Posts tagged ‘health benefits’

October 8, 2018

New Studies on the Health Benefits of Alcohol are Making Me Want a Drink

Two new studies indicate that alcohol consumption may not have as many (or any) health benefits as research previously indicated; these studies are making me want a drink! Try to figure out the health benefits or harm of consuming coffee, fat, carbohydrates, chocolate, or even bananas can be confusing at best. Now that they’re messing with happy hour, I think I’ll mull over the evidence drink in hand.

I’m not here to defend alcohol consumption. Alcohol has had devastating effects in my family. My grandfather drunkenly stumbled on the concrete front steps of his house, fell, hit his head, and eventually died from his injuries. The psychological effects of his drinking left my dad angry and violent. I understand on a visceral level that the detrimental effects of alcohol may not be quantifiable without including their contribution to psychological and physical trauma within families.

I’m not here to rail against alcohol consumption either. I know there are many people who have a drink occasionally or regularly and that’s it. They don’t overdo, drink and drive, or engage in other high-risk behaviors. Some of these people are genetically predisposed to alcoholism and yet they never develop the disease.

barrelsLike other dietary decisions, drinking alcohol is a lifestyle choice fraught with religious prohibitions, social implications, and conflicting evidence regarding health benefits. The path to making the best choice in such a situation is to have clear intentions, be informed, tell yourself the truth, own your choice, and give yourself permission to change your mind.

The older I get, the less it suffices to wait for someday to fully enjoy life. It is increasingly important to me to have a few moments each day that are pure pleasure. These moments don’t have to be big or monumental, but I intend to lean into them.

Last weekend, one of those moments was tasting a delicious coffee liqueur at the end of an impromptu distillery tour with friends. If I made a blanket prohibition against consuming alcohol, I would have missed that moment.

I chose to embrace it knowing there was no health benefit, but also knowing that I do not suffer from alcoholism. I am happy with that choice. If in a month I find myself spiking my coffee or milk with liqueur every morning, it may be deliciously pleasurable, but it will also be time to reconsider my choice.

There are so many pieces of life over which we have no control that we can feel quite powerless at times. It is easy to get lost in that feeling. Making deliberate choices to improve the quality of life in small, consistent ways can greatly increase a feeling of purpose and well-being which in turn can improve our health.

Each of us will have a unique path to wholeness, happiness, and health. Each of us will find obstacles on that path, naysayers who discourage us, cheerleaders who encourage us, and examples that inspire us. We will find pleasure and comfort in different ways.

I cannot say what the journey should look like for you. I do know that intention and practice can propel each of us toward becoming our best selves while enjoying life fully. Sometimes for me, that means watching the sunset while sipping a Hendrick’s and soda garnished with a cucumber.

Here’s to you loving the path you’re on!

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(18)31310-2/fulltext

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/15300277

https://www.cosmopolitan.com/uk/body/news/a45281/bananas-bad-breakfast/

https://zenhabits.net/wholeness/


Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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December 9, 2012

Coffee – The Good, The Bad, and The Unusual

coffeeGood morning coffee lovers. If you’re awake and reading this, I’m sure you have your favorite vessel in hand and steam on your face as you read. I prefer to drink my coffee piping hot and black out of a pottery mug with no handle that fits perfectly in my hand.  Ben prefers to drink his from fine china with a razor-thin lip. This visual always strikes me as funny. Not to be missed are the great coffee related stories that abound. I have a client whose stepfather left never to return after finding a small dried-up tree frog in the china mug he insisted upon when visiting the family farm.

Anyway, if you’re a regular coffee drinker, I’m sure you have your own favorite blend, cup, mug, coffee shop, routine, or garnish. I’m also sure you love reading each new report citing the health benefits of consuming coffee: Longer Lives, Reduced incidence of Alzheimer’s, Less Skin Cancer, Increased Heart Health (before the 4th cup), and Decreased Risk of Stroke.(1) You may even feel the immediate calm I feel when the first waft of coffee aroma reaches me from the drive-through window at Starbucks.

Most mornings, I make coffee at home. I like to start with dark roasted coffee beans gleaming with oil. I want them to produce a taste that’s well balanced and not bitter. I have the press-a-lever coffee dispenser in which I fill the reservoir to 7 cups. I don’t how 7 came to be the magic number or why it persists since I usually have coffee left over and wont to land tepidly in my cup the following morning because I’ve forgotten to drain out the excess when I’m fully saturated. Nonetheless, 7 cups it is.

As coffee beans have become increasingly expensive, I have become increasingly conscious of a desire not to waste the excess. When I remember, I remove the excess dispenser contents before I leave for work. I place the coffee in a plastic container on the counter or in the refrigerator. Once I have the coffee sitting there, I need some creative ways to make use of it. Here are a few of the things I’ve successfully tried:

Using coffee to replace part of the liquid in brownies or chocolate cake. The coffee enhances and deepens the richness of the chocolate flavor.

Using as an ingredient in molasses cookies.

Deglazing a pan in which I’m cooking beef. The coffee makes a savory broth even darker and bolder.

Thinking about making Red Eye Gravy, but I rarely have ham and I don’t like gravy that much so thinking is as far as I get on this one.  On the other hand, I have used coffee as part of the liquid in a more standard brown gravy.

Using the steam and warmth of mug full of coffee to relieve sinus pain back in the days when I had allergies. (Yes, I said, “had”. Thanks to zero-gluten and Oregano Oil, this is no longer an issue.) Breathe the steam and then apply the side of the mug directly to the sinuses.

Reheating to drink as “emergency” coffee when I’ve run out of beans.

Mixing with a spice reduction, then applying to my hair to reduce the gray.

Watering herbs or houseplants that need more acid in the soil. I don’t know if this is really helpful, but it hasn’t hurt them yet and it makes me feel less wasteful.

Some of you are probably excited about a new idea that was sparked by reading these options.  Others of you may be wondering why I don’t just make less coffee. That’s a valid question, but here’s the thing – some days, I drink that much coffee. Sometimes, work unexpectedly beckons early leaving me with too little time to savor this pleasure. Another issue is that in my groggy pre-coffee state on any given morning, I can’t seem to muster the presence to determine how much I will want.

Rather than fight what feels natural, I’ve learned to expand the possibilities, make myself feel good about my decisions, and give you a few new options to consider be they good, bad, or just unusual.

 

 

(1)Brice, Mikini. “Seven Surprising Health Benefits of Coffee.” Medical Daily RSS. Medical Daily, 16 Aug. 2012. Web. 08 Dec. 2012.