Unless you're a big Neil Diamond fan, you probably do not recognize the lyrics in today's blog post title. I actually ran across them by accident today when searching for a picture that would adequately illustrate my profound love of sunshine and wine.
It turns out I didn't need to find a picture, though, as my baby sister has already taken care of this by transforming me into a cartoon caricature.
Not that I mind.
My sister is an actual artist (i.e., one who gets paid to create stuff) and a far more experienced blogger than I. But now that she's gaining recognition as a cartoonist, I'm starting to fear I'm in danger of becoming a parody of myself.
I have to admit my sister's drawing is a pretty accurate depiction; I do tend to sit in the sunshine drinking wine when offering unsolicited tidbits of wisdom on the phone to my loved ones. And if you read my sister's latest comic, one interpretation for this behavior might be that people drink because they are repressing their creativity.
But another might simply be because sitting in the sun eating good food and drinking good wine brings a great deal of joy.
At least, for me.
And in my experience, anything that creates joy (provided it doesn't harm anyone) also creates health.
The research supports me on this.
If you've been reading this blog for any period of time, you know by now that I've been living with multiple sclerosis for more than 20 years. You also know that before I became an attorney, I practiced as a naturopathic doctor and medical herbalist for several years in Australia. If there is an herb or supplement that has been found helpful in treating MS, believe me, I know about it.
The funny thing now is that the distinction between alternative and traditional medicine has become increasingly blurred; mainstream neurologists and medical researchers now agree that Vitamin D levels are extremely important in managing not only MS symptoms, but in preventing a host other diseases including depression, heart disease, diabetes, and a variety of other autoimmune disorders. Although it is undisputed that many diseases are either caused by or result in vitamin D deficiency, much debate still surrounds supplementation recommendations.
We have been taught to stay out of the sun, always wear sunscreen, and our natural tendency is to just pop another pill or three to address any vitamin deficiencies. Yet at least according to one researcher, ingested vitamin D can actually block the body's ability to manufacture the hormone, the opposite effect to that of sunshine.
"Sunlight is more powerful than any drug; it is safe, effective, and available free of charge. If it could be patented, it would be hyped as the greatest medical breakthrough in history. It's that good."
~ Mike Adams, natural health researcher and author.
Sounds reasonable to me. But what about the wine, you ask? Well first of all, if you are the least bit inclined to believe in energy medicine, you must realize that grapes used in high quality wines are simply highly efficient storage devices for condensed solar energy; I view drinking wine as the perfect complement to sitting in the sun -- a Vitamin D booster, if you will.
No, there is no actual Vitamin D in wine itself, but people who drink good wine also generally tend to eat better diets. Fish and spinach (both good Vitamin D sources) are two of my favorite and frequent choices to have with chardonnay.
You've likely heard of the French paradox and cardioprotective effects of regular red wine consumption, but did you know the antioxidant (anti-ageing properties, Ladies!) of white wine may be superior to those of red?
Moreover, according to a new study recently released by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, moderate wine drinkers are actually, on average, much healthier and happier than both heavy drinkers and surprisingly, non-drinkers, as well.
Well, that's my excuse anyway. All I know is that some of our very best vacations have been to wine country, like in these pictures from Mendoza, Argentina in 2006:
I'd love to write more, but I need to go walk the dog and get a little sunshine before happy hour ...
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Do you have any habits or indulgences in your own life that you believe contribute to your own health and happiness, regardless of what the "experts" may tell you? Do you search out reinforcing research such as "coffee prevents dementia" or "chocolate boosts endorphins" to support your habits? What about Vitamin D? Are you a religious sunscreen user, or do you believe moderate sun exposure has some health benefits?