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Picture this: It’s a warm summer night and you find yourself at a patio gathering under string lights, as the familiar hue of sunset fades into a night that is aglow with possibilities. Conversation is easy, laughter abundant and delicate music fades into the background. You’re holding a drink, but this time there isn’t anything attached. No faded judgment, no next day regrets, no progress derailment and almost more importantly, the evening’s enjoyment is nevertheless unaffected.

There are a million reasons to enjoy a sober summer, many private and personal, and others more easily answered. The science on alcohol consumption is clear in terms of its effects on important key indicators for health. HRV, sleep and recovery are all dramatically impacted by the consistent use of alcohol, yet many of us proceed anyways down a familiar path to halted progress thanks to a litany of reasons and justifications, which are similarly private and personal.

And this is no linear path either, some of the healthiest, fittest people I know - both mentally and physically - are able to navigate with seeming ease this tricky decision tree and pick their spots for enjoying a night out with and without alcohol. So, for those looking to have options, we want to provide you with a few alternatives to keep your summer sober.

Alternative #1 - Athletic Brewing

Maybe you’re a beer guy, maybe you’re not. But whatever your preference, our friends at Athletic Brewing have mastered the art of brewing delicious and satisfying non-alcoholic beverages. Taking craft brews to the next level, the good folks at Athletic have more than 25 different IPA’s that are bound to out-beer your favorite beer. Created by two friends who found that they didn’t want to ruin their tomorrows with heavy, calorie and carb laden drinks and instead found new ways to brew low calorie, low carb and non-alcoholic beverages that just hit different on a hot summers day.

Alternative #2 - Soda + Cranberry Juice + Lime

For those looking for a non-alcoholic cocktail that satiates your thirst, tastes great and won’t have you fielding questions about why you’re not drinking, this mix is cost friendly and widely available at any bar. As a fresh take on a cosmopolitan, this precise combination is relatively low on sugar and big on taste, and it goes great with food (especially tacos). It has been rumored that cranberry juice has a positive effect on kidney stones, studies show mixed results, however cranberry juice has been proven to reduce urinary acidity and therefore help in instances of urinary tract infections.

Alternative #3 - Gingerbeer

Those who know me, know that I don’t often drink soda. I find it overly sweet and honestly, it makes me sick…with one expectation: ginger beer. I love ginger beer, and although there are many high sugar versions, you can find a number of brews that limit the sweet stuff and hit hard with the ginger. In fact when I have any kind of stomach ailment, this is my go to and inevitably makes me feel a bit better. Now, a few pro tips: find a glass bottle version, they are always better; as stated before, you really have to watch your sugars here as some brews can contain up to 24 grams of sugar per bottle (ouch); and always look for brews that contain real ginger.

Alternative #4 - Frozen Lemonade Protein Smoothie

If you like Pina Coladas and getting some really big gains, you will love this next recipe that has the perfect macros for your post gym nutrition. We have to give a nod to our friends at Clean Simple Eats who after visiting a Chick-Fil-A drive-thru looked at the sixteen year old server and said “Hold our figurative beer.” The recipe is simple, uses the CSE Simply Vanilla Protein which is my personal favorite and makes one serving:

  • 8 oz. Simply Light Lemonade

  • 1 Tbsp. Coffee Creamer of Choice

  • 1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice (Fresh)

  • 1 Serving CSE Simply Vanilla Protein Powder

  • 6 Ice Cubes

Combine in a blender and blend until smooth, top with 2 Tbsp. Whipped Cream and enjoy!

Alternative #5 - Olipop

We love a good comeback story and what comes back easier than a probiotic??? Sorry for the bathroom humor, but Olipop is a brand new probiotic soda with delicious flavors, low sugars and added fiber to make sure you’re a ‘regular’. Ok that was the last one. The founders of this new product, Ben and David, loved soda but hated all of the spoonfuls of sugar, so they, like all great entrepreneurs, decided to do something about it. Assembling a braintrust of human gut microbiome research pioneers, and developing a product to cultivate and maintain an optimal gut system, Olipop was born. Inspired by vintage soda flavors like classic cola, orange popsicle, root beer, grape soda and a few others, this probiotic soda is a true crowd pleaser and obviously hits the right notes during a delicious summer BBQ.

So there you have it, some fresh ideas for a stellar sober summer. We want nothing more than the best for all of you, so hope this list helps you all to stay safe, make wise decisions and continue to pursue your personal and professional pursuits.

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