With St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner, now seems like a great time to warm up for March 17 with a good old-fashioned limerick. (A limerick, by the way, is a five-line verse in which the first, second and fifth lines rhyme, while the third and fourth lines are shorter and share a different rhyme.)
So here goes: There once was a man from Nantucket…
Whoa now — this is a PG-rated blog! Besides, it just so happens that the aspiring poets at Don’t Change Much have come up with their own ode to keeping it real on St. Paddy’s Day:
Hey there Tall Tin
You look kinda thin
But you hold much more than a stubby
And once you’re all gone
We’ve got our buzz on
Without getting any more chubby
With you, yes, it’s true
That just two will do
Instead of a gut-forming ‘sixer
So here’s to you, Tin
Now let us begin
Time to savour your golden elixir…
It’s catchy, and it’s TRUE: Bring home a six-pack, and before you know it the whole shebang has been drained. (It’s beer>, after all.) Bring home two tall cans, however, and the magic word — moderation — kicks in automatically.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with downing a cold one or two. But on St. Patrick’s Day, the line between moderation and excess can start to blur — along with everything else — and that’s when health problems can rear their ugly heads. Drinking too much on a regular basis may lead to erectile dysfunction and low testosterone, and has been shown to cause some cancers and liver damage. Yikes!
That’s where the heroes of our goofy poem come in. Tall cans of beer — a.k.a. tallboys or tall tins — are widely available as singles. Bottles of beer, meanwhile, tend to be sold in six-, 12- or 24-packs. Grab a couple tallboys, and you’ll enjoy 946 millilitres of golden elixir and feel a nice glow. A six-pack of bottles, however, adds up to more than twice as much booze (and expense). This goes waaaaaay over research-backed guidelines for safe drinking: No more than three drinks per day, with two alcohol-free days per week. Plus, drinking a six-pack of beer in one sitting is considered binge drinking, and that is SUPER-unhealthy.
Choosing two tall boys instead of a ‘sixer is just one of many easy ways to reduce your beer intake on March 17 and beyond. Wondering how to drink less beer? Here are five more easy tips:
Beer, water, repeat
When you order a green beer, ask for a glass of water with it. Then finish off that water after each and every emerald beverage. Why? Studies have shown that drinking water can reduce your beer intake. Water also helps your body process and eliminate alcohol, so removing it from your system ASAP by drinking water will result in a milder, or even non-existent, hangover. Now THAT’S a win-win!
Glasses half full
Research reveals that filling glasses halfway up significantly cuts alcohol consumption. So crack open one of those two tallboys, fill half your mug, and put the tin back in the fridge until you’re ready for a refill. That way, every sip will be frosty!
Just let go
Leaving your glass on the table, instead of holding it, has been shown to lead to smaller pours. Measurement markings on straight-sided beer glasses, meanwhile, can slow down the rate at which you drink.
Avoid boozy situations
No matter how much you want to cut down on alcohol, parties or nights on the town can lead to drinking and, in turn, to over-imbibing. Controlling the environment — say, by inviting friends over for some Canadian Irish stew and a bit of O’ Blarney in the kitchen — tends to lead to less alcohol consumption.
Fun ≠ alcohol
Make a list of activities you enjoy that don’t have to involve booze — watching movies, hiking, photography, getting it on, the list goes on — and slot them in at those times when you’re likely to be tempted to drink too much. Hike home from the bar after you’ve enjoyed a couple brews, for instance, or head for the bedroom well before last call.
And if you want to bust out a naughty limerick, more power to you!
Do you know of any other nifty ways to cut down on drinking? Help your bros by sharing them in the comments below!
Let’s raise a glass (of water!) to the BIG benefits of drinking less alcohol
Animated TV icon Homer J. Simpson has uttered many famous, and hilarious, lines over the years:
“You’ll have to speak up, I’m wearing a towel.”
“Shut up, brain, or I’ll stab you with a Q-tip!”
The list goes on. However, there’s one Homer quote that speaks volumes for anyone thinking about drinking less alcohol:
“To alcohol! The cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems.”
It’s no secret that drinking too much can make us forget things. And that includes our problems! Trouble is, forgetting our problems doesn’t make them go away.
The trouble with booze
Now, it may be an exaggeration to say that alcohol causes ALL of life’s problems. Stuck in traffic? Probably not alcohol’s fault. Driveway covered in ice? Again, booze isn’t to blame.
But many SERIOUS health-related problems, including some cancers and cirrhosis of the liver, are caused by drinking too much.
Then there’s erectile dysfunction and low testosterone levels, both of which are more common among heavy drinkers.
No wonder alcohol causes the second-most harm of any substance in Canada (after tobacco).
On an individual level, drinking too much can cause weight gain and detract from the things that matter much more than getting your buzz on.
The good news: cutting down on alcohol can be a great way to reverse its ill effects. So let’s flip the script on Homer’s quote — “To drinking less alcohol! The solution to so many of life’s problems!” — as we look at three big benefits of drinking less booze. Why is drinking less alcohol good for you? Keep reading to find out!
Goodbye beer gut, hello hotness
Cutting alcohol’s empty calories out of your life can make you slimmer, trimmer and better-looking. If this boosts your overall attractiveness, you may well get a boost in the bedroom. Booze is also notorious for fuelling desire but hurting performance in bed, so there’s another GREAT reason to nix it.
Drinking about a bottle of wine, a six-pack of beer, or six shots of spirits in one sitting is considered to be binge drinking and is super-unhealthy. So what are the ground rules for safe drinking? Studies show them to be a maximum of 3 drinks per day, with 2 alcohol-free days per week.
Alcohol has an uncanny ability to add inches to your waist, which turns excess drinking into a double health whammy. If your alcohol intake contributes to your waist size exceeding 38 inches (97 cm), you could be at a higher risk for heart attack and stroke. Plus, alcohol ages you by dehydrating your body, and especially your skin, which causes wrinkles and a pale complexion. Alcohol also robs the body of vitamin A, an essential antioxidant for cell renewal and turnover.
Save some serious coin
Every time you DON’T have a drink your wallet stays a little bit fatter. Cut your weekly drink count in half — say, from 20 to 10 — and you’ll save at least $100 if those pints are at a pub. In a year you’ll have saved more than $5,000, which could add up to millions of dollars over your lifetime! Keep cutting your drink count, and the savings will only increase.
Be better at the things that really matter
Hangovers take away from everything that makes you happy and is important to you. Spending time with family and friends, enjoying your favourite activities — fishing, listening to music, going to the movies — getting it on, you get the idea. Drink less, and you’ll enjoy everything else in life that much more!
At the same time, the foggy thinking that goes along with drinking will disappear, which will allow you to fully appreciate the extra time you have. Not only that, you’ll have a clearer idea of how to spend all that extra cash in your wallet!
What would YOU do with all the money saved by drinking less? Share your ideas in the comments below! But remember, as Homer points out, “You can have all the money in the world, but there’s one thing you can’t buy: A dinosaur.”
Who works harder than Santa Claus over the holidays? OK, your liver’s not a person (or even an elf), but it does give St. Nick a run for his money.
Santa has lots of gifts to deliver, no doubt, but your liver never takes a break from performing the 500-plus functions that are vital to keeping you alive. Screening and processing food and drink, cleaning your blood of toxins, keeping your hormones and cholesterol in check — your liver does it all, and much more, around the clock. Santa, meanwhile, has one big night, and then he mails it in for months!
Speaking of food and drink, your liver may have to work extra-hard over the holidays if you knock back more alcohol and eat more salty, sugary and fatty fare than you normally would. As well as producing hangovers and holiday bloat that makes Santa look slim, pushing your liver too hard can have serious health consequences. That’s why it’s important to know what affects liver health and how to give it a break when it needs one. Here, then, are five ways to show your liver the respect it deserves, along with easy tips on how to make them happen:
Dial down the drinking
Because the liver has so much to do, it can only handle so much alcohol at once. One rum and eggnog? Of course! A second rum and eggnog? It’s the holidays, so why not? But drinking more than this in one sitting, or having multiple drinks on a daily basis, forces your liver to work overtime. This can result in the destruction of liver cells and a buildup of fat deposits that, if left unchecked, can lead to much worse. Also, remember that no form of alcohol is less harmful to the liver than another. A bottle of beer, a glass of wine, a shot of spirits — each has the same effect, whether mixed or taken straight. The takeaway here: Drinking in moderation is how to maintain liver health.
Never mix alcohol and medication
This one’s straightforward: Mixing over-the-counter painkillers, for example, can lead to liver failure. So if you have a winter cold and need to take decongestants, be sure to steer clear of alcohol. When in doubt, play and safe until you speak to your doctor about mixing specific medications with alcohol.
Tips for drinking less over the holidays
- Use different glasses:
- Studies have shown that people pour less wine into narrow glasses than wide ones, which in turn reduces the rate of consumption, and that leaving a glass on the table instead of holding it yields a smaller pour. Likewise, straight-sided beer glasses with measurement markings slow down the rate at which we drink.
- Glasses half full:
- Again, studies have shown that filling glasses only halfway up results in significant reductions in booze intake.
- Steer clear of boozy situations:
- Holiday parties or nights on the town lead to drinking. Controlling the environment — say, by inviting friends to your home for some festive cheer — can lead to less alcohol consumption.
- Stop equating fun with alcohol:
- Make a list of festive activities you enjoy that don’t have to involve booze — tobogganing, skating, post-mistletoe-mischief, the list goes on — and slot them in at those times when you’re likely to be tempted to drink.
- Don’t play games:
- Avoid drinking games that encourage excessive drinking over a short period of time.
Watch your sugar, fat and salt intake
Too much sugar and saturated fat in your diet can have a similar effect as too much alcohol: Fat build-up in the liver. Too much salt, meanwhile, can worsen liver problems. So, to keep your liver healthy over the holidays, there are two two effective, easy strategies: Eat less overall — as holiday food tends to be sugary (shortbread), fatty (gravy) and salty (stuffing) — and favour healthier foods in general.
Tips for eating less sugar, fat and salt over the holidays
- Drink more water:
- Drinking water fills up your stomach, which makes you feel less hungry. Studies have also shown that drinking water reduces our intake of sugary alcohol and soda pop. Aiming to drink five tall glasses each day can help you eat less, and is a simple, easy, no-cost way to actually lose weight over the holidays. Now that’s a Christmas miracle!
- Use smaller plates:
- According to a Cornell University Food and Brand Lab study, cutting the size of plates in half leads to a 30-per-cent reduction in the amount of food consumed on average. (In case you’re wondering, the surface area of a plate is cut in half when its diameter is reduced by about a third.)
- Watch your side dishes:
- Swap out butter-drenched mashed potatoes, salty stuffing and cheesy casseroles for delicious festive vegetables such as mashed sweet potato, spaghetti squash, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower.
- Snack throughout the day:
- Noshing on snacks after breakfast and lunch may help prevent overeating at dinner. On that note…
- Watch your snacks:
- Swap fatty potato chips, salty pretzels and sugary shortbread for healthy, tasty snacks such as popcorn, pistachio nuts, veggie sticks with tzatziki, or whole-wheat crackers with hummus. For more delicious and healthy snack options for the morning, afternoon and evening, keep checking in on DontChangeMuch.ca
You can’t rock the beach, barbecue or dock if you overdo it
In Canada, summer is the season of giving.
Not gift-giving, of course, but giving it. You know: Playing hard on the beach, at the park, around the barbecue, on the dock, you know the drill. In summer, Canadians just like to giv’r!
Overdoing it spoils the fun
Going all out in the hot sun can easily lead to overexertion and, in turn, a range of health issues such as fatigue, low blood sugar, and dehydration. That’s why it’s so important to recognize and respect your body’s limits. After all, you can’t giv’r like a champ if you don’t take regular breaks, get enough sleep at night, eat enough food throughout the day, and drink plenty of water and other fluids.
These precautions go beyond the ability to party hearty. Studies show that injuries are the leading killer of Canadians aged 1 to 44. In B.C. alone, more than 400,000 residents are injured each year, but 90% of injuries are both predictable and preventable. You can’t giv’r at all if you’re down for the count.
Play hard, work hard, be smart
Playing hard goes hand-in-hand with working hard — as the old saying goes — and here again guys should listen to what their bodies tell them. Overexertion or strenuous movement and falls, it turns out, account for nearly half of occupational injuries reported to the Canadian Community Health Survey.
So go ahead and go for it this summer, but be smart about how you do it. After all, come fall, you may want to giv’r then, too…
We’ve all been there: You just spent a couple hours at the pub, and on the walk home some kind of invisible force pulls you, kicking and screaming, toward a 24-hour pizzeria, fast-food restaurant, or hot dog stand.
OK, maybe it was your late-night appetite that practically forced you to scarf that greasy pizza. When we’re buzzed, we tend to binge-eat unhealthy food. Trouble is, drinking to excess (more than three drinks in one night) makes the unhealthy food hit that much worse.
The good news: There is a way to get your drink on without all those junk-food cravings. It costs nothing, it couldn’t be easier, and get this — it will even take the edge off a hangover.
What is this miracle cure, you ask? It’s not a miracle — it’s water! One drink, one glass of water, repeat: Having a glass of H2O after each and every drink really does work wonders.
Does drinking water between drinks help? You bet it does! Here’s how:
Curbs food cravings: drinking water fills up your stomach, making you feel less hungry. If that sounds simple, it’s because it is!
Boosts energy: your brain and body need water to work properly, and drinking lots of it will help make you sharper and more energetic. All the better for flirting with the server or putting the moves on your significant other when you get home.
Keeps you cool: water is refreshing and hydrating, and downing some between drinks will also help keep you out of sloppy-drunk territory by slowing down and diluting your consumption. Same buzz, less sloppiness. Again, all the better for turning on the charm.
Hangover helper: water helps your body process and eliminate alcohol, so removing it from your system ASAP with plenty of water will result in a milder, or even non-existent, hangover. When you order a drink, ask for a glass of water with it, and then finish off that water after each and every alcoholic beverage.
So let’s all raise a glass to water! And then drink it…