french friday ~~ saying no to alcohol

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Bonjour!

Welcome to my new Friday series.  Well, it is not exactly “my new” series but more accurately Cupcake Caramel’s original series.  I have always loved French Fridays on Rebekah’s blog–it is always refreshing to find someone else in this big world who loves everything French as much as I do.  Rebekah didn’t blog for some time due to other obligations and I found that I really missed reading her French Friday posts.  And then she returned!  Yay French me!!  French Fridays were suddenly back and I found myself inspired.  I wanted to do French Fridays posts too…but I didn’t want to “steal” her brainchild.  I contacted Rebekah (who has been a regular reader of my blog as well) to see if we could collaborate.  She said, “Oui!”  We are working out the details of how we will do this in tandem.  In any case, I will be linking up with her every Friday so all of you francophiles can enjoy a double dose of French whimsy.  What could be better?

Coincidentally, we did agree on the subject for this first post:  Alcohol.  To abstain or not to abstain, that is the question.  We are both abstaining but have come to this decision by different means/motives.

Like Rebekah, I enjoy imbibing in a lovely cocktail, a smooth Malbec, bubbly pink champagne or a fantastic craft brew.  A nightly drink (or two) has been my routine for a long time.  Whether it was wine with dinner or beer with popcorn, I always looked forward to a tasty glass of  empty calories (and yes, I have always known that is what they are–simply didn’t care).  And despite my enjoyment, always in the back of my mind, I was wondering if it was really worth it.  The main reason?

Sleep interruption.

Without fail I would find myself waking up in the middle of the night, sometimes unable to get back to sleep for a good long while.  Not cool.  Another reason?

Drying out my skin.

 Yes, I could tell a difference in the mornings with how my skin was looking…especially around the eyes.  I am too vain to let that continue.  Do I really need more reason?  Well I have another:

Potential detriments to my health.

Opinions on alcohol seem to differ in the medical community.  Some say 1-2 glasses of alcohol a day is OK for women. Others say just 1 is better–helps the heart.  And yet others are now saying even 1 glass a day can increase a woman’s chance of cancer.   Recently I read in a journal that “Middle-aged men who drink more than two beers or the equivalent amount of alcohol a day speed up their memory loss by six years.” (The Guardian; U.K.).  Added to this, “Strangely, the researchers didn’t find similar, drinking-related memory loss in women, although women who drank a lot did show deficits in organization and planning skills”.  Well, whatever!  I don’t need to lose my memory or organizational skills (which are often challenged in the first place).

In other reading, I found this great post at Fiona’s lovely blog (How To Be Chic) discussing the hows and whys she has been able to give up drinking (her habits were similar to mine). Oh!  From her I learned I can substitute Diet Coke for champagne noir!  This will be in moderation as well since I don’t want to get back to my old Diet Coke addiction.  And in the book, “Forever Chic: Frenchwomen’s Secrets for Timeless Beauty”, chapter 2 discusses the subject of alcohol.  Guess what?  The belief that French women are drinking copious amounts of wine and remaining beautiful and thin is a MYTH.  In general, they go very light on alcohol–reserving it more for just special occasions.  In the book the author quotes two different French doctors who agree that alcohol is very aging for the skin.  The author asserts that in all the years she has lived in France, she has only witnessed extreme moderation with alcohol among women–and then only wine or champagne.  Very interesting.  If my French sisters are abstaining, then I can do it too.

Plus I am vain about my skin.

All this mounting knowledge was taking its toll on my conscience. Could I live without it?  Would I feel better?  Lose some weight?  Enjoy my evenings?  Sleep better?  All these questions are slowly being answered. I am only about 2 weeks into my new alcohol-free life.  Do I miss it?  Yep.  Have I caved?  Yes, twice.  Do I feel a little better?  I think so.  Am I sleeping better?  NOPE but that is thanks to my dog (pent-up energy from lack of exercise due to evil winter vortex that has us in a vise-grip).  Once Rockefeller starts sleeping through the night again, I know I will too (another post for another day…this dog is killing me–he’s making me want to drink!  grrr.).

Wish me well on my new lifestyle choice.  How about you?  When do you choose to drink alcohol?  Or do you refrain completely?

What do I drink now you ask?  Besides the aforementioned champagne noir, I am enjoying fruit infused (lemon or lime), Pellegrino.  Always in a wine glass or champagne flute.  Bien sur.

Click on over to Rebekah’s blog to read more on this subject.

~~Heather~~

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25 thoughts on “french friday ~~ saying no to alcohol

  1. I am drinking less frequently theses days as well. My skin definitely looks better on the days I abstain. I don’t plan to stop altogether because I enjoy the social aspects of it and the taste of a fine glass of wine. Bravo to you!!

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    • Hey…we shall see how I do. As I mentioned in the post, I really like the taste of certain types of alcohol/drinks. Will I adjust as I go and perhaps say yes to wine or champagne on special occasions? Perhaps.

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  2. This is so well said, my chic friend! Have you noticed that glass of wine results in different ounces of wine depending on the decade in which you live and the country in which you drink? I miss my cabernet and rosé most of all, but I will have a demi-bottle of Veuve for my birthday. I can afford to splurge because it will most likely be the only bottle I purchase all year!

    I hope others will ask us about our experiment and see if we can tell a material difference in our physical and mental health after a few months.

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    • Good point about splurging on the Veuve since you are saving year round! I might remember that come the middle of July for our anniversary. The coming months will be interesting! Fun teaming up with you, ma chere.

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  3. Enjoyed you blog and yearning for French anything. I love the sound of the language and dated a Frenchmen solely for this reason until the appeal wore off for other reasons. Regarding Wine. I go back and forth. I stopped drinking for a month to see if I would drop any lbs. I did not and I work out 4-6 times each week and never miss a workout. I have not slept well since I turned 47 or so . Ambien helps with this and my skin looks great (with a little help). Overdoing anything is never good and on the weekends I imbibe more. I don’t know how old you are but I have used Retin-A for over 20 years and it helps greatly plus an extra deep moisturizer .
    I look forward to more of your posts. Kathryn

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    • The non-drinking and weight loss can be a conundrum, huh? I have stopped drinking in the past–for quite a few months, maybe a year–and don’t remember any substantial weight loss. But now that I am in my 40s, I am bit worried about the middle-aged weight gain around my middle. I am willing to do all I can to discourage it…or at least minimize it. As for the Retin-A–haven’t tried it yet but I am sure the day is coming. : )

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    • I share your guilt…and I actually enjoy the taste of wine– a lot! Not having it is somewhat challenging but I am determined to persevere!

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  4. I’ve never acquired the taste for alcohol. I’d much rather have water splashed with lemon juice or mineral water with a bit of fruit juice for fun. All in all I try and get in about 96 ounces of water a day. Wishing you awesomely good thoughts in your new lifestyle choice!✽

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  5. This is so interesting to me as one who lives in the land of wine and bubbly. I, too, have cut way back on alcohol recently. I used to enjoy wine on most nights with dinner, now I only have small bit on the weekends. I sleep better (even with the pups), look better, have way more energy but I am still waiting for that weight loss to take effect.
    I have moved my love for wine to a love for tea. I already loved tea but now I’m crazy about it. I have probably 3 to 4 small pots a day from a black tea in the morning to green in the afternoon and a soothing sleepy time before bed. I serve it up on a pretty tray and make it a “thing”. Love it!
    Great post and so odd we are on the same wavelength!
    xo, A

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    • WHY can’t the weight loss be the first effect?! Grrrr. But good for you. I am drinking more tea too–decaf! Decaf coffee too. What has happened to me? BTW, I still absolutely love Harney and Sons Paris tea. I add their lavender tea to it–delicious!!
      Same wavelength? No surprise!!

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  6. Great post, dear Heather!
    I like a glass of wine or bubbly every now and then, mainly on weekends or when I meet the girls.
    But I put ice cubes into everything, except into real good champagne. If we go out to a restaurant and have a glass of wine, I a bottle of sparkling mineral water which I mix with the wine – it gives the water a little bit of “wine-taste” and the glass of wine will go a very long way.
    Whenever I try to lose a couple of pounds – it does happen 😉 – I drink a red mineral water that has a bitter orangy flavor instead of wine and tell myself it’s a campari soda 😀 It works very well!
    Looking forward to your French Fridays! xo 🙂

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  7. I gave up alcohol 25 years ago. I didn’t see the point. I certainly didn’t need it to make me feel comfortable in social settings. If I was going for a taste – diet Pepsi did the job. Plus, I always felt like crap the next morning. Didn’t drink often and when I did, not much so . . . didn’t make sense.
    Hey, I have a teeny, tiny blog suggestion: how about a larger, darker font? Your elderly neighbor would appreciate it.

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    • The secret as to why you look so great! I will check into the font situation. I have noticed that it appears lighter than my previous blog theme. Do you subscribe by email? It may look different in that format…??

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  8. Hi Heather, I found you via Cupcake Caramel. I, too, love all things French and chic. I gave up alcohol about 5 years ago for many of the reasons you cited. I drink sparkling water with a lime wedge in a vintage wine glass when everyone else is drinking. And I make tea time a very special treat every day. I sleep much better and I hope it is making a difference in my skin. Glad to have found you.

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    • I am glad you have found me too! I have been visiting your blog—we definitely have similar interests and we both live in Michigan! What a small blog world. I love sparkling water with lemon or lime–love it. For whatever reason I am a Pellegrino fan over Perrier–Italy vs. France, hmmm? You would think I would pick Perrier. Thank you for stopping in!

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  9. Heather, I adore you, but there is a reason why the French have a 9′ tall wine bottle in the middle of baggage claim in the Bordeaux airport. Some things I just won’t give up. : )

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  10. I often give up alcohol in January. It is usually a frugal practice but I also feel quite bloated after the excesses of the holidays. I’ve never lost weight in the past because I just traded the alcohol calories for comfort food. This year was a bit different in that I started working with a personal trainer in November, to learn how to improve my upper body and core strength. I had already gone back to my running a few months before that. This January my need for comfort food was much less, in spite of quite a bit of stress. I think it was the exercise that helped. Also, my go-to snack was 5 almonds, a banana and a cup of tea, instead of my usual buttered bread. I also love the taste of wine and would be sad not to enjoy it occasionally, but as we are in absolute raptures when we enjoy a steak or a pork chop, because we have them so seldom, I think I would prefer to make alcohol a bit more rare than it has been so that I can really enjoy it again. (Everything in moderation, including moderation?).

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  11. Do you know that 6 pints of beer do the same damage to the body as 2 bottles of red wine?
    After my chemo treatments – wine doesn’t taste the same, but I enjoy a glass with a good meal at a nice restaurant … when travelling. Have never drank alcohol on my own at home. Very intersting post.

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      • No! Not what I can remember – for me alcohol is a social thing. I’m glad I haven’t done with a stressful job like I had for so many years.
        Alcohol is a massive problem in the catering business.
        I drink very little in company too .. and it gone less since my chemo. Doesn’t taste the same anymore – but I enjoy a great Mojito. *smile

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