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25

Jan 2018

Drinking Traditions Around The World

Posted by / in Featured, Responsible Drinking / No comments yet

The world is a diverse playground and without diversity it would be a mighty dull place to be in, we all know that. Experiencing the local cuisines is one of the many charms of travelling, with so many countries and unique cultures to learn about, you’d be surprised to know that there is a similar uniqueness when it comes to drinking traditions too. Have a drink or two with the natives to explore the quirky drinking traditions, you might as well find out a thing or two about their distinct traditions.

Let’s take you through some of the wackiest and fascinating drinking cultures around the world.

Britain

British culture is so much more than people enjoying their tea. People there LOVE to drink and it is a close contender to the title of beer pilgrimage, well the next in line is Germany! The Brits have ‘drinking sessions’ well in place, rule of the thumb is that each person at the table buys drinks for the entire group until they have all bought a round each.

Germany

Oh the Germans and their much celebrated love for beer! In many regions, Frühschoppen is generally understood to be a tradition of drinking before midday. Thanks to astonishing production and consumption of beer, beer gardens and the famous Oktoberfest, Germany has become one of the most sought after destinations for the beer lovers around the world. No trip would be complete without trying out local beers and the natives of Cologne are particular about drinking ‘Kosch’ which traditionally should be consumed roughly at 10 °C.

Iceland

The Icelanders have taken their love for alcohol to an altogether next level by dedicating two holidays a year solely to alcohol!  First of March is reserved as Beer day or Bjórdagurinn Bjórdagur. It is celebrated to honour the elimination of prohibition of beer which lasted from 1st January 1915 to 1st March 1989.  Yet another listed public holiday is the first weekend of August called as Merchant’s weekend or Verslunarmannahelgi, which is considered as the biggest party weekend.

Italy

Italians are more of wine drinkers and drinking in Italian culture is usually associated with meal time. They like to have aperitivo is an alcoholic beverage meant to stimulate the appetite. Aperitivo is usually a cocktail, wine or liqueur. Similarly digestivo is served after meal, it is usually infused with herbs which aids in digestion. So much love for drinking!

Spain

Spaniards believe that you earn the curse of seven years of bad sex if you toast with water. Whether in Spain or not, we bet that you surely wouldn’t want to let this nightmarish curse befall you!

Czech Republic

People here are as proud of their beer as French are of their wine! Czechs toast to ‘Na zdraví’ which means ‘to health’ and look at each person in the eye as they clink glasses with them. This custom must be followed to avoid seven years of bad sex!

France

French have a cultivated drinking tradition- they savour their drinks. They are pretty prim and proper in their drinking ways, Frenchmen serve the ladies first and the glasses are to be only half-filled. While in a gathering, they wait for everyone’s glasses to be filled and whoever serves the wine in the gathering makes sure not to fill their glass as it is considered rude. It is customary to look in the eyes as you clink glasses with people and you never cross your arms over theirs.

Russia

Russians are known to be vodka lovers. They make sure to eat something before drinking- zakuska, as they call it and toasting before the drink is also very important there. Remember to pour your vodka last if you’re proposing a toast! Russians usually pair their beer with dry fish and vodka follows pickles.

Peru

They thoroughly enjoy their beer and beer drinking is quite a tradition for Peruvians. Traditional Peruvian way of drinking is a reflection of their kindness and generosity which involves sharing the drink among the group. Usually one person in the group orders a large bottle with a glass and the drink is to be shared using only that one glass.

The Japanese and South Koreans love to follow nuanced age-old traditions. They also love to extend camaraderie toward each other by pouring a cup of drink for each other. They consider it outright rude to pour your own drink and elders must be served first, they also make sure that no one’s glass is empty.

Whichever part of the world you travel to, remember to make your trip more memorable by mingling with the natives. Being respectful of the traditions and culture is an obvious prerogative one must follow. And as it goes, there’s beauty in uniqueness and people who drink share a strange kind of bond that way so go forth and clink glasses the local way.

P.S. Dear teetotalers, please keep heart for you can find other things to explore!

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19

Jan 2018

Benefits Of Moderate Drinking

Posted by / in Responsible Drinking / No comments yet

As much as consumption of alcohol in excess is harmful, drinking in moderation is strangely beneficial too. Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Well believe it, because moderate drinking does offer some benefits for your health.

To begin with let us refresh our memory about drinking in moderation. Alcohol consumption in moderation falls within the prescribed limits of guidelines which are not more than 2 units per day for women and not more than 3 units per day for men.
It also specifies that per week consumption of should not exceed of maximum 7 drinks for women and 14 drinks for men. It also restricts one to not be in a ‘drunken state’.

Now, what could be the possible health benefits of alcohol, one might wonder. Well, read on-

Moderate consumption of alcohol is good for the heart, suggest the studies.

– It raises HDL (high density lipoproteins) levels or the good cholesterol, so to say. HDL is responsible to carry cholesterol from body tissues to liver which rids off the bile content. Thus, an increased HDL level lowers the risk of coronary artery disease.

– It assists in keeping the bad cholesterol or LDL (low density lipoproteins) in check. Increased levels of LDL are responsible for an increased risk of heart disease.

– It prevents the blockage or blood clotting thus reducing the risk of heart attack and ischemic strokes. Ischemic strokes occur due to narrowing of arteries which carry blood to brain.

– New studies have shown that moderate consumption of alcohol could actually be helpful by reducing the risk of diabetes. It is noted that drinking wine was most beneficial in this regard as it improves the blood sugar levels.

Think of the famous ‘French paradox’, which is an observation that despite of high saturated fats dietary consumption, the rate of cardiovascular disease remains very low in France.
There has been much ado surrounding the paradox and many researches have been conducted to find the causal link between the two. Some researchers have suggested that the lower risk of cardiovascular disease is linked to higher consumption of red wine in France. The medics however remain wary of promoting alcohol consumption taking into consideration the malefic effects of excessive consumption.

The bottom line, besides the dark side of alcohol which adversely affects the health, alcohol benefits us-
– By reducing the risk of heart diseases
– Reducing the risk of ischemic stroke; and
– Reducing the risk of diabetes.

As the debate goes on about the possible beneficial and malefic effects of alcohol, one must remember not to be encouraged to ‘start’ drinking if you currently do not consume alcohol. Also, if taken in moderate doses alcohol is good for heart and circulatory system. However, it must be kept in mind that any excess is obviously bad for health both in the short and the long run which is why caution must be observed.

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19

Jan 2018

How To Help A loved One With Alcohol Addiction- The Dos and Don’ts

Posted by / in Curbing Alcoholism / No comments yet

Have you ever looked at your loved one, be it your friend or family member or your special someone struggling with alcohol abuse and addiction and felt a sense of helplessness? Seeing your friend or family member go through alcohol addiction can be a highly distressing experience. As much as it unnerves you, the truth is that they are enslaved to alcohol and they need your help.

One must remember that being stuck in this quandary may cause emotional and psychological stir ups, both for you and the person stuck in the agonizing cycle of addiction. And as much as your intentions are grounded in goodwill, you must not forget your own wellbeing.

It is imperative to remember some key points while approaching this precarious situation. We have listed some of the relevant points for you to remember.

Dos

– Recognizing the signs of alcohol dependence and behavioral changes are important and timely intervention is vital.

– Get started by reading about it, they say ‘knowledge is power’ for a reason. Gather information about alcohol addiction. Do a thorough research and arm yourself with all the required information that you can gather.

– Talk to them in private. Being concerned alone and remaining quiet isn’t going to be of much help, neither waiting for them to ask for help would aid them. It is important to take initiative and broach on the subject with caution.

– Express your love and offer support. Let them know that you are there to help and are willing to support them in their fight against addiction.

– Encourage and support recovery. Seek medical advice and offer to accompany them to support group meetings.

– Have patience. The road to recovery from alcohol addiction is not a one day event, it is a long process. Your friend or family member will require a ‘strong’ support system through this process.

Don’ts

– Don’t be judgemental ! Understand where they come from, try to learn the possible reasons that lead to addiction. Very often there are underlying emotional causes that compel people to take to alcohol as an escape route.

– Do not accuse or use emotional blackmailing tool. Do not pity them and do not shame them. The person you’re dealing with is already suffering with addiction and guilt tripping or disgracing them is not the most positive thing you can do for them.

– Do not get into arguments when they are under the influence of alcohol. Trying to make them see your point and pressing them to accept their dependency ‘when’ they are drunk is only begging for unnecessary and unpleasant drama in your life. In extreme cases, it can also lead to physical abuse.

– Do not be guilt ridden if you are unable to help them the way you intended to.

– Don’t blame yourself for their addiction.

– Don’t overpass your safety and well being.

It should be noted that you must approach the person and the issue with mindful consideration. Also bear in mind that even though you may harbor good intentions, the person you’re dealing with might get defensive and completely fence off. You can stage an intervention with your intimate group of friends and family members. Maintain a forbearing and respectful attitude towards your loved one because they are in great anguish. Remember you cannot save someone. However, be compassionate and give it your honest shot.

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