There are people who think Vegans (and Vegetarians) come from another planet. That because they don’t eat meat or dairy, there is some serious malfunction in their mental system. So it follows that they (the Vegans) in all probability don’t drink any alcohol or spirits, or eat nut cutlet kebabs on the way home on a Friday night.
But amazingly many Vegans and Vegetarians do “drink” in some shape or form, whether it be mainstream beers, lagers, and shorts, or home produced tipples. (While there are some issues about the ethics of using some animal products in the manufacture of alcohol and spirits, generally these are technical ones, and not suitable for discussion here. Back to the plot.)
We are coming to the party period of the year, when hair is let down and excitement kept up.
Whether Vegan, Vegetarian or normal (normal?), a few key facts should be considered about the perils of drink.
Drinking can be addictive. It may begin with a few tasters at social events, but it can easily escalate over the holiday period. And many an alcoholic’s journey started with a “harmless” drink at a family get together.
The recommended weekly limits are 14 units for a man, 12 for a woman. A unit is roughly half a pint of standard strength beer or lager, a small spirit or a glass of wine.
But, bear in mind that drink measures for shorts may be considerably increased when dispensed at private parties and gatherings. Over the holiday period, the weekly limit can soon be reached and surpassed.
Add the large quantities of food likely to be consumed during this period, and suddenly your body is groaning under the strain.
So beware. Particularly those who already reach or exceed the weekly limits without the temptations of Christmas.
The perils of drink can carry serious risks.
The liver is a sensitive organ. Its main job is to filter blood coming from the digestive system, before passing it through to the rest of the body. Processing excessive amounts of alcohol is not its specific function, but it is a job that needs doing. But the liver can only work efficiently for so long. Abuse it, and serious problems arise.
Remember George Best.
We don’t need to go into details of liver damage here, such as Cirrhosis, Hepatitis, and Cancer. Suffice to say such dangers lurk.
For those overweight, or already suffering from illnesses caused by poor diet and lifestyle choices, the dangers lurk nearer. Type 2 Diabetes awaits.
There are some myths to be wary of about drinking habits.
DRINKING KEEPS YOU ALERT. For a little while maybe. But then the senses dull. That’s why people think they can drive no trouble at all, decide to climb walls and drainpipes or jump in pools.
BEER GIVES YOU FEWER PROBLEMS THAN SPIRITS. Large quantities of beer stretch the belly and overloads the liver, amongst other things. Alcohol dehydrates the system. Spirits just give you different problems.
IT’S OK AFTER A HEAVY NIGHT IF YOU DRINK PLENTY OF WATER. Yes, water will help combat dehydration, but it doesn’t really help your body overcome the alcohol overload. Quite often, for example, you will still be over the drink/drive limit the following morning.
COFFEE WILL SOBER ME UP. It might appear to for a short while, but a short-term caffeine boost only stimulates for a limited period.
GET IT DOWN YOU. IT WILL DO YOU GOOD. It doesn’t usually, unless you can restrict alcohol to occasional social enjoyment. Once a part of the culture and an addiction, it can help cause High Blood Pressure, Stomach and Pancreas damage (as well as the Liver), Obesity, Anxiety, Depression and other Mental Health issues. It damages other people’s lives by contributing to marriage and partnership breakups and child cruelty and neglect.
I CAN STOP ANYTIME I WANT TO. George Best couldn’t, even when his life was threatened. Paul Gascoigne couldn’t……….An addiction is hard to break.
So handle your drink carefully this Christmas and enjoy the holiday without the need to over indulge.