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3 Ways to Drink Your Way to a More Balanced You

3 Ways to Drink Your Way to a More Balanced You

    We are a few weeks into 2012 now and some of us that made New Year’s resolutions have discovered that in our zeal to achieve change, we have created resolutions that have us feeling too constrained. For most people however, success lies in practicing a balanced approach to life.

    Finding balance means adopting the path less travelled, and rethinking arbitrarily determined timelines in favour of creating our own timelines and strategies —  that work for ourselves.  And for some of us, that also means rethinking the whole idea of “cleanses” and austerity as penance for excess, instead embracing a few simple pleasures that can bring us a little bit of joy throughout the entire year.

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    I’m here to tell you that a little tipple can help you do that! Keep the following 3 things in mind to help you drink your way to a more balanced you.

    Think of cocktails and spirits as a health tonic

    Many of the spirits and liqueurs we enjoy today were originally concocted as health tonics. And the ingredients that give them their distinct flavour profiles also have healing properties. For example, gin was originally distilled in the 1500’s as a means of making the benefits of juniper berries widely available to the masses. Chartreuse, containing 130 herbs, was created by monks in the 1600s as a health tonic. All of the Italian amaros, incluing Fernet Branca, and Campari, were originally consumed as digestifs, intended to promote optimal digestion. And Cognac, was actually available during prohibition by prescription.

    While this may seem far-fetched, consider that herbalists creating healing tinctures use 80 proof alcohol to extract the beneficial properties of the herbs they prescribe.

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    Quality over quantity

    While it often goes without saying that moderation is the key to a healthy, happy existence, I’m going to say it anyway. Deprivation is the surest route to “falling off the wagon” of our well-meant resolutions. The best way to avoid the pitfalls of the binge/abstain cycle is to invest a few extra dollars or time in a better quality of beverage.

    For those also resolved to reign in their spending in 2012, the good news is that finding a good quality spirit or wine does not mean having to lay out $100 for a bottle of single malt. There are bargains to be had if you are willing to look at alternatives. If you enjoy single malt scotch, for example, but find it too spendy for your pocketbook, try a bourbon or an aged rum for less than half the price.

    You will get all the enjoyment of sipping on a nuanced beverage, without the sticker shock.

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    Pick your potion

    With so many lifestyle and health-related diets out there these days, finding a spirit that is “allowed” on many of these diets leaves many people opting out altogether (see the reference above to deprivation). Whether you are on a Paleo diet, or a slow-carb diet, or a gluten-free diet, there is a quality beverage for you out there.

    For those looking to minimize their grain intake, the good news is that a quality spirit is far better than beer, and there are more microdistillers experimenting with creating spirits from fruit. Red wine is better on the carb front than white wine. And remember that organizations such as the Celiac Association are working at the local level with wine and spirits purveyors to research and educate about gluten-free options.

    Picking your potion does not need to be a complicated affair, instead it’s a matter of being more mindful about what we consume.

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    Conclusion

    I wish you well in 2012, and raise a glass to all of you seeking balance in your lives. Remember to consider the health benefits of a life well-lived. A moment of reflection while sipping a delicious beverage, or connecting in the evening with your spouse over a glass of wine, may have more benefits than you think!

    (Photo credit: Bottles of spirits and liquor at the bar via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on February 25, 2020

    Face Adversity with a Smile

    Face Adversity with a Smile

    I told my friend Graham that I often cycle the two miles from my house to the town centre but unfortunately there is a big hill on the route. He replied, ‘You mean fortunately.’ He explained that I should be glad of the extra exercise that the hill provided.

    My attitude to the hill has now changed. I used to grumble as I approached it but now I tell myself the following. This hill will exercise my heart and lungs. It will help me to lose weight and get fit. It will mean that I live longer. This hill is my friend. Finally as I wend my way up the incline I console myself with the thought of all those silly people who pay money to go to a gym and sit on stationery exercise bicycles when I can get the same value for free. I have a smug smile of satisfaction as I reach the top of the hill.

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    Problems are there to be faced and overcome. We cannot achieve anything with an easy life. Helen Keller was the first deaf and blind person to gain a University degree. Her activism and writing proved inspirational. She wrote, “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

    One of the main determinants of success in life is our attitude towards adversity. From time to time we all face hardships, problems, accidents, afflictions and difficulties. Some are of our making but many confront us through no fault of our own. Whilst we cannot choose the adversity we can choose our attitude towards it.

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    Douglas Bader was 21 when in 1931 he had both legs amputated following a flying accident. He was determined to fly again and went on to become one of the leading flying aces in the Battle of Britain with 22 aerial victories over the Germans. He was an inspiration to others during the war. He said, “Don’t listen to anyone who tells you that you can’t do this or that. That’s nonsense. Make up your mind, you’ll never use crutches or a stick, then have a go at everything. Go to school, join in all the games you can. Go anywhere you want to. But never, never let them persuade you that things are too difficult or impossible.”

    How can you change your attitude towards the adversity that you face? Try these steps:

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    1. Confront the problem. Do not avoid it.
    2. Deliberately take a positive attitude and write down some benefits or advantages of the situation.
    3. Visualise how you will feel when you overcome this obstacle.
    4. Develop an action plan for how to tackle it.
    5. Smile and get cracking.

    The biographies of great people are littered with examples of how they took these kinds of steps to overcome the difficulties they faced. The common thread is that they did not become defeatist or depressed. They chose their attitude. They opted to be positive. They took on the challenge. They won.

    Featured photo credit: Jamie Brown via unsplash.com

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