Sunday, July 7, 2013

Alcohol. Feh.

Who here knows that alcohol is not good for you?  Raise your hands.  Right.  All of you.  And if anyone out there doesn’t raise their hand, you’re in denial.

Alcohol is a known bad boy (and I use that gender intentionally).  It’s a drug, though legal IF you’re over 21, IF you’re responsible, IF you maintain control.  But the problem with alcoholic beverages are the IFs.  Those under (and over) 21 want to indulge.  Too many people drink and then drive, putting themselves, and innocent people in danger.  And what I see is that people want more than one serving of the elixir.  What’s the big kick in alcohol anyway?  Relaxation?  Take a nap or meditate instead.  It lowers your inhibitions?  Yup.  Who needs that?  It tastes good?  Not to me.  Tell me what else you think alcohol is so good for.  You can’t.

Alcohol is addictive, wreaks havoc with your liver, and is known to be a risk factor for developing certain cancers, including breast cancer.  I have seen head and neck cancers attributed to alcohol (and smoking) abuse and they're not pretty.  Actually, they’re quite ugly and debilitating.   Think facial surgery and swallowing impairments.  I have seen alcohol-induced pancreatitis and  cirrhosis.  And remember, I’m just the dietitian.  A doctor could tell you much more—car accidents, alcohol intoxication in teenagers, injury from falls from alcoholic stupor.   But I've also listened to sick patients tell me they don't get help at home because someone in their family is too focused on their own drinking.  This is an especially sad predicament.  I admit that these are the extreme cases of alcohol abuse.  But I ask again, why do you want to even drink the stuff?

Alcohol has  no nutritional benefit--no vitamins, no minerals, no protein.  you can check this out on this  government website.  As a matter of fact, use the site to look up the nutritional data of just about any food and fluid.

So alcohol has no good stuff in it.  Even a whopper has protein and some iron.  As they say, pick your poison.

I’m going to get a little personal here.  Do I drink?  Hardly.  I have never liked the taste of alcohol, finding it bitter and offensive.  I will occasionally have a sweet drink that doesn't taste like alcohol, like a cosmo (mainly because it’s pink) or a margarita (on the off chance that I’m not counting calories that day).  I will have a drink at a wedding, bar mitzvah, something like that.  Will stop at one.  I absolutely hate the taste of wine or beer, can’t even stand the smell.  The only alcohol I have in the house is Broccoli Rob’s cheap wine which he mixes with (get this!) diet sierra mist and diet iced tea nightly for his ‘cocktail.’  I won’t buy the wine—he has to do that himself as he knows I’m against him even drinking this small amount.  I haven’t kept hard liquor in the house in at least 10 years as I didn’t want the stuff in the house to entice the kids and their friends.  

But have I abused alcohol? (Here’s the personal part).  Yes.  When I was in college, the legal age to drink alcohol then was 18, and we had a pub on campus.  My roommate was the bartender, her boyfriend was the pub manager.  I could drink for free!  And I did, even though I didn’t like the taste of the beer or the smell of the pub itself.  And I got smashing drunk to fit in or to flirt, or both.  The last time I got drunk was right after college, New Years Eve, turning into 1976.  A boy I liked came to the party with his (previously unbeknownst to me) girlfriend.  I felt so sorry for myself, drank to excess and at midnight, was barfing into the toilet.  I have proudly never repeated this incident as that night was enough embarrassment for my lifetime.  

I know some of you will say "but there's nothing wrong with having one drink to socialize."  You'll have a hard time to convince me of such, since I consider alcohol a controlled dangerous substance!   Why bother with something that isnt nutritious?  Maybe you think I live in the Prohibition Days.  Heck, there's a reason why alcohol was outlawed.  Call me the president of the sobriety club, but this is my blog and my goal is to say what I want to say.  Especially with our health in mind.  You can always say your part as well.  But I'm forever staying on this side of caution.

Next time you want to meet a friend or a new date, go for a scenic walk.  A cafe for appetizers.  A roller coaster ride.  Think of something else than "let's meet at a bar."  Re-think your reasons for drinking alcohol and try to find safer venues.  And for that matter, also stay away from Burger King.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. It's hard to argue against abuses of alcohol, but I figured you would know better than to say alcohol has no utility. If fact, alcohol is responsible for civilization as we know it, and many advances in food science. It's also pleasurable to those who like it's taste (me!). Many of us enjoy making it ourselves, revisiting old and even ancient recipes and methodologies. And if abstaining completely from alcohol is the sole key to longer life - I'm willing to die (not to kill, e.g., drunk driving accidents, but I am willing to give up years of life without alcohol). YOu might enjoy watching "How Beer Saved the World"