how, how it's going to feel best for you, especially in the night if you're going back with like a gigantic stomach full of water versus just sipping a little bit… I will say, you know, when it comes to oftentimes I'll get the question of like, should I sip throughout the day or should I just sit down and guzzle water at, you know, two or three points into throughout the day. And where both can help with hydration if it works best for you to get the water in gut. Maybe not guzzling but drinking all at once. That can be helpful. But if you think also of how the body works throughout the day, the body is always going to be in this ebb and flow. So working with your body, if it works for you to sit throughout the day, may you know, work in line with that physiological balance, fluid balance that's happening.

All right. Well those are the questions that we have so far. So it's the question, if you have additional questions, feel free to list them in here. But with the 10 or so minutes we have left, Ginger, I would love to just hear your, some either recipes or strategies. You talked about finding some balance and other points throughout the day, which could certainly help with the stress management. But if there's any cocktails that you're enjoying or mocktails that you have tried recently you want to recommend to our participants, I'd love to hear what what you've come up with.

Ginger

Sure. Yeah. I’ve actually been spending some time lately on my blog that really is sort of a creative outlet for me. I love cooking. I'm able to do it more now that I'm home more and the light's better for taking images. Cinco de Mayo is coming up, so I've been talking a lot on my blog about healthier Margueritas. I've got two recipes, like a basic scratch margarita and also a spicy Blackberry margarita that's awesome.

And it really helps highlight, one of the ways that I really feel about alcohol is that quality matters a lot. You know, when you go to the store and you get that jug of bright yellow margarita mix, like there's so much color, food dye, flavoring, corn syrup is really the base and it's just not a natural product. So the way that I make my margarita is, and I make all of my cocktails, are really based on like fresh citrus that's really high in vitamin C since we're talking about the immune system. I love to just really let the natural flavors shine through. I use some very little added sugar. I just really try to put things on the rocks and maybe, you know, add more fluid and I play around a lot with herbs and spices. So yeah, I just really Margarita is a good example. Cinco de Mayo is coming up and you can make healthier cocktails at home and you don't need to rely on all those like sugary premixed packages. I just don't care for them.

Ginger

Yeah, that's such a good point. And I feel like that you're you're talking about the creativity, like having fun with it, make it something that you look forward to doing during this time when there may be some things that are a little bit stressful or you know, getting you down. Look forward to getting creative. And worst case scenario is you make a cocktail that you don't like and don't make it again. You can get creative with those ingredients, add things if you have an herb garden, adding some herbs in there and then a lot of those too, if you have those natural flavors, if you want a mocktail, then you know, you don't, you can leave the alcohol out and still have a very flavorful beverage.

Ginger

I have a lot of readers on my blog, thank me for my mocktails. I really been posting more lately and a lot of people are like, I don't drink or I've never drank or I'm trying to drink less. And they're like, I'm so glad that I can now participate. And to me like making a special, beautiful cocktail or mocktail, enjoying it, sipping it, looking at the color, noticing the flavors. That's a real example of mindful eating. And that alone can be very grounding. It can really just bring you into the moment. And so I think it's really relaxed, relaxing in itself to really enjoy and appreciate what you're eating or drinking in that way.

Stasi

Yeah, and what a great reminder too of bringing mindfulness to the moments that we have right now. And you can do that around food, but practicing that same approach with a cocktail sometimes or a mocktail is more approachable for people if they haven't done mindful eating before. Sitting down to be mindful for a full meal can be overwhelming, but just sitting and enjoying a beverage that you created, whether it's by yourself or with others, and, and using that experience to bring some calm is a great way right now, I think to really appreciate those types of drinks. Excellent.

Well, as far as the socialization piece you know, socializing with alcohol is really common. We're doing the we're doing a lot more social isolate, socializing through isolation right now. Do you have any recommendations in terms of the social or your approach in terms of that social benefit to alcohol consumption or drink consumption? What does that look like to you and where do you see that helping your clients the most?

Ginger

As far as like how they're using it for social social now?

Stasi

Yes. Yeah. More now during this time.

Ginger

Yeah. It's really changed, right? Because I think especially in our cult culture, alcohol is very social. You meet your friends at a bar, you have happy hour with your coworkers, you, you know, go out for your birthday. Like alcohol is very celebratory and it brings people together. That's one of the reasons I love it. Like what a, what a wonderful thing. One of the positives, but right now I think we need to find different ways to celebrate. And so again, you really don't want to get into this, this negative cycle of like drinking too much at home and not feeling well and have it disrupting your sleep and giving you hot flashes. Like it can also lead to weight gain, you know, which I think some people are talking about right now. So they're definitely, you just need to reflect on how it's affecting you and really seek that connectivity in, in new and different ways cause it just looks different now than it used to.

Stasi

Yeah. Just figuring out what that, what it looks like, whether it's a new, new normal, as some people are saying. I like talking to my clients right now about a new beginning. We have a clean slate and so this time is a great time to figure out what, what's going to be your, whether it's alcohol, whether it's mocktails, cocktails, what does that look like for you now so that you can really feel your best, support you immune function, support optimal hydration and get all of those things connected. Cause as we've talked about today, there's not one thing that's going to be the magic bullet. And certainly these things are complex and it's really finding what works best for you. And if you need help with that Ginger a is gonna go to let her tell about how you can get in touch with her and any closing thoughts you have in terms of this topic in general.

Ginger

Yeah, I'm just, I'm really glad we got the time to break this down. I definitely will have you guys send out the link to my website. My contact is right there and just some information about what it looks like to work with me. I work completely virtually. It's really fun. I do video and phone. I work with people of all ages, but I definitely specialize in women and probably women, especially in their fifties and sixties. So I have some really cool clients in their twenties. I love clinically complex cases, so I definitely talk a lot about people with kidney issues, diabetes, heart issues. Autoimmune is another specialty. I'm a cancer specialist as well. But I also just love to talk about fitting more exercise into your life and you know, like cooking and making mocktails and just making sure you've got everything feeling good. I love to be that partner. So champagnenutrition.com, ginger@champagnenutrition. I'll send those links and I just want to encourage everyone to just think about the balance that you need, how alcohol fits into your life, how it benefits you, how it might be a negative, and what that looks like. And balancing hydration through water and soda, soda water or things like that with alcohol and what socializing looks like to you now in a new way.

Stasi

Excellent. Well, thank you so much for your time, Ginger, and just a reminder to everyone. Through Gennev we have our HealthFix subscription where you can work with a registered dietitian nutritionist like myself as well. And then we also have our Telemedicine services so you can work with an OB/GYN over over video to be able to address your gynecological needs. And that can be everything from perimenopause to menopause to other right now that if you are not comfortable going to a doctor's office or your doctor is not offering telemedical services our OB/GYNs are here to support you. And that can all be found on our website.

So thank you so much, Ginger! Join us in next week; we are going to be talking to Wendy Ellis. She's a naturopath that is going to be looking at, we're going to be discussing supplements and different supplements around immune function specifically, but also menopause. And so tune back in for that, if you have questions and feel free to go to our community forum beforehand, if you have questions for that topic, you can post those on our Q and A section on that community forum, which can be found also on our website. Thank you all to the panelists who viewed today. And those of you that asked questions. Have a great rest of your day.

 
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