9 Reasons I am Doing a Wine Cleanse
Published on February 7, 2014
by Dr. Caitlin Gordon

9 Reasons I am Doing a Wine Cleanse

Published on February 7, 2014 by Dr. Caitlin Gordon

spilled wine on white counterIf only it were what it sounds like: cleanse by drinking a lot of wine. It’s really all alcohol from which I’m abstaining for two weeks. Not that long, but for someone who drinks a couple bottles of wine a week, it will be…different. I am doing this wine cleanse for a few reasons:

1. I am under a lot of stress, and coming home and having a glass of wine is a crutch I use to relax. If I do not have this crutch, I must learn healthier ways to unwind (or I won’t, and I will just be uptight and miserable, which so far has happened twice this week).

2. If I cannot take the edge off my feelings with wine, I have to find other ways to manage my emotions. This seems like a mature move. The challenge here is to not replace wine with another self-medicating substance (think cookies, social media scrolling, reality tv marathons).

3. I remove the risk of overdoing it on the weekend after a long hard week and causing myself a hangover that makes me unproductive for minimum 24 hours and thus adds to my stress.

4. I want to see how hard it is. It shouldn’t be hard. If it is hard, what does that say about my relationship with alcohol? What does that say about my social life?

5. Alcoholism runs in my family. While I’ve never felt I have an addictive relationship with alcohol, these things can be subtle, and this is a good way to assess where I stand.

6. Alcohol breaks down into sugar and is stored as fat almost as quickly as white sugar. Alcohol has a particular knack for creating fat deposits around the midsection. My body doesn’t need any more signals that it is time to hibernate and store fat– the -11-degree weather this month was sufficient.

7. Sugar messes with my moods and my immune system (and yours too, but you might not be aware of this yet). I need my mood to be stable with my high stress this month, and I need to be healthy and not susceptible to any cold or flu bugs! Also, moody caitlin=very unhappy boyfriend. In Chinese medicine, alcohol is considered warming and very aggravating to the liver system (just like in western medicine). Stress also fires up the liver system. When you add alcohol to stress, you are fueling the flames of the liver system and inviting anger, mood swings, red eyes, headaches, and next-day depression when the fire has burned up all your liver’s energy.

8. I am too busy to exercise as much as I would like right now. This is temporary, but it means being more conscious of my diet in order to maintain my weight. Alcohol is a lot of empty calories that I am realistically not going to be burning off like I would in warmer, less busy months. Less wine=more room for healthy snacks, which I need during arctic days.

9. Alcohol is an excuse: An excuse to snack on obscene quantities of cheese, to put something off (showering, for example), to gossip, to be lazy, whatever. We could all use fewer excuses in our lives.

Why I am only doing this for two weeks: Because I want to be succesful, and starting small is a great way to build confidence. Also, Valentine’s day happens to fall on the two-week mark, and I would really love to enjoy a glass of cabernet sauvignon with the filet mignon I plan to cook. Also, wine has an array of impressive health benefits:

“Wine, especially the red variety, has been studied extensively over many years with impressive findings suggesting it may promote a longer lifespan, protect against certain cancers, improve mental health, and provide benefits to the heart.”

Chinese Nutritional Therapy

From the perspective of Chinese medicine, alcohol in small amounts can actually have a beneficial moving effect on the liver system. Because stressed out and inactive people tend to have stagnation in their liver systems, a little alcohol can have a similar short-term effect to exercise by relieving some of that stuck energy and making us feel more relaxed and calm. This explains why we often want alcohol when we feel stressed. We are craving that movement of blood and energy so we feel relief! Exercise is the healthier alternative in the long run, unless you regularly only consume 1-2 servings of alcohol a day, and are not prone to liver heat. See your acupuncturist to determine if alcohol in small amounts is likely to be harmful or beneficial to your individual system.

Read about my wine cleanse experience here: Two Weeks Without Wine


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