Thursday, July 28, 2011

R.I.P. Amy Winehouse

The preternaturally gifted jazz singer and notorious party girl, Amy Winehouse, died this week in her London home at only 27 years old.

Contrary to what everyone might have thought about the hard-partying Winehouse, and that is that she died of a drug overdose or alcohol poisoning, stories are beginning to circulate that quitting drinking might actually be what killed her.

Amy had been told that she had to cut down on her drinking - but that she should do it gradually because she'd been partying so hard for so many years. She decided she wanted an all-or-nothing approach and quit cold turkey instead.

Her family, and especially her father, have come forward saying that the shock of total abstinence was too much for her body and that it may have given her a seizure which caused her death.

This is the first time I've read about a public personality who may have died from quitting drinking. But it reminds us of a couple of things: if you have been drinking very heavily for years, please consult a physician or some other professional you trust with your health before you cleanse. Your system may be too delicate to handle it well. Also familiarize yourself with the symptoms of withdrawal and if you experience any that worry you, seek professional help.

But Amy's story also reminds us of the power of addiction and alcohol in general. And of the strength in moderation. Because ultimately "cleansing" is a way of becoming a moderate drinker. Sometimes you drink. Sometimes you don't. Your tolerance levels start to change naturally so you never have to bombard your system with too much of one lifestyle or another. Not that I care for the term "moderation" - but there's something to be said for it sometimes.

Of course, the toxicology reports on Ms. Winehouse are yet to be completed. There may be any number of factors that contributed to the stress of quitting drinking on her body. But cutting alcohol out of your life is a change of habit that can sometimes be very drastic.

So be careful. Look after yourself. This is really what cleansing is all about. Learning to take care of yourself - not abusing or hurting yourself further.

Amy, I will not make any jokes about that big Winehouse in the sky. Instead thank you for your ethereal talent. Your incredible energy. All the tabloid stories. And a lesson in moderation. Rest in peace.

CTV News

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Off Nightzzzz

I know I've mentioned this before, but the hubby thought I should bring it up again - especially after last night. And that is, don't expect to feel as if you have tons of energy on your off-nights.

Last night was Tuesday, the first of two back-to-back nights off that I've been taking recently. When we settled in for the evening, I was yawning and the hubs noticed it right away. I did have a busy day, but I also know that not getting that 110 calories and 3 carbs per glass of my white wine does leave me feeling slightly enervated.

Now I'm not saying I'm falling asleep at 7:30pm. Nope, I made it until almost midnight. But there's a vitality and energy that I get from wine and plain old water can't live up to it. (I usually stick to water or herbal tea on my nights off; for 28-day cleanses, I've learned to incorporate more treats.) If you're really feeling logy on an off-night, go ahead and have a glass of juice or even soda if it's in your diet plan.

But also don't worry about it too much. Don't fight the feeling of relaxation that might come over you when you're not drinking. There's a welcome gentleness incorporated into our week because cleansing nights have a different vibe than drinking nights. It's quieter and softer around here - and that's a nice change. Not only does it help you appreciate those party nights when you have them, but your off-nights will give you a new and greater appreciation for everything in your life.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Girls Night

Here's something I'd really miss if I couldn't drink anymore: Girls night.

On the first Saturday of every month, a group of about fifteen women - some of us old friends, some of us new friends - try to get together at a different restaurant to gab and eat good food and drink lots of wine.

That's exactly what happened last Saturday. It was a blast. I indulged completely, but I didn't end up in a puddle of my own sick at 3 in the morning because I'm now able to "stop" for the night. I don't have to keep going. I don't have to order that next drink when I'm already enjoying myself.

Cleansing has put me in touch not only with my body's reaction to alcohol, but with my own intentions. I'm so grateful I didn't have to order that last glass of wine and risk over-drinking. I'm so glad that I now have that control - because even as a teenager, I didn't. But cleansing has helped me acquire that skill - and now that I have it, it's really simple to use.

Something that might help you socialize more easily is to know that using alcohol properly is sometimes just a matter of drinks vs. time. If you're trying to squeeze another drink in at the very end of the night, maybe it's not the best idea for you. Especially if you're already drunk. If you don't live alone, promise yourself you can have another drink when you get home or look forward to your next outing with friends. It's safer than risking a bad experience by ordering a drink that you know in your heart you don't need.

By the way, if you've got a night of partying coming up and you're worried how it might end, here's a tip I've found helpful. First of all, picture yourself having a really good - but generally responsible - time with your friends. Picture yourself saying 'no' to that one drink too many. Picture yourself leaving the bar or the restaurant happy, buzzed, but in control. And most importantly picture yourself waking up in the morning contented and proud of yourself. Feel what it's like to have a night of socializing that doesn't end in drama. See it before you "be" it. It'll help.

Plus your hangover won't be as bad.