Psychology of Nutrition

On Alcohol, Awareness, and Asking for Help

Where Does Alcohol Fit Into Health?

In honor of April being Alcohol Awareness Month, ITN CEO and founder Cynthia Garcia is getting candid about her relationship with alcohol and offering a space to reflect on your own drinking patterns.

Between mommy wine culture and so many events centered around drinking, alcohol misuse and abuse has become so normalized.

Add on a global pandemic, and it’s no wonder that more people under the age of 65 died from alcohol-related deaths than from Covid in 2020. 

What hasn’t been normalized, though, are the short and long term effects of excessive alcohol use.

If you’re using alcohol to numb trauma or escape from pain, you might feel an immediate relief, but it doesn’t provide a sustainable solution. Cynthia talks about some alternatives that she likes to use to take the edge off, like non-alcoholic mocktails. 

At ITN, we often ask the question, what are you really hungry for?

In this case, we’re asking the question, what are you really thirsty for?

Can you find other ways to quench your thirst that help you find more peace and happiness?

If you’ve been looking for tools to cut back on drinking and need some inspiration for alternative ways to wind down at the end of the day, tune in to today’s episode.

An inspirational quote from episode 30

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Listen to Discover...
  • How Cynthia navigated drinking as the child of an alcoholic 
  • The moment that caused Cynthia to become completely sober for seven years
  • How the pandemic changed our relationship with alcohol 
  • The connection between depression, anxiety, and alcohol consumption
  • Tips and tools to decrease your alcohol consumption if you think it’s become too much

Episode Resources:

Listen to The Transformational Nutrition Podcast on Apple Podcast Spotify Stitcher

Ready to take the next steps toward becoming a Nutrition Coach?  Download our detailed Course Catalog

Want to hear more from the ITN student featured in this episode? Connect with Darcel!

Read the transcript for this episode:

Please note that this has been transcribed from a digital software, so there may be slight errors throughout. This is meant to serve as a helpful summary/resource to accompany the audio version of the show.

[00:00:00] Cynthia Garcia: Among adults younger than 65 years of age alcohol-related deaths actually outnumbered deaths from COVID-19 in 2018.

Welcome back to the Transformational Nutrition Podcast, the podcast that is redefining nutrition as anything that feeds you physically, mentally and spiritually. I’m your host. Cynthia Garcia, the founder and CEO of the Institute of Transformational Nutrition. Now in today’s episode in honor of April being alcohol awareness month, we’re going to be talking about yep.

You guessed. Alcohol. And here’s the thing today’s format is going to be a little bit different. You might notice that I sound a little kind of off-kilter, uh, like my energy’s a little bit low and that would be because it is, I just am recovering from surgery. That I had last what Friday? So a few days ago, and I’m completely fine.

It’s something that I needed to have done for about a year now, but just kept waiting for the perfect time. Spoiler alert. There is no perfect time. And so I got that taken care of, and I am on the up and up. I’m feeling good, but my energy is just a little bit. So I thought what we could do today with this podcast, instead of it being a more polished show is that we could just chat and just to have a conversation because here’s what I don’t want to do.

I don’t want to, first of all, Fake it like, I’m just all good when the truth is I’m not. And I think it’s okay to sometimes not be okay. And to show up still willing to serve, even if you aren’t quite a hundred percent. I think sometimes we have this kind of image of people, experts, thought leaders, what happened.

And they show up perfect. Like they always have their stuff together. Like they’re always on top of it. And the truth is friend. That is not how I live my life. You know what? I am not always in a good place at things. Aren’t always going amazingly well. And I struggle from. To time, whether it’s with health issues physically or mentally, it could be with emotional things that I’m dealing with, just like all of us deal with.

So I just kind of wanted to show up and be here with you to talk about this really important topic, but in a very real way. Because here’s the other thing I don’t want the episode to be. And that is some big lecture on whether or not you should or shouldn’t drink alcohol again. Like, listen, that’s really up to you.

And I’m not dogmatic about really much of anything. I was in the. There were things where I just would not budge on. I would not compromise. For example, I used to refuse to ever drink water from a plastic bottle. I didn’t want the chemicals. I didn’t want the thalates. I didn’t want all of those issues.

And so if I couldn’t find water in a glass bottle, preferably spring water, I just wouldn’t drink it. I would just thirst. And obviously that was. A good situation. And I paid a price for that one time I was flying, I couldn’t find a glass water bottle in the airport and I was just done by the time I arrived at my destination.

So, and there’s other examples that I could point out where I’ve been dogmatic and just very black and white, but I no longer do that. I find that for me, as well as, you know, a lot of our students and our graduates and my clients, and honestly, People in general that life works better when you’re not so rigid.

And so that’s the structure that our conversation is going to take on. Today’s. I will also be very transparent with you when it comes to my story with alcohol. The truth is I haven’t always had it together when it comes to being able to control how much I drank or rather didn’t drink. I grew up with an alcoholic.

Who always claimed that he wasn’t an alcoholic. He could quit whenever he wanted to, uh, just turned out. He never wanted to. So, so, you know, take that for what it’s worth. And I would see him, you know, getting drunk and falling over and just essentially becoming a totally different person, like someone that.

I didn’t even know any more. And that was very scary for me as a child, things in my home are naturally very volatile. Alcohol, certainly didn’t help that situation.

This week. We are spotlighting Darcel Osei, a recent graduate of our certified transformational nutrition coach program here at ITN to begin, let’s hear a little bit about their sales background and the why behind her decision to become a certified coach.

[00:05:35] Darcel Osei: Well, I was going to do a masters in dance science because I’ve always kind of, I’ve always been interested in the science side of things as well. I’m currently a sports massage therapist. So when I went to uni, I did kinesiology major alongside dance. So when I graduated, it was making the decision whether I wanted to be a physiotherapist.

So what I wanted to dance and obviously, actually. So I thought, okay, let’s get back to the science side of things. So I was going to do my masters, not really knowing what I was going to do with it. It was one of those I was going to do my master’s because I felt like I should do my master’s. Cause that’s the thing that people do.

But a friend of mine, who’s also an ITN grad, put me onto a podcast called the model. The guy who does the podcast is action, ITN grad as well. And it was, I remember that shift and I remember the first episode I listened to, I was running in the park and it just reminded me how much control we have over our own health and just the little things that we can do to just boost our health and wellbeing.

And then I got to the episode in the podcast where he talked about it. And he was encouraging people to kind of go down that route to, you know, be a vessel of, you know, sharing this information as well. And I was like, this is what I have to do. I 100% need to do this. And I mean, it didn’t even take a lot of thinking or going back and forth.

It was just like, this is what I have to do.

[00:07:03] Cynthia Garcia: Now the interesting thing was I decided that, you know, from a little, little young age, that when I was older, I wouldn’t do that. I wouldn’t make the same mistakes. I saw my dad making. I was like, I’m not going to drink. I’m never going to touch alcohol. That’s just not going to be me. I’m I want to do better than that famous last words.

Right? Needless to say, as I got older, I started to drink. I remember I had my first drink when I was 15 years old. And. It was at a party that some of my classmates and high school had, we lived out in the country. And so everybody just kind of gathered in a big field with any alcohol that they could get from their parents and, you know, or our bribe, someone to buy them.

And that was, you know, a Saturday night. So that’s when I started drinking. And at first I thought, oh, I’m different. I’m different than my dad. I’m not an alcoholic. And I wasn’t, but I was certainly didn’t pass it up. When I got into my twenties and life. Got a little more complicated, actually, a lot more complicated.

If I’m telling the truth, I turned to alcohol a lot more frequently. And that’s when it really became a problem for me, because it turned out the more I drank, the more I wanted to drink and I couldn’t control it. I remember many nights where I would wake up. I remember going out at night to some club or, you know, something of some party that I was invited to.

And. Not remembering anything until the next day when I woke up, like I got to where I would drink so much, I would just completely black out. Now. It’s been a very long time since I’ve been in that state. And I do remember one night, my wake up call was, I was by myself. It was really late at night. I had driven to this party.

I had drank way too much and I decided that I wanted to go home. And I wasn’t thinking logically, because alcohol does that to you. And so I got in the car and I drove home and it was a horrible decision. One that I still can’t believe I made for so long. I suffered with such shame over it. I never talked about it.

I never told anyone. And I was fine. Everything was, was fine, but it might not have been. And I woke up the next morning, just again, wallowing in shame and guilt and feeling like I was my father’s daughter. And I decided that night that I was done and I didn’t drink anything else for seven years. I didn’t touch anything.

I mean, not even like the closest I got was maybe a kombucha, you know, and not the hard, comfy cheap either. So that was. At a time that I really needed. And you know, obviously they are no one drinks to that level just to have a good time because it’s not a good time. Right. It’s anything. But so that, wasn’t what I was doing.

I was drinking to numb. I was in a lot of pain, physically, mentally, emotionally. Dealing with a lot of trauma, a lot of mental health issues, you know, depression, anxiety, you name it. And alcohol was my escape. And so I took those seven years and really worked on me as a person. As you know, a health expert, I got really into health.

That’s when I had my complete, you know, rock bottom transformation that maybe you’ve heard me tell the story of, I became a mother. Everything shifted in my life. I found amazing spiritual practices. I started practicing transformational nutrition, and truly everything had shifted. All right. Let’s check back in with our cell to hear her talk about finding her ideal client and what her life has looked like.

Since she graduated from ITN,

[00:11:23] Darcel Osei: I realized that my ideal client is kind of not to sound narcissistic, but me. I want to really serve high achieving women who are trying to achieve success in their life and kind of underlying. With getting their hormone health and balance as well. And it kind of speaks to, I guess, my own journey going through lockdown, being a mom of a little one, I could tell that just my home, once we’re all over the place, I mean, they were really just running away with me.

And then I was trying to get through this cost to create my own business. So those were the two things I needed. I was like, okay, I need to get my homelands under control so that I can feel a little bit balanced. And then be able to kind of create the success in this business that I want. And I’m going to be really honest and vulnerable because this might actually be helpful to the graduates as well, as excited as I was to do the cost and come out of it and get ready to coach I graduated and all of a sudden this like incredible imposter syndrome and fare of putting myself out there kind of took hold of me.

And I thought, okay. I need to build my confidence as a coach. How can I do that? But take a little bit of the pressure off of it. So what I did was I put out a post inviting five people to have two, three coaching sessions with me. So I thought this way I can create some impact in their lives while gaining some coaching experience.

So I’m currently in the process of doing that. And I’m quite, I’m really enjoying that because it’s just such a beautiful feeling at the end of every coaching session to feel like. You know, they’ve had just one really good takeaway or they have something new that, you know, they can look forward to that they hadn’t really thought was possible before.

[00:13:18] Cynthia Garcia: So when I decided to have a glass of wine for the first time it was with my now husband and I felt in such a good place and I no longer was in fear of who I would become or what this alcohol would do to me. I just felt really confident in who I was. And my new tools that I had to manage all of my health and.

I started drinking again, not much. I’m still not a huge drinker. I do drink wine occasionally, but with this surgery, I haven’t drank anything now for the past couple of months. And won’t for probably, I don’t know, the next four to six months, but I will have typically a glass of wine with dinner or a glass of champagne to celebrate.

It’s not something again that I’m dogmatic about, but I had to really get to a place where I. Was very self-aware self-aware of my emotions of my needs of my mental health. And I did. And so I’m in a good place with that right now, but, and I also see people who aren’t quite at that place. And I’m telling you with the pandemic.

Oh my goodness. It’s just, I’ve seen the numbers just skyrocket the alcohol industry. You know, has resin, like, I mean, prohibition times, essentially, it’s never been higher. You know, we’re seeing people drink just starting it, you know, 11:00 AM in the morning, take a glass of wine out for a walk in a coffee mug and listen, I’m not judging well.

Like, I mean, we have all been through a lot. People deal with things the way they deal with them. I didn’t have the tools to deal with things differently either when I turned to alcohol excessively. So there’s no judging here. People do what they do and that’s okay. Listen, I am not one to judge anyone, but what I would like to do is share some information and some tips and tools that might help you.

If you feel like you’re relying on alcohol, maybe a little too much, if you’re starting to see like, It’s really affecting you. It’s affecting your quality of life, your family, your relationships, your health. Then let’s talk about some things that you can do. And so, again, this isn’t an alcohol is bad.

Don’t drink it, podcasts. This is not what this show is about. I just want to again, share some information and address some, some stats and then give you some. Okay. Coaching can be a tremendous pathway to success. We asked ourselves to share some of her biggest moments of success since starting her coaching journey.

So let’s tune in and see what she said.

[00:16:14] Darcel Osei: I think something that’s made me really proud and it might, it might seem like a small thing, but I walked away kind of feeling like, oh, this is, this is what you can do for people. I was speaking to someone who is somebody that took me up on those free sessions and, you know, she had been made redundant and she said that she just had this feeling that she was useless.

And we just, I kind of talked through and got her. Tell me what her ideal life would look like, and it was completely different to what she’d been doing. And suddenly I felt like I, at some point she did say that it was impossible because of different areas and different obstacles, which we then talked about and how she could overcome them.

And I felt like towards the end of the session, she was seeing the possibility of that. And she was actually going to take some action steps to move to what’s that, and that felt really amazing to help her see something that she saw was impossible. I feel like that’s one of my big successes so far.

[00:17:20] Cynthia Garcia: So here’s a New York times article that I read recently. And in it, they reported that among adults younger than 65 years of age, alcohol related deaths. Wait for this alcohol related deaths actually outnumbered deaths from COVID-19 in 2020, more people died under the age of 65. More people died from alcohol related deaths than from COVID in 2020.

I mean, you can’t make this up, but that’s not all the rate of increase for alcohol related deaths in 20. It was 25%, 25% increase in alcohol-related deaths in 2020 that outpaced the rate of increase of deaths from all other causes, which came in at 16.6 per. I mean, listen, we need to talk about this, right.

Again, it’s not a, it’s not a judgy judgy. You put down the bottle kind of show it’s a, Hey look like this is affecting us as Lobel nation. Like we should talk about. So one article that I read had a theory on why we’re not talking about this dramatic, these dramatic numbers that we’re seeing. And it’s because we now have you alcohol.

Super socially acceptable. We’ve normalized it. I mean, it’s consumed at, you know, family gatherings, casual outings. It’s everywhere. We see it in the media. It’s kind of just the new norm, you know, uh, you see people with drinks, like. You know, just being social kids, birthday parties. I know for me, I go to a lot of kids’ birthday parties where wine is in abundance.

You know, there’s drinks for the kids and drinks for the parents. And again, no judging, I have had a glass of wine at these events, so I’m not holier than now in, in any way, shape or form. However, the idea is that because we’ve normalized it so much, it’s just become a very acceptable thing to do because here’s what we haven’t normalized.

And that is the long-term health impacts of excessive alcohol use. We don’t show that. Right. We don’t see that. It’s just in the moment, this immediate gratification, we don’t show the acute dangers of alcohol, misuse and abuse. So for example, another article that was published by the journal of the American medical association found that between 2020 16.

So that 16 year period alcohol related deaths continually increased for white men. So 2.3% per year on average. That was 2.3% per year. On average for white men for white women, it increased 4.1% per year and middle aged white Americans accounted for the highest increase in deaths from. Right now there were no other races or genders or identities in this study in this particular article that I read.

But just to give you some numbers to work with, that’s what I got the truth is we have been drinking alcohol as long as we’ve been tracking history. Right? I mean, we know that in William Bradford’s diary, when the Mayflower landed at Plymouth rock. They were afraid that they were going to go through beer too quickly.

And as a matter of fact, the ship had been headed for the mouth of the Hudson river until its sailors panicked at the possibility of running out of alcohol of beer before they got home and they threatened mutiny. Like this is real. So, and now a 2020 article estimated that 15 million people in a month.

Suffer with alcoholism, 15 million people. I mean, again, it’s a lot, right. But the question has remained. Why, why do we drink it? And I guess the bigger question here is how do we control it now? I know that deciding to become a nutrition coach can feel like a big decision, probably because, well, it is. So let’s listen in for the advice.

Sell shares for anyone who may be on the fence about taking that next step.

[00:22:04] Darcel Osei: I think if you’re on the fence about ITN, the fact that you’re even considering it means that you want to serve and have impact in people’s lives. And I think if you really want to have a huge impact in the lives of. Then 100% do it because I think it just really equips you in every way to really help just individuals from a very holistic angle, just the mental, the physical, the spiritual.

So if you really want to have powerful impact in the lives of others, 100% enrolled with ITN and about the fare of putting yourself out there. I think what I’ve learned. Again, I mean, a lot of what I learned in the course has helped me so much along the way is that fair is not going anywhere and we can actually use it to our advantage.

And if we just take a moment to figure out what that fare is telling you, then eventually you get to the point where you can just feel the fear and do it anyways. And if you just really think about what’s the worst that could happen. If you put yourself out there, it’s actually not that bad. So you better off do it.

[00:23:16] Cynthia Garcia: Now listen, the obvious reasons, like why do we drink is like, oh my God, Cynthia, are you kidding me? I look around, look around. I mean, from COVID to the black lives matter movement to people just losing. Their shit in airports and on planes and restaurant. I mean, oh my God, you guys can, we, can we possibly deal with any more trauma and mental health issues?

Like what is going on in the world? Like, why do we drink? Isn’t it obvious? You know, I mean, come on. It allows us to escape. And the truth is sometimes we need that. I mean, sometimes we need that. Now, can you do that in other ways than drinking? And of course, yes, of course you can. And not everyone has the tools or the knowledge, or, you know, even the opportunity to do that.

How call is easy, it’s fun. Even it takes the edge off. Right. There, these reasons like depression and anxiety and stress that spike alcohol increase don’t help. Long-term right. They just don’t S you might escape in the moment and listen, I have to, I totally get it, but it’s not ever going to be a long-term solution.

You’re just going to wake up, hung over and still have your problems. We all know this, right? I’m not telling you anything that you. Aware of here. And like I said before, I’m not trying to tell you whether you should drink or not. Like you’re a grown human, I don’t know what you should do. That’s that’s for you to decide.

But I do know that. It’s a good idea if possible, to find a happy medium. So this episode is really about reflection for you and the people that you care about. Right? Think about why it is that you drink or you don’t drink. Right. Thought about it, maybe you drank in the past and you’re thinking about doing it.

Maybe found yourself, over-drinking just play around the edges with that don’t date too, caught up and getting to the root cause don’t beat yourself up shame and guilt has never convinced anyone to change anything, but just maybe sit with it or not, again, totally up to you. If you do want to think about it with April being alcohol awareness a month, just start to notice what you notice when you do have a drink.

Why are you drinking? How much are you drinking? How do you feel before? How do you feel afterward? Do you have regrets? Are there things that you wish you had done differently? Right. Just start to again, notice what you notice and then start to see if you can notice patterns. For example, if you’re always drinking heavily, when you’re with a certain person or group of people, or maybe you always drink heavily when you have to go to a family outing, I did that for years, by the way, because I’m such an intense.

I don’t do really well in social situations. So I would drink to take the edge off so that I could be around people. Are you doing the same thing? Look for those patterns. Okay. And again, drinking excessively from time to time, doesn’t mean you have an alcohol addiction, but it does put you at a higher risk for developing it.

So notice what you notice. And if you start to see a pattern, start thinking about other alternatives, other ways to deal with whatever it is that’s going on when you’re drinking other than. To alcohol. I know for me, for a while, I kind of got into an after work glass of wine. It was just kinda my thing.

And it was dry farm wines, healthy wine, good stuff. But at the same time I noticed a pattern. I noticed what I noticed, and that was that it was just a. And so what I did was I switched to a non-alcoholic drink and I started with these like non-alcoholic gins because I wanted something to kind of have a flavor and I would put tonic water and lime.

And then I just switched to tonic water and lime. And I noticed it was more about the habit and the ritual, that transition time for me than it was actually about the alcohol. So just notice what you notice, start to notice patterns and then. When you, if you realize like, Hey, this is a pattern, this isn’t something I want to continue.

Start thinking about the reason why you’re doing it in the first place. And then gradually start replacing alcohol with something else that suit those needs. So for example, at ITN, we often ask the question, what are you really hungry? Now, I guess in this case, in this situation, it might be, what are you really thirsty for, but what are you really thirsty for?

Is it connection? Is it love? Is it courage? Is it relaxation? What is it? And then find other ways to feed yourself what it is that you’re really hungry for, or to quench your thirst. So to say,

Okay. Let’s check in with our cell one last time to get her take on what nutrition coaches can provide for people and why coaching is so important, especially in this day and age that we live in. Um,

[00:28:47] Darcel Osei: what I would say is I truly believe that what we do as coaches is really important. And I mean, now more than ever, it’s so critical because people are. You know, afraid and people are anxious and, you know, people are trying to get on with their lives and not really sure where to start. People are trying to create things for themselves.

People are trying to create good health for themselves and they don’t know where to start. And I think what we do is so critical because we can just, you know, offer people information and help to educate them on all of this incredible new research and even just get them. To see things from a different perspective and see the possibilities from themselves and actually reach those possibilities and beyond.

So I think that what we do is really critical and really important. And that’s the other thing, you know, every time I start to feel the fare, I remember what I actually have to offer and how helpful that could be to someone. So I’m going to let that be my driving fullest and not the fair.

[00:30:08] Cynthia Garcia: All right. That’s all I have for you today. Thanks so much for bearing with me again. I know it’s a little bit low energy and I just wanted to show up and chat with you because. Topic. If you were interested in helping others with their physical, mental, and spiritual health, and you want to pursue a career that’s freeing, fulfilling, and you think nutrition coaching is the path for you.

Then now is a great time to become a student at ITN. We have a mission of certifying successful transformation or nutrition coaches, where again, we look at what feeds you physically, mentally and spiritually. If you. Help when it comes to alcohol, please reach out to, as you can find us on social at transformational nutrition, we’ll also have some resources for you in the show notes slash episode 0 3 0.

So please check those out. Take care of yourself and I’ll see you back here next week for another new episode.



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