5 Ways to Drink Dirty Mindfully

‘Studies have shown that nearly half of adults who drink want to cut back, but not quit entirely. They want an alternative to “either/or.” Enter mindful drinking, a movement that rests comfortably in the in-between for those who wish to proactively live a healthier lifestyle without completely giving up the beverages they enjoy. In recent years, the term “sober curiosity” has been referred to more broadly as mindful drinking, which simply means actively tracking and managing drinking as another way to care about your health, just like you do when you count calories and track your steps. It’s a proactive—rather than reactive—approach to managing your relationship with alcohol.’—Cutback Coach

When I coined the term ‘social beverage’ back in 2015, I was formulating the original line of what I was calling convertible social beverages; meaning they could be mixed with alcohol or not. I thought the drinks would be more appealing to the ‘grey area drinkers’, even though no one was talking about it yet. Upon our official launch in January 2020, I pivoted to terming our beverage ‘the world’s first probiotic mocktail’ after repackaging into smaller 7oz bottles instead of 28 oz swing top bottles with recipes loaded with sugar. I knew sugar was also on it’s way out as for me, it was never in as it always caused so many issues. In 2019, more capital was raised in order to bring forth the 4 flavors of zero sugar ‘ready to drink’ Shrub-Bucha that is certified organic, live, raw, bacteria rich and uniquely loaded with enzymes, antioxidants, B-vitamins, and digestive acids that support glowing skin, a flat tummy, and a healthy diverse gut microbiome. Fermenting fruit and tea to craft one of the leading alcohol alternatives has been a dream come true. To see customers support their health while feeling like we are indulging is exactly why I invented a new drink category. At only 22 calories in a gorgeous custom glass bottle, these social beverages are stylish, refreshing, and nostalgic while being good for your mind & gut. 

Pathogens like candida, parasites, and bad bacterias like H pylori, E-coli, etc are more common than people realize and cause skin, GI, and immune systems issues. Moderating alcohol gives our liver relief, reduces inflammation that can lead to leaky gut or food sensitivities. However, we don’t want to feel like we are being left (FOMO) out. Sometimes we just want to have something in the glass at night that gives us the ritual feeling, like a treat. Personally I strive for life in balance, so saving alcohol in the form of exquisite wine and wildcrafted mezcal on special occasions. I no longer subscribe to a lifestyle of drinking wine after work several times a week to blow off stress as it knocks me out of balance in my mind and my gut. Instead of resisting socializing with friends that drink, I focus more on choices that support my goals. The top 5 people we hang out with health likely reflects our own. Getting real about why we drink should help us make better choices on what feels best for our bodies. I would have just a couple glasses of wine and wake up with anxiety perpetuated by shame… the old ‘You know better. Why don’t you choose better?’ Living in the ‘grey area’ should be about feeling less shame and making better choices that support our goals and get off the detox/retox hamster wheel, self love in action. Finding new ways of being that don’t include alcohol offer more choice and encourage mindful drinking, or what I call ‘drinking in moderation’… finding the ‘special’ in special occasion. Savor is the word that comes to mind when mindfully drinking. But first we need to decide on a Lifestyle beyond alcohol being the center of everything. Drinking to socialize needs to be transformed into a new vision for having fun. That is what the movement is all about, not just sobriety and recovery. I personally needed to stop associating fun with alcohol as my primary activity to socialize as a single woman in LA. Do you feel similar?

Here are my Top 5 Ways to Have Fun and Let Loose without Alcohol:

1). Start with a 7 day Cleanse. Focus on what you can have instead of what you can’t. Purge the toxins to gain control over sugar cravings and consequently curb alcohol cravings. Get excited about vegetables, fermented wild foods, green things in general and getting to know your farmers, cooking yourself nourishing foods, and composting.

2). Go camping. Focus on the outdoor activities, cooking, and quiet time. Bring Shrub-Bucha, mushrooms, and cannabis for an alcohol-free clean air weekend staring at the night sky. 

3). Explore the non-alch drink menu when out for dinner. I am not suggesting a coke, but exploring homemade seasonal shrubs, juices, adaptogens or if you’re lucky, maybe a ‘mocktail menu.’ Encourage your favorite establishments to carry products like ours if you want to see more options. Commit to no alcohol and make it fun because you decide it is. Choose this at least 80% of the time and it becomes a Lifestyle. Health is priority #1. Knowing our own boundaries around pleasure and overindulging is balance. Developing other coping skills beyond reaching for a pill, drink, puff is important. Being present, conscious and aware of our daily habits and then shifting them is how we begin to create and diversify new ways of being that support our goals.  Self discipline = self respect. When we set boundaries with ourselves we need to keep them. This builds trust. Moderation is key to mindful drinking. 

4). Go for a hike. Play paddleball at the beach. Roller skate. Ride a bike. Build a fire. Picnic with a friend who has the capacity for depth and connection. Bring Shrub-Bucha. Play games like ‘What’s Your Word?’ Or perhaps Tarot to connect and have meaningful conversation. 

5). Go to a sound bath, yoga, meditation, or Breathwork class or create the environment at home with music, essential oils, candles, and friends. Offer things like cacao, kava, and cannabis with seasonal local fruits and vegan cheese. Relax, sip, journal, and share with one another. If no one is available, do it anyway. Do it virtually with us. Celebrate yourself. Find ceremony any time you want. Don’t keep people around for the sake of it. Surround yourself with like-minded community. Cali sober is a thing. Join us. 

We are the masters of our destiny. We create our own reality and that means taking inventory regularly and making choices that support our vision. Goals support our vision but are made with habits. Our thoughts create those habits. Our subconscious mind controls our beliefs. It is our job to transform those beliefs. Mindful drinking is imperative to creating a conscious life if you choose to live in the ‘grey area’ of drinking. Pay attention to how you feel if you decide to drink instead of trying to get numb. Let us find courage without liquid. True courage comes from feeling our feelings and expressing ourselves most authentically. Sobriety is not for everyone nor is the ‘Detox/Retox’ or the ‘binge & purge’ with black and white thinking a way to find balance while moderating. Ferm Fatale knows how important your stress level is to your gut health, so feeling less FOMO and more JOMO (joy of missing out) on alcohol consumption needs to be normalized. Grey-area drinking need not be shamed by sober people. There are some that can drink 20% of the time without it being a problem so let’s not assume that mindful drinking might not lead to sobriety. It’s personal. One thing we know from research is that alcohol under 4% alcohol doesn’t contribute to negative consequences for gut health especially if it contains good bacteria and is low sugar. That is why we created the Dirty Dozen for you to explore the world’s wildly fermented tonics that have been around for centuries. This is what we call ‘Living Clean while Drinking Dirty.’ Cheers to living your truth without having to sugar coat it for anyone. 



1 comment

Great article – really enjoy the article every time I read. Lots of good ideas to move away from drinking . . .

Lani M Becker May 04, 2022

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