Friday 17 August 2018

Alcohol and the Sun

Sunshine and alcohol go together like champagne at Wimbledon, a glass of chilled white wine by the pool or a cocktail on the beach. As soon as the sun comes out, we all go crazy and start taking off our clothes, dancing on tables, singing badly and copping off with strangers.

Or was that just me?

For many years, I couldn't imagine the summer without booze. Yet, here I am, in sunny France, on holiday with Mr SM, the kids and my parents, and I'm not missing it at all.

In the old days, french holidays were all about le vin. Now they're about early morning swims, trips to the local market to buy delicious cheeses, bread and fruit for lunch and time spent reconnecting with family.

But the first summer without alcohol is hard, so if you're struggling, you might find that this new research, sent to me by my friends over at The Age Well Project, gives you the added incentive that you need.

A recent study of 300,000 Americans found that excessive drinking was associated with higher rates of sunburn.

The authors acknowledge the fact that this may be due to big drinkers being people who generally play fast and loose with health warnings and laugh in the face of caution, but they argue that it's also a result of alcohol's impact on our skin.

When we drink, our body produces lots of free radicals which eat up the antioxidants that protect our skin from sunburn, and our bodies from cancer. (I'd always thought that 'free radicals' sounded pretty exciting, and rather wanted to be one, but apparently they are baddies).

Amazingly, the study showed that if you drink three shots of vodka, within just eight minutes the level of protective antioxidants in your skin drops dramatically, leaving you at higher risk of sunburn, premature skin ageing and skin cancer.

Conversely, if you want to help protect your skin in the sun, the study also showed that eating (or drinking) fresh fruit and vegetables will increase the antioxidants in your skin and enhance your natural sunblock. Yay - bring out the mocktails!

If you'd like to read the whole article on alcohol and sun damage, you can find it on the SoberMummy Facebook page.

In other news this summer, I went to my first festival sober - WOMAD. I discovered a whole new side to festivals I hadn't known existed - early morning yoga and tai chi, fabulous talks and demonstrations and delicious food, as well as the incredible music and dance. Who knew there were morning events at festivals?

While I was there, I gave a talk (yes, really!) for Radio 4's Four Thought on why Sober is the New Happy. If you'd like to hear it, it'll be on BBC Radio 4, 8.45pm on August 22nd, then after that on iPlayer (search for Four Thought).

And, finally, if you're looking for some summer reading by the pool, then look no further than The Sober Diaries, described as Bridget Jones Dries Out, and available here (UK) and here (USA).

Bon Vacances, my friends!

SM x