drinking alcohol

Alcohol is such a integrated part of our lives. We drink to celebrate, we drink to relax, we drink to reward ourselves, we drink to drown our pain. Drinking alcohol is like taking an aspirin – it is so acceptable we don’t question what it does when it goes in our body?

That is…until we have something happen that brings us to the realization that this “wonderful” liquid may not be as healthy as we think (or have been told).

We live in a place surrounded by beautiful wineries, in a community that celebrates every holiday, weekend and celebration with drinking, and in a world where drinking with friends is the norm. Those who don’t drink are in some ways no longer acceptable or deemed “normal” by the population. 

In our quest for loving our selves and our bodies the best ways that we can, we came to a point where we began questioning if drinking was a part of this plan. The difficulty was, and is, that we seem to crave, or at least very much enjoy the occasional glass of wine or drink of beer. And that the effects didn’t seem so harmful or detrimental to our health.

But, in the search for the truth, we became determined to find out if:

  1. Hard alcohols were taken in moderation without mixers or sweeteners.  
  2. Wine was really as good for us as claimed.
  3. Beer could be better for us if made gluten free.
  4. Alcohol was moderated and limited in the amounts consumed to better allow our bodies to process it. 

To do this we first needed to discover exactly how alcohol was metabolized in our bodies and what after effects may result. 

Alcohol Truths

 alcohol effectsThe National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has conducted studies to determine if alcohol consumption can actually be good for you. Their research concurs with other groups in determining that the slight improvement in heart attack rates is offset by the increased rate of death by strokes, cancers and organ failures. 

The difficulty in determining effects and dangers of alcohol is primarily the differing reactions in each person. One might have minimal symptoms after a few drinks and another might have major after just one. Another danger exposed is that most of the damaging effects of drinking alcohol are silent killers, not showing signs of trouble until your body is in a chronic state of trouble.

Here’s a summary of the damaging issues they identified with drinking alcohol:  

  • Brain:

Alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways, and can affect the way the brain looks and works. These disruptions can change mood and behavior, and make it harder to think clearly and move with coordination.   

  • Heart:

Drinking a lot over a long time or too much on a single occasion can damage the heart, causing problems including:

  • Cardiomyopathy – Stretching and drooping of heart muscle
  • Arrhythmias – Irregular heart beat
  • Stroke
  • High blood pressure  

Research also shows that drinking moderate amounts of alcohol may protect healthy adults from developing coronary heart disease.

    • Steatosis, or fatty liver
    • Alcoholic hepatitis
    • Fibrosis
    • Cirrhosis
  • Liver:

Heavy drinking takes a toll on the liver, and can lead to a variety of problems and liver inflammations including:

  • Pancreas:

Alcohol causes the pancreas to produce toxic substances that can eventually lead to pancreatitis, a dangerous inflammation and swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas that prevents proper digestion.  

  • Cancer:

Drinking too much alcohol can increase your risk of developing certain cancers, including cancers of the:

  • Mouth
  • Esophagus
  • Throat
  • Liver
  • Breast
  • Immune System:Drinking too much can weaken your immune system, making your body a much easier target for disease. Chronic drinkers are more liable to contract diseases like pneumonia and tuberculosis than people who do not drink too much.  Drinking a lot on a single occasion slows your body’s ability to ward off infections – even up to 24 hours after getting drunk.

Wine Drinking Truths

  1. Wine can cause allergies – headaches, facial flushing, sinus problems and other negative reactions.
  2. Wine contains chemicals  – Chemicals that are permitted by law for use in winemaking include pesticides, herbicides, equipment cleaning chemicals, and sulphite preservatives. 
  3. Vineyards use chemicals – Pesticides are used to control fungus and pests that destroy grapes. Grapes are not washed before they are crushed into wine so whatever is sprayed on them goes into the wine. 
  4. Sulphur Dioxide, Sulphites, Preservative #220 are added as preservatives to help slow wine deterioration. 
  5. Oak barrels and other wood barrels contain tannins and a chemical called 2,4,6-Tribromophenol which is used to give ‘fire retardant’ properties. It is very toxic, and these chemicals are stored somewhere in the human body and disease may manifest years later.

Beer Drinking Truths
Beer infographic

Read more on this topic and the effects after drinking one drink here. 

Our Decision and Discoveries

Giving up alcohol is not easy, but is a loving gift to yourself. If you truly love yourself more than you love others, the world or opinions, then the choice to not put anything harmful and energy-taxing into your system is easy.

Alcohol is not good for you, despite what some of the “experts” share (read carefully who funds the studies, who gains from the advice given and what they are not telling you). The one point they make is that you will improve your heart attack risk…but increase your stroke risk. And increase your risk of damaging your organs, getting diseases and cancers and decreasing your brain memory potential.

Its not that hard to decide. If something is so potentially harmful for your body, then stop doing it. No excuses. No “just this once”. No caving in for friendship, acceptance or peer pressure. No belief that the media will tell you the truth and risk the loss of profits.

Just love – for yourself and the body that will give you the energy and joy to live a full and wonderful life.