A drink or two never killed anybody (or so they say). But is alcohol bad for you?
This is where WILDFIT founder Eric Edmeades weighs in on (moderate) drinking and your relationship with alcohol. As a top leader in the field of evolutionary biology and nutritional anthropology, he created WILDFIT® to enhance human health and tackle aspects of people’s day-to-day lives with a more holistic approach.
In an exclusive interview with Mindvalley, Eric shares his views on what it means to have a healthy relationship with alcohol and why it can affect you more than you might think.
Is Alcohol Bad for You?
Absolutely. Eric points out that without a doubt, alcohol is more harmful than beneficial. But is alcohol bad for you in moderation?
“It’s okay to drink it from time to time, but what is ‘from time to time?’” he asks. The important thing, according to Eric, is that if you’re to have a relationship with alcohol, it should be a functional, healthy one.
It’s essential that you know how to use alcohol so that it doesn’t end up using you.
There is research going around suggesting that red wine is good for your health, as it supposedly thins out your blood and cleans out your arteries. It’s part of the French Paradox, but Eric dismantles the myth.
The French Paradox
The French Paradox is “the observation of low coronary heart disease (CHD) death rates despite high intake of dietary cholesterol and saturated fat.” Apparently, red wine helps the blood flow better through the arteries because of all the antioxidants it contains.
According to Eric, there’s one important matter to note about nutrition science. And that is how often “science” is put out there into the world just because someone has financed a study, trying to sell you something.
That’s why you can find studies and articles supporting both views.
Eric suggests that even if it is true that alcohol helps by thinning the blood, it might be more functional to look at why arteries get clogged in the first place. For instance, it now seems likely that sugar contributes a great deal to the development of clogged arteries. It does so by causing “sticky blood” and decreasing the elasticity of blood vessels which then narrows them down.
This might suggest that any thinning of the blood caused by wine consumption is simply helping to deal with symptoms created by wine (and other sugars).
Why Is Alcohol Bad for You?
Studies have found that alcohol causes inflammation in your system. The research suggests that even a few sips of alcohol trigger your immune system to respond as if there is injury and infection.
Here are some other effects that show the negative effects of alcohol on your body:
- Brain damage. Research suggests that alcohol increases the level of inflammatory lipids in adult brains. These lipids are actually more than half of the brain’s weight. Moreover, alcohol can destroy brain cells, contract brain tissue, and even decrease the power of your neurotransmitters.
- Bloating. Alcohol damages your gut as well, as studies show. It causes inflammation in your gastrointestinal tract, and because it damages the liver, too, your body’s capacity to fight inflammation reduces.
- Skin problems. Research shows that our skin is one of the first places to show damage from alcohol consumption. Alcohol inflates bodily tissue, which creates a histamine reaction that dilates blood capillaries.
- Joint injuries. If you already have problems with health issues that cause joint injuries, alcohol could aggravate the pain. As alcohol triggers inflammation in the body, combined with other inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus, or osteoarthritis, it will only worsen things.
One month with no alcohol
People experimenting with giving up alcohol for one month showed some impressive results in the quality of their lives. This shows what alcohol actually does to your body. Some improvements they noticed were:
- Better sleep
- Reduced bloating
- Clearer skin
- Improved mental state
- Reduced headaches
- Less inflammation in the body
The bottom line is drinking alcohol isn’t optimal. However, in small quantities and consumed responsibly, it may have its social purpose. So it’s essential to assess how much power it holds over your life.
One question Eric often poses to his clients has to do with their relationship with alcohol: “Are you using alcohol or is alcohol using you?”
Your Relationship With Alcohol
How is your relationship with alcohol? What is your “why” behind drinking at parties, having wine after a full day at work, or feeling like “you need” a drink?
Once it’s made clear that alcohol doesn’t serve your body, what’s more to consider is the emotional aspect of it.
You should only consume it responsibly and be honest about why you want to do so.— Eric Edmeades, founder of WILDFIT® and trainer of Mindvalley’s WILDFIT Quest
There are two main points Eric brings up:
- Alcohol gives you a sense of courage. There’s a reason alcohol is known as “liquid courage.” It allows people to be more of who they are, according to Eric.
The truth is that most people are born with a natural sense of charisma and a fun personality. But because of society’s expectations of what you should or should not be, walls build up. And alcohol helps by slowly tearing down those barriers and showing people more of who you actually are.
- It’s about the taste factor. Many times, people think they’re drinking alcohol because they like the taste. However, can you imagine drinking pure alcohol? How do your senses react? Can you smell it, taste it, and does your body react well to it?
What a lot of alcohol companies are doing now is adding flavor to it in order to fool the body’s senses and let it in.
In every possible way, your senses would say, ‘do not put this in your body.’— Eric Edmeades, founder of WILDFIT® and trainer of Mindvalley’s WILDFIT Quest
So just ask yourself why you want or need alcohol in your life and see how after you address the reason for drinking, you may observe how you don’t want it in the end.
WILDFIT’s Take on Alcohol
So, answering the golden question: Is alcohol bad for you? The conclusion would be a definite yes. However, if consumed occasionally and during the proper times, it will be easier for your body to recover afterward.
Should you choose to drink, here is Eric’s advice:
- Give your system some time to reset and recover. For example, instead of drinking one glass of wine every day, Eric suggests that it’s more optimal for your body to drink five glasses in one day and then give your body a week’s break.
Then it gets a pause where it can cope with it, clean up your liver, and get the alcohol out of your system. Consistency with alcohol consumption is definitely the bigger evil.
- Do not drink alcohol with your meals. Have it either half an hour before your meal or at least half an hour after. This way, the liquids that you put into your body won’t interfere with the digestive fluids and slow down digestion overall.
And if you are familiar with or follow WILDFIT principles, then you should consider the four seasons of the human diet. During spring, the human body naturally goes through ketosis, meaning it’s burning fat. And because alcohol is metabolized as sugar, then it kicks you out of your natural fat-burning mode.
Everything in moderation
Although alcohol isn’t highly recommended, not even in small quantities, it doesn’t mean it has to affect your health massively. It still means that it’s essential to have a healthy balanced diet, get enough movement and sleep, and address your emotional needs. This is how you improve your way of life.
And to boost your immunity and metabolism, make sure to include these foods into your diet that will support your overall health:
- Root vegetables
- Dark leafy greens
- Seasonal fruits
- Raw honey
- Fatty fish
“Everything in moderation” includes health, longevity, and quality of life.— Eric Edmeades, founder of WILDFIT® and trainer of Mindvalley’s WILDFIT Quest
What If You Want to Drink Less?
If you find yourself wondering about drinking less, you probably should. But, for many, this is difficult to achieve on willpower alone.
Eric suggests that it is much easier to develop a healthy relationship with (or stop altogether if you want) alcohol when you make sure that your nutrition, hydration, and sleep are in good shape.
Both emotional and physical addiction appears to have a much stronger hold on people when they are malnourished, dehydrated, and/or under stress.— Eric Edmeades, founder of WILDFIT® and trainer of Mindvalley’s WILDFIT Quest
Great Change Starts with Your Health
Your health is the foundation for your happiness and wealth. Sometimes it may mean confronting habits and beliefs that you’ve been taught to have without understanding the real reasons behind them.
That’s why a little guidance on your journey can come in handy. And here’s where Mindvalley comes into play.
You can unlock the FREE WILDFIT Masterclass and learn more about Eric’s approach to a healthy lifestyle after years of research. The great news is that you can be part of a community of people who are as excited to live healthily and thrive, just as much as you want to do so. You can connect over your goals, struggles, and approaches to living a wholesome life.
Ready to step into your greatness and build the healthiest version of yourself? Welcome in.