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25

Jan 2018

Drinking Traditions Around The World

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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

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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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07

Jan 2018

This Brand New Year Find Alternatives To Lead An Alcohol-Free Life- Get High On Life Instead!

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As the New Year brings with it new energies, it’s time to get rid of limiting old baggage which stops you from living your life fully.  Be it unhealthy relationships, old-unhealthy habits, any kind of dependencies which also include dependency on alcohol, it’s time to shun them all and fall in love with life for it’s an altogether different kind of high.

Remember the ghosts of the year past- all the resolutions which you couldn’t keep, material-immaterial plans which couldn’t fructify, the heartbreaks, stress and happiness. And all those times when you found mirth or solace in a glass of alcohol? Well it’s time to change that, this year! We bring you a chirpy list of alternatives to lead an alcohol-free life which are sure to bring a different kind of ‘happiness’ in life.

Hiking

Spending time in nature is very therapeutic and your mind-body-soul are all going to rejoice in unison!  Besides making you feel a certain sense of wonderment being in nature, hiking has excellent health benefits too. It lowers the risk of heart disease, regulates blood pressure and blood sugar levels, it enhances core strength and helps in toning up the body. Let those vodka shots be and trod the path less taken. Chirping birds, rustling leaves – unfold the beautiful mysteries of nature and trailblaze your way to an improved and better health at the same time.

Go On A Solo Trip

As Rumi said, “Travel brings love and power back into your life”, and so it is!

Travelling not only refreshes your mind and body, it also rejuvenates your soul. Travelling alone brings a distinct sense of empowerment in life. Going on a solo trip offers a different ‘high’ altogether, it is even more empowering wherein you find hidden reserves of strength within. This year dare yourself to go on a walking trip in your city ‘all by yourself’ or explore the world, but of course bearing in mind all safety aspects of it. The idea is to find strength in yourself and get addicted to life instead of alcohol.

Learn A New Language

“Speak a new language so that the world will be a new world”. Well no mysteries here, it’s yet another beautiful quote by Rumi, of course applied in a slightly different context.

Learn something new- a new language, learn about a new culture. Improving on your linguistic skills is an interesting alternative that you might want to try to keep your mind and hands off that addictive beer bottle. Plus, learning a new language might come in handy when you travel to lands afar! Learning about a new culture or language broadens your intellectual horizon, it is also a great way to exercise your brain so go ahead and tantalize your mind a little!

Learn A New Style Of Cooking

Speaking of learning a new language, how about learning a different style of cooking? Go the French way or Italian or whichever way you please! Cooking is fun, it saves money and home cooked food is any day a healthier option to choose. Many people find cooking to be a great stress buster too. Learning a new style of cooking is obviously expansive as you also get to know about the history and culture that influences a particular dish.

Pick up Photography

They say that ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’, quite true and why not! It’s always good to look at life differently and have a new perspective, right? So let that refreshed perspective be through a lens! Some of us were ‘addicted’ to photography while growing up and whatever caught our fancy we’d always want to click that, we’d capture those moments for ever- fresh blooms, the beautiful skies, the falling rain, just about anything which arose that feeling of bliss and nostalgia all at the same time! Remember how happy it made you feel THEN and realize how the memory makes you happy NOW, doesn’t it? Well maybe it’s time to let that nostalgia inspire you to pick up that passion or ‘hobby’ once again.  Even if you haven’t been a keen observer of moments and life-around in general, you can always try something new and different to get that ‘kick’ in life.

And speaking of kick, reminds us to mention…

Learn Kick boxing

Especially you, ladies! Without delving deeper into the glum reality of increasing crime rates against women, it is important to know how to protect yourself. From safety point of view why not learn new skills of self-defense technique? Learn kickboxing, as much as it is important to be free in mind, body and soul it is also important to know how to protect yourself. Besides that, can you imagine the kind of high that adrenaline rush and increased endorphin levels would induce ‘minus’ any hangovers! We bet that it is going to be far better than the one which alcohol would give you. To all menfolk out there, don’t feel left out, kickboxing is a great form of exercise and you can learn it too!

 On a parting note…Now that we’ve listed out some of the alternatives, wouldn’t you agree that life without alcohol can be as exciting and even more so? This year make a pact with yourself to find an alcohol-free ‘high’ in life. Promise yourself to rely, not on alcohol but on ‘yourself’. Whatever may be your choice, do remember to detox, refresh and rejuvenate your mind, body and soul!

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