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Focus on the Celebration (Not the Green Beer)

March 7, 2017 by HealthyFamilies BC

Focus on the Celebration (Not the Green Beer)

The low-risk drinking guidelines suggest how to enjoy alcohol in a safer way – in moderation – to lower your health risks of drinking alcohol. They are based on scientific evidence and recommend:

  • Women have no more than two standard drinks a day most days and no more than 10 in a week
  • Men have no more than three standard drinks a day most days and no more than 15 in a week

What is considered a standard drink? Have a look here – you may be surprised.

Fortunately, the guidelines give a bit of “wiggle room” for special occasions like St. Patrick’s Day. The two drink limit for women becomes three, and the three drink limit for men becomes four. But what counts as a special occasion? How often are we allowed to celebrate with an added beverage and still be low risk?

Special occasions are, well, special and certainly not every weekend. Save that extra drink for truly special occasions such as weddings, birthdays or even St. Patrick’s Day which comes just once a year.

It’s easy to get caught up during a celebration and drink more than you intended to. Or sometimes your social calendar fills up and there are multiple events seemingly back to back. To lower your health risks keep these points in mind:

Focus on the celebration.

No matter what you are celebrating, there is a purpose and that purpose is important. Be in the moment; manage your drinking so you can notice and remember rare and heartwarming moments from the event. These are the social gems we can sometimes remember for a lifetime. If you’re celebrating a holiday like St. Patrick’s Day, think about the history and why you are celebrating. It’s easy to accidentally miss enriching parts of a celebration when you’ve had too much to drink.

Have a look at this St. Patrick’s Day survival guide.

Be a Role Model.

You are a role model to young people where ever you go. That includes your own children and, even if you’re not a parent, the children in your extended family and community at large. Kids notice the behaviours of others including how they drink, often copying what they see. Read more on setting a good example.

Celebrate with food.

Food helps slow the absorption of alcohol. For St. Patrick’s Day, seek out traditional dishes like Irish stew or boiled cabbage and potatoes. If you’re hosting or bringing food to a party, create a colourful rainbow veggie tray.

Understand how alcohol affects your body.

It takes time for your body to process alcohol. As your blood alcohol content rises, it can change how you feel even if you don’t realize it. Read about the immediate changes and long-term effects that alcohol can cause – this knowledge can help you decide what’s right for you.

Author’s Bio: Today’s post was written in collaboration with Gerald Thomas and Betsy Mackenzie in the Ministry of Health. Their work focuses on public health issues related to alcohol consumption in BC.

Related blogs

Alcohol: 5 Small Changes for Big Health Benefits
Parenting and Alcohol Use

Recommended resources

The Prevention Conversation: Know the Facts and Drink Safely this St. Patrick’s Day



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