"When it comes to the interplay between nutrition and alcohol, it's not just about what alcohol depletes from the body, but also what it prevents the body from absorbing. We're not taught to see alcohol as a toxin, but that's exactly what it is."

Dr. Brooke Scheller, DCN, CNS

This is a comprehensive journey into the world of sobriety, sober-curious, and the multifaceted impact of alcohol on our bodies. From gut microbiome disruptions to hormone imbalances and nutrient depletion, Dr. Brooke Scheller, DCN, CNS peels back the layers of alcohol's influence on our health. With her personal sobriety story and background in functional medicine as well as clinical nutrition, she is sharing an insider's look into the complex relationship between our drinking habits and overall well-being, and why the social narrative around alcohol's health benefits needs a sober second thought.

Brooke shines a light on the lesser-discussed effects of alcohol on our hormones and stress levels, exploring how even moderate consumption can throw our delicate hormonal balance out of sync. As a society inundated with stress, understanding alcohol's interaction with cortisol is more important than ever. She also provide insights into how alcohol's presence in our lives might be hindering more than just our physical health, but our personal growth and ability to reach our full potential as well.

Dr. Scheller also addresses the nutritional strategies that can help manage the effects of alcohol and support those on the path to reduced consumption or sobriety. Whether you're curious about the science behind alcohol's impact on the body or seeking motivation for your own sober or sober-curious journey, this conversation will help you identify how alcohol may have affected your health and how to heal your body.

Follow Brooke @drbrookescheller

Follow Chase @chase_chewning


In this episode we discuss...

(00:00) Alcohol's Impact on Health and Wellness

(15:11) The 3 Drinking Archetypes

(28:56) Alcohol and Hormones

(44:15) Alcohol's Impact on Gut and Brain

(53:03) Alcohol's Impact on Brain and Overall Body

(01:03:49) Nutrition and Supplementation for Mitigating Alcohol's Negative Effects

(01:15:08) Challenging Alcohol Culture and Lifestyle

(01:29:21) The Impact of Removing Alcohol From Your Life


Episode resources:

EFR 785: How Alcohol Affects Your Gut Microbiome, Brain Health, Hormones, Lowers Fertility and How to Eat to Change How You Drink with Brooke Scheller

This is a comprehensive journey into the world of sobriety, sober-curious, and the multifaceted impact of alcohol on our bodies. From gut microbiome disruptions to hormone imbalances and nutrient depletion, Dr. Brooke Scheller, DCN, CNS peels back the layers of alcohol's influence on our health. With her personal sobriety story and background in functional medicine as well as clinical nutrition, she is sharing an insider's look into the complex relationship between our drinking habits and overall well-being, and why the social narrative around alcohol's health benefits needs a sober second thought.

Brooke shines a light on the lesser-discussed effects of alcohol on our hormones and stress levels, exploring how even moderate consumption can throw our delicate hormonal balance out of sync. As a society inundated with stress, understanding alcohol's interaction with cortisol is more important than ever. She also provide insights into how alcohol's presence in our lives might be hindering more than just our physical health, but our personal growth and ability to reach our full potential as well.

Dr. Scheller also addresses the nutritional strategies that can help manage the effects of alcohol and support those on the path to reduced consumption or sobriety. Whether you're curious about the science behind alcohol's impact on the body or seeking motivation for your own sober or sober-curious journey, this conversation will help you identify how alcohol may have affected your health and how to heal your body.

Follow Brooke @drbrookescheller

Follow Chase @chase_chewning


In this episode we discuss...

(00:00) Alcohol's Impact on Health and Wellness

(15:11) The 3 Drinking Archetypes

(28:56) Alcohol and Hormones

(44:15) Alcohol's Impact on Gut and Brain

(53:03) Alcohol's Impact on Brain and Overall Body

(01:03:49) Nutrition and Supplementation for Mitigating Alcohol's Negative Effects

(01:15:08) Challenging Alcohol Culture and Lifestyle

(01:29:21) The Impact of Removing Alcohol From Your Life


Episode resources:


0:00:00 - Speaker 1 The following is an operation podcast production.

0:00:04 - Speaker 2 Most people when they come into sobriety or when they come into alcohol reduction. There is this missing, there's this longing. It's an evolution of our own sobriety process. As an expert in functional medicine, my training is all in root cause and really what's going on in underlying areas like the gut and the gut microbiome are nutrient levels and how that contributes to health effects, to things like our hormones and how all of these things manifest in our bodies. But we don't always tie them back to alcohol. We don't always think that you know, our hormone imbalances, for example, could be the result of our alcohol consumption. Infertility, for example, is a great example. While there was maybe some controversy over small amounts of alcohol providing some benefits, what we know is that anything over these really low amounts there's never been controversy over that, the experiences that I had with it. I kind of take all of that and recognize it and I'm grateful for it, but know that there's so much more on this side of my life that I'm enjoying.

0:01:07 - Speaker 1 All right, want to get a drink? Let's wrap this up. Today's episode is exclusively brought to you by IOProPlus. This is a first of its kind, 100% non-synthetic growth factor formula. We all produce growth hormone, but in fact, it decreases every year after puberty, and sometimes by even 50% by age 35, it can even continue to decrease every year after that. What does that mean? What does lower HGH look like? Well, it can look like poor metabolic function, increased body fat, reduced exercise performance, increased stress and anxiety loss and libido, chronic pain, inflammation, fatigue. I can honestly tell you, after running IOProPlus for 30 days, I noticed a significant increase in daily baseline energy, stamina, not to mention libido. I got an exclusive deal for you to save $30 on your 30 day supply of IOProPlus, linked for you as always in the show notes, but simply head to bioproteintechcom and use code everforward at checkout to save $30 off of IOProPlus today.

Hey guys, welcome back to EverFord Radio. I want you to take a second and kind of go down memory lane. Let's go back a few years, to 2021. What were you doing? Maybe were you celebrating life, a birthday, traveling, and a drink include part of that celebration Toasting champagne, having a beer, a glass of wine, a cocktail with friends, all right now, imagine back in 2021, that being your last drink.

Well, it was for today's guest, brooke Scheller. Today's episode, brooke, is going to help us navigate through the surprising ways in which alcohol invades every nook and cranny of our well-being, from gut-wrenching disruptions in our microbiome to even this silent chaos it unleashes on our hormones. And I even start the episode off. I tell Brooke and I tell you all, that I enjoy alcohol. I enjoy a nice hearty IPA, a robust glass of wine, but my interest in alcohol over the years has dramatically reduced. But I just want to paint a very clear picture that I, although did go through sober excuse me, dry January this year, and I can't lie, I enjoyed how I felt, just not having those extra calories, and it really did insert a great little aspect of mindfulness into situations by myself, with friends, as to do I need this to have a good time. Am I saying yes to a glass of wine or a beer Just because that's what I've always done? So I love the level of applause it helped me insert into my daily life and just really question the choices that I was making. I really did appreciate that I was able to catch Brooke on her LA book tour. We sat down in studio, actually out of the Santa Monica studio. So if you want to check that one out, I have it linked for you, as always down in the show notes. We can always find it at everfordradiocom on YouTube. Make sure to head over there, subscribe to the channel If you enjoy watching video podcasts.

Brooke sat down with me, like I said, and really dove deep into her book how to Eat to Change how you Drink, how to Heal your Gut, mention your Mind and Improve Nutrition to Change your Relationship with Alcohol. The book is out now. I'll be linked for you down in the show notes, of course. Some key takeaways from my conversation today are going to include alcohol's impact on your overall health, how it influences cortisol levels, ie our stress. Ways to utilize wearable technology like an Apple Watch or for me, woop to monitor how alcohol takes a toll on our physiological state.

Our healthy alcoholic drinks really healthy at all? Like a little alcoholic kombucha? Is there any safe level of alcohol in the diet? Alcohol is an effect on brain health and Brooke really shares an incredible list of benefits of quitting alcohol. Or where I am just really questioning do I need this? Do I want this? What would a lifestyle look like? What would a life feel like with just less alcohol consumption overall.

If you haven't yet done so, it would mean the world if you would subscribe to the podcast on your podcast platform of choice. Like I said, youtube subscribe, apple podcast, spotify really does support the show in some big, big ways. It helps us grow, it helps us attract even more amazing guests like Brooke Scheller and help spread the word to help others live a life ever forward. Truly, if there's one thing I could ever ask every listener, every viewer to do, it would be just that. Take three seconds right here, right now, tap subscribe and make sure that you never miss another amazing episode so that you can continue to learn how to move forward in key areas of your wellbeing. Living a life ever forward is my goal, it is what I'm after and it is the through line of all my conversations with my guests. So if that resonates with you, you're in the right place. Subscribing to the show is going to be the best way to support it and support yourself along the way.

Thank you. This is going to be a really interesting topic because we're recording here in January dry January which I'm partaking in. I would love to crack open more with you in a minute, but I just want to start off by letting you in the audience know I enjoy alcohol. I enjoy the taste of it, I enjoy the bite of like a hearty IPA or a deep, rich red wine. I definitely do not like how it kind of makes you feel after even just one, sometimes now in your late thirties. But you've been sober since 2021. Do you miss it?

0:06:52 - Speaker 2 I don't miss it. You know it's such an interesting evolution because most people, when they come into sobriety or when they come into alcohol reduction, there is this missing, there's this longing. It's an evolution of our own sobriety process. Each person, I think, is a little bit more unique and early on in my, in my journey of sobriety, I think I missed it more. But now my life has changed and evolved in so many ways that I don't miss the way that it made me feel, I don't miss the experiences that I had with it. I kind of take all of that and recognize it and I'm grateful for it, but know that there's so much more on this side of my life that I'm enjoying.

0:07:38 - Speaker 1 And all that and more we're going to dive into. I have a lot of, a lot of questions, a lot of curiosities from my own relationship with alcohol and, you know, from my audience. I want to share, but before we really do, because you're the expert here, a doctorate of clinical nutrition, correct?

0:07:55 - Speaker 2 Yes, sir.

0:07:56 - Speaker 1 So can you just briefly describe to us high level what happens when we consume alcohol?

0:08:03 - Speaker 2 Yeah, that's a great question and the question on everybody's mind, right, Because for so long alcohol had a health halo, right, If you have a little bit of it, there's potentially some health benefit and what we've found in the research. More recently there was a lot of research, post-pandemic, that surfaced around some of the true effects of alcohol on things like our cardiovascular health, which is kind of the main area where we thought there was benefit before. And a lot of that benefit and I talk about this in the book is around the Mediterranean diet and the blue zones and those kind of hot topics.

0:08:38 - Speaker 1 God bless Dan Butler for shining a light on that right. Yeah, well they all have alcohol as a through line, all these blue zones majority of them, if I'm not mistaken. You find out all the healthy things they're doing and not doing and then, to your surprise wait a minute they're drinking alcohol.

0:08:52 - Speaker 2 Right. But what we like to do as a society is we hook onto that one thing, right, and we forget that people in these cultures are doing a lot of things differently. They're living in community with others, they're eating a diet that's really high in produce fresh produce, fish, lean proteins very low in processed foods and sugars, and so there's a lot of elements to it, but what we do is we go oh, but there's alcohol, so that must mean that that's the thing that's creating the benefit?

0:09:25 - Speaker 1 Or is justification Like oh look, the healthy people do it, the 100-year-old does it Exactly, so it's okay for me too, right?

0:09:30 - Speaker 2 Exactly, and one of the things that really inspired me to write the book was that when I went through my own experience in getting sober, what I found really interesting is, as a healthcare practitioner, as an expert in nutrition, I wasn't even taught about how alcohol is affecting all these different areas of the body. We know that it affects the liver and that's one of the big things that we say. Okay, we make jokes, right, that, oh, my liver is unhappy if I've had drinks for a couple of days or too many drinks. But as an expert in functional medicine, my training is all in root cause and really what's going on in underlying areas like the gut and the gut microbiome are nutrient levels and how that contributes to health effects, to things like our hormones and how all of these things manifest in our bodies.

But we don't always tie them back to alcohol. We don't always think that our hormone imbalances, for example, could be the result of our alcohol consumption. Infertility, for example, is a great example. But now we're seeing, over the last several years, more research coming out to show that, while there was maybe some controversy over small amounts of alcohol providing some benefits, what we know is that anything over these really low amounts. There's never been controversy over that, right, and so the way that it affects the brain, the way that it affects nutrient levels, the gut microbiome, all these different areas, right. And so what I like to share with people, and especially with people who do like to drink, is that if you do have a health goal and you have a health concern, alcohol, depending on how much you're drinking, is very likely to be making it worse, right, and so it really becomes a conversation around wellness rather than, you know, do I have a problem or not have a problem?

0:11:22 - Speaker 1 Yeah, I want to. I want to go back and kind of ask directly again. Just I'm trying to make sure the listener is squared away. We consume alcohol a glass of wine, a single beer, a shot. What is going on biochemically that maybe we're not fully aware of or we need a reminder to really understand? It's not like a shot of wheat grass. We're not getting all these great health boosting things that we might think we are. Whatever the justification is, we take the drink. What happens inside?

0:11:53 - Speaker 2 Yeah, great question. So when we consume alcohol, the body needs to metabolize the substance that is technically a toxic substance. What it does is our liver needs to work to break down alcohol. It breaks it into a couple of different compounds, intermediates, before it gets excreted from our body.

But what alcohol is doing, you know, to the different systems of the body is it's affecting our gut microbiome. It's creating imbalances in our bacteria and our gut, decreasing probiotics, all the good bacteria that we're maybe taking a supplement. It increases intestinal permeability, so it's breaking down the lining of the gut. It is increasing cortisol levels, which is our body's stress hormone. So it is, it's affecting all of these different areas in that, yes, our body is metabolizing alcohol and breaking down the substance, mainly in the liver. But that process itself creates almost a domino effect of impacts on all of these different areas. And that's where there's this misconception, right, that it's not just about, you know, the liver again, kind of taking the brunt or the burden it is, but because it is a toxic substance, it's impacting all of these other areas as well.

0:13:14 - Speaker 1 Great, all right, so we got that kind of foundational understanding of I drink. Here's what's going on. You also have and I know you love to talk about this these three archetypes of the drinker, and so let's use this as a way for the, for the viewer, the listener, to kind of just maybe drop into a bucket that they might relate to most, just to get an understanding of this is maybe you never thought about it where I have what it looks like, the relationship with alcohol, so that we can decide how to move forward or make any changes with the rest of the conversation.

0:13:44 - Speaker 2 Yeah, so part of the reason why I created these drinking archetypes was because, in my experience and if you read the book, you'll hear more about my story and how I identified, at the end as a person, as a very heavy drinker.

I was drinking, in the end, either daily or almost daily, and in my experience, full sobriety was the ideal direction for me to go. I didn't. I was not someone who could moderate and in reality, I knew that my alcohol consumption was creating a lot of impacts on my life, on my body, et cetera. But when I started going through the process of working with others, it was only a few months into my journey that I had started running programs that were around alcohol reduction, cessation from a nutrition and wellness perspective, which influenced the online programs that I have today, and what I found was that there were people who drank like me, that would come in and wanted to stop, but there were also people who drank very differently than me, that didn't drink every day, that drank maybe more on the weekends, but they were still struggling with being able to stop. They needed support and there was no programs out there for them. Right, it's either you go to AA or you drink.

0:14:58 - Speaker 1 It's like I'm an alcoholic or what's the? What's the alternative?

0:15:02 - Speaker 2 Exactly, and over the last several years there's been more movement in this, what we call the gray area gray area drinkers and people who kind of fall in that in between space. So the drinking archetypes were a way for me to help define these different types of drinkers and help people find some identification. But also for me it was about this is the scientist in me that is always thinking but why? Why is it that I become a habitual drinker and you might be more of a social drinker, for example? So it also helped me to understand more about the biochemistry, the biology, the physiology in the body, so that I could help figure out what ways we could use nutrition supplementation and some of these other tools to help balance the body. So the three archetypes are the social drinker and the social drinker is or, excuse me, let me reframe the three drinking archetypes are the social drinker, the stress drinker and the habitual drinker.

So the social drinker is someone who is mostly drinking on the weekends, maybe a few times a month weekend warriors. Sometimes they call themselves and they're not drinking every single day right, so they're unlikely to explore full sobriety, but oftentimes once they start they feel like they can't stop. They have one drink. Maybe they had anticipated only having one drink and they wake up with a hangover the next day because they've had six famous last words hey, let's go, let's just grab a drink, one drink and then you wake up like that the next day and you're like, oh my God why exactly?

exactly? So that's the social drinker. The stress drinker is someone who's more drinking in stress situations. They are drinking after a long day of work. They're drinking because of stress triggers and oftentimes I've found that the social drinker, or people, start as the social drinker. They may be transitioned into the stress drinker because their drinking starts picking up a little bit more. They're starting to reach for it to unwind.

They're reaching more of a tolerance, probably Exactly, and eventually these people maybe turn into the habitual, which is the third drinking archetype, and this is a person that I identify with, someone who has maybe more of a physical addiction, who's drinking more like daily or almost daily, and they're having more impacts on their body, brain et cetera, because of the amount of alcohol that they're bringing in. So, again, this was a way to just help people try to tap into which they most identify with and what I have found is that people who oftentimes are that habitual drinker have started as a social drinker and then have kind of moved through and increased their tolerance and their intake to ultimately end up in that place where maybe they do need a little bit more help with stopping.

0:17:55 - Speaker 1 I've heard you talk about this other group of drinkers that to my surprise, the data shows, or at least in what you were finding is one of the most imbibed groups out there, and that's the active person I've heard you talk about how exercisers, people who regularly exercise, actually report higher consumption. Higher consumption, maybe a more frequent consumption of alcohol, compared to people who don't exercise. Why do you think that is?

0:18:22 - Speaker 2 I think there's a few things that could be happening there. One is that and I can relate to this big time I don't know if you can, but trying to reverse the damage of what we've done with our drinking by going and exercising or, you know, cleansing, just like you said, you know cleansing, doing a detox, you know, taking three weeks, taking a dry January, for example.

I know that I was taking a lot of supplements and trying to do things to reverse the damage that I was doing with alcohol, so there's some speculation that that could be part of it, that people who are drinking heavily are trying to combat the effects with exercise.

0:19:00 - Speaker 1 So it's more so. They're maybe heavier drinkers and they just recognize the value of exercise and they kind of just swing hard to the other side of the pendulum. Maybe not necessarily hard exercises first that just happen to imbibe more.

0:19:14 - Speaker 2 Yeah, it's, you know it's, it's tough, it's like the chicken or the egg situation, right, and it's. It's the same thing with these blue zones too, right, and that you know it's. It's controversial in the way that, even if there is benefit in small amounts of alcohol, the amount of people who are truly drinking that moderate amount of alcohol is very low, right, and even the statistics from the American beverage association, the, the basically the alcohol industry, is that if people were truly drinking alcohol, the actual amount of alcohol that would be sold would be much, much, much lower, right. So in general, people are drinking a lot more than moderate, than moderate drinking, and then there's controversy over what is really moderate drinking.

0:20:04 - Speaker 1 What is moderate drinking?

0:20:05 - Speaker 2 Yeah, it's a good question. Well, it's. It's changing and it's evolving because in the United States today, we still have guidance that says that moderate drinking is two drinks or less per day for men, one drink or less per day for women, and that has been the standard for several years. In 2022, canada changed their guidance that anything over two drinks per week increased risk of health effects. The World Health Organization released statements that says that no amount of alcohol is safe, and in the US we only change nutrition guidelines every five years. So we are due for a an update in nutrition guidance in 2025.

So there's a lot of discussion around. Will we follow suit with Canada and decrease those guidelines or will we remain the same? And again, this gets into some of the industry ties of you know. It's like the dairy industry and how we're still promoting dairy consumption in the in the nutrition realm, and so it's. There's a lot of you know nuances to all of this, including the fact that, as you know, health research and nutrition research in general is really really difficult, because there's a lot of, there's a lot of factors in our body, in our lifestyle. Right, alcohol is one what we eat, how we exercise, our exposures, how sedentary we are, if we're getting sunlight where we live. You know there's all of these kind of complexities to it.

0:21:35 - Speaker 1 To say the standard of moderate drinking is two or less for a male, one or less for a female is one of the most difficult blanket statements in a nutritional standard I have ever come up against Because, to your point, it is so, so unique to the person, even the same weight person.

It's all about body composition. More you know, someone with more muscle mass compared to body fat mass is going to metabolize at a higher rate. Genetics, epigenetics, tolerance, hydration, sleep, I mean all of these things. Are you sweating it out a lot more like crazy, already hydrated and even if more fit person? It's so hard to even just come close to agreeing with that, in my opinion. Hey guys, quick break to to pay some bills over here at EverFord radio but, more importantly, share something with you that has added some pretty wild benefits to my general well being.

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0:25:33 - Speaker 2 Yeah, yeah. And the reality is again that this is. It's a substance that you know not to come in with like the scare factor here, but the reason why we feel drunk when we drink is because it is a poison to our nervous system. It's a toxin. It's a toxin. So the reason that we feel tipsy and we can't drive is because our nervous system is being poisoned. So when we think about it in that way, you know that. You know, even if there were benefits in red wine because of the resveratrol, we don't need to be consuming. If we wanted to get the resveratrol, the, you know, the longevity promoting antioxidants, we can get that from grapes, we can get that from other foods, and so if we truly were drinking it or wanting to consume it for its health benefits, there are other ways that we can get those types of health benefits.

0:26:27 - Speaker 1 What about hormones? You kind of hit on it earlier, but I would love to have you just kind of crack open alcohol and hormones because I feel like 2023. For maybe it's just my kind of familiarity with the space. I'm just very plugged into the wellness world. So, you know, awareness theory, I guess, but I feel like hormones, understanding hormones, getting hormone testing was very top of mind for a lot of people. And I think it's a great thing. What, or how rather, does alcohol affect our hormones, and which ones, and which ways?

0:26:55 - Speaker 2 Yeah, Great question. All of them is the answer, and it's because of a couple of reasons. And hormones are I like to explain it almost like an orchestra right? That there's all of these different hormones in the body, we have all these different systems and they're all part of this larger symphony. Right? That if hormones are imbalanced in one area if we have really high cortisol levels, for example, which is our body's stress hormone, that will impact our sex hormones, it will impact our thyroid hormones, it will impact our blood sugar hormones and the like, right?

And so alcohol affects hormones in several different ways. One of them is that hormone balance is partially done in the liver. And when we are putting in alcohol into the liver, I like to explain it like this that we almost have to prioritize. The liver has to prioritize what's happening, right? That if there is a lot of alcohol coming in, it's going to deprioritize things like hormone balance, right? Because it is saying all right, there's two things coming in. I have to take what's the priority. The priority is going to be this toxic substance. So part of the reason that alcohol increases risk of things like breast cancer, for example, is because of the way that it influences the liver and hormone regulation in the liver and basically estrogen turnover. So that is one way that alcohol is affecting hormones, having to do with liver and liver detoxification and waste removal in the body. One of the other ways that I'll mention is cortisol, and this is a topic that's been really interesting and really, I think, pressing, because we live in a really high stress world and high stress society.

0:28:45 - Speaker 1 And also cortisol. It is not the devil, my words it's. I think it's kind of gotten a bad rap and sorry to interrupt it, I don't know if you're this way or you're going, but I feel like cortisol has kind of gotten a bad rap because that's all we hear. You know, high cortisol, elevated cortisol and yes, of course, if it is elevated high for prolonged periods of time it's going to run amok and crash the symphony to your point. But we need it. It's literally how our circadian rhythm gets kickstarted. It's how most of our organs get kickstarted. It's kind of like the conductor in a way, but it just it shouldn't be allowed to run amok.

0:29:18 - Speaker 2 Yes. So cortisol is naturally, you know, in our body regardless, and the challenge is that you know all different types of stressors are going to affect cortisol right, so it almost becomes. Where are we, where are we going to choose the way that we're affecting our cortisol right? And again, the challenge is that we live in a very high stress world. So even being on social media increases cortisol watching the news, watching politics, you know, having to answer emails all day and all night and being kind of bombarded by our phones that's driving cortisol. And the really interesting thing about cortisol is there are some studies that show that alcohol, in just a single drinking episode, alcohol increases cortisol and it takes about seven days for cortisol to re stabilize.

0:30:12 - Speaker 1 All right, now is a drinking episode. One drink, or is it just two or more drinks? Okay, so two more drinks in a block of time in one day. Okay.

0:30:21 - Speaker 2 Is going to impact cortisol for seven or more days. Wow, so that means if you are only drinking once a week, you are still having effects of cortisol days later. And recently I shared something on Instagram that got a lot of attention, which was that you don't have to be drinking alcohol every single day for alcohol to be affecting your life every single day. And this is a great example of that this cortisol because even if you drink on a Saturday, by Thursday, you may still have higher baseline cortisol levels from that Saturday's drinking episode.

0:30:56 - Speaker 1 Wow, and they talk about getting slingshot it back. That's maybe why we have this influence or this internal drive to come Friday night or by the weekend, because we finally it's taken that many days to shake off the last experience with alcohol. That's why we're kind of like, finally, all right, it's not just the weekend, but it's like our internal kind of system going, hey, we can, we can take it again.

0:31:18 - Speaker 2 That's what we're seeing in the research is that the previous drinking episode, the increases in cortisol, are influencing future drinking behavior. Right, so I talk about this because, as much as we feel like we're in control of these choices, alcohol is is affecting the body on such a deep level that it is making it harder for us to kick that stress cycle. It's almost keeping us stuck in the stress cycle, and so basically, what happens is we drink because we're stressed and we're stressed because we drink. Right, and the ways that we can start to regulate our nervous system more naturally exercise, sunlight, nature, outdoors all these different things that you know meditation, that we're all kind of like, yeah, I know, I need to do that, and like they're all good ideas in theory, right, it is great.

0:32:10 - Speaker 1 I've been on a meditation practice for a couple of months now. It's amazing Very late to the game, but it's, I love it.

0:32:15 - Speaker 2 It's amazing and that is what truly helps to lower cortisol, right, but it's hard to get to get out of that cycle, but not impossible, right. So it's important for us to be thinking about and again to exactly to your point people are going to drink alcohol, no matter what it will. It will always be around, but it has always been around we. We can make the choices that if we are not feeling well, if we truly want to seek wellness in our lives, the question that I would say to ask yourself is is this really affecting my life in a positive way, or is this having a negative effect on my life?

0:32:53 - Speaker 1 When I get to the behavior change self reflection time a little bit towards the end. But while we're still kind of this concept of hormones, I would love if you could help us understand. Is there more of a danger to consuming alcohol based on its effect on our hormones, as a male or as a female? Should guys be more concerned about watching their frequency and amounts of alcohol, or should women? Or is it really unilateral?

0:33:20 - Speaker 2 I would say it's unilateral. It's going to affect hormones in both genders. In men, we see changes to testosterone, we see up regulation of something called the aromatase pathway, which is basically our body, or your body, not mine will increase testosterone conversion into estrogen. So what happens is you end up with lower testosterone and higher estrogen.

0:33:47 - Speaker 1 Just from regularly consuming alcohol.

0:33:50 - Speaker 2 Correct. This can happen from other toxins in the body. So alcohol isn't the only thing that up regulates this aromatase pathway, but it is one thing that will and that can create a slew of obviously concerns with men, but it will similarly do that in women. So women do need testosterone too. It will up regulate this conversion to estrogen and oftentimes we end up with this storage of estrogen in the body which is kind of continually affected by this.

Again impacts to the liver, but with both men and women we're going to see impacts to things like fertility. We are going to see impacts to, again, cancer risk, hormonal based cancers, and you know, I think that even more so we, especially with women, we oftentimes blame symptoms on hormones that we don't know Like it must be PMS, it must be menopause symptoms and alcohol, because of the way it affects hormones, could potentially be making those symptoms worse. So if you are someone who a woman who's listening, who might have extreme PMS symptoms again, or maybe midlife that is experiencing heavy menopause or perimenopause, I would take a look at alcohol intake because that might be making things a little bit worse.

0:35:17 - Speaker 1 With our hormones? Is there any amount, any frequency of alcohol consumption that we can have male or female, and still by measure of labs will say, still maintain healthy hormones?

0:35:35 - Speaker 2 Yeah, I mean, everybody's body is different, right? It's hard to say that you know, if you were to drink that it's definitely going to, or definitely not going to, affect your hormones. Again, my question, and what I always prompt people with, is do you have a health goal and, if so, question if alcohol is contributing to that or harming that right? So again, if you are a female that is having PMS symptoms, for example, alcohol is going to be affecting that in some way. So it's more about looking at where you're at and what your goals are, and testing in labs and all of that can be really helpful in identifying where you stand today. But just know that the more that you consume alcohol, it is potentially going to make those areas worse.

0:36:28 - Speaker 1 I'm a big test guy. I love all the biomarkers and 2023. I went through probably the most extensive labs that I could get my hands on.

0:36:37 - Speaker 2 That's my favorite.

0:36:38 - Speaker 1 I double dip. You know I data track a lot of my Apple Watch, my Woo, but I'm not a nut about it. It might sound crazy, but I don't let it run my life. I just use it as hmm. Ok, that's interesting and it influences my decision making on a large scale, or even daily basis.

And now, as we're recording, we're wrapping up January 2024. And I've been doing dry January. For the first time ever, I have one night where I was not dry at all, Maybe like three drinks. We're traveling, visiting some friends and you know it was my choice and I don't feel any kind of way about it.

But I am very curious to see, even with just one night mid month. I'm having labs drawn again next week, monday actually, and I'm really curious to see because the rest of my life is very routine and regimented. I got a great system for daily activity, for sleep, nutrition, hydration, all of that. So I'm really curious to see, with alcohol being pretty much the only main variable that has changed or actually been pretty much eliminated, what influence that's going to have on my labs full home, home panel, all the things.

0:37:42 - Speaker 2 So no real question there, I'm just you know that's what I'm going through, so you'll fill us in after you get the last time ever that I've had labs drawn, since I was honestly 19 and within that window, have not consumed alcohol regularly.

Well, it's very interesting because it's also again going to be dependent on how much you were consuming alcohol before Right. So if you were a habitual drinker and you were someone who was drinking every day or most days, you'd probably see more benefit and more change in the course of a month than you would being more of a social drinker.

0:38:16 - Speaker 1 Yeah.

0:38:17 - Speaker 2 Right, but what I will say? And the biometrics are really interesting.

I really like the wearables and the R ring, for example was part of my experience in that in my drinking days what I would find in the with the R ring was that my resting heart rate would stay elevated all night. So on a normal day now, my resting heart rate goes into the low sixties, the high fifties. When I was drinking and maybe this is something that you've experienced or people who are listening have experienced my heart rate stayed more in the eighties nineties, which is quite scary when you think about it, right, the difference there.

0:38:55 - Speaker 1 Not far from Takakartia. You're getting over that hundred.

0:38:58 - Speaker 2 Yeah, and and so these are things that I really believe. The more that we can see the data points, I think it helps us understand and and know truly the impacts that it's having on us, and I was just talking about this to someone earlier that I really believe that it helps influence that change and can help people stay on track with their alcohol reduction or alcohol free goals, knowing that there are health benefits and really truly seeing them in things like the wearables or the labs.

0:39:29 - Speaker 1 Beyond getting in depth labs, I started wearing a whoop physical activity tracker four and a half years ago now almost, and I mean this.

I'm not getting lab drawn every day, but it is checking things like resting, heart rate, heart rate variability, pulse, pulmonary rate, sleep, a lot of things. And I got to say having that kind of literally every day, looking at my phone and kind of just looking at yeah, it was a wild Saturday night or it was a chill Wednesday and I had a nice big glass of wine, the influence that it had on my body, without me getting labs, looking at hormones or anything like that, just seeing like, wow, I got crap, sleep, I kind of feel it. But now I can actually see the cycles that I'm missing. I can see the increase in heart rate, I can see the decrease in HRV. Just that little insight has been enough to nudge me with some other things I'm going to get into with you later on about how much even just one glass, one beer, one, whatever influences my well being and that's been enough for me over the years to just radically reduce my frequency and, for sure, my amount.

0:40:39 - Speaker 2 We like the personalization, like as human beings, we like the personalization. It's hard to hear like these broader things, and I think that another thing I was just talking to someone about earlier today is cancer. Right, and one of the known effects of alcohol consumption is increased risk of several cancers. But for a lot of people that seems really far away. Right, like it's this ah yeah, maybe in years from now that'll happen and you know that's future me's problem, right?

Whereas when we see these kinds of daily effects, I'll use skin, for example, and skin as in, maybe someone's experiencing acne or eczema or psoriasis, maybe they have just aging skin, for example. But we oftentimes don't think of the ways that alcohol affects these kinds of everyday goals that we have, right. So, let's say, I'm a woman with acne and I really want to, you know, control my acne. Well, alcohol is affecting that by way of things like hormones, by way of things like our gut and our gut microbiome, and the amount of times I've had clients who've seen major improvements in something like skin over the course of days, weeks, a month, is a very radical change. That again something like cancer, which is so far out. It makes it a little bit easier when we can see these more immediate changes.

0:42:09 - Speaker 1 Short-term and me.

0:42:10 - Speaker 2 Short-term benefits specific to me, right, and so I think that the wearables and these different, you know short-term changes that we see with short-term alcohol reduction, so even dry January, the people who do that often report I feel better, my energy is better, my digestion is better. You know, all of these improvements are happening and we don't necessarily kind of take that, as you know, to move forward with, but it's something again to consider and the question I always pose to people is really just evaluating what role is it playing in your life? Is it something that you feel like has a little bit of a hold on you? And if so, is it worth challenging that? Because for me and again at the end I was drinking quite heavily, but within just a few months of alcohol elimination, my entire life changed. I got a book deal, I ran a half marathon, I had all of these major changes happen in my life and these were things that I had been wanting to do for years that just with removing that barrier of alcohol I was able to make strides toward.

0:43:23 - Speaker 1 Amazing. I love that for you and that's you know why we're here talking today. I want to dive a little bit into gut health stuff Because this is I've definitely been there and I'm sure someone listening is like, well, you know, alcohol is fermented, right. Fermented things are good for my gut, or what about alcoholic kombucha? Or a lot of new alcoholic alternative drinks that I've seen come out over the years that even promote healthy for your gut, added probiotics, things like that. Is that true? Is there any form of alcohol, even with things that are good for us? Erich quote here having the alcohol in there, are we just kind of like coming out net zero anyway?

0:44:05 - Speaker 2 Yeah. So basically, you know, the research shows and this is not new research this has been around for at least 10, 15 years, as long as we've been talking about the gut. We know that alcohol is having a negative effect on the gut for a few reasons. One is that it is affecting our digestion, our absorption. So when we put alcohol into our stomach, into our small intestine, it is affecting how we absorb nutrients and how we break down our food. That is just one example.

That is, I think, again, something that's not as tangible for people. We go, oh okay, well, I'll take supplements, you know all those types of things. But the gut microbiome is another big subject and what we see is that alcohol decreases bacterial diversity. So it is lowering several of our probiotics like lactopacillus bifidobacterium strains. It's also allowing overgrowth of harmful microbes. So we talk a lot about dysbiosis. There's a whole chapter on the gut in the book and dysbiosis is basically just imbalances in the bacteria that live in our gut and alcohol is kind of feeding this dysbiosis. And again, this can manifest in people not just as digestive issues, but this can manifest as skin issues.

0:45:26 - Speaker 1 This can manifest as headaches, as inflammation as all root cause coming from all root cause coming from the gut.

0:45:32 - Speaker 2 Wow, right. In addition to that alcohol itself and again, it's when you're thinking about what it's mixed with, right, what is the consistent thread throughout is the toxin, which is the part that makes us drunk, right, and it's that toxin that has these negative effects, right. So the ethanol, the alcohol itself also, is very disruptive to the barrier of the gut, the lining of the gut, and it increases intestinal permeability, or what we often call leaky gut. Yeah.

So it's basically starting to break down the lining of the gut and promote other issues like inflammation. It contributes to intestinal permeability, contributes to things like autoimmune disease, other types of allergies that develop, food sensitivities, seasonal allergies and other types of immune dysregulation, and so it is more than just you know. It's affecting how we break down our food. It's creating again, or potentially the root cause of a lot of these underlying things that we might be experiencing.

0:46:43 - Speaker 1 So, even with all the enhancements in the product, the probiotics, the fermented, whatever I keep going to kombucha because I see so many alcoholic kombucha products out there now. There's no benefit.

0:47:00 - Speaker 2 I would say no. And what I would also say is if you think about what we use alcohol for in a hospital, for example, it's an antiseptic right. It's killing bacteria, so it's doing exactly that. And again, I not long ago saw there's a product that boasts that there's vitamin C in it, and what's really interesting about that is that vitamin C is often used as a preservative, so it's probably in there as a preservative and they're almost switching the benefit to say it has this vitamin C in it. But alcohol itself and one of my favorite topics to talk about is how it lowers nutrient levels it's going to wash out our vitamin C, our vitamin D, our B vitamins, magnesium, zinc basically all of our nutrients.

0:47:51 - Speaker 1 Maybe that's why all these brands are putting it in there, because they're going hey, we're just going to help you kind of get net zero here. You're not going to walk away with anything added, but it might just be kind of neutral at the end of the day.

0:48:02 - Speaker 2 I think we're trying to make it happen, but it doesn't really work that way, unfortunately.

0:48:08 - Speaker 1 All right, I want to go a little bit further here. I'm trying to maybe this is just old Chase trying to justify some.

I know I'm like sitting here like really trying to like you're like, but but wait there's a product that I that I love and it's an alcoholic beverage company packed with functional mushrooms adaptogens shout out pulp culture and I got to say when I drink that or a similar product, I feel like I don't get that buzz as quickly. I definitely find that I don't feel, definitely don't get to the same feeling or level of drunk. Should I get to that point, which I really don't anymore, and also the next day, depending on how many I've had or a lot of other factors, I really don't feel any level of hangover or just kind of like sluggish. Is there anything going on with functional mushrooms adaptogens that could be used to benefit or to reduce kind of those negative effects of alcohol when we drink them together?

0:49:09 - Speaker 2 Yeah. So in theory, yes, right, because, exactly like we talked about, cortisol is affected, the nutrients are affected, the gut is affected.

0:49:18 - Speaker 1 Like with Rashi, theoretically lower cortisol levels.

0:49:21 - Speaker 2 Right. So theoretically, yes, but has it been studied? No.

0:49:26 - Speaker 1 Sign me up, I'll study that.

0:49:27 - Speaker 2 Yeah, so so. But this is great discussion because this is, I think, where the future is right is do these things actually truly combat it? My experience in personal and of one study in trying to take a lot of supplements and reverse those things Not necessarily have I seen the effect, but I was a habitual drinker. I was someone who was drinking much more heavily, rather than maybe more of a social or here and there, and trying to reverse those benefits and that's probably a huge variable.

It is a big variable because we call it. It's a dose dependent relationship the more you drink, the more effects you're going to have from alcohol. So if you're not having it as often, and maybe these functional beverages you know, I think, to be determined Interesting to, I would suggest they try, they do a study on it because it would be interesting to see those effects, especially over the long term of consuming it.

0:50:25 - Speaker 1 Okay, now what if I was kidding my question?

0:50:28 - Speaker 2 though, is always like what is it if we're holding on to alcoholic? What is it that we're holding on to, you know? Is it the social element? Is it the relationship or the friendship element? Is it the stress relief element? Because all of us have these different experiences with alcohol that inform how we consume it, how it plays a role in our lives today. And I always say to people, if they're listening and they're curious about it, like they know, there's like this little gut feeling of like maybe this is something I should try, maybe, maybe.

0:51:04 - Speaker 1 I should cut that, unless there's just your gut being screwed off from all the alcohol, the different gut feeling.

0:51:09 - Speaker 2 Well, well, that's no, but that's that's part of it too, right, because the way that alcohol is affecting our gut microbiome and affecting things like our vagus nerve, our gut brain connection, right, so that's it affecting our ability to tune into our gut feelings.

0:51:24 - Speaker 1 Can we go there next please?

0:51:25 - Speaker 2 Yes, let's do it, I have down in my little flow.

0:51:28 - Speaker 1 I would love to dive into the brain and alcohol and then what you're just talking about is so important. This is the social influence, the personal influence, the socioeconomic, cultural norms that I think are probably the most strong contributing factors to people's consumption in terms of frequency and amount. The brain when we drink alcohol, let's say, one glass of wine to the bottle, what is going on with those drinks and the brain?

0:52:00 - Speaker 2 Yeah, so part of the reason why we experience stress relief from alcohol, or we feel that taking the edge off right, Is because of the way that alcohol influences neurotransmitters, so things like dopamine, GABA, which is less commonly known but a really important neurotransmitter because it is our body's relaxing neurotransmitter. So one of the ways that alcohol brings on this feeling of relief or this is this increase in GABA and also a reduction in something called glutamate, which is our body's almost like a stimulating neurotransmitter. Almost revs things up, yeah.

And so alcohol almost takes the foot off the gas and presses on the break right. So that's why we get that initial ha right. So that's the brain's impact from, or the neurotransmitter impact, which is, you know, part of the function of the brain, but the brain itself. What we are finding in the more recent research is that the that alcohol is reducing gray and white matter, so it's reducing the structure, the size of our brain and it's increasing the aging process. So there's some interesting research from 2022 that showed that and I don't have the exact numbers off the top of my head, but some amount of alcohol increases are aging by like two years. So, depending on, again, how much we're drinking, it's going to increase this aging process in the brain. So there's a couple of different ways, again, structurally versus functionally, how alcohol is affecting the brain. And what happens is, even though we feel this relief and this sensation from alcohol and we might think, oh, this is something positive, it's something good, right Again, it's creating all of these other domino effects, right.

So maybe we're getting this increase of GABA, but what's happening is we're increasing cortisol, right, and so these it's again, think of the brain as part of this orchestra. Right, in that we are getting these short term benefits but having these long term effects, right. So, again, this is where I always start to challenge and say how do we start to influence the brain in similar ways without having the negative effects? So GABA, for example, people take GABA supplements or they take cofactors, they take L-theanine and other functional you know, functional mushrooms, for example, ashwagandha, these other things that can help influence neurotransmitters.

0:54:43 - Speaker 1 You keep it stocked right over here. There you go, a little sash Perfect.

0:54:47 - Speaker 2 I'm upset, I don't have one in my hand, right now, that's my fault.

0:54:50 - Speaker 1 I should have let you scroll away.

0:54:51 - Speaker 2 You know, maybe I'll come back, Maybe I won't. So it's always at what risk? Right In that? Sure, there are short term benefits, but there are also long term effects too, and so the question always becomes can we relax, you know, if that's what the goal is, from when we drink? Can we do that in other ways that aren't creating harmful ongoing effects?

0:55:18 - Speaker 1 What about? Is the damage done? What if we are listening and we're going? Yeah, you know what I'm getting. Really honest, I I'm not saying this about me, but just the person. You know what. I drink more than I would like, I drink more often, I drink too heavily. Whatever your opinion, your own personal evaluation is and I'm hearing like man, I'm, maybe I've, maybe I've done damage to my gut, maybe I've added years, the aging process to my brain, the brain, the gut, the body. Is it too late? Can we reverse any of this potential damage?

0:55:54 - Speaker 2 We can reverse most of this damage. Thankfully, especially the gut is very malleable right and in just a few weeks of changing diet will change bacterial diversity. So pretty quickly we can start to make shifts and things like the gut microbiome. You know, when it comes to the brain, there is a lot that we can do in terms of supporting ongoing performance of brain, increasing and improving the structure by adding in omega threes and other things that can really help to rebalance brain chemistry. There are a lot of things that we can repair and rebalance in the system.

But I also think it's important to know that I preface this to say that doesn't mean that you know, we go six weeks of drinking and six weeks off. You know what I mean. Like it's not necessarily a net zero that we get to with this. In that, again, I always challenge people to say that If there is a health goal that you have or a concern that you have that it's worth investigating how alcohol might be contributing to that. So, for example, if you have, you know, an issue with brain, with cognition, with memory, with focus, those things are worth evaluating, taking alcohol out and instilling some of these other habits, improving diet, maybe adding supplementation, etc. And there's a lot of, you know, reversal that we can do, but it's hard to say, I think, over the long term, what things are fully reversible versus not.

0:57:34 - Speaker 1 Can you maybe hit on a couple generalize disorders, ailments to even chronic illnesses, diseases, diagnosis that absolutely any amount of alcohol is contributing to these becoming worse and most likely not ever going away.

0:57:51 - Speaker 2 Yeah, I mean most. I know that's a broad answer to your question, but everything from digestive issues you know I work with a lot of people who have irritable bowel, who have inflammatory bowel, ulcerative colitis, crohn's these are definitely being affected by alcohol. There's, again, because of the way that alcohol is increasing inflammation in the digestive system, contributing to these microbiome changes. Anything that's rooting to the gut is going to be influenced by alcohol. Again, hormone imbalances are another big one.

Anxiety and depression If you're experiencing anxiety and depression, and again, this is another one of those like vicious cycle scenarios, because we often drink when we're anxious or depressed and, because of the way that alcohol affects the brain, lowers nutrients. One of the things I talk about often are the B vitamins and how they're really heavily affected by alcohol consumption. They're also the key nutrients that we need to support neurotransmitter production dopamine, serotonin, for example and so again, we kind of get trapped in this cycle of drink because I'm anxious, anxious because I drink, and I can relate to that big time. That was a big part of me finally changing my alcohol use, because I was and I had experienced anxiety for 20 years, but I'd also been drinking for 20 years, you know, and so it's. I share that in my experience, my anxiety went from a 10 to a 2.

0:59:25 - Speaker 1 Wow, wow, that's huge Pretty quickly right.

0:59:28 - Speaker 2 And so what?

0:59:29 - Speaker 1 was it like for you? Was it like to go from a 10 to a 2 after years, decades of just high level chronic anxiety?

0:59:37 - Speaker 2 You know it's. It's why I'm sober today, it's why I don't drink now, because I recognized that I was making choices that were making me feel worse, and I don't. I don't blame myself in any way because I didn't know any better. I am a health care practitioner and expert in this and I didn't know, which is why I feel so passionately about sharing this, because people I mean millennials are experiencing anxiety at insane rates record highs, record highs. And Gen Z too, Right and so A lot of them don't drink.

1:00:15 - Speaker 1 I think I feel like not to get too far ahead, but I feel like this kind of sober sober curious, just not really alcohol influenced culture or community generation is very prevalent right now, which blows my mind to think about OK, if they're not doing, or doing far less of one of the things we're talking about, that contributes most heavily to chronic anxiety, even acute anxiety, like damn, what else is going on in the world?

1:00:43 - Speaker 2 Well, I think that's social media and and the the technology that we live in today is driving a lot of that for the younger generations too, because, you know, I even think about our influences as, as a millennial woman who grow up watching the real world and all the TV shows that were portraying alcohol and getting drunk in in public as this and getting famous for it. Adult behavior.

1:01:10 - Speaker 1 Yeah.

1:01:10 - Speaker 2 Right, Like that is what we looked at. Oh, that is a successful adult, Right? Yeah, I have to laugh because it's insane. And so you know, we think about these influence, these external factors, these influences that have really trained our brains into why we do what we do, why we consume, and again how that became more important than so many other things, right? So anxiety, for example, like very rarely did someone ever say well, I wonder how much this alcohol is contributing to your anxiety Right.

No it's oh, you must be working too hard, or you must be this, that or the other.

1:01:48 - Speaker 1 It's never the booze.

1:01:49 - Speaker 2 It's never the booze Right and you're working too hard.

1:01:53 - Speaker 1 Let's go to happy hour, come on.

1:01:55 - Speaker 2 Yeah Right, and it just again. The cycle is what keeps coming up for me of we get stucked in that it's really hard to break that cycle but it's possible, and when we put it's possible and when we, but it's possible, and when we put it's possible and when it's possible and when we, but it's possible and when we. And to me, that is what has happened to the people that I work with, the people that have influenced me to make this change, and I have never heard someone who quit drinking say man, I wish I didn't quit drinking, or I wish I didn't, I wish I drank more. Yeah Right, because the less we do it, the more connected we are, physically again, in our body, in our wellness, um, in our minds, in our spirit. All of it in connection with other people, um, you know, in true connection, in that, not this, you know, alcohol induced connection of what are we talking about? Because we don't even know kind of connection Exactly, and so it's been.

Um, it's been a real pleasure to to take my expertise in nutrition and marry these two things together, because the wellness world really needs to hear this more. Mm, hmm. There's still a lot of alcohol ingrained in the wellness culture and um, and I really believe that that's going to change over the next couple of years.

1:03:28 - Speaker 1 I want to get into, uh, that portion last year. We're talking about just the other contributing factors to maybe why we're drinking. How do we taper down if we want?

to change how much or eliminate entirely? But my last question around the body and alcohol, because you're the expert here. He quite literally wrote the book on how to change what you eat, to change how you drink. You've been hitting on some key things, talking about vitamin B, health, the anine, omega-3s, a lot of things for the gut, for the brain. Can you walk us through a little crash course please on nutrition and supplementation, because I know you talk about both and believe in both, daily nutrition and supplementation that the general person Could, or even you would highly recommend, recommend to prioritize, should they currently have any level of alcohol consumption in their life?

1:04:24 - Speaker 2 Yes, so this is why I wrote the book on it, because I think it's I think that it's a really un tapped Resource that we have. We're eating three times a day at least. Usually, we are maybe already taking supplements. We are again trying to maximize and optimize how we feel and when it comes to, when it comes to, when it comes to, when it comes to, when it comes to, when it comes to, when it comes to, when it comes to, when it comes to, when it comes to, when it comes to, when it comes to, when it comes to, when it comes to, when it comes to, when it comes to, when it comes to, when it comes to, when it comes to, when it comes toaves. He already and it is not because of Alcohol having carbs or sugar, which is kind of what most people think, or I call this the vodka club theory. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

1:05:20 - Speaker 1 I come from the world of you know back in the day if it fits your macros and all this stuff we alcohol was the fourth macronutrient. Right, it's got seven calories per gram, right.

1:05:29 - Speaker 2 Correct Yep. And so again, if we think about it in that scientific way, if we almost think about it as nutrition, right, then we can use nutrition to support it.

1:05:37 - Speaker 1 Which is just well. I'm hijacking again here, but just that. What you just said is so. That's such a core aspect of the influence of alcohol in our life. We justify it because we put it in this category. Oh, it's a type of macronutrient. I'm making space for it. I'm making room in my calories for my health goal. Just think about that for a second. What are we doing? What are we telling ourselves? It's crazy, mm-hmm.

1:06:03 - Speaker 2 Yeah, it's. We forget that. It's something that the body metabolizes just like we would any other food or beverage that we consume. Right, but it gets this kind of like separation.

1:06:14 - Speaker 1 It's like I'm saying how many times I've gone out years ago. I'm saving my carbs for the bar. Right, I've saved 200 grams of carbs for alcohol to come later.

1:06:24 - Speaker 2 Damn.

1:06:25 - Speaker 1 And I'm like, oh, if this my macros and you know I'm still hitting the weights in all the numbers and all the things but just like, wow, what a shift, what a paradigm shift.

1:06:31 - Speaker 2 Right. Well, again, this is what I call the vodka club theory, because people think, okay, if it doesn't have sugar and it doesn't have carbs, then it's fine. Right, it's nothing.

1:06:40 - Speaker 1 Just getting it straight up no mixers or you know club soda.

1:06:44 - Speaker 2 Right and like, and yeah, it's lowering carbs and calories, but it's again, it's the alcohol itself, the molecule that's making us feel drunk, that has to be there in order for us to get that high, if you will. That that substance is what's affecting the body in all of these ways, right? So another one of the ways is it's affecting our blood sugar. It affects how our body releases glucagon and insulin, the hormones that manage and regulate our blood sugar. So with long-term, consistent consumption, we have tendency to fall more into hypoglycemic state. So the statistic is actually that about Low blood sugar, right, correct?

1:07:25 - Speaker 1 For everybody listening.

1:07:26 - Speaker 2 The statistic is actually that about 95% of frequent alcohol users have blood sugar dysregulation. I see this a lot in my heavy alcohol users in lab testing that people have this tendency to fall into hypoglycemia, right. Not necessarily increases in blood sugar, although if we're consuming a lot of wine, for example, which is gonna have sugar and carbs in it, then we're gonna get more of the spiking of blood sugar but it's the the alcohol itself is sending us more frequently into the state of low blood sugar, right? So what happens when people quit or cut back in drinking is they often get really extreme sugar cravings. And there's, you know, there's this potential that dopamine plays some type of role, because sugar also increases dopamine.

But there's also this blood sugar situation that's happening, and the good news about that is that when we talk about how we start to manage or change the way that we drink or our desires or tendencies to drink, is by regulating blood sugar. Not only is blood sugar going to affect cravings for alcohol, it's also going to affect our mood, it's going to affect anxiety levels, it's going to affect our energy, it's going to help us regulate cortisol, because cortisol is also tied into blood sugar, and so by using this principle of regulating blood sugar. We can have a lot of impact on the way that we feel throughout the day and the choices that we make, whether that's food or drink, and so one of the big recommendations and things that I talk about in the book is increasing protein intake throughout the day, which is it's such like. Well, of course, right.

1:09:10 - Speaker 1 Yeah, yeah, big fan of that over here. Regardless of the reason, most people could definitely benefit, regardless of your personal wellness goals, by increasing protein.

1:09:17 - Speaker 2 Totally 100% right. People are very rarely thinking about it when it comes to alcohol consumption, but it is something that I've seen. I work with hundreds of clients around the world and increasing protein, especially at certain points in the day, like the afternoon, when people struggle most with wanting a drink. I've had so many people come to me and say Brooke, five o'clock, I have to have the drink. I don't. You know, I'm craving it. I don't have the willpower to say no, and this is what I hear all the time. I don't have the willpower. Well, my question is always well, when was the last time you ate? Is it lunch five hours ago? Was it a sugary snack at two o'clock in the afternoon? Because now you just have low blood sugar.

1:09:58 - Speaker 1 Yeah, it might not be willpower, it's actually blood sugar.

1:10:01 - Speaker 2 It's exactly what it is and when we start to make the changes to regulate blood sugar throughout the day, increase protein, different meals throughout the day, but especially the afternoon snack. If you're listening and you're someone who is like a five PM end of the day, I challenge you to try to substitute that with food, with a snack at that time. Give yourself 10 minutes and see what happens.

1:10:24 - Speaker 1 Yeah, absolutely Honestly, even a big glass of water.

1:10:30 - Speaker 2 Yeah, Dehydration can also increase alcohol cravings as well.

1:10:35 - Speaker 1 Yeah, I'll say swap out your drink, the after work drink, for a protein shake or just a big glass of high quality water. Give yourself 15 minutes, 30 minutes tops. See if you still feel the same way about your lack of or amount of willpower for whatever you're having next, it's going to completely shift.

1:10:51 - Speaker 2 It's going to completely shift because oftentimes, these again, these cravings, I don't have the willpower. That's just our body saying I need something. Yes, it's our warning signal.

1:11:03 - Speaker 1 Yeah, which is so freeing when you think about it, because you think I need to develop willpower, I need to have more resilience, you know I need to have all these things. That you feel it's kind of like I'm lacking experience, when no, it's just a little bit of biochemistry. There's just a little bit of blood sugar, some hydration, just get some nutrients in and just a little bit of time, and then you're good. You're good.

1:11:25 - Speaker 2 You know we beat up up on ourselves a lot, and women especially. I don't know if you can relate as a man, but women especially, we beat up on ourselves that we're not strong enough to say no or we don't have the willpower to do that, you know, especially with alcohol, or whether it's cutting back on sugar or trying to modify diet and eat in a particular way. If we're struggling with it we often blame ourselves right, and it's so mean to do, but usually again it's just our body saying I need something right, what is that thing that I'm looking for? And so if we can find that and sometimes the data tools help, you know, even something like a continuous glucose monitor can be really helpful for this you might find that you're falling into low blood sugar a lot and that that's contributing.

Yeah, I'm also wearing a glucose monitor, oh yeah, I was wearing one for a while, but yeah.

1:12:17 - Speaker 1 Which is another whole other wild world too, I love.

I'll go through cycles of wearing this glucose monitor a month at a time, maybe two times a year, just to kind of get snapshots.

And it's so true even with blood sugar and you know I'm not drinking right now and I'll get these cues, these prompts of like, hey, your blood sugar is dropping or hey, it's spiking For me usually it's more of it's a sign of hey, you're dropping and I haven't eaten, or haven't eaten enough, or it's been too long as just a little cue, when normally it would be like, you know, I would get so frustrated with myself, I would go I'm too busy, I'm not, you know, prioritizing my food, my nutrition, like I'm breaking a promise to myself, which is kind of my personal philosophy. I didn't do what I say I was gonna do, which then kind of, you know, can send you into some negative self-talk. But just a little tool, a little prompt, a little thing can go a long way. And, more importantly, I think let us know that we're not lacking. We are just a walking, talking, moving bag of flesh and organs and chemicals that just need things in a certain period of time to properly function.

1:13:21 - Speaker 2 Totally. And you bring up a good point of just even taking snapshots. Like I do this a lot, even with the protein conversation with people, and I am not a fan of tracking food, I'm not a fan of doing the you know my fitness pals and those types of things but even just doing it for a couple of days, two days, three days, four days, five days you'll really see. I mean I have, I tell people all the time you've got to up the protein, make sure you're getting enough. People go, oh, I'm getting enough, I'm getting enough and they're getting half of what they thought right. And so sometimes even just these snapshots a continuous glucose monitor for a couple of weeks, tracking your food for a few weeks, doing the biometrics for a few weeks, you can get a lot of really interesting information and again, I think it really motivates people. It's that personal information that we sometimes need to say oh, this isn't just my brain, my willpower, et cetera, this is my body having a need.

1:14:18 - Speaker 1 So let's say we're there, we've learned, we've been sitting through this conversation and we've decided. You know what. I would like to entertain the idea of eliminating or reducing alcohol for whatever personal reason, whether it's mental health, spiritual reasons, which is, general health goals you're gorgeous to kind of give yourself a different goal. What are some methods that you have seen that actually work and by work I mean long-term they have adherence and what are methods that just flat out don't?

1:14:48 - Speaker 2 Yeah. So there's a couple of things that are pretty key in the alcohol reduction space in terms of having success. One of them is finding community and finding people that you can relate to, that you can identify with and that also help show you that it's possible to live life without alcohol.

Because, most of the time we come from the camp of all of our friends drink, our family drinks, our partner drinks, and it's really hard to be the only person to change and to stay in your same life and lifestyle and just simply not drink right? It's very hard to go to a bar all the time if you're not drinking, but when you quit drinking you realize, oh, there's all these other things to do in the world.

1:15:33 - Speaker 1 I don't have to spend it in a bar.

1:15:34 - Speaker 2 That was a very eye-opening thing for me and community as part of the reason why programs like Alcoholics Anonymous, for example, are as successful as they are with alcohol cessation. It has a lot to do with the community aspect of things, the mentorship, the connections that you make with people, and so one of the big things that we do in the sobriety space and the sober curious space is there's communities all over online in person. For example, I'm here in LA doing an event with non-alcoholic pop-up that does events all around the city and so, excuse me, I just dried up all of a sudden.

1:16:18 - Speaker 1 That's OK Do you need a water or anything?

1:16:23 - Speaker 2 No, I'm OK.

1:16:27 - Speaker 1 I swear I've been doing this more than once. That's OK. There we go. Ok, excuse me. So you're here for the non-alcoholic pop-up?

1:16:32 - Speaker 2 Yes, I'm here for a non-alcoholic pop-up in LA that does events all around the city and again brings together people in an alcohol-free space. There's dancing, there's drinking, there's alcohol-free space, there's dancing. They do all different types of you know bring different people in. They have. The one that we're doing here tomorrow has an intention setting breathwork. It's more wellness focused.

1:16:53 - Speaker 1 Oh, that's very on brand for LA.

1:16:56 - Speaker 2 Yeah, yeah and so it's all about finding, like knowing that there's other things to do outside of alcohol, and finding some community is a big one, and this is part of why I launched my online community, which is called the Functional Sobriety Network.

1:17:11 - Speaker 1 Great name, by the way. Thank you.

1:17:13 - Speaker 2 Functional Sobriety is the approach that I developed that is taking into consideration the nutrition and functional medicine-based approach to alcohol reduction or cessation, and in the group we have weekly meetings. We have content that happens every day. We have challenges and it's really just a space for connection and, you know, and helping people through the challenges around alcohol. So that is a really key piece of it. Again, it's really hard to change if you don't change your environment in some way and you don't start to get a little shift of influence around you, and so that is a really, really key. Not only you know do people experience benefit, but it's well researched that this is a big part of making the changes.

1:18:03 - Speaker 1 A few years ago I began recreationally and clinically, you know, in psychotherapy using psychedelics and I noticed pretty quickly after my experiences with psilocybin particularly, but also ketamine, my overall just gut feeling, my innate interest in alcohol, radically decreased. And I have a couple of theories. I haven't looked too much into the science and this is why I wanna go with you. Psychedelics, I've heard now have felt that they have that as a common effect. The interest in alcohol for most people just really significantly declines. And I'm wondering is it more of the actual substance? You know? For maybe the neurogenesis effect? You know we have different neurotransmitters going on. We kinda just literally rewire our brain. So maybe there's like a rewriting of that biochemical narrative, if you will, or some other kind of mechanism of action that just tells the body, or really the body tells us hey, it's like a Jedi mind trick, we don't need that anymore. Or in my experience this is where I kinda lean. It's during those times of intentional use with psychedelics and recreation.

I'll be totally honest that my audience knows exactly what I've been going through. I'm that guy walking around Friday for a couple hours, you know, on about two grams of mushrooms. But I'm also that guy seeing my psychotherapist going into an hour long ketamine session and I've had immense healing around that in every way possible. But back to the alcohol thing, I think because, especially with psilocybin, I had this incredible, just the most present and connected I've ever been in mind and body ever before and I felt like I was fully finally in the driver's seat of every decision, every thought, and it gave me immense clarity to like why do you wanna drink? Where are you going? Why do you wanna hang out with these people?

And I would just kinda like question I was like internally going through a lot of things in a really unique way and it just became clear to me that oh, like Chase, you don't even know why sometimes. Or you think you're going for this reason, you think you're grabbing the drink for this reason. You can get there in another way. And I began to explore other ways. Have you ever come across anything in your work, any literature, any studies or anything kind of shining a light on why that is the case? Or would you even agree?

1:20:33 - Speaker 2 Yeah, so I will preface by saying I haven't done enough research to into things like psilocybin or ketamine and their influence on decreasing alcohol behavior, so I'll reserve answering that question, just for sake of not wanting to mislead.

What I will say is it's interesting your experience, because you're talking about having clarity in your decisions and what alcohol is doing is taking away all of your control over your decisions and your choices, god Chase, there we go, and so what's really interesting about it is that those experiences are shining a light on your alcohol use, and it's really interesting because there's a lot of different schools of thought in this and we're in California, so I feel like I can use Calisober and it's relevant here, you know I'm in the camp of I prefer to like live my life and experience things without any type of mind altering experience or mind altering substances.

And that is having done things like psychedelics in the past as part of my, during my, my addiction. You know the time of my drinking and I think that and this is no, you know, no judgment on you and I'm not saying this about your experience, but my experience has been some people who have had issues with substances in the past are looking for other substances to continue that escapism in some ways.

1:22:13 - Speaker 1 I abused alcohol like crazy for many years and it was primarily due to culture military culture went to college after military and a lot of stuffing down feelings and emotions around past traumas for sure. And I definitely have no problem talking about that. And then going from that substance abuse to other technical, yes, substances, but finally, like choosing it for the right reasons has been totally different for me.

1:22:37 - Speaker 2 And that is exactly the point. Right there is that you're making choiceful decisions. Right. With alcohol, what happens with so many of us is that it just becomes this. We don't, we aren't even exercising choice over it. Right? It's so ingrained in its Friday, I'm, you know, got to check out for the weekend or I'm around these people, and this is just what we do, rather than how do I feel? What does my body need? What do I need right now?

1:23:09 - Speaker 1 Go back and please say those things again.

1:23:11 - Speaker 2 That is like that is the key, right? There's all this discussion now about nervous system regulation. When we're drinking, all we're looking to do is regulate our nervous system. We're stressed. We want to be accepted. When we're out with friends, we want to unwind. We're really just looking for relief, right? And so how do we find other ways of doing it? The question is always what do I need? What do I? What is my body need when I'm craving a drink? Am I hungry? Am I stressed? Am I tired? Am I thirsty? Like what is it that I'm?

1:23:50 - Speaker 1 alone? Am I happy with the people that I'm around? Am I looking to escape what's going on?

1:23:54 - Speaker 2 Yeah, Exactly Do I need to call a friend, phone a friend.

1:23:58 - Speaker 1 One thing that's unique about me still in kind of the psychedelic train is that I find that when I use psilocybin I'll say above a gram I have this craving for red wine that is like insatiable, but I've even gone down the rabbit hole. Why is that? What does that mean?

And it's just for me. I have this just incredible need to get rooted, Literally I'll, I crave like root vegetables. I go outside to the earth, I'll like, literally like, touch the dirt and get connected. I feel so rooted and I don't have any interest in beer or any other kind of alcohol, but for some reason, particularly red wine, and then what I'll have, just like a baby pour, and I'll just I'll sip it and I'll savor it and that's like enough and it's just the most amazing experience that I have, just by myself, like I don't need anybody else. It's just that kind of connection to this rooted aspect.

1:24:57 - Speaker 2 There's no question there, but just just me continuing the trippy train, no you know again it's it's tuning into, like these different experiences that our body is is asking us for Right, and I think that when we use drugs and alcohol, we're just, we're seeking something Right and so, even if we continue choosing drugs or alcohol, it's important that we know what we're, what it is, that we're looking for Right, and making sure that we're not doing it because of habit or social pressure or you know that there are other things that we can turn to, and exploring those other things and finding if those work to and maybe they work better and more effectively.

1:25:42 - Speaker 1 My last question before my last question is OK, let's say someone has started this whether it's through dry January or for whatever their personal goals are.

They've decided to reduce or even eliminate alcohol and they reached an experience to where they messed up At least that's what they're telling themselves. They've slipped. They had a glass of wine, they had a beer, a shot or all the shots, whatever, and now they feel like it's all a wash. What would you say to somebody that really, truly wants to get back on that path of reduction or elimination? But they've slipped up.

1:26:21 - Speaker 2 Yeah, so it's all about data collection right, like these experiences are. It's all data right In that for a long time. And some of this roots out of the previous beliefs of AI, for example, of like you get sober, you stop drinking and then you, if you slip, you have to start back at day one again, right? And I work with clients all around the world and some of them stop and never have a slip, and some of them go for a month, drink for a while, come back, drink for a little while, come back right, and there is no like no one is policing this. You're allowed to do and make the choices that work for you, right. But when it comes to those experiences where maybe you slip or you fall off track, it's important to be kind to yourself.

1:27:18 - Speaker 1 Grace, grace.

1:27:19 - Speaker 2 Grace and say what did I learn from that experience? Did I learn that actually I thought I needed to drink in this social situation but I didn't really, and that actually, maybe I had the drink and I didn't even really like it? Yeah, right, so it's important as data collection to know. Oh okay, well, next time I go out with that group of friends, I think I can not have a drink. Let me try that next time. Right, and being really kind and easy with yourself, because this again tends to be one of those areas where we can be really hard on ourselves. And that's not what it's about, right. It's about how do we learn, how to make changes for moving forward, how do we live a life that feels really good and really full? And when we beat up on ourselves like that, it's not adding to that. You know that fullness in our life, and so I always share with people to just look at it as a data point, as information gathering, and know that you can start again tomorrow and it doesn't matter.

1:28:21 - Speaker 1 You can move forward.

1:28:23 - Speaker 2 Ever forward, ever forward.

1:28:25 - Speaker 1 I'm going to say here. So I just want to, in closing, acknowledge you for your work. The book and everything will be linked down to the show notes, video notes for everybody, really enjoyable read. There's the science aspect. There's the deeper level understanding, but also the behavior change and socioeconomic and cultural things that I think are probably the most relatable to most people. So if this is on your mind, on your heart at all, about reduction or elimination, please check out her work. My last question, excuse me, brooke, is to move forward in life. It is data collection, it's awareness of what we're doing, where we used to be, where we are and where we want to be. How do we keep moving ever forward? What does that mean to you? How do you live a life ever forward?

1:29:12 - Speaker 2 Well, sobriety and removing barriers like alcohol has helped me move ever forward, that's for sure. I can say that. And in the conclusion of the book, I'll just share what I write there, which is that, you know, I'm someone who's always been really interested in growth, who's always been really interested in wellness, but I had this thing that was holding me back, and it was alcohol, and I felt like the minute that I was able to let this thing go, this one thing, my entire life changed. Right, like I said to you, some of the huge goals that I had been carrying around with me for years all came to fruition, basically without even having to try, and I was able to do that because I removed this thing.

And it's not that much of a barrier to everyone, right, like in your instance. Right, you have a very different experience. Everybody's experience is different, but if you're listening to this and you feel this kind of pull in your gut that's like maybe I need to try this, right, I really believe that this can be a way. If you're feeling stuck in your life, if you're looking for ways to move forward and you're not able to, that considering eliminating or reducing alcohol can be something that will be really impactful in doing that.

1:30:38 - Speaker 1 Listen to your gut. It might be some dysbiosis from the alcohol there might be, there might be. Alright, when you get a drink, let's wrap this up.