What Is the Sober-Curious Movement?
04.05.23 The sober-curious movement is an exciting trend for those looking to reduce their drinking or experiment with alcohol in a mindful way. Not only was it born out of Dry January, but it was also driven by the rise of wellness culture and bolstered by social media influencers who began promoting it. This has enabled people to actively explore sober living without feeling like they need to completely give up drinking. As the trend grows, more are taking part in drinking less, trying alternative drinks and even celebratory mocktails as a healthier alternative to alcoholic beverages. People now have the support and community needed to try out this lifestyle, allowing them to better manage their health and find new ways of well-being by moderating their alcohol intake. THE GROWTH OF SOBER CURIOSITY The growth of the sober-curious movement has been heavily influenced by growing health awareness, increased social pressure to reduce alcohol consumption, and the prevalence of sober-curious communities on social media. Those who are part of this movement are redefining sobriety by creating an empowering narrative around not drinking and establishing a new definition for it that is not necessarily abstinence but, rather, conscious drinking and moderation. The benefits of the sober-curious movement have been seen in improved mental health, physical health, and even economical gain. HOW SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCED THE SOBER-CURIOUS MOVEMENT Social media has revolutionized the sober lifestyle movement, connecting people from all over who share a common goal. Through platforms such as Instagram and Twitter, those on their journey to sobriety can share their stories and struggles with others in similar circumstances, providing solidarity and comfort. As a result, this has helped destigmatize sober lifestyles by empowering those struggling with addiction to know they are not alone and that there is hope for recovery and a fulfilling life without drugs or alcohol. Additionally, social media’s accessibility allows individuals to engage with experts and professionals who can provide support and advice throughout their journey. This access to knowledge helps to break down the barriers associated with the stigma around sobriety, create an informed community more readily accepting of alternative lifestyles, and ultimately lead to a greater understanding of the issue at hand. SOBER-CURIOUS VS TRADITIONAL SOBRIETY Sober-curious people are proactively experimenting with new alternatives to socialize and live a fulfilled life without dependency on alcohol. In contrast, traditional sobriety is a dedicated lifestyle that requires steadfast commitment. The differences between these two lifestyles lie in the intent; sober-curious individuals seek out ways to explore life without alcohol, while traditional sobriety is more focused on maintaining an abstinent mindset and breaking away from consuming any alcoholic beverages. Sobriety-curious individuals often look for creative solutions and approach to engage in enjoyable activities without relying on drinking as a source of entertainment or relaxation. Traditional sobriety involves an unwavering dedication to abstaining from using any type of alcoholic beverage, which can be considered both a restrictive lifestyle choice as well as an effective way to manage overconsumption or dependence. HOW TO EMBRACE A SOBER-CURIOUS LIFESTYLE There are many ways to embrace a sober-curious lifestyle, and it is important to find the best approach. Here are a few tips to consider on your journey: ALTERNATIVES TO ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES Mocktails and other non-alcoholic drinks such as sparkling water, lemonade, teas, coffees, and smoothies are excellent ways to indulge in the sober-curious movement. Staying hydrated is essential to any healthy lifestyle, and these drinks can be just as enjoyable and appealing as alcoholic beverages. Mocktails are also great for those who want to stay sober but still enjoy something special, like a classic mojito or piña colada without alcohol. Fruit and herbal infusions made from scratch have become increasingly popular among those seeking an interesting drink that won't add alcohol to their bodies. Not only do they taste delicious, but they are also packed with nutritious ingredients that help keep people hydrated while allowing them to stay on top of their sobriety journey in style. FINDING SOCIAL EVENTS WITHOUT ALCOHOL Finding social activities that don't rely on alcohol can be a great way to have fun and stay healthy. Researching sober-curious communities, joining outdoor sports teams, and embracing movement classes are excellent options for activities that don't involve drinking. Additionally, bringing the right gear, such as an on-the-go tumbler or reusable water bottle, helps make these outings more enjoyable by keeping drinks cold or warm, and reducing both the environmental impact, and potential health risks associated with single-use plastic bottles. Taking part in interesting events without alcohol can help facilitate meaningful connections with friends while promoting a healthier lifestyle, so don’t shy away from trying something new. RECOGNIZING GENUINE DESIRE VS. SOCIAL PRESSURE Some helpful tips for differentiating between genuine desire and social pressure regarding drinking include keeping a sober journal, self-reflection, and understanding your true wants and needs. It is important to recognize the difference between these two motivators in order to make informed decisions that align with your values. This is especially relevant during employee cocktail hour or other social gatherings where there may be pressure to consume alcohol. When it comes to opting out of these activities, it is important to remember that you can always politely and gracefully decline without compromising your own integrity. For example, you could say something like, “No, thank you, I’ll just stick with my drink,” or “I think I’m going to take a break for the night.” Ultimately, it is essential to remember that you are in control of your own choices and should not feel pressured into making decisions that go against your beliefs. The sober-curious movement is an opportunity to discover activities that can be enjoyed without drinking while also giving people the power to control their physical and mental health. With these tips, it’s possible to live a sober-curious lifestyle and make informed decisions about how to best manage your own well-being. So, no matter your reasons for abstaining from alcohol, don’t be afraid to embrace the sober-curious lifestyle. After all, it's about finding a way to create enjoyment without compromising your values. And when it comes down to it, you should always make choices that bring joy and positivity into your life, no matter what that looks like.
Elevate Your Meal Prep: The Best Foods for Preparing Nutritious and Flavorful Meals
Written By: Karla Tafra Planning your meals ahead can save you so much time, money, and even your own sanity as you don’t have to rush to do your grocery shopping and think of how to prepare something in under 15 minutes. Still, if you know nothing about meal prep and are looking for a place to start, here are some of the best foods you can prep beforehand and have at your disposal whenever you need them. WHAT IS MEAL PREPPING Life can get pretty busy fast, meaning not everyone gets to allocate plenty of time for cooking and preparing nourishing, healthy meals every single day of their lives. This can create stress and anxiety around food, having you reach for that delivery app or the simplest ready-to-eat meal you can find in the freezer section of your grocery store. And with its ease and convenience, it’s no wonder more and more people choose this option as their preferred way of eating. Meal prep helps you make better choices in terms of your ingredients by ensuring you always have something on hand that you can simply put in a meal prep container and take with you, reheat for a minute in your microwave, or even just toss and mix into a bowl for a quick and nutritious dinner. It’s usually done once or twice weekly in large batches you can then divide and organize in your fridge for easy assembly later. Some foods like shellfish or poached eggs can’t be meal prepped for safety reasons and some don’t taste as good reheated (spinach, mushrooms). Still, most foods can be prepped ahead of time and taste amazing even three days later. Here’s a list of the best ones. BEST IDEAS FOR WINTER MEAL PREP Root Vegetables Come this time of the year, root veggies can be found everywhere. They are one of the best foods to meal prep as they stay fresh for a long time and they can be reheated without losing their delicious flavor. Some of the best root vegetables include: Sweet potato Pumpkin and winter squash Beets Carrots Parsnips Celery Root Rutabaga Some of these vegetables like carrots and celery can be cut and prepped fresh so you can use them as crudites for hummus and other dips, while sweet potatoes, pumpkins, and rutabaga need to be either cooked or baked beforehand. Cooking or boiling these foods can turn them into an easy mash and baking them gives them a harder and more crispy texture you can always toss on top of your meal prep salads, bowls, or even soups. Additionally, if you have the time to cook but not to prep, you can always just cut them up and store them so that part of the job is already done when you’re in a time crunch. Cruciferous Vegetables Another group of fresh veggies that can easily be prepped beforehand and stored for a few days are cruciferous vegetables. We’re talking about broccoli, kale, cauliflower, cabbage, and even Brussels Sprouts. You can roast them or cook them and simply reheat them when you’re ready to eat. The only thing to note is the potential unpleasant smell that might come from making and reheating cruciferous vegetables. It’s nothing bad and it doesn’t mean they’re rotten, it’s just their natural levels of sulfur that might envelop your entire house. Rice An easy, healthy grain, rice can be prepped beforehand and re-used in a variety of ways. Once cooked, you can divide it into portions and place it in your fridge where it can stay for up to four days. Once you’re ready to eat it, take it out and either reheat it in the microwave or add it to a saucepan with some delicious sauce and simply toss it around for a few minutes until it’s warm throughout. Prepped rice is an awesome food to have on hand whenever you want something quick and filling as it pairs nicely with any kind of protein, fat source, and sauce, absorbing herbs and spices. Quinoa Another plain and easy grain (or non-grain, the verdict is still out there) to meal prep, quinoa can stay fresh in your fridge for about a week! This makes it an excellent ingredient for your entire weekly menu which can come in handy during some of the busiest times of the year. Simply cook it and transfer it to an airtight container and you’re good to go! Quinoa is an excellent food to enrich any dish and it can easily pair with any protein or fat source. It’s also perfect for absorbing any liquids and sauces, but if you really want to get fancy with it, you can spread it on your baking sheet for 10 minutes to crisp it up and toss it on top of your soups and salads for extra crunch! Chicken Probably the most commonly prepped animal protein is chicken breast & thigh. It’s so easy and quick to make, and if you prep it in a large batch, you can keep it in an airtight container in your fridge for up to four days. Whether you bake it or cook it, it makes no difference for meal prep, but you might want to shred it if you want to prevent it from drying out. This way, you can easily toss it into a salad, mix it with fajita seasoning and put it in tacos, add it to your chili soup, or even throw it on top of rice and drizzle it with bbq sauce. Ground Beef The second most meal-prepped animal protein is ground beef. Super easy to cook beforehand, ground beef stays juicy and fresh for three to five days. You can add it to chili and other heartwarming dishes, heat up in some tomato sauce and pour over your favorite pasta, or even layer it up in lasagna and create a whole week-worth of delicious meals with just one main ingredient. Beans Beans are an amazing food to meal prep ahead of time as they can be super versatile and add a kick to a bunch of meals. All you have to do is cook them and store them in your fridge for up to three days. Keep note though, once you reheat them, they might become a bit mushy so they will be perfect for any kind of Mexican dish or even as a base for heartwarming winter stews. You can also put them in a dish and crank up your oven to broil for five minutes, giving them that extra crunch and firmness. Legumes Just like beans, legumes can also be cooked and stored beforehand so you can simply take them out, heat them up, and add them to any dish you’d like. They will also get a bit mushy as you reheat them so keep that in mind when you’re planning to assemble your dish. You can also toast them up in the oven or on a pan on your stove and give them extra firmness and crunch. Oats Most of the abovementioned foods work well for lunches and dinners, but what about breakfast? Overnight oats are one of the quickest and easiest breakfasts you can prep and top with whatever you have on hand. All you have to do is mix ⅓ cup of oats with ½ cup of milk or water and place in the fridge overnight. When you wake up, the oats will have expanded and thickened up so you have the perfect base for topping it with granola, cacao nibs, fresh fruit, and even some peanut butter. Chia Seed Pudding Another perfect breakfast you can easily prep the night before is chia seed pudding. Mix four tablespoons of chia seeds with one cup of milk of your choice, and half a tablespoon of sweetener and you’re good to go! In the morning, you’ll be greeted with a gel-like pudding consistency you can once again, top with whatever preferred fresh ingredients you have on hand. You can even place the pudding in an on-the-go container so you can take it with you on mornings when you have to eat in transit. FINAL THOUGHTS Prepping your food ahead of time might be one of the best possible healthy routines you can implement into your lifestyle. It helps you save time and money and ensures you get nourishing, healthy meals all throughout the entire week, even when you don’t have the time to sit down and breathe for a second. These foods are the best options for your weekly prep, so the next thing you have to do is find the best time for you to actually get to chopping and cooking!
Meal Prep 101: The Foods That Will Ruin Your Prepared Meals
Written By: Karla Tafra Meal prep is one of the best ways to ensure you’re eating nutritious food even when you’re so busy you don’t have time to do more than reheat leftovers from airtight containers. It’s convenient, easy, and helps you save time and money. Still, even though many foods can be prepared days in advance, some need to be done the day of. The reason may be texture, taste, or food safety-related, so here are the six worst foods for meal prep you should definitely plan to avoid. WHAT IS MEAL PREPPING? Meal prep, or meal prepping, is an activity that involves taking a chunk of one or two days a week to prepare for all the others. Meaning you get to spend a few hours on a Sunday night preparing your Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and sometimes even Thursday meals. All you have to do throughout the week is use the prepped food to create your meals. You can reheat, toss in a bowl, whip up a salad, or even wrap your meal in a tortilla and you’ll be good to go. Depending on the ingredients you end up using, you might make the same dish and just divide it into separate meal prep containers, or prep your food individually so you can mix and match and create different dishes throughout the week. This smart way of preparing food ensures you always have something nutritious on hand so you don’t reach for fast food or spend your money on yet another Uber Eats order. It also saves you time so you can plan your post-work evenings much better and dedicate those precious hours to hobbies, playing with your kids, or even simply relaxing in front of the TV. THE DANGER OF MEAL-PREPPING THE WRONG WAY The point of meal prep is to prepare ingredients or dishes in advance so you can eat them a few days in a row. Certain foods can’t stay in your refrigerator for longer than one day or cannot be reheated for safety reasons as it may cause indigestion and other gastrointestinal issues. It may even cause food poisoning as fungi, mold, and bacteria build-up. So, be careful when choosing which foods you’ll prep for the week as not everything tastes good three days after you cook it. WORST TYPES OF FOOD TO MEAL PREP From raw seafood and poached eggs to pasta and spinach, here are the worst foods to meal prep. Seafood If you like seafood, you’ll probably never want to meal prep any of its ingredients in your life. Raw, it’s not recommended to keep it in the fridge for more than two days, and cooked, probably not more than three. But, even if you do choose to prep your salmon or shrimp, after a day or two, you’ll notice discoloration, a noticeable smell coming from your fridge, and a very dry texture - nothing you’d want your juicy fish to be. So, if you really love your tuna and salmon, meal prep everything around your dish and leave the protein for the day of. It’ll taste much better and you’ll decrease the risk of a foodborne illness. Eggs Another animal protein that simply doesn’t taste as good after a few days in the fridge are eggs. And not to mention, the only version of eggs you can actually meal prep are hard-boiled eggs. Don’t even think about poaching your eggs and then leaving them in the fridge as they aren’t fully cooked and can be the perfect environment for salmonella or other bacteria. If you can’t stand hard-boiled eggs, make sure to poach or make eggs Benedict the day of. You can even do it as you’re reheating other ingredients you’ve already meal-prepped! Pasta Even though there’s nothing wrong or unsafe with meal-prepping your pasta, it simply won’t taste good. Once you put the pasta in the fridge, it will harden and dry out, and no amount of reheating will bring the silky soft texture back. If you’re unbothered by the change in texture or flavor, you might still enjoy having your pasta meal prepped and ready to go, but if you’re a pasta lover who dreams of the “al dente” touch, make your pasta on the day you plan to eat it. Leafy Greens Wilted leafy greens are everyone’s nightmare, making them one of the absolute worst foods to meal prep. Once you make spinach, swiss chard, or kale, the richness of flavor and texture is immediate. The longer it sits and the minute it gets transferred to the fridge for later, it’s all gone. Reheated, these leafy greens completely lose their flavor and turn into a slimy mess which sometimes, due to oxidation, may even turn brown. So, yeah, meal-prepping leafy greens isn’t the best way to go. Luckily, they cook pretty fast and all you really need is 10-ish minutes. Potatoes Another veggie that completely loses its form and flavor are potatoes. The juicy, crispy tubers are delicious as they come out of the oven. Reheated? Not so much. You can cut them and prep them raw a day before you plan to bake them, but once you do, aim to eat the whole batch. Placing them in the fridge will make them become soggy which can lead to spoilage, especially if they’re left there for more than two days. Aim to eat your potatoes once you make them, but if you do end up with leftovers, mash them up with some cream or butter the following day, or toss them in breadcrumbs and make croquettes. This way they’ll taste way better. Mushrooms And last but not least, mushrooms definitely fall under the worst foods to meal prep as they completely lose their texture in the fridge. Pre-chopping them may dry them out and even cause them to brown, and cooking them may make them slimy and soggy, which can once again, lead to spoilage. Aim to cook your mushrooms the day of. They cook quickly and taste best when fresh out of the pan. FINAL THOUGHTS Meal prepping your food is a great lifestyle habit that can help you save time and money, but it also has to taste good. There’s no use in spending half of your Sunday prepping everything for the week ahead if come Wednesday, the food in your fridge has no flavor or texture. And yes, you will learn as you go, but avoid meal-prepping these six foods and you’ll already reduce the risk of eating a slimy salad with wilted spinach and dodgy-smelling shrimp.