Is it time for a drink? Or time to think again?
I grew up in an abstemious family. No wine with dinner, no beer with the hockey game — about the closest we came to getting tipsy was when my grandmother put too much sherry in the trifle.
But as a teenager and an adult, I quickly acclimated to the social norms. In recent years I’ve even developed quite a fondness for a good glass of wine. Not a lot of glasses, usually one or two with a fine dinner, or a drink with friends.
I’ve enjoyed many a winery tour in France, Italy, California, New Zealand and BC’s Okanagan Valley, and determined my preference for hearty, fruity reds and crisp, dry, aromatic whites (oh, and Prosecco, pink or white). It’s became a small pleasure and even a bit of a hobby, pairing the right food with the right wine.
Then a couple of things happened to get me musing on my boozing.
First, my husband announced he was not going to drink alcohol any more. In remission from leukemia, he’s blessed with good health again and lots of energy. He was making note of a recent federal government announcement about links between alcohol and cancer.
In January this year, the Canadian Public Health Agency of Canada published a statement seeking to make everyone aware of “the risks associated with alcohol consumption”, based on the advice of the Chief Medical Health Officers in provinces across the country.
“Harms related to alcohol use represent a significant public health issue” they declared, and they weren’t talking only about alcohol abuse or addiction.
“The latest evidence shows a direct link between drinking alcohol and increased risk of at least seven types of cancer. This recent evidence, contrary to common perceptions, shows that modest consumption of alcohol offers no protective effects against heart diseases, while regular and heavy consumption of alcohol increases the risk of these conditions. Research also indicates that consuming more than two drinks on one occasion is associated with an increased risk of harm to self and others, including injury and violence.”