Wearing my ‘public health hat’…..

I’ve been moderating monthly public health webinars for the University of Washington for the last 3 ½ years.  It’s been fun staying abreast of the changes in the field and making new contacts in multiple states.  We are planning an upcoming webinar showcasing work going on in Oregon: Rethink the Drink.

Rethinking is a good thing.

“Rethink the Drink” is not a code phrase for “stop drinking”. We’re simply asking Oregonians to pause for a moment and consider the role of alcohol in our lives and communities

Rethink the Drink

The primary focus of this campaign is excessive drinking, which includes both binge drinking and heavy drinking.

For women:

  • Binge drinking = 4+ drinks in 1 setting or 1 occasion
  • Heavy drinking = 8+ drinks/week (reminder that 5 ounces of wine counts as 1 glass – that is a small glass)

The website is loaded with good information and resources and is worth checking out.

Now I’m putting on my ‘Allene hat’…..

I was hospitalized over a month ago with what I thought might be cardiac symptoms.  The symptoms turned out to most likely be caused by severe gastric reflux.  I will learn more after I have an endoscopy later this month.

In the interim, I am on a very restrictive diet.  Among other things, I’m not eating chocolate or tomatoes, drinking coffee, or (drum roll) drinking alcohol!  I hate to admit that it has been tough giving up my nightly happy hour, but I am following the restrictions for the most part.  I did try one glass of Beaujolais Nouveau and my chest felt like it was on fire, so that quickly ended that!

It has been both interesting and illuminating to not drink my nightly glass.  At first, I missed it, but over time I really stopped thinking about it.

Since I am about to turn 70, I am particularly interested in alcohol use and seniors. I found this specific recommendation:

Doctors recommend that most adults over 60 not drink alcohol. Consider your current health conditions and medications before you drink. If you do decide to drink, professionals recommend that people over 65 shouldn’t take more than one standard drink each day and no more than 7 each week.

Dan Brennan, M.D.

My 60’s are in my rear-view mirror, so I am looking ahead to my 70’s and ‘rethinking my drinking’. I want to still enjoy a small glass of wine (organic if possible) now and then, but daily consumption is a slippery slope and would not benefit my health overall!




  1. I feel fortunate I have never had a very strong urge to drink. In actuality, not even a mild one. If it wasn’t for Tom and I wouldn’t have it in the house. My biggest challenge is sugar. I’ve have done well mostly limiting bread, rice, pasta etc. What I can’t seem to conquer is sweets. I ate a whole bag of exceptional caramel corn. Tom has a few pieces, but I ate it. It was a a large bag. I’ve been dreaming about it since. If you have thoughts about quitting sweet, help!


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