1952-2012 austerity & celebrations, is alcohol the new tea?

In 1952 the UK was still recovering from the devastation that occurred during the second world war, but there was an air of optimism for the future. During the war food was rationed and this rationing was still in place during the first part of the 1950’s and in 1952 tea rationing was lifted, but staple food, such as bananas, were still in very short supply. So being able to have unlimited cuppas must have been luxurious and I am sure I would have struggled to ration my cups of tea, an English staple. I recall after an operation, or being starved for medical procedures and scans the first drink I always crave is a cup of tea – tastes so refreshing. We are currently undergoing a new period of austerity, not as a result of a war, but as a result of excessive spending. So this weekends diamond jubilee celebrations are a bit of a distraction, and welcome at that, for all we seem to hear is doom and gloom. But what do you think we are using as a celebration drink? Tea? Probably not.

Having to go for my usual weekly shop at the supermarket I was astounded with the amount of alcohol in the store. Large boxes of cans of beer and lager from floor to ceiling and more alcopops in crates waiting to replace the overstacked, groaning shelves. Whilst I do not begrudge anyone having a small celebratory drink, and I shall probably join in – we do have a problem in excessive rates of alcoholic liver disease in this country, which has very high rates of mortality and morbidity. The problem is that you may not have much warning about it until the damage is done. I don’t wish to be a party pooper  – so have a party this weekend if you want to celebrate, think about how much alcohol you SHOULD have for your health – have a soft drink in between alcoholic ones. It is difficult today to know what a unit of alcohol is, as portion sizes, like those of food, have increased enormously in recent years, in our ever-increasing indulgence in excess. Wine has increased from 125ml to 175ml to 250ml, using a 125 ml glass may reduce your intake, does anyone drink wine spritzers, or shandy? Another way of reducing your intake is by diluting your drinks.

Click on the following link to calculate how many units are in your drinks and remember no one wants to be moribund on the sofa with a pounding head and sick digestive system tomorrow! So lift up your spritzer or shandy and toast the jubilee ;-)!

  • Men should not regularly drink more than 3-4 units of alcohol a day.
  • Women should not regularly drink more than 2-3 units a day.
  • If you’ve had a heavy drinking session, avoid alcohol for 48 hours.

‘Regularly’ means drinking this amount every day or most days of the week. ( http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/alcohol/Pages/alcohol-units.aspx)