Category Archives: Health

Booze News

In honor of the coming weekend, and on the off chance that alcohol may be involved, here are a few items I found interesting this week.

First up, I’m sharing a hack from KellysDIY blog on improving the taste of cheap vodka.  Haven’t tried this myself but it’s an intriguing idea:

Pour your cheap vodka into a water filter pitcher.  It will remove the impurities that make inexpensive vodka taste, well, cheap.  

mountain ranges covered in snow

Photo by Denis Linine on Pexels.com

Another great tip: Baking soda removes wine stains.

red wine

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Speaking of wine, the industry’s latest annual report cited some millennial trends that will impact not just this age group (currently 23-38) but the rest of us, too, as winemakers take notice. Cheers to healthy wines at a reasonable price!

Millennials:

  1. Tend to prefer craft beers, spirits (e.g., whiskey) and/or cannabis to wine
  2. Less interested in accumulating “stuff”; experiences mean more
  3. Health oriented (wine’s competing with kombucha, for heaven’s sake!), which means a preference for wine that’s organic, sustainable and local
  4. Don’t have a lot of money. They’re still dealing with fallout from the 2008 recession, student loans, and establishing themselves in their careers
  5. Want their drinking experience to be fun (hence the appeal of inventive cocktails and entertaining mixologists), not precious or snobby
  6. Turned off by pretentious tasting rooms (and high prices) they associate with their parents
  7. Inclined to reject “safe” choices like pinot and chardonnay in favor of something unexpected. (Barrel-aged sauvignon blanc, anyone? Oenologists describe this rare specialty as having a creamier texture and more rounded lemony/crème brûlée flavors than flinty Sancerre or herbaceous New Zealand offerings.)

Are you a millennial? Do you agree with these general observations?

Incidentally, did you know that rosé is the fastest growing wine segment in the US?  If you’re of the generation that grew up on Mateus and have shunned them ever since, one of Oregon’s lovely, fresh, pinot noir rosés will be a revelation.

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(front) Crowley Wines; (back) Coleman Vineyard’s Cherry Cove

And finally, some fun facts:

  • Milkshakes originally contained alcohol.
  • Red wines have higher alcohol content than white wines.
  • Moonshine accounts for around 30% of the world’s alcohol drinking.
  • A bottle of champagne contains 90 PSI of pressure — three times the pressure in your car tire.
  • A gin & tonic will glow under a UV light because tonic contains quinine, which is UV light reactive
  • Fear of an empty glass has a scientific name, Cenosillicaphobia.

 

10 Simple Stress Busters

It’s been a crazy few weeks.

DH has been busy with end-of-term meetings, presentations and the like. I’ve been in charge of scheduling contractors for lingering punch-list items including a sink replacement — it is SO much fun to have your children visiting when you can’t use the kitchen sink –, replacing two window blinds that had arrived damaged, painter touch-ups, fixing the garage door, etc. Plus finding someone to clean the windows, finding someone to cut the grass, and everything else we have to squeeze in before we leave for the summer.

I don’t do well with stress. (Does anyone?) So I try to remind myself to do these simple things:

  1. Walk whenever possible.  We now live about a quarter mile from the supermarket so, instead of driving over when I need a few things, I take the rolling grocery cart or a couple of shopping bags and walk there.  It takes longer but is weirdly relaxing.
  2. Buy flowers.  They smell lovely, look pretty, feel indulgent, and improve air quality.
  3. Spend time alone. Go for a stroll, take a bath, exercise, give yourself a facial… whatever clears your head (literally or otherwise).
  4. Read or watch something funny.  Laughter is the ultimate stress buster.
  5. Do something creative. It doesn’t have to be award winning or museum quality: Bake, garden, rearrange your closet —  anything that fuels your imagination.
  6. De-clutter. If there’s no time for a full reorg, even neat piles on my desk help me feel more in control.
  7. Simplify entertaining when you’re short on time. Unless you find it relaxing to make a fancy dessert or bake bread, don’t bother. Your friends want to spend time with you, not admire your gourmet prowess.
  8. Do the dishes tomorrow.  Guests stayed late? Put the food away and let the dishes soak overnight.
  9. Don’t overschedule. This usually happens because I (and you, too?) want to make everyone happy, often at our own expense. Be realistic about how much you can fit into a given day. If you have to cancel, do so as early as possible to minimize other people’s inconvenience or disappointment. And try not to feel guilty.
  10. Remember to breathe.  Inhaling lavender helps.
aroma aromatic bloom blossom

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Special shout-out to MSW blog for more thoughts on this topic.

Good News Monday: Encouraging Research on Climate Change

Yes, the first hurdle is getting people to actually admit there is such a thing, and that it poses a major threat.

But here’s reason for guarded optimism: According to recent reports, a new technique can convert carbon dioxide back into coal. In theory, this could make huge inroads into eliminating the global dangers of greenhouse gases. 

Of course, a massive undertaking would be enormously expensive. But where there’s money to be made, there’s a way. 

That alone might convert some skeptics.

black close up coal dark

Coal: It’s not just for barbecues anymore! Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

Good News Monday: Cat Owners Live Longer

A University of Minnesota study conducted over a 10-year period found that cat owners lowered their risk of heart attack by nearly 30%. Meowza!

Other research supports these findings, and lists even more benefits:

  1. Reduced risk of heart disease is similar to going on a low-salt diet
  2. Boosts your immune system
  3. Helps children avoid developing allergies
  4. Lowers blood pressure
  5. Lowers cholesterol and triglyceride levels
  6. Reduces the risk of stroke
  7. Heals bones and muscles
  8. Reduces stress and anxiety
  9. Improves mood
  10. Lessens feelings of loneliness and depression

Here’s the full article I found, complete with adorable photos.

kitten cat rush lucky cat

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Good News Monday: Free Pain Relief

Take a deep breath: it’s an easy, free way to combat pain, insomnia, and nausea. Try these wacky-seeming techniques and let me know if any of them work for you.

PAIN 

closeup photography of two teal and three pink inflated balloons

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WHAT TO DO

Most of us inadvertently hold our breath when we experience pain. Shallow breathing can make things worse by releasing the stress hormone cortisol instead of relieving the stress itself.

  1. Close your eyes and breathe deeply from your belly.
  2. Picture oxygen filling the painful areas with comfort as you inhale
  3. Picture the pain being pushed out as you exhale.  This supposedly stimulates the vagus nerve, which calms the fight-or-flight response.

INSOMNIA 

white bed comforter

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WHAT TO DO Try a technique called 4-7-8 breathing instead of medication. Keeping the tip of your tongue behind your upper teeth, follow these steps:

  1. Exhale through your mouth with a gentle “whoosh”.
  2. Close your eyes and inhale through your nose for a count of four.
  3. Hold your breath for seven counts.
  4. Exhale with an eight-count “whoosh” through your mouth.

Repeat three times or until you fall asleep from boredom.  Caveat: Warn your partner that you’re about to make weird noises!

NAUSEA

man on gray concrete staircase

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WHAT TO DO Controlled breathing is said to help suppress the gag reflex and encourage peristalsis, the muscle contractions that move food into the stomach. Picture yourself walking barefoot down a long, stone staircase.

  1. Inhale slowly through your nose for a count of four as you imagine how the cool stone feels underfoot.
  2. Exhale with your lips closed for a count of eight as you imagine stepping down.
  3. Repeat until you stop feeling queasy.