drink well but less wine organic tips

10 easy tips how to drink well but less

It is definitely not a guide from drinkaware.co.uk (which is actually quite a set of rules and guidelines for the ones who want to know more about alcohol and its influence on human body), it is also not a confession of an alcoholic (there are AA meetings for that), but simply a set of simple but effective ways how all of us can live healthier and happier by drinking less, yet still enjoying good wine.

We all have those moments when we think we can live a happy life and drink less, but as always ‘something happens‘ and we drink more than needed. Have a look at my recent review on alcohol units and wine and calories to know more about it. In general, we are talking about 2 small glasses of wine for a woman a day and up to 3 small glass (not quite though) for men. (January 2016 update: guideline limits for men are reduced to 14 units per week, see more on our Forum)

It has been agreed by experts that it doesn’t mean you can just consume your whole weekly allowance in one go and then just sit tight during the week, so it is about having some wine but rather regularly as it can yield some health benefits. Whilst the latter is a separate topic, I would like to go through some pieces of advice I have collected during last couple of years and also tested, so I can judge how it works!

Before we go to the cure part, let’s just think why do we drink in the evening after work? Is it because we got used to have wine with food (nothing wrong with that!), or we are just bored and want something to get that extra spark to our life (ding dong, I can hear some alarm bells here), or it is our way to relax and unwind (especially after that enormously stressful day)?

It is such a good question, so answering honestly will be your first step to getting your own answer to ‘how to drink well but less‘ right! Let’s explore these tips based on the case.

wine and food teaser First stop is our Food related wine consumption.

Again, I will repeat myself that there is nothing wrong with it. Yes, there are some facts like that famous French paradox that basically depicts that fat that French consume loads of fatty foods with quite a lot of wine and stay healthy with regards to heart diseases. I would like to underline that it does matter how much wine do we consume with food. Yes, it is also quite important what exactly do we eat (to keep us healthy), so for many people meat based diet (red meat everyday) would not just mean the temptation to drink more wine, but also quite an unhealthy diet. According to the well known ‘5 a day’ recommendation, vegetarian diet is a healthy one. I will not survive on just vegetables, but to make my lunches and dinners truly nutritionally great I will cook as many vegetables as I can to accompany either meat, poultry or fish. I have learned how to make it exciting by simply varying the way those veggies are cooked: you can steam them, roast them, mush them, put then in air fryer, blend them, and more many options. Let’s start with the tips though.

The first one is actually cooking a vegetarian dinner. Just imagine an aubergine spicy burger with some onion relish and humus. Does it sound quite appetising? I think so! Yet if you think about it, it does not call for your regular glass of red or white for that matter. You can simply substitute it with a soft drink. Go online, search for some veggie recipes and cook a few that float your boat.

I have mentioned a substitute. Well, one of the greatest tips that I have read on one of the diet and wellness forums was to mix sparkling water with your favourite fruit juice. I can tell you that – for the most everyday dinners I can just mix Pellegrino with Waitrose cranberry juice drink (think of potentially adding a slice of lime to it). You can think of your own mix – I also like tonic water with the same cranberry drink (it can remind you of a cocktail!), but in essence you are playing a trick on your mind – you are to drink something bubbly or reminiscent to alcohol, but actually it is just a soft drink. Try it one day and experiment with your own mix – you can create your own ritual with it!

Talking about red meat – it is indeed not too healthy to have it everyday, so think about having fish days. I love to cook, but sometimes I feel tired or simply not motivated to spend more time in the kitchen. Fish supper is the answer – you can steam vegetables and grill a fillet of sea bass or sea bream in under 10 minutes, sprinkle some chopped herbs and bold olive oil and you are sorted! Serve it with water served with lemon and feel those wonderfully delicate fish flavours – I bet you remember a smell of ocean from your last beach holiday, don’t you?

I have mentioned your everyday dinners. Do you eat a lot of oriental dishes? I can bet that you’re not – you do not drink loads of wine with the spicy or fragrant oriental dishes. I have recently cooked Malaysian prawn laksa dish, all from scratch by making my own laksa paste from a dozen of spices, herbs and other ingredients (read, have done something absolutely different and proud of myself). I can say that even though many wine critics suggest drinking off-dry white wines (i.e. Riesling or Gewurztraminer) many oriental dishes are much better with either a light beer or ginger ale (my personal favourite). You simply switch to Thai supper once a week and guarantee yourself a wine-free evening. Experiment with other pan-Asian flavours and make those evenings fun!

You can experiment with different cuisines that ‘do not match with wine’, but do not forget two important things about wine a food: I remember when I did my 5×2‘ diet experiment it clearly showed how calorific is wine and you diminishing what you earned by your hard work in the gym by simply drinking those extra few glasses of wines. Lastly, do not forget to match a glass of wine with a properly large glass of water. Alcohol is dehydrating you, so when sharing a bottle of red with a few friends, make sure you share and actually finish a litre bottle of still water as well!

money vs quality wine drink lessBefore I move to something that I call of a ‘paramount importance’, let’s move on to money and quality factors. When you’ve read my statement about drinking well, but less I bet you thought – ‘oh yeah, right, he will just promote expensive stuff!

Even though I do believe there is a correlation between price and quality, there is also a bullshitting factor – wine brands can decide to put up expensive price tags just to position themselves as ‘super quality’ ones. It is not necessarily true. Have a look at The Best Organic Wines top list – there are wines under £10 in it which taste superior to some £30 expensive pretenders. The problem is that there are thousands of wines and we cannot taste them all ourselves. Yet we can share! That is how the top list and the ‘avoid‘ list are made. Share your tasting notes as well! Just send me your notes via email.

The tip here is a bit different though – go for quality wines (they will normally be more expensive), savour its fantastic taste, enjoy the complexity and flavour concentration. When all these aspects come together you will need much less wine as your one glass will contain so much more flavours in it! It is a matter of trial and error as well as you need to know what you like more – a powerful woody-vanilla composition of matured Rioja or beautifully elegant rosemary-thyme combo in Cotes du Rhone Villages wines. Yet the recipe is the same – learn what you like, go for a better quality (usually pricey!) and drink well, but less.

This could be that sweet end to this review, but no, money is not the only answer to it. Oops, I meant quality! Still not though.

Drink well but less - MindI want to add a few hints and tricks to deal with effects about how your Mind affects how much you drink.

You come back home tired, you pour yourself a long drink. You feel undervalued and you compensate by having a very expensive drink. You wasted your day with doing some rubbish and you’re unhappy because there wasn’t any self-realisation or self-improvement during the day and you have a glass of red to make yourself better. Come on, whom I’m kidding, that is not necessarily about you. Is it? I must admit, I can remember all of these instances in the last year, easily!

I am in my mid-thirties now and I can share what helps me.

Do all the things you can try easily and without any investment to it – running, walking with your dog to a big park (yes it is a bit further away!), doing some stretches, or even yoga (no farting in front of your partner though!).  I can add some breathing exercises to it – you do need to call it yoga breathing or Pranayama – it can be just your 5 or 15 minutes of ‘me’ time when you simply concentrate on your breathing and think about something nice (or do not think at all). To make it more therapeutic my favourite exercise is ‘Alternate Nostril Breathing’. You press your thumb against your right nostril and inhale (for as count of 5), hold it for 5 and then after releasing that right nostril press your left one and exhale (for a count of 5 or more). Repeat from left to right and so on. It creates an amazing feeling of calm and tranquility, noone says you can’t have your drink, but trust me if you are stressed, just do this breathing for a few minutes (5 would be even better) and you will need less drinks tonight – tried and tested!

Lastly, let me ask you a personal question. Are you drinking more because you are bored? Think about activities you always wanted to do but something was in your way. Ditch 50% of your TV time – it provides just a distraction. I am sure you are experienced in something – share it with the world, or maybe there is something you’ve always wanted to learn – if not now then when?

This claim is also true with another tip – get an alcohol free day a week! I find it a bit harsh to follow all those sober-October nonsense, but to have it in your mind that you will stay without alcohol for a day, just once a week is completely doable. This is where you can set an no compromise agreement with your mind. It is easy to follow as you can move some drinks with colleagues around and leave, let’s say, your Mondays as alcohol-free days! It is a mini-detox for your mind and body that you will start to appreciate more when it becomes your habit.

drink well but less wine organic tipsYou can see it is not as simple as I portrayed it when started this article. I know it is not. Yet it is all in our hands to make your life more tranquil through exercise, meditation, yoga or football for that matter; you can also make some clever tweaks with your food regime, drinks menu and shopping list; yet not forgetting to buy those wonderful organic gems that cost a fortune but you enjoy them sip by sip. What a wonderful life!

Drink less, but cheers!

About The Author

Dimitri

Dimitri is passionate about wines, food to go with it, happy & healthy lifestyle, digital marketing, start-ups and entrepreneurship. www.IBlameTheWine.com is about new organic wines in the UK, what to buy or avoid on the retailer shelves; tips on healthy and happy wine lifestyle, but also provides reviews and rankings for organic wines. Get in touch please, I am always on a lookout for new ideas and connections! Cheers.

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