Finding Balance with sugar, alcohol, and caffeine

Achieving balance is no small feat. Especially when it comes to elements of our life that involve rituals, friends, or cravings. Take a few of the most common ones; sugar, alcohol, and caffeine. We all battle these daily, and constantly. One month, we’re off of them completely, then the next we find ourselves overindulged to the point we feel toxic. This cycle can leave us feeling stuck, dependent, and out of control.

We need balance. We can’t be all work and no play; all stress and no fun. But we also can’t be all fun and play. That is when actions become habitual, obsessive, or addictive, and we become out of balance with our balancing acts. It’s worth asking ourselves once in a while whether our choices are serving us or we are in service to them?

Our philosophy at Mountain Trek is that nothing is evil—not Ben & Jerry’s, zinfandel, nor espresso—it’s all about the amount, frequency, and timings of our favorite indulgences. To be habit-free we must know “why” we want any dopamine-rewarding substance. This requires asking ourselves a few mindfulness-invoking questions. Typically we are chasing a need with these pleasures. It could be to relax and unwind, reward ourselves for working hard, filling a moment of boredom, masking an uncomfortable emotion, or often sharing something socially. None of these, or any reasons, are shame-worthy. Once we know why we want these choices, we can ask if they are truly bringing us balance and happiness beyond the moment? This question might require some deeper contemplation and reflection to notice and track what effect these substances have on our energy levels, moods, mental clarity, digestive system, sleep, and even self-esteem. Journaling is a wonderful aid in documenting insights and helps you get out of your own head. If we realize we might be “holding the tail of the tiger”, we can experiment.

If you feel that cutting these elements from your life is preventing you from enjoying time with friends, lowering your overall happiness levels, and feeling overly obsessed, then there may be another path. Fortunately in this world of choices, there are replacement options for many of our pleasures! There are chocolate bars with higher levels of cocoa and lower levels of sugar, and even sugar-free chocolate bars are getting more sophisticated and delicious with natural sugar-free sweeteners (try Xylitol from Birch Tree sap). There are de-alcoholized wines, and 0% microbrewery beers, and even quality alcohol-free spirit replacements to give us options for the social or ritual aspects of ‘happy hour’ fun. Micro roasters have been creating high-quality swiss water decaffeinated espresso beans for years, so we can still be in joy savoring the flavors, aromas, and rituals without some of the un-balancing effects.

The key is to play around and not get stuck in habits that we may think are meeting our needs but are actually tipping us out of balanced health. Be present, savor and enjoy!

What is Mountain Trek?

Mountain Trek is the health reset you’ve been looking for. Our award-winning hiking-based health program, immersed in the lush nature of British Columbia, will help you unplug, recharge, and roll back years of stress, anxiety, and unhealthy habits. To learn more about the retreat, and how we can help you reset your health, please email us at or reach out below: