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An odd glass of wine is fine

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Up for debate: is wine actually therapeutic?

Short but sweet this week as it’s late, late, late and I’ve still a million things to do before falling into bed.

Laundry, e-mails, make the lunches …. and the list keeps growing as I’m currently watching the dishwasher leak across the kitchen floor. It’s my own fault, I ran out of dishwasher tablets so used dish soap instead. I’ve done this before and I KNOW that even a small amount results in a river of bubbles meandering along the tile floor. And I know I’ll open the door and only be able to see bubbles and it will take two more cycles to clear them AND the dishes still won’t be clean! So why have I done it again? Because I’m relentlessly, ridiculously, optimistic. When push comes to shove, I think that maybe, just maybe, this time it will work. And it’s a great way to wash the floor if it all goes to hell.

I’m just as optimistic when it comes to work. Six months ago, when I was planning the schedule for events this year, I thought it would be fine to jam two new seminars and a family nutrition programme into June. Add in the usual workflow, a dinner event for 20 and the end of the school year and I’m not sure exactly what I was thinking. It all looked totally manageable when it was weeks and weeks away! It’s all fun and everything will get done but there might be a little swearing and a therapeutic amount of wine ….

Whether or not wine is actually therapeutic though is up for debate. No matter how many studies there are that show a positive correlation between red wine intake and reduced rates of heart disease, there are just as many that show a direct link between alcohol and the risk of certain cancers. But we all know that stress is a killer too, so if wine helps with the stress, does that make it healthy? And if we can’t call it “healthy”, can we at least not call it “unhealthy”? The answer of course, lies somewhere within the realm of balance — which means different things to different people — so it’s kind of hard to define. However, Britain has recently revised alcohol intake guidelines for men, bringing the safe limit down to 14 units (the same as for women). One unit is equivalent to 5floz of wine or 12floz of beer though, which may be way smaller than you are used to.

If you do drink alcohol, then the better options are wine, champagne or a white spirit (vodka, gin …) mixed with soda water and a wedge of fresh lime. If that is too far away from your usual cooler and if you need a bit more flavour, then try adding a splash of elderflower cordial (Supermart) or Rose’s lime to sweeten things up. They are still sugary but much less so than soda or cranberry juice. Your other option is to use a flavoured sparkling water as your mixer instead. Spindrift and Perrier are good all-natural options but my favourite is La Croix — Blackberry & Cucumber, Wild Cherry & Lime, Peach & Pear — just a hint of flavour but enough to make things interesting. It’s available in most stores but Supermart has lots in right now. Make sure you avoid other brands of flavoured water that have artificial dyes or sweeteners. Always give the labels a quick check as the marketing can be amazingly deceptive.

Of course, not everything you drink has to be alcoholic! The weather is hotting up so make sure you stay properly hydrated with lots of plain water. If you feel thirsty, you are probably already a little dehydrated. Dehydration is the primary cause of fatigue and can also confuse your hunger signals so keep sipping through the day. You can over-hydrate though so listen to your body. Keep thirst at bay by being consistent with your intake and check your pee — it should be very pale yellow. A multivitamin or B complex may throw you off there (as they typically turn your pee bright yellow or a little green temporarily). Also, eating beetroot may turn your pee pink (depending on your genes) but if you have not eaten beets, then see your doctor quick-sharp!

Finally, to liven up the monotony, any of the sparkling waters I mentioned are good, plus herbal teas too.

When it comes to herbal teas, I like to brew them strongly and then ice them in the summer. I recently did that with the golden latte too and it was delicious. Typically, I make the latte with golden paste (a special blend that I sell from the office) but we are a little low on stock right now! So here is an alternative: the curcumin (the active ingredient in the turmeric) is still really bioavailable, thanks to the ginger, coconut oil and a crack of black pepper. Curcumin has a good track record as a natural anti-inflammatory. It is also great for supporting liver detox pathways and is showing promise for help with cancer prevention too.

Iced Golden Latte

(caffeine-free, dairy-free)

Ingredients (per person)

12floz (approximately) almond or cashew milk (unsweetened)

½ tsp coconut oil

¼ tsp ground turmeric

Pinch ginger

Crack of black pepper

(trust me)

Pinch cardamom

½ — 1 tsp honey (optional)


You can either whisk this in a pan over the stove, or whizz it in a blender. If you use the stove, you will obviously have to allow it cool.

If you use the blender, just pour it straight over lots of ice into a tall glass.

Skip the plastic straw or use a paper, glass or stainless steel one (lots of options at the chef shop).

A straw is good as it prevents you getting a yellow moustache!

The advice given in this article is not intended to replace medical advice, but to complement it. Always consult your GP if you have any health concerns. Catherine Burns is a fully qualified nutritional therapist trained by the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in the UK. Please note that she is not a registered dietitian. For details: natural.bm, 236-7511 or, Facebook, Natural Nutrition Bermuda

Soap hell: as Catherine Burns has discovered, putting dish soap in the dishwasher isn’t the best way to clean dishes