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  • Kat Hounsell

Covid-19 Series: Pleasure in measure - healthy eating and drinking

I’m not sure I’ve met a single member of the drinks industry who doesn’t have a passion for dining – eating well, drinking better, and sharing the experience with colleagues, family and friends. I recall learning the importance of a proper lunch in my early career working in the industry, too often spending way above the average for a top quality deli sandwich for someone on a modest salary!

If food and drink is a love of our lives, then it deserves our attention and consideration. When the pleasure is kept in measure our passion can continue to grow, whilst we keep our bodies and minds healthy at the same time.

Let’s strip it back to our basic survival needs. In order to stay alive each of us needs to breathe, sleep, drink water and have a basic nutritional intake. We can take these things for granted, but they literally keep us alive:

  • Only 3-minutes without breathing means serious brain damage is likely, by 10-minutes a human is unlikely to recover

  • We can survive without water for only 3 days, however if we continue having access to H2O then we can survive without food for up to 2-months

  • Just 24-hours without sleep brings on symptoms associated with sleep deprivation including impaired judgement and decision-making, loss of memory function and an increased risk of accidents. 72-hours later and we may begin to experience paranoia and even hallucinations

If you do nothing else for your health, find time in every 24-hour cycle to sleep, take deep breaths, and drink around 1.2-1.5 litres of water.

Check out our previous article everyday actions for physical wellbeing for more ideas to take care of this baseline.

But a good diet can do way more than just keep us alive, it can help us to thrive!

I wish I could build on this with specific nutritional advice for each of you to help you feel and perform at your best, but that’s not possible because every one of our bodies is unique. We each have specific needs – that could be linked to our height, weight, gender, medical conditions, and current lifestyle requirements. That being said you can’t go too far wrong with what nutritionists call ‘a balanced diet’ and the British Nutrition Foundation website is packed with information, images and inspiration for this.

So instead, let’s talk for a moment about drink.

Here’s the hard fact – a well-balanced Old Fashioned, crisp lager on a hot summer’s day, or silky-smooth Rioja are all delicious, and they all contain alcohol, and alcohol is not the best for our mental and physical health. Alcohol is a depressant and it affects the delicate balance of chemicals and processes in our brains, which, with increased intake, can lead us to not feel great in ourselves and not behave in the most helpful ways.

This is why it’s so important we are aware of how our drinking might be affecting us, and not fall into the easy trap of it becoming our go to coping strategy after a hard day or night. Kept in moderation we can still embrace the joy of a great drink and how it can bring people and conversation together.

If you’re curious to learn more about the effects of drink so you can make informed decisions about your level of consumption then look no further than The Drinks Trust partnership with Club Soda, the Mindful Drinking Movement. Together they are offering FREE month-long courses covering the essentials of mindful drinking, to help you pay attention to your drinking, triggers and cravings, and your motivations for change. Sign-up here

Another resource I highly recommend is this recently published book by Professor David Nutt.

For some of us transforming our diets and drinking habits could be lifesaving, for others it may be about accessing more energy so that we enjoy life to the fullest. For all of us, ensuring we keep the pleasure within measure means those brunches, lunches and dinners will be even more enjoyable and rewarding experiences!

Finding life difficult? You’re #NotAlone.

Read here for where to access professional support.

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