Alcohol: Practice v. Preach

November 19, 2013

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I have complicated thoughts about alcohol. On the one hand, I think it’s delicious, relaxing and fun to drink. On the other hand, I don’t think it’s really all that good for you, and hangovers and empty calories leave me with regrets. Writing about alcohol is a touchy subject that can easily be interpreted to sound like one has a drinking problem – my intention here is just to keep it real. {Note that there are serious reasons to remain sober, but I am not discussing those here.}

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Here is the divide between what I practice and what I preach…

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-In our family alcohol is social and celebratory. We love everything about cocktail hour – the appetizers, the conversation, the relaxing beginning of the end to the day. And of course we like the fun that comes with tasting something new.

-We are big on craft beer, home brew (obviously) and wine. We also love bourbon! Wine and beer tastings are one of our favorite ways to spend time together, as evident by our honeymoon in Sonoma and return trips since. Matt is deep into his home brew hobby, and tasting his latest recipe is a culinary experience.

-If I’m at a free-flowing alcohol event (like a party), I try to have one drink during cocktail hour and another during dinner and stop there. But realistically speaking, there is often a third, as my dinner glass is usually emptied faster than anticipated!

-More than 2 drinks and I am guaranteed to have a hangover – unless I’ve had an abnormally large meal or my party is earlier in the day. No amount of water before bed will help. Trust me, I’ve tried.

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-I am good at pouring really small glasses. I might have 4 “glasses” of wine at a party but at 3 ounces each, they tally up to the equivalent of 2.5 real glasses.

-Having a drink with dinner makes me happy.

-Opening a bottle of wine is a commitment. The fear of wasting the second half of the bottle keeps me from opening one on the weeknights.

-Late this summer I bought a box of wine (Bota Box – the good kind!) and thought its shelf life would encourage me to have just a small glass. I was right – I did drink small glasses. But my frequency of drinking went up. It was hard to say no to a small glass with dinner every night – it was just a small glass! Food just tastes so much better with alcohol and vice versa. But since I finished that first box, there have been no more boxes of wine in my shopping cart. I didn’t think it was the best habit to start.

-I’m actually surprisingly good at knowing when to stop drinking. I rarely get more than slightly tipsy. I’m just too scared of a hangover. The only times I get into trouble are when I’m at an event where my glass is filled for me or the wine is top notch.

-Have I ever blogged under the influence? Yes, I am sure this post was written in an altered state!

-Living with kegs in the basement definitely makes it easier to imbibe. However, I never drink alone or during the day. I let Matt be the gatekeeper, but he does bring me tastes of new beers to try when I am not really in a drinking mood and I taste them anyway. {Think 8pm when he’s transferring a new beer into a keg and I’m at the computer wrapping up my day.} How can I say no to taste-testing a new flavor?

-I drink a serving or two of alcohol 2-3 times a week, but I may have sips of Matt’s beer 2-3 additional nights just for taste. Half of the time that might be just a tiny pour of the beer Matt is having or a small glass of wine from a leftover bottle from the weekend – not much. The other nights I might have a full beer or a full glass of wine plus a refill with dinner. I try not to have anything more than a few sips on weeknights (as part of the Squiggly Line Effect mantra), but some weeks we seem to have celebration after celebration (friends over for dinner, a mid-week event, book club, a date night) and my goals are squashed.

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If you were to ask me my professional thoughts on alcohol, this is what I would say:

-Despite what you see on the news, I just don’t think it’s that good for you. Yes there is research to support that a daily drink lowers risk for disease, but I don’t totally buy that it’s the ethanol itself that is doing all the good. You know the old saying: People love to hear good news about their bad habits. Ponder this article.

-When you drink your body temporarily halts fat burning in your liver so it can focus on breaking down the alcohol. This means that whenever you’re drinking you’re not burning fat. Bummer. Moreover, your body uses an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase to break the alcohol down into acetaldehyde and then acetate. It burns this acetate before any other fuel. So if you’re drinking and eating buttercream frosting, while your body is processing the alcohol the buttercream is going straight to your hips.

-I don’t like to put numbers or rules on things, but my general recommendation would be to drink once during the week and once on the weekends. Twice on the weekends if you’re a social butterfly. I think a Wednesday night drink breaks up the monotony of an otherwise healthy week.

-I know from lots of parties and 9 months of pregnancy that one of the most important parts of social drinking is holding the drink. So a club soda or a lemon-lime-simple syrup martini will often be nearly as enjoyable as the real deal.

-Remember that one drink is only 5 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer or 1.5 ounce of liquor. A pint of beer at a restaurant is 33% bigger than one serving. And if you’re pouring wine at a party chances are your glasses is a few ounces past 5. Get a measuring cup to see what 5 ounces (or better yet – 4!) looks like in your everyday wine glasses.

-I just about cried when Matt told me how many calories were in one of his home brews. Since he brews ‘em strong, some of his richest beers are close to 30 calories per ounce. That’s 400 calories in a 12 ounce glass! I started becoming more mindful of my craft brew consumption after learning this tidbit.

-I recently heard an interview by the author of the book Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol. I want to purchase the book and read more. The author discusses the rise in alcohol consumption in women and the effect of their risky drinking on society.

-If you’re anything like me, alcohol increases appetite. Research has shown an increase in food consumption when drinking. All I can say is: be careful!

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Ultimately, I think drinking can be part of a healthy lifestyle. It’s a part of mine. Enjoying a glass of wine, beer or cocktail is a part of human social history that I am happy to partake in. What is most important is that you drink in moderation and drink responsibility. I think Amelia says it best in her post on alcohol: “Think of alcohol as junk food – it’s fine to indulge, just not in excess.” And I need to practice what I preach : )

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{ 79 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jackie November 19, 2013 at 10:24 am

Great post Kath. Life is all about moderation!

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2 Becki @ Bites 'n Brews November 19, 2013 at 10:53 am

Prost to that! I wouldn’t want to give up my craft beer enjoyment – it is my job after all, but having it be my job also helps me keep tabs on myself. Full access to ten taps plus a cellar is a huge lesson in control and moderation.

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3 Jen November 19, 2013 at 10:58 am

Such an honest post! I struggle with this too – great insight!

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4 Brittany (Healthy Slice of Life) November 19, 2013 at 10:59 am

I have a very similar outlook (when I’m not pregnant!). Growing up my mom and dad often sipped a beer of glass of wine at dinner, and I enjoy doing the same now. I can’t remember the last time I drank in extreme excess (college!) or had a hangover.
It’s funny how if someone mentions having more than 2 drinks, it’s seen as a problem. I disagree. I’ve had 3 glasses of wine before, starting at 5 and ending at 10 or 11. That’s way less than 1 an hour and I always felt in control. I like the idea of considering it junk food- indulge but just not in excess.
Great post! :)

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5 Kori November 19, 2013 at 11:14 am

I really appreciate these reflective posts. You write in a scientific manner but also weave in your experiences very well. Coming from a family plagued with alcoholism (I know that sounds dramatic, but my great grandparents, grandparents, parents, and other relatives have suffered from the disease), I decided early on that I would not drink. I consumed alcohol once many years ago, and that was my “one and done.” It just never appealed to me, and I feel uncomfortable with the thought of me being inhibited and without a clear frame of mind. That being said, I don’t view alcohol as “the enemy”, and I feel comfortable around it. I just hate the thought of how it can be harmful, and because I’ve seen firsthand how it can destroy people’s lives, I just wish society as a whole would reframe their perception behind drinking. I’m sometimes the outcast for not drinking at social events, but I truly think it’s because it makes other people uncomfortable that they cannot say “no.” I loved Emily’s (DailyGarnish) post about her journey with alcohol, and appreciate the multiple perspectives behind this complex topic. Thanks for the post, Kath!

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6 Carrie November 19, 2013 at 12:06 pm

I also don’t drink and find that it often makes people (even friends) strangely uncomfortable. My close friends always know to hand me a cranberry club soda when they are hosting a party but in many cases I find that I use the “I’m still nursing” line because it’s easier than saying, I just really don’t care for alcohol. It’s taste has never been worth the calories to me. Not a moral thing or a family history thing. Just don’t need it…

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7 Liza November 19, 2013 at 4:07 pm

I don’t drink either and feel the same way. A lot of people probably think I’m a recovering alcoholic but I really just don’t like being drunk and I don’t like the taste. My friends always get me water or some other drink if we are out at a bar. I’m also a vegetarian, and my husband likes to joke that not drinking or eating meat makes me a cheap date!

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8 Hope November 20, 2013 at 1:10 pm

Yes, it does make people oddly uncomfortable! I don’t like the taste of alcohol so I very rarely drink and for some reason people really think that’s odd. I will have champagne at a special occasion but that’s the only alcohol I enjoy the taste of.

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9 Kori November 21, 2013 at 1:28 pm

Thank you all for writing on this as well! I’ve enjoyed a cranberry club soda with lime a few times, & I feel every bit as included. It’s just something society as a whole seems to be uncomfortable with. But the same can be said for leading a healthy lifestyle & being selective with one’s food choices. That too often makes others uncomfortable because it makes them reflect on their own choices.

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10 Ali November 19, 2013 at 11:17 am

While I think drinking in moderation is fine, something about the “2 drinks = safe, 3 drinks = sorry” really hit me. This is obviously not the same for everyone (I have a little wine at Christmas only and I feel a 1/2 glass) but just seeing that made me think about drinking and driving. 2 drinks does not equal safe! I know this isn’t the way you meant it but my uncle was killed by a driver who had one drink. Sorry, again, I know this isn’t they way you meant it but it hit me hard!

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11 Alan November 19, 2013 at 10:24 pm

I’m so sorry for your loss. I personally like beer, especially the craft beer, but gave up all alcohol more than a year ago because I just realized I didn’t need it, and I see too many people depend on it too much. I didn’t want to get to that point. The problem comes in when people drink and drive, and nobody but nobody can tell me what their “limit” is. College campuses are full of binge drinkers, and so are bar mitzvahs, weddings, showers, nights out with the boys, etc. Our society is way too dependent on alcohol to make a good time, which leads to all sorts of societal problems, most severely what happened to your uncle but also date rape, injury, liver disease, missed work, missed assignments, etc.

Kath–nice post, and it opens a whole lot of room for thought and discussion. Thanks for posting it.

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12 LizW November 21, 2013 at 11:15 pm

Alan – agreed :)

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13 Jess November 20, 2013 at 11:55 am

My interpretation of this statement was that Kath was saying that SHE is safe from a hangover if she has two drinks or less. And that she is sure to have a hangover if she has 3 or more. She is NOT saying that anyone else is “safe” to drive or anything else. Simply a statement about HER consuption level and the level of hangover she would incur.

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14 Ali November 20, 2013 at 6:34 pm

Yeah, that’s why I said twice that I knew this wasn’t how she meant it but this is what stuck out in a post on a sensitive topic to me. There was something about how prominently the “2 drinks = safe, 3 drinks = sorry” part is featured that really hit me. If someone didn’t bother to do more than skim the post and took everything Kath said as fact, I think they might have the potential to say – “Oh, I’m fine with 2 drinks then!” On a post with alcohol is being talked about, there is always going to be sensitivity for many reasons – like religion, addiction, personal experiences, etc. Also, Jess, when you write with words in all caps, you are indicating that you are yelling at someone and after rereading my comment, I don’t think I needed be yelled at. Please consider this before replying to someone you have never met before, especially when that person made a concerted effort to form a nice comment about a topic that means a lot to her.

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15 Tonya November 19, 2013 at 11:19 am

I’m like you– a “glass of wine” for me (when I pour it myself at home) barely fills up a quarter of my glass! So if I “indulge” and drink 3 I’ve barely had a full goblet.

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16 Dana @ Conscious Kitchen Blog November 19, 2013 at 11:29 am

Yes! I found myself nodding several times while reading this. Alcohol plays a role in my social life and my diet in many of the ways you talk about. My husband and I enjoy wine tastings and are very much into craft beer. He home brews too. We love enjoying wine and beer with one of our other favorite things, really good food! I’ve come a long way in developing my current relationship with alcohol. As I learned more about the amount of calories in craft beer and how too much makes me feel (even if I’m not drunk, still not on my A game the next day). As you said, moderation is everything.

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17 Mary November 19, 2013 at 11:31 am

As a young lady in my mid-twenties, I’ve been in plenty of situations where I’ve seen friends drink too much and make fools of themselves. Those memories alone keep me from having more than 1 or 2 drinks at happy hour after work, I never ever want to be THAT person.

Although honestly, most types of alcohol make me tired and fuzzy after only 1 drink. Most of the time I am happy to not drink at all!

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18 Rachelle November 19, 2013 at 11:51 am

Thank you for writing this post! It is a great summary of the nature of alcohol and learning how to balance it’s amazing taste with life. I have struggled with the same thing as sometimes even one glass of wine can make me pretty tipsy. Sometimes, I have even wondered if my body just cannot cannot tolerate alcohol at all. This is a great post to send to my friends! Thank you.

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19 Kara November 19, 2013 at 11:58 am

What a thoughtful post – I’ve also been very interested in that book. I totally agree about the wine box by the way. My hubs and I have tried it a few times, and although we drink less at a time, we drink more overall while the box is in the house. We also love craft beer and a lot of our social life can revolve around that, especially at certain times of the year. Knowing your limits is key!

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20 Lauren November 19, 2013 at 11:59 am

I really enjoyed reading this post Kath. I have to agree, it’s like junk food or dessert…everything in moderation, right?

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21 Jana November 19, 2013 at 12:04 pm

Such a touchy subject! I love your realistic take on it – all too often we read preachy articles and for me, it just means I’ll stop reading rather than ponder about the undeniable truth in it.

I have to admit, alcohol is a big weakness of mine. I drink quite a bit, especially the high-caloric things like cocktails. And I don’t get hungover (yet. Everybody keeps telling me that this is just a matter of time once I hit the big 3-0), so that doesn’t help. ;)

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22 Julie Rosene November 19, 2013 at 12:07 pm

I share a lot of your feelings when it comes to alcohol. I probably drink about twice a month now that I’m nursing. I used to enjoy having a “special” beer more often, but the appeal is gone (though I expect it is temporary). The best trip my husband and I have ever taken was to several wineries on our 5th wedding anniversary. Since then I’m much pickier with the wines I drink. I strive for quality and if I can’t get it, I don’t have any at all!

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23 Angelica November 19, 2013 at 12:14 pm

My body changed after having a baby. More than one and I always get dehydrated, no matter how much water I drink. (Is that just psychological?) Thankfully I’m honestly not as drawn to it as when I was childless and working full-time. Also, I was confused by this: “Opening a bottle of wine is a commitment. The fear of wasting the second half of the bottle keeps me from opening one on the weeknights.” Maybe I’m just not classy, but if we don’t finish a bottle, we plug it with a reusable bottle stopper and stick it in the fridge (white) or leave it on the counter (red).

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24 KathEats November 19, 2013 at 2:53 pm

We do that too, but I never think the wine is good after a day or two of oxidation

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25 Sarah November 19, 2013 at 6:07 pm

Oh I’ve had some wines that oxygen is exactly what they need. They get better (smoother, richer) after a day or two! It’s probably similar in effect to decanting a bottle… only I’m not that fancy.

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26 Pat November 20, 2013 at 2:03 am

Which is why I like the box. My husband is not a wine drinker, just me, and the box keeps it better. But I agree, it can be tempting to have several little glasses that add up. Good discussion.

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27 Sarah November 22, 2013 at 11:44 am

Do you have a Vacu-vin wine stopper and pump? Those get the air out of the bottle so the wine stays fresh. They work pretty well.

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28 Cortney November 19, 2013 at 12:17 pm

Great read and great points. Probably one of the more well laid out articles that I have read looking at it from a real life view point.

I happen not to drink (not for any moral, ethical or religious reasons, nor am I a recovering alcoholic–I just hate the taste of alcohol and also hate the taste of beer and wine). I have only ever had it a handful of times in my life and the last time was over 5 years ago.

I also tend to metabolize chemicals slowly (give me a Benedryl and I am out for days–LOL), so alcohol consumption the night before a long run ruins it for me.

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29 Kendra November 19, 2013 at 12:26 pm

I definitely struggle with alcohol and how much or how often is “okay.” I appreciate your insight and your honesty in this post. It sounds like you have a very responsible approach to your enjoyment. Thanks for sharing!

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30 Justeen November 19, 2013 at 12:31 pm

This is a really great post – I was nodding my head through almost all of your practice and preach points. I too, was SHOCKED when I found out the number of calories in dark, strong beers (my fav!). Knowing that definitely helps me with portion control. If we open a 22oz bottle one night, I try to keep my portion in check by drinking out of a small 8oz ball jar. It’s cute and makes it feel like a have a much bigger serving than I actually do!

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31 Hannah November 19, 2013 at 12:45 pm

Great post, I like this a lot. I’m turning 21 in a few months and have been pondering my future relationship with alcohol. Thanks for the input!

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32 dianna November 19, 2013 at 12:53 pm

great post! the book you mentioned, Drink, is really interesting- I’m reading it right now. its an interesting mix of memoir and sociological study. Really disturbing how the shift in alcohol marketing is so much more geared to women and framed as something we “deserve” or as a means of self-care. don’t get me wrong- i love to have a drink now and then, but this message is hurting women. self-care means so much more than unwinding with alcohol…

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33 emily November 19, 2013 at 1:12 pm

Great post, Kath! A practice vs. preach series might be fun.

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34 LizP November 19, 2013 at 1:15 pm

I drink socially, but there are two negatives that have resulted in me drinking a lot less now.

1) No willpower- I find that I am much more likely to say “yes” to food that I’m not necessarily hungry for but want to eat. I try to justify it in my mind as “soaking up the alcohol” or some other silly excuse, but the simple truth is I eat more when I drink.

2) It can be expensive. Now that I’m out of college and not drinking whatever is on special, I find that my drink tab can be quite high from just even 2 specialty drinks. Add the extra food from # 1 and it can result into a pricey habit!

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35 Steph November 19, 2013 at 1:54 pm

Such truth! Wine is delicious. Beer is delicious. But so is sooooo many other things that are bad for us and our metabolism/waistline/overall health.

I thought your first complaint should be a nice one for once, so thanks for making me want a heady, malty beer at 11 am PST !!!!!!!!!!

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36 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats November 19, 2013 at 1:56 pm

I’m the same way with being good about how much I drink – I HATE being hung-over so unless it’s an all-out party kind of night (like after taking the Bar exam…) I try to drink plenty of water throughout the night (which helps me a ton) and not get beyond happily tipsy! Plus I also only drink socially, which for me is usually just one night a week although with the holidays I’m sure that will increase!

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37 Rachel November 19, 2013 at 2:11 pm

I have always admired your writing style, and your ability to interweave personal details into your more evidence-based posts. This was a great post to read, especially right before the holidays, and something I will definitely keep in mind!! Keep writing… I’ll keep reading :)

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38 Ella P November 19, 2013 at 2:12 pm

Hellouuu dear Ladies,
as an half-Italian who has spent a few years working in France I can tell you how I learned to enjoy a drink (or two) without any unpleasant consequences.
My French friends kept telling me that “Il faut manger pour boire” (you have to eat in order to be able to drink) = never start drinking with an empty stomach.
And, here we go again, moderation is more than mandatory.

Cheers!
Ella

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39 KathEats November 19, 2013 at 2:51 pm

Love that quote – so true!

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40 Suzanne @ hello, veggy! November 19, 2013 at 2:12 pm

I really loved reading this. Alcohol has really scared me (seeing my peers getting too intoxicated), but knowing that balance is possible makes me want to learn to love wine. Thanks, Kath!

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41 Tracey November 19, 2013 at 2:27 pm

My husband is just getting into brewing, and like you, I absolutely love strong beers. I think I’ll have to be putting some of these points to good use in the future if I don’t want to see it on my hips!

Isn’t it insane how most men don’t have to worry about the calories in beer, at least not the same way that women do. It must be the way that our bodies react to breaking down the alcohol, because even by following a much healthier diet and exercising regularly, my body is much more impressionable when it comes to alcohol. Not fair!

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42 Tracy November 19, 2013 at 2:30 pm

Great post, Kath! There’s that magic word again: “moderation”. It applies to so many aspects of life, right?

400 cal home brew…Ouch! At least it’s good to know!!

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43 Amelia November 19, 2013 at 2:35 pm

Great post Kath! I knew this subject had to be coming down the pipeline sooner or later. Very well written!!! Ever since my husband and I started ‘ trying’, I have cut out alcohol with the occasional sip or two here and there for special occasions or if he cracks open a new beer. Now I’m such a lightweight that 3 ounces of wine makes me too tipsy. It’s crazy how habits change.

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44 AmyW November 19, 2013 at 2:37 pm

Great post!! Way to keep it real while also noting how alcohol negatively affects our bodies…it doesn’t get any better with age, either :)

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45 elizabeth November 19, 2013 at 2:40 pm

What does a “hangover” feel like to you?
I don’t get hangovers, but I like wine with my dinner, although is does become a habit and I haven’t been drinking for over a month. I tend to reduce or eliminate wine during the long cold Winter here, the days are so short and I’m not as active, I find it can be easy to drink too much.

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46 KathEats November 19, 2013 at 2:50 pm

A mild one: alcohol taste in my mouth, dehydration, slight headache
A bad one: extreme nausea

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47 elizabeth November 19, 2013 at 3:38 pm

The dehydration from alcohol really bothers me. I don’t get the others much.

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48 Christina @ The Beautiful Balance November 19, 2013 at 2:56 pm

Love this post. Everything in moderation is key!

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49 Shel@PeachyPalate November 19, 2013 at 3:14 pm

Brilliant post! I don’t drink anymore as I just couldn’t deal with the hangovers. I also used to get noticeably depressed the day after and during my eating disorder days it was a way to block out my thoughts and “feel normal”. I think what works for one won’t work for another and in Ireland people definitely need to practice more self control and moderation!

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50 Brittany @ Barr & Table November 19, 2013 at 3:33 pm

I feel like you wrote the drinking habits about me haha. I definitely try to limit to the weekends and am a craft beer snob but lately (the whole moving across the country next week thing..) I’ve been indulging in a few extra drinks during the week (HELLOOOOO STRESS!) And the facts about the calories in crafts brews? Kills me.

Great post. Loved it!

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51 MizCarla November 19, 2013 at 3:37 pm

SO interesting.
I stop drinking about 20 years ago when I dated a guy who didnt drink and then, in a way, I just never remembered to start again.
There’s no reason why I dont—and yet it also seems to make OTHERS oddly uncomfortable I dont.
Im glad my husband does as I love the fact healthy moderate drinking is modeled in our home for our daughter….

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52 Becky November 19, 2013 at 4:40 pm

I had a neighbor in college with a ‘tonight we drink, tomorrow we eat’ philosophy. Mostly because there wasn’t money for both.

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53 Amanda Cowan November 19, 2013 at 5:02 pm

I love this and plan to share it on Facebook. Having said that, a good honorable mention on here would be to talk to your doc about complications with any meds you might be taking. I know I’m on a type of medication where I should really limit my alcohol consumption. My doc says “occasionally is fine” but above and beyond that could really hamper the effectiveness of the med.

I’ve really come to enjoy ales, lagers and beers (though I’m still not clear on the difference). When we drink at home, we try to share beers so that the 12oz gets split between us and gives us a fun taste without committing to the whole thing.

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54 Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs November 19, 2013 at 5:55 pm

Great reminder! My husband & I try to limit our drinking to the weekend, but there are definitely times when that goes out the window! But we do our best to keep to it on a regular basis, so that the off times don’t become the norm!

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55 Sarah November 19, 2013 at 6:05 pm

Kath, did you notice a change in how you can handle alcohol after having Mazen and nursing ? My daughter is 7 months old and I am breast feeding. I get a headache now after 1 glass of wine but can drink 2 IPAs without a problem ( after my daughter is asleep – thankfully she sleeps through the night now so I don’t have to worry about alcohol and breast milk).Wonder if there is something about the wine and dehydration. I know there are old wives tales about beer and milk production . Hope there is some truth there !

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56 KathEats November 20, 2013 at 5:57 am

Yes actually. If I have even one big glass I don’t sleep well at all. It sucks!

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57 Amanda November 19, 2013 at 6:25 pm

I enjoyed reading your thoughts on this. Thanks for the honest post.

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58 Caitlin November 19, 2013 at 6:38 pm

Great post Kath! I loved the facts and links you posted as well as your preferences/habits. Personally, I enjoy your review posts about different beers because I value yours and Matt’s opinions, especially when it comes to craft brews and we seem to have very similar tastes.

I did a quick search on your site and didn’t find anything about this but, have you guys heard of Hardywood Brewery in Richmond? It’s close to the baseball diamond right by 64/95 through the city. They have excellent beers and several that are aged in either bourbon, rum, or tequila barrels. I absolutely love their bourbon barrel series and think you guys would enjoy them too. If you ever get the chance, you guys should take the drive to check them out! Most nights they also have excellent food trucks on site as well, so you can get delicious food with the great beers! :)

December 7th they’re releasing their Gingerbread Stout aged in bourbon barrels (they just did the seasonal release of the regular Gingerbread Stout this past weekend). You can bet I’ll be there in line to get a bottle or two! If you guys are interested in trying the bourbon barrel GBS and can’t make it to the release, I’d be more than happy to grab an extra bottle and mail it to you or bring it along with me the next time I head to UVA Medical Center for a doctors appointment!

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59 KathEats November 20, 2013 at 6:00 am

Hi Caitlin! We have been dying to go to Hardywood. We’ve hadone or two of their beers already. I would love to go to the release but traveling that far just isn’t practical with Mazen. You are sweet to offer to send the gingerbread. It sounds amazing! You don’t need to do that for us but if you really wanted to and were in the neighborhood you could drop it by the bakery. I could try to meet you to say hi and thanks. Only if you really want to though!

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60 Mere November 20, 2013 at 10:25 am

Did you know Hardywood is owned by a Davidson grad?

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61 KathEats November 20, 2013 at 11:02 am

No!!!! That’s awesome. I’ll go research it

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62 Sara @ sarasmiles November 19, 2013 at 7:14 pm

Thank you SO much for writing this!

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63 Theresa November 19, 2013 at 7:16 pm

I loved this post! So interesting to hear your thoughts on this. I too, try to limit my alcohol consumption to weekends or a glass with dinner on a celebratory evening. I definitely noticed I drink more now that Andrew and I live together. But, I so enjoy a good class or wine or nice beer with a meal.

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64 Livi November 19, 2013 at 7:18 pm

such good insight! we are all just doing the best we can! :)

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65 Meghan @ The Tasty Fork November 19, 2013 at 7:51 pm

I totally agree. “opening a bottle of wine is a commitment.” That’s the main reason that stops me from drinking during the week. except for Thursday, b/c the weekend is like almost here!

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66 Rachael November 19, 2013 at 10:12 pm

Thanks so much for this post! After moving in with my boyfriend, I’ve been drinking a lot more than I use to. These are great tips to not feel deprived!

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67 Alex @ Kenzie Life November 20, 2013 at 12:44 am

I liked hearing your views on alcohol from both a personal, foodie/food blogger, and RD perspective. I had no idea home brews were that rich though! I really do treat alcohol like a treat–I don’t have it often and when I do, I’m careful not to ‘waste’ the calories on something I don’t like just so I can have a drink with my friends. If I like it and I want some, I’ll have some, otherwise I won’t. And if I do have some, I know that one drink is usually all I can handle or else I get sad. For me, those limits work :)

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68 Reghan November 20, 2013 at 7:31 am

Great post! I went through a stage in my early 20′s where I drank every weekend to excess. Now I much prefer the odd glass of wine on a weeknight. Something so relaxing about the baby being fast asleep in bed, making dinner for hubby and I and sipping on a glass of wine. This is usually a tiny glass of wine that I sip on and at the most maybe 2 glasses if it’s the weekend. I’d say 2-3 nights a week.
Then there’s the odd time where I go out with girlfriends or we go to a party and I drink WAY too much again. We’re talking the extreme hangover category and I’m really not into that anymore. Knowing I have to get up and spend the next day with a 15 month old makes it not as appealing anymore! I’d much rather sip my wine a few nights a week or, in the summer, some delicious cold cocktails in the sunroom :) Definitely all about moderation!

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69 Jo November 20, 2013 at 7:54 am

I haven’t found a beer I like but I LOVE wine! Problems for me are it usually gives me a headache & makes me sleepy. And going out somewhere, having a drink or 2 and driving home is just NOT a risk I am willing to take!

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70 chris November 20, 2013 at 10:00 am

Really well thought out post with great links. Moderation in everything. I kind of feel the same way about hangovers – the risk vs reward was too great. I didn’t want to work or raise my kids feeling sick all day from a hangover. So I basically didn’t drink when the kids were little, unless we went out or it was a special occasion. Today, if I have more than say 1 and a half drinks, my sleep is disrupted! And since red wine gives me a headache, I don’t really even benefit from a glass or two of white wine…geez. Now offer me a margarita…

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71 Katie November 20, 2013 at 10:39 am

I absolutely LOVE wine, but I don’t like the mental effects it has on me. If I drink it too often (think 1-2 glasses several nights in a row), I start to feel severe anxiety and depression. So, since I love it so much and would never give it up, I enjoy 2-4 glasses per week (2 one night, 2 another night). Personally, that’s the best balance for me to ensure my mind stays happy. Although, vacation is a whole other story and I will drink nightly, but I often do things to help with whatever anxiety might occur when I return home.

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72 Jessica November 20, 2013 at 1:16 pm

Great post, Kath. I love how you value moderation. I have a glass or two of wine almost every night, so I have to skip dessert to keep fit. Alcohol is like junk food. At my age I have to pick just one.

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73 Connie November 20, 2013 at 2:08 pm

It’s always nice to be reminded of those tried-and-true ways to avoid drinking too much at parties. I’m skeptical, however, of this notion of trying to adhere to some strict drinking “schedule” (ie, allowing yourself one drink two times a week). I think this is where a lot of women (and men) falter when it comes to moderation. If we’re “good” all week and only have one drink, we can easily lose our resolve and go a little too crazy on the weekend. And experts say it’s more the BINGE drinking that people need to worry about.

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74 Amelia November 20, 2013 at 2:54 pm

What a wonderful post. I so agree with everything in both categories!
Funny you should link to me on this particular day, when the post on my home page is “how to find sustainably produced wine and beer” – haha! But thanks for valuing and sharing my thoughts :)

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75 KathEats November 20, 2013 at 3:04 pm

Haha

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76 Diane November 21, 2013 at 9:06 am

No guilt here – I have a glass of wine almost every night with dinner – once in a while 2. If we have pizza I have a beer (yum). Once in a while I will even have a hard liquor drink. I think you’re doing fine! Good post.

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77 Marne November 21, 2013 at 9:14 pm

Agree with your post, moderation is the key and everyone needs to find their own balance. I’m like you, I don’t drink solo and only two nights a week with a limit of 2-3 drinks. And the drink has to be good quality or it’s just not worth my calories or potential headache. Great post!!

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78 Sally November 22, 2013 at 1:25 pm

Totally agree with everything you said!

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79 Shannon December 16, 2013 at 12:20 am

So practical and helpful! Thanks so much for going into such detail and writing so candidly about when you drink, why you drink, and what you drink. I like the “one drink in the week and one on the weekend” tip. Nothing should be FORBIDDEN all the time, you know? I’m trying to get out of the post-college habit of Saturday night craft beer binge. Yeesh. Wish me luck!

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