I'm sure you've noticed no alcohol has yet appeared in my daily meal photo-blog (except a little cooking wine in the lentil soup ). So you might be wondering: Where on earth is all the booze in this crazy woman's diet?
Alcohol consumption does, of course, have all sorts of negative risks associated with it: motor impairment, increased risk of certain kinds of cancer, inflammation, cirrhosis of the liver, increased blood pressure, heart muscle damage, sleep disruption, and addiction, among others.
Yet numerous eating pyramids include alcohol in moderation (there's that word again!) in their plans . The Harvard School of Public Health reports that moderate drinking can be beneficial to the heart and circulatory system. The USDA's 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends no more than two drinks a day for men and one per day for women and defines one drink as 12 fluid ounces of regular beer, 5 fluid ounces of wine, or 1.5 fluid ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits.
But I've never been much of a drinker. Please don't take my lack of imbibing as a judgment on whether you should have alcohol in your diet or not. I thought long and hard about whether to drink a few ounces of red wine with dinner every night, but ultimately I decided against it. I've never enjoyed drinking as much as other people seem to. I'm pretty much physically incapable of ingesting more than two drinks in an evening: I can get drunk on one, and then I just get tired.
In the interest of listening to one's body, I decided that if mine is rejecting alcohol, there must be a reason for it. Harvard and some other plans put alcohol in the "optional" category and say it is "not for everyone." I'll raise a glass — of water — to that.