I have recently doubled my alcohol intake — doctor's orders.
Not long ago I decided to address my life insurance situation, which required a routine health screening. "No sweat," I thought; after all, I have been the picture of health for the first thirty-six years of life. Sure, I could stand to lose fifteen or so pounds, and yes, I could stand to be more active, but I had no reason to suspect that I would get anything but good news.
Suffice it to say that I was less than pleased when my blood test results came back with elevated triglicerides and almost nonexistent HDL (aka "good" cholesterol). The life insurance company I was working with responded to the news by promptly tripling the rate they had quoted me, so I reluctantly set up an appointment with an actual internal medicine doctor (my normal level of medical interaction is a visit to the "doc-in-the-box" if I simply have no other choice).
I did some homework on cholesterol ahead of the appointment and was prepared to meet the doc.We went over my numbers (he of course took his own blood samples), and I expressed a desire to avoid taking medication, if possible. He informed me that it was good that I felt that way, as cholesterol medications are used to lower "bad" cholesterol — they currently do not help to raise the "good" HDL number.We talked about the lifestyle changes I had already put into place — some jogging and lifting light weights, as well as adding more fiber to my diet (in the form of daily oatmeal, bananas or apples and "heart healthy" nuts),some reductionof my junk food calories, and addition of fish oil supplements — all with an eye towards shedding those pounds.
All of the changes I had put in place were great, he told me — I was doing absolutely everything that he would recommend. However, he let me know, there are only two real ways to raise HDL levels — exercise and alcohol.
We then had a talk about my beer consumption,specifically thefact that I typically only drank a few beers per week. I asked him about the amount of beer that I should drink to get my numbers up.To gain the benefit to my HDL, he told me, I would really need to drink at least three to four beers per week...but he would prefer that I not go over one drink per day.
As a result, I've reluctantly forced myself to enjoy twice as much beer as I once did — I now make sure I always hit that four drinks per week level, whereas as a busy dad of six children I sometimes did not. It's been a great excuse to homebrew more, but when there's no homebrew around my wife has been supremely supportive; she's picked me up mixed six packs of craft beers on several occasions, and has made sure that I always keep beer in the fridge.
I have of course used the excuse to annoy my teenaged daughter by adopting a horrible redneck accent and informing her from time to time when I?open a bottle of beer that it's "time for mah medication."This irritates her severely... which to me is a sign of effective parenting.It's even better when my wife points out to her that since the beer is good for my heart at moderate levels,it is medicinal. I love that woman.
It any rate, I've been on this regimen for six weeks or so, and in another six weeks, I'll head back to the doctor to see if I've made any progress. In the meatime, I'll continue to homebrew for my health and enjoy that medicinal beer.
Editor's Note: excerpted from Olan's blog: www.homebrewdad.com