Maybe one of your Goals is to be consistent with diet and exercise. Awesome!

Let’s take a holistic look at this. When setting out to work on this, there are many aspects of our lifestyle that can impact our efforts. 

One of those aspects of our lifestyle that can really impact our goal attainment is drinking alcohol, and the chain of events that can sometimes occur when drinking alcohol. That chain of events may include starting with intending to only drink 1-2 alcoholic beverages. That can sometimes lead to socializing and mindless over consumption of more alcohol, more drinking to stay social if we are wanting to have fun, let loose, or to deal with increased anxiety in social settings, and possibly then mindlessly over-eating on foods that may not be the healthiest options.

So what is the impact of drinking alcohol on our goals of body composition changes and exercise? Alcohol tends to be a source of empty calories, and like we explored in the chain of events in the previous paragraph, people don’t always stop at drinking 1-2 alcoholic beverages. This can lead to consuming excess calories. Consuming excessive calories in any form - food or alcohol - leads the body to storing extra fat and gaining weight, often in terms of excess belly fat, or the dreaded “beer belly.”

And what about alcohol and its impact on exercise? Small geeky moment alert. A study from Barnes, Mündel, and Stannard (2010) suggests that a moderate dose of alcohol may impair normal muscle recovery after very strenuous exercise. If exercise and performance are a goal for you, drinking alcohol in excess could contribute to injury and impact your goal attainment.

So what are some healthy mindset exercises to practice when looking at alcohol consumption and what are some healthier alternatives for alcohol beverages? Here are some ideas:


  1. Go into a social event with a plan. If you know that you have to get up early the next day, or have an exercise planned, reminding yourself of your goals may impact your decision to drink in excess.

  2. If you know that you are going to drink alcohol, similar to the idea of taking time to really enjoy and savor the taste of your food, pick an alcoholic beverage that you truly like. Pick 1 drink, and sip it slowly, being mindful of the taste and flavor, and pay attention to the social setting that you are in, enjoying the environment you are in, and people you are with.

  3. Make it a goal to have 1 glass of water for every alcoholic beverage consumed.

If you know that you will be drinking, here’s some healthier alternatives:

  • Vodka seltzer with lemon or lime

  • Bloody Mary

  • One glass of red wine

  • Scotch on the rocks

Lastly, here’s some non-alcohol containing beverage ideas:

  • Virgin Bloody Mary - just omit the vodka

  • Instead of a Margarita, try sugar-free lemonade with a salt rim and a wedge of lime.

  • A dressed up tonic water - go wild and add sliced cucumber.

  • Flavored sparkling water- dress it up with added fruit, herbs, or a little fruit juice.

Be well!

PS: We’ve been testing non-alcoholic Hop-Infused Tea and found one that we love here by HopTea. Check it out!

Higher Testosterone Level Associated with Lower Risk for CV Death in Men

Older men with higher circulating androgen levels combined with higher levels of physical activity are less likely to develop metabolic syndrome or die of cardiovascular disease than men with lower androgen levels combined with low physical activity, according to a cross-sectional analysis published in Clinical Endocrinology.

“In older men, having higher testosterone concentrations and being more physically active may reflect being healthier, or may contribute to better health,” Bu Beng Yeap, MBBS, FRACP, PhD, a professor at the University of Western Australia Medical School and endocrinologist at Fiona Stanley Hospital in Perth, Western Australia, told Endocrine Today.

Yeap and colleagues analyzed data from 3,351 older men participating in the population-based Health in Men Study who completed questionnaires assessing physical activity and attended physical exams between 1996 and 1999 and again between 2001 and 2004 (mean age, 77 years; mean BMI, 26.4 kg/m²). Metabolic syndrome was defined as meeting at least three of five criteria: hypertension, hyperglycemia, hypertriglyceridemia, low HDL cholesterol or central obesity. Follow-up of hospital admissions and death were assessed via the Western Australia Data Linkage System.

Based on using median splits to determine “high” vs. “low,” researchers stratified the cohort by four groups: high hormone and high physical activity; high hormone and low physical activity; low hormone and high physical activity; and low hormone and low physical activity.

Researchers used linear regression to compare mean BMI and waist circumference across the four groups and logistic regression to compare the prevalence of metabolic syndrome across groups. In follow-up analysis, researchers used Cox proportional hazard models to compare risk for fatal and nonfatal CV events across the four groups.

During a mean follow-up period of 10 years, researchers observed 865 CVD events and 499 CV deaths.

Researchers found that, in models adjusted for age, prevalent CVD, smoking and cardiometabolic factors, men with higher total testosterone and higher levels of physical activity had a lower risk for CV events during follow-up than men with low testosterone and low physical activity (HR = 0.81; 95% CI, 0.67-0.98), as did men with higher testosterone but low levels of physical activity (HR = 0.73; 95% CI, 0.6-0.89).

“Thus, higher [testosterone] was associated with lower incidence of CVD events irrespective of [physical activity] levels,” the researchers wrote.

In similarly adjusted models, men with higher levels of testosterone or dihydrotestosterone and higher physical activity were less likely to die of CV causes during follow-up vs. men with low levels of testosterone or dihydrotestosterone, with HRs of 0.76 (95% CI, 0.59-0.98) in the testosterone group and 0.71 (95% CI, 0.55-0.92) for the dihydrotestosterone group.

Researchers also observed an inverse association between higher androgens and higher physical activity with a lower, age-adjusted risk for metabolic syndrome, with men in the high hormone, high physical activity group seeing the greatest benefit. Results for calculated free testosterone mirrored findings observed with total testosterone, according to the researchers.

Yeap said the findings provide a rationale for further research.

“A randomized controlled trial in which men are treated with testosterone and provided with an exercise program would be needed to prove whether or not this would improve their health,” Yeap said.

For more information:

Bu Beng Yeap, MBBS, FRACP, PhD, can be reached at the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, 11 Robin Warren Drive, Murdoch 6150, Western Australia, Australia; email:

Hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats? There’s help for menopause symptoms

Menopause is a natural life occurrence that all women will experience as hormonal changes cause the menstrual cycle to stop. Menopause can happen as a woman reaches ages 40 to 50, although the average age in the United States is 51.

While emotional and physical symptoms may accompany menopause, there are treatment options available to help ease the symptoms.

Women are diagnosed with menopause after they’ve gone a year without a menstrual period and are no longer fertile. Women may experience symptoms of menopause in the years or months leading up to it. This phase is caused perimenopause, which starts when a woman’s ovaries cut back on the production of estrogen and progesterone, and release eggs less often.

During perimenopause, symptoms may include hot flashes, irregular periods, chills, mood changes, night sweats, weight gain, thinning of hair, and loss of breast fullness.

Menopause can happen sooner for some women, including those who smoke or have experienced cancer. Chemotherapy, radiation and hormone therapies can interfere with hormone levels and lead to early menopause. If a woman has her ovaries removed, or if the ovaries aren’t producing normal levels of female hormones, this can result in early onset of menopause.

A study found that 80 percent of women who experience menopause reported no decrease in quality of life, according to the North American Menopause Society.

However, menopause can lead to an increased risk for osteoporosis, weight gain, cardiovascular disease, decreased desire for sex and discomfort during sexual activity. Women can also experience a frequent urge to urinate and urinary tract infections.

While symptoms of menopause are usually enough to diagnose it, a physician may also conduct a blood and urine test to detect changes in hormone levels. Treatment may be necessary if symptoms interfere with daily activities.

When experiencing menopause, you can help relieve symptoms by avoiding caffeine and alcohol, exercising daily, keeping rooms at a cooler temperature, dressing in layers so you can remove layers when needed, undergoing acupuncture or participating in yoga.

If symptoms persist or are severe, medical treatment may be necessary, including hormone therapy, vaginal estrogen, low-dose antidepressants, or prescribed medications to help reduce hot flashes, and prevent and treat osteoporosis.

If you are going through menopause and are not experiencing relief from symptoms, contact your physician or Blueprint Health about treatment options, risks and benefits. If symptoms are still present, it may be a sign of a more serious problem that your physician will help address.