Wine of the Month Club selection, our holiday gift from our daughter.

Wine of the Month Club selection, our holiday gift from our daughter – Served with grilled artichoke hearts and French Bread.

I love wine. I loved cigarettes too, but all the research and the physical feelings I experienced all pointed to QUIT. I could not justify that habit and my body did not like it either. I quit smoking 30 years ago right before my third child was born.

But oh how I like wine. I usually have at least one glass a night with dinner.

There is something about putting it in a pretty tall stem glass and sipping it that feels good. I hate wine like the Italians drink it – in short glasses and I hate wine at parties in Styrofoam or plastic glasses. It is just not the same. Part of the joy of wine drinking is the glass.

             I love the feeling you get just after a few sips- a feeling of letting go a bit and feeling like some how everything is okay. One glass usually fulfills those needs. While a second glass of wine is nice and can seem to keep the feeling going, and the ambiance of sipping and talking a pleasure, it is probably not the best for our health.

             I usually try to have a glass of water in between each glass. At weddings I may go to a third glass and even another with dinner and then I am done. I dance off the toxins and drink lots of water. Am I justifying a binge? I hope not.

            I seldom wake up feeling bad from wine. Occasionally I will have a headache and cloudy feeling in the morning, telling me my liver was not able to handle it.  There are times when I get a bit paranoid about my liver. I palpate it to see if it has swollen. I have even had my liver enzymes checked and fortunately they are normal. I do worry about increasing my risk of breast cancer, since research does point in the direction of caution when it comes to drinking and percentage of risk correlation. I often take milk thistle, a liver cleansing herb – one capsule for every glass of wine I drink. I try to limit myself to no more than 10 – 14 glasses a week-that is about 2 bottles a week just for me.

            Do I need to be concerned? I guess if I am thinking about it, it may be a concern. That’s what they say. You get 2 points on the “Are You Drinking Too Much?” quiz if you have ever been concerned about your consumption.

            I have asked all of my physicians, who look at me as the picture of health, and they all agree. What you are doing seems to be good for you. My good cholesterol is almost 100, which I attribute to my wine and exercise. Exercise is very important in my life. My diet is moderately healthy. I say moderately because I know I could cut out sugar entirely and eat even more vegetables. I also practice meditation and occasionally attend a yoga class. Spirituality is very important in my life.

            But I wonder, and so I am paying more attention to how much I pour in a glass. On a recent trip to Boston with my daughter, we had two glasses each night. One night the owner of a restaurant in Little Italy-the North End, sat down with us and proceeded to pour more wine in our glasses. I had to put my hand on the glass to stop him and asked for more water. It would have been so easy to keep talking and drinking without paying attention.

            It is easy to like wine and over do it. It is easy to justify its benefits especially with the press about how good a glass of red wine a day is for your heart. It’s easy to call 8 oz a glass of wine, when a true serving is 4 oz. What is not so easy is cutting back and recognizing that the habit may need to be moderated.

            I can’t speak for everyone. But I will speak for myself. I think that wine is a beautiful part of living. I think wine is more than a beverage. It’s a lifestyle. Wine is something to look forward to, something to enjoy, and something that can be very beneficial to living in the moment.

            A trip to the wine country of California and Oregon, as well as an international experience of wine tasting is great fun. Wine can add to a romantic evening and lighten up a stressful day.

            I will continue to enjoy wine, but I don’t want to ruin the beauty of wine drinking by abusing it. Therefore my goal is to continue to be mindful; sip more and drink less; and enjoy the art of wine drinking the Middle Way.

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