April 1, 2022
Spring holds so many promises – rejuvenation, rebirth – there are trees bursting with colorful blossoms, colorful flowers reawakening, and new green growth everywhere. It’s a wonderful time to get really clear on our health and wellness priorities. I’m hoping to help you do that in the coming months with monthly topics shared here on my blog, my website, and my social media.
NUTRITION is my first official monthly theme for April 2022. Because April is also National Alcohol Awareness Month, my first week’s topic will be Alcohol Awareness. It’s a critically important subject to discuss, because alcohol-related-illness is the number three killer in the US. COVID and the ensuing lockdowns and isolation exacerbated mental health issues for some, created new ones for others, and led to an exponential increase in alcohol consumption. There is a great deal of conflicting information on the health risks associated with alcohol use and abuse, and some of the studies used to justify drinking have recently been debunked, such as those that tout the supposed health benefits of drinking red wine. In fact, the NIH and CDC state that nondrinkers should NOT be advised to start drinking alcohol for health benefits. There’s also a great deal of misunderstanding about the terms “moderate drinking,” “heavy drinking,” and “binge drinking.” Until I took a nutrition course, I was unaware that the guidelines for women were no more than one drink a day AND no more than 7 drinks in a week. I thought, like many women still do, that if I abstained all week, it was okay to have 2 or 3 beers or glasses of wine on a Friday or Saturday night. But that’s not the case. And we now know that as little as one drink a day can cause significant health problems over time.
For me, the COVID lockdown was a time of deep introspection which included observing my alcohol consumption and observing the effects I felt when I drank. I quickly realized that my eye-hand coordination was impaired to the point that I can’t draw or paint well after having a drink. If I knit or crochet with alcohol in my system, I make mistakes and lose precious time correcting them (or having to start all over again – very frustrating!) Creating artwork and handmade gifts brings me a lot more joy and satisfaction than the fleeting feeling of relaxation I get from a beer or glass of wine. Engaging my creativity instead of drinking has also helped me to maintain my weight as a pleasant side effect.
With all that being said - I’m not here to judge anyone, and I am not saying that moderate drinking is bad or wrong and that nobody can or should drink alcohol ever. Many people can enjoy alcohol in moderation; some people, however, should not drink at all. My goal in sharing information on alcohol is to enable you to make positive health choices. If you feel that you need to cut back, I can help. If you feel that your drinking has gotten completely out of control, then I can help you to find other resources. As always, talk to your physician first if you feel that you need professional healthcare or alcohol detox services to quit drinking.
I’m here to help! Stay safe, be well, and Happy Spring!