Mocktails for Two?

Someone was trying to tell me something. In the course of one week, I received three messages that arrived in three different ways. Needless to say, they all grabbed my attention:

Dr. Lori Palazzo

I had just finished a story for the Georgetown View about a primary care doctor that closed her practice in order to focus on integrative medicine; finding the root cause of an illness and treating it with healthy supplements and diet, rather than just prescribing another pill.

I wondered how I could politely broach the question of why patients would pay “out of pocket” for her services that were not covered by health insurance. By the time our interview was over, I knew exactly why.

Apparently, Mr. Wiz,* my copy editor, realized it too. By the time he finished reading the story, he turned to me and said “I think I’ll make an appointment to see Dr. P before your article is published and she gets swamped with calls.”

I joined Mr. Wiz on each of his appointments during the three month program he had signed up for. During that course of time, he/we learned how to read food labels, started focusing more on a vegetarian diet (consisting of whole grains, veggies, legumes, fruits and nuts) and stopped drinking alcohol.

The blood and stool tests, much more comprehensive, revealed some issues that could be treated with nutritional supplements. Soon, Mr. Wiz was off three medications and had shed 15 pounds. I was feeling better too.

Green Chef

Out of the blue, Big A* sent us a coupon to try a new food delivery system he and LL* had started using. They highly recommended it for its flavor and portion control.

Excited, we sat down immediately at the computer to choose our meals and decided it was a good time to try the vegetarian options. Worrying it might be too difficult to cancel if we didn’t like it, we closed out of it and forgot about it…until a carton arrived a few days later with four meals!

I like to cook, but it was nice to not have to plan and shop for meals for a change. Every ingredient except butter, oil, salt and pepper is included in each package and menu cards give detailed cooking instructions. Just when you think you can recreate these delicious meals on your own, you open up the sauce packet and realize the amazing “secret sauces” cannot be replicated.

We’ve found having four night’s meals delivered every other week is a good balance and has elevated our culinary palate, introducing us to new spices and flavor combinations. Surprisingly, this self- proclaimed “meat girl” has welcomed the new veggie diet and never looked back.

Sober Curious by Ruby Warrington

I was at the gym and tuned in to my favorite podcast. Strangely, it somehow skipped to one I hadn’t listened to in a long while. All of a sudden, Ruby Warrington was being interviewed about her book “Sober Curious.” I was so shocked, but something told me to keep listening. I then read the book and it’s helped me realize/figure out a few things.

Never preachy and with a dry wit, Warrington gives her take on why we should reevaluate our relationship with alcohol. Her Club Soda NYC events grew from a few interested people meeting in her living room to hundreds of young professionals gathering for mocktails, panel discussions and socializing. The book, published in 2018, has been the catalyst for a new movement that elevates sobriety from church basement A.A. meetings to a hip lifestyle where it’s celebrated.

After four months of not drinking alcohol, I can assure you the hardest part is not the drinking, per se, it’s the ceremony around it. With no wine to discuss, order or enjoy, on our first evening dining out, we were finished and back in the restaurant parking lot 21 minutes later.

Eat, Drink and be Merry Confused

With an overabundance of information in my head, kale on my plate and club soda in my frig, I set out to find where I truly belonged in all of these lifestyle changes/trends.

Ben Branson, founder of Seedip, an alcohol-free distiller, believes we are now defining ourselves by what we don’t do. He says “Suddenly, someone who doesn’t do things becomes a better person: “I don’t eat meat,” or “I don’t smoke,” or “I don’t drink alcohol.”

Rosamund Dean’s book “Mindful Drinking” gave those who didn’t want to totally abstain from liquor an approach where you drink less and think about it more. As she says “Everyone is either a wine guzzling party animal or a clean-living health freak. Personally, I believe the middle ground is the healthiest place to be.”

I would like to introduce you to the new me. I am a mindful drinker, with a newfound respect for alcohol and a goal not to imbibe Monday – Thursday. Continuing in that vein, I am a flexitarian- a vegetarian that may eat meat, poultry and fish on occasion.

I am a believer the real message I received that fateful week was that gray is the new black and white!

*Who’s who? See “Cast of Characters” on the “About” page.

Image by Gabriele M. Reinhardt from Pixabay

Author’s Note:
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