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Alcohol and anxiety: Dallas doctor and wine expert shares his thoughts on drinking during a pandemic

Time:2020-04-29 23:06wine - Red wine life health Click:

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DALLAS — We all handle anxiety, loss and fear in our own way. And during these trying times, some of us turn to alcohol to push the apprehension and uncertainty away, if only for an evening. But as we dig in for the long haul, maybe for a month or two, are we in danger of setting up new behaviors and habits that could possibly be detrimental to our long-term mental and physical health?

I thought I’d ask a doctor to see how he is handling alcohol during a pandemic.

Dr. Keith Marton, MD, is executive in residence at The Health Management Academy and adjunct professor at Stanford Health Care. Until recently he was commuting back and forth to the West Coast. The longtime wine lover (and collector) also happens to be married to noted Dallas wine expert Rebecca Murphy. They keep an enviable wine cellar at their home in Kessler Park.

You are a health professional. In these times we find ourselves in, are you leaning toward or away from wine or alcohol in general?

Toward. We know a certain portion of the population has a predisposition to addiction, but those folks in general have been exposed to alcohol for some time. Drinking in times of stress won’t increase addiction, as it might with opioids. Wine in particular is more of a social lubricant. The way you consume it with food and with others diminishes the chances of drinking to intoxication or addiction.

I see the upside is greater than the downside for people who are choosing (and it is a matter of choice).

With “others”? At the moment, the idea of others is a fleeting memory.

It makes more sense if you’re consuming it with others. In this case, I’m consuming it with my wife.

Any sense of urgency in picking wines for the meal?

We’re trying to support living winemakers by drinking their product, in the same manner as ordering out to support local businesses.

We’re more likely to pick wines we have been saving for a later date and special occasions and drinking them now.

We’re still being a little bit thrifty and saving the really expensive wines for future occasions.

What’s a good everyday wine you and Becky are enjoying these days?

We’ve been drinking Sancerre, a white wine from the Loire Valley in France. We found ones for under $20 that are still relatively good values and offer dry, crisp, refreshing flavors that complement the foods were are cooking in the springtime in Texas.

What’s a reasonable amount to consume?

It really depends on your goals. If you are concerned about being home and lack of normal movement, if you want to lose weight (during this time), stick to one glass per night. If you are happy with your weight, two glasses are OK. However, the presence of the coronavirus in our world should not be the basis of your decision to drink, or not to drink.

And what’s an indication that one might be going overboard?

If you are sheltering at home and you find after drinking several glasses of wine that you are tipsy, or if you are groggy in the morning, it might be an indication that you might want to scale it back.

In other words, after dinner, if I nod off at 7:30 p.m. during an episode of Grace and Frankie, I probably need to decrease the vino?

I’d say so.

What other beverages are you sipping on?

We’re drinking more water.

I rarely, if ever, go online to seek out a cocktail recipe. But last week I made a nice one using mezcal we brought back from Mexico.

Coffee — I’m roasting beans and making sure I don’t run out of them.

People are dealing with grief and loss in this time. How would you alleviate or mitigate those feelings?

In this age of anxiety and fear, if I had to choose between a glass of wine and a Xanax, I know which one I’d pick.

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