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Thoughts on Wine Consumption During Social Isolation with a Chronic Disease

Thoughts on “Wine Is for Sharing. What Does That Mean in Self-Quarantine?” by Eric Asimov in Wednesday’s NY Times.

“If you have a half-bottle of something, then you are all set. Or good wine in a box — yes, there are such things. The bag-in-a-box technology is an excellent guard against oxidation, the primary fear after a partly consumed bottle. But if it’s just you and a regular bottle, just plan on drinking it over two or three days, no worries. The bottom line is: We are all doing what’s necessary in an unexpected predicament to protect the health of family, friends and ourselves. We are sacrificing, whether missing out on travel, sports, theater and other public gatherings. For some of us, that may mean spending time in physical isolation.” – Eric Asimov, Eric. “Wine is for Sharing. What Does That Mean in Self-Quarantine?” The New York Times, 16 Mar. 2020.

I woke up this morning, eager to read the Wednesday NY times, since it includes the Food section, which I enjoy for its reviews of restaurants, recipes and great interviews. Naturally, this week, restaurants were not the focus, but instead, recipes were as well as what you can do while at home.  I was surprised to see the article about drinking wine at home, in isolation.

For normal, healthy adults (if there even is something defined as normal anymore), this may be fine, but for the many people who either suffer from addiction disorders or other chronic diseases, it is quite an appalling, and even dangerous message. Sitting at home alone and fearing this pandemic, since you may be immune compromised, on medications, or otherwise medically compromised, is tough. Not having routines that help structure the day, people to share thoughts and feelings with live, nor easy access to therapists, physicians, priests or counselors make life very difficult for all of us living with a disease that never goes away.

Portraying the option of drinking half a bottle of wine, or even easy access to purchasing a boxed version of wine, seems very irresponsible for a publication as reputable as the NY Times.  It seems to us that there are a number of other options that truly increase endorphins and have real health benefits to combat the ill effects of social isolation that should be recommended over alcohol consumption. Alcohol is a depressant. Unless you ingest it continuously, which obviously causes poisoning and bodily damage of grave nature, there will be a down period very immediately post drinking. This depressive shift just cannot be good for anyone, especially when in isolation! In our mind, this guidance also goes for articles encouraging people to suddenly start eating cakes, cookies and ice cream in isolation to comfort themselves through sugar. Again, individuals with addictive behaviors will have difficulties stopping, and those with chronic diseases where sugar is not encouraged could be impacted near and long term.

At Lyfebulb, we aim to connect people with chronic disease around a message of hope and innovation. We encourage people to take control of their lives, as much as possible, and encourage and refer them to activities that build instead of break.

So, what should one do instead of opening a bottle or box of wine to drink alone?

  • Pick up the phone and call someone; they are probably lonely too.
  • Find a good exercise video and try a new routine. Lyfebulb Patient Entrepreneur Charlie O’Connell has developed a series called GlucoseZone, which offers live and on demand workouts with added access to diabetes coaches.

  • Test out new, healthy recipes (if you can find the ingredients!) Social media posts abound with great ideas as well as recipes on our blog, like this immune-boosting smoothie recipe here. Additionally, make healthy, easily digestible smoothies for the entire family with Lyfebulb Patient Entrepreneur Jon Margalit’s Complete Start, which is also shelf-stable and a great tool to keep on hand during this time!

  • Try new games that keep your mind active, Sudoku / crossword puzzles for example, or take up chess! Combine gaming with depression and anxiety reduction through Lyfebulb Patient Entrepreneur Keith Wakeman’s Superbetter App.

  • Connect with friends via new mediums: download our LyfeConnect App for webinars and articles and chats on topics focused on chronic disease.
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