Archive for the ‘wine and healthy living’ Category

In Case You Needed Another Excuse to Drink Wine…

old peopleHere we have it — more irrefutable proof that drinking wine is good, and drinking red wine is really good.

Here’s how it’s been scientifically proven (again)…

A researcher named Dan Buettner studied cultures all over the world in order to write a book called, “Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zone Way.” I have no idea what the Blue Zone is, but I heard him interviewed on The Splendid Table, a show I listen to on National Public Radio (also known as My Sole Source Of Information About The World). As it happens, though, I almost never hear a whole show on NPR, because I’m listening to it in my car, and when I get to where I’m going I step out of the car and miss the end — unless I have a “driveway moment,” and sit in my car looking like a dummy or a stalker until the show finishes.

So Dan was talking about one of the cultures he researched for his book. These folks live on an island something like 30 miles off the coast of Turkey. What makes them unique is that they’re incredibly long-lived;  they’re hale, hearty, happy and healthy at 90 or 100 years old. One of the dietary tricks to which he attributes this is a tea they drink every night that keeps their blood pressure low. OK, that’s great, but I personally wouldn’t stretch the boundaries of time and medicine just for a cup of tea. But the other dietary habit they follow is…

- eating a Mediterranean diet combined with red wine.

That’s not news, you say. We’ve heard the whole “Mediterranean diet” thing before. But here’s the twist: Dan’s research showed that the combination of the two is what’s magical. The benefits aren’t maximized if you slam a glass of wine after work, or sip it as a late-night, TV-watching beverage. You hit the health and wellness jackpot when you drink red wine with a meal rich in whole grains, legumes (that’s beans), lean protein, olive oil, nuts and fresh veg. When these goodies and red wine combine in your digestive track, they create their own antioxidants! That’s in addition to the antioxidants already present in the wine! As Buettner put it, “This is one case where 1 + 1 equals 3.”

Wow, I  feel myself getting younger already. I’m gonna head to the market and load up on the freshest stuff I can find, break out the garlic and olive oil (well, I always do that anyways), and pop open a bottle of red wine.

Oh wait, I always do that, too. Oh well, guess that means I’m gonna live to be 100, which is OK, as long as I can still drink wine in my nursing home. Cheers!


Find the book on  Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way

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Wine Doesn’t Have To Make You Fat!

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The Wine Lady Pairs Wine With Southwestern Food

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Live To Eat: Pairing Pasta with Great Wines

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The Food and Wine Lifestyle: Have We Become Wine-ies As Well As Food-ies?

chefI just read a story on the San Francisco Chronicle’s website that’s definitely worthy of notice: “Ooh la la! Report Shows US Wine Sales Top France.” It read, in part:

“For the first time ever, overall U.S. wine sales have topped the wine-loving French.”

I think that’s amazing. I wondered, “How did this happen?” The article shed some light on that:

Why now? Part of the story is that as U.S. per capita consumption has risen, French consumption has fallen. In fact, U.S. wine consumption continued to grow during the recession, though many consumers switched to cheaper wines.”

Very interesting. Americans seem to have adopted a wine-drinking lifestyle, and I think I know why.

We’ve become a nation of Foodies. We shop differently, cook differently, and eat very differently than our parents ever did. Our mothers made recipes clipped out of Better Homes & Gardens Magazine. Every main course included a can of soup (usually Cream of Mushroom), and every dessert had a tub of Dream Whip somewhere in the list of ingredients.

Us Baby Boomers and our kids (X Gen, Y Gen or whatever), are fluent in Food-Speak. Every kitchen now includes:

- Four different kinds of oil (Extra Virgin Olive, Peanut, Grape Seed and good old Vegetable Oil for when we’re slummin’ it);

- Four different kinds of vinegar (Balsamic, Rice Wine, Sherry or Champagne, and White Vinegar for cleaning the windows);

- About $10,000 worth of amazing kitchen accessories including four sizes of Saute pans, a Crepe pan, an Asparagus Steamer, and a Panini Maker;

- No less than 42 cookbooks written by Celebrity Chefs (who’ve become America’s new royalty); and

- A bunch of recipes downloaded and printed from

This phenomenon was recorded and explained brilliantly by David Kamp in a book called “The United States of Arugula.” I highly recommend it. But apart from the sociological significance of our new eating habits, what does this have to do with U.S. wine consumption?

I’m sure it’s obvious: good food needs good wine to elevate it to a great meal. Everyone who’s obsessed with making great food is obsessed with drinking good wine along with it. So we’ve started:

- Reading wine reviews and wine blogs (I hope);

- Learning the difference between Burgundy from France and burgundy in the gallon jug at the grocery store;

- Starting a small (or large) collection of better wines; and

- Discovering which food pairs best with which wine.

It’s amazing — we’re becoming almost European! Next thing you know we’ll all be “living to eat,” not “eating to live.” And that’s a wonderful situation for everyone — except the guys who make that Cream of Mushroom soup… Cheers!

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Taste Sunny Southern Italy: Arancio Grillo Wine

italyIn Italy, wine is life. Period.

Wine is part of every meal, and every meal in Italy is a special occasion. Italians live to eat, not eat to live, and wine is as much a “food” as pasta.

So in every region of the country, from cool Friuli in the shadow of the Alps to balmy Sicily basking on the Mediterranean, the locals make their own wine from the grapes that grow in their neighborhood. If Italians aren’t drinking what they’ve made themselves, they’re buying it by the jug, poured from a barrel in the wine shop in the local market.

Sounds like wine heaven, doesn’t it?

Back here in the United States, most of us eat to live, and consume a ridiculous percentage of our meals behind the wheel of our car, rushing from one Must Do to another Have To Go To. When we drink Italian wines, we usually stick to two varieties:

- Chianti for a red (served up in the straw basket that later passes as a candle holder for every generation of poor college students);

- and Pinot Grigio for a white, which too often tastes like lemon water. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Wine Lady: Wine and Healthy Living

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