“to minimize the risk associated with drinking, the CCSA recommends consuming no more than two alcoholic drinks per week, a dramatic reduction from the previous cap of 15 drinks for men and 10 drinks for women”.
Oh great, as if the last three years haven’t been difficult enough! They likely drove us to drink! Now we’re being told that having more than 2 drinks a week is dangerous for our health. According to the CCSA, a standard drink in Canada is defined as:
A 12-oz. (341 ml) bottle of 5 per cent alcohol beer or cider
A 5-oz. (142 ml) glass of 12 per cent alcohol wine
A 1.5-oz. (43 ml) shot glass of 40 per cent alcohol spirits
As Canadians, we’re more than used to the “powers that be” conduction studies and coming up with draconian rules for us to follow, but some of these rules to save our selves from our bad habits are done in isolation and don’t address the big picture.
If one consumed a bag of carrots a day in their “healthy vegetable juice” they’d soon turn orange and likely develop a liver or kidney problem from too much Vitamin A. But carrots are good for us! We’ve also been told that eating red meat every day is not healthy, yet people start a Keto diet to lose weight and consume vast quantities of meat and fats, develop cravings for warm bread out of the oven and fail on the diet. Oh, but don’t eat too much bread, as the gluten will kill you too!
What about drinking Pop? Drinking sugary soft drinks has been linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes, weight gain, fatty liver disease and an increased risk of heart disease and cancer. What's more, the sugar and acid in soda can do a double whammy on your smile. Regular soda is packed with sugar. Teeth rot, and dental bills go up. If you can even afford a dentist.
Spending hours a day scrolling through Instagram and TicToc isn’t good for our health either.
The bottom line- Life and living is a losing proposition. We’re all going to die of something eventually. I’ve known people who exercised regularly, ate super healthy foods, didn’t drink or smoke and still died of some horrible cancer.
I think the problem is not one of having to restrict this and avoid that and follow draconian rules. The real problem is that as humans, we are often not capable of managing moderation. Our emotions and work, relationships etc. all play a part. Over consuming bad news and witnessing violent acts can lead us to feelings of helplessness and isolation, which can lead to more bad habits. We want to lose weight so we jump on the latest fad that promises we’ll lose 20 pounds by Sunday by avoiding certain foods. Then we’re miserable if it doesn’t happen, and binge on what we shouldn’t eat. We go through a breakup or lose a job, so we dull our pain with alcohol or drugs.
All these behaviours of excess, of elimination, of depravation are usually symptoms of something greater going on with us. Unfulfillment somewhere in our lives. An inability to communicate our hopes and fears with someone. We try to compensate by over-indulging or depriving ourselves, only to find the hole we’re in even deeper.
This newest health recommendation to limit our drinking to only two a week may very well be based in scientific fact. The fact that it’s been released right after three of the toughest years for most of us coping with our lives through the Pandemic is interesting. But living our messy human lives based on pure scientific facts is never going to work. We’ve proven that time and time again. Sure, it will scare some people into submission, and certainly many of us can cut back on how much we drink, eat, smoke etc. But instead of picking on one thing, like alcohol consumption, look at all your behaviours and see what can be moderated in your own life.
They say good habits are formed by repeating them for 21 days in a row. Doesn’t matter what it is. Taking a multivitamin a day, going for a 15 minute walk a day, having a glass of water with dinner Monday to Friday instead of a glass of wine, which you reserve now for weekends. One small change at a time can vastly improve our lives. Achieving these little goals is so rewarding and lifts our spirits. We see ourselves doing one, and so we’re more inclined to start another, and another.
So as the old sayings go, “don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater” and “Rome wasn’t built in a day” resonate even with this new suggestion for our health. Let’s face it, we can all benefit from making some positive changes in our lives. So, if it is limiting yourself to two drinks a week, create a new habit rather than succumb to a resolution that won’t stick. And make damn sure you’re drinking the good stuff! Life is too short to drink bad wine!