Thursday, May 03, 2007

A Non-Alcoholic Toast

Back in November my doctor ordered some routine blood work. It had been a couple of years so I was due. I'm not a big fan of the medical profession, especially now that I'm getting a little older and the warranties on some of my parts seem to be expiring, but I'm usually fine with blood work. Not to boast or anything, but I've got great blood.

Well, pride goeth before the fall, heh? The doc's office called the next day. Two of my liver enzymes were off the charts. (That news didn't do good things for my blood pressure, but that's a whine for a different blog.) So more tests and no more booze. No beer, no wine, no margaritas.

Don't you just hate it when you go to the doctor's feeling fine and then discover something's not quite right?

Anyway, I'm happy--thankful--to report I recently got the good news that the enzymes are now back in the normal range. What caused them to go wacky? Got me. The current theory is I was exposed to a toxin, maybe the ant spray my dear husband applied liberally to the kitchen counter.

My months as a teetotaller--months covering the holidays and many personal triumphs all worthy of toasting--gave me a new perspective on alcohol use, particularly in my own little social corner of the world. It also had me searching for some festive, non-alcoholic, palatable beverages. I don't like soda--too sweet. So what else is there? Water, even sparkling water, is a tad...dull. I found sparkling fruit juices (Izze makes some nice ones) that are pretty good. Non-alcoholic beer isn't so bad, though the non-alcoholic wine my husband brought home didn't get my thumbs up. But maybe it's a matter of finding the right label. I wasn't a fan of sparkling cider until I tried a new brand.

So here are my questions for you in cyberland: 1. Do you have any good non-alcoholic beverages to recommend? (Even though I can now climb off the wagon, I've decided I'd like to add some variety to my liquid options.) And 2. How do you like to celebrate good news? Pop the bubbly, open the chocolates, treat yourself to a day at the spa--or something else?


Laura Drewry said...

congrats on the test results, Sally! I'm raising my water bottle to you in celebration. LOL

You can't go wrong with a virgin marguerita or dacqueri (in my opinion). Of course, my drink of choice, when I'm not trying to down the mandatory 8 glasses of water - ugh! - is good ol' fashioned coffee. It's good at home, it's good at any meal, and at any social function. Might leave you bouncing off walls, but that's why the coffee gods came out with the unleaded variety. :)

Sally MacKenzie said...

I hate to break this to you, Laura, but I'm not a huge coffee fan. I drink Swiss Mocha, one of the General Foods International "coffee drink mixes." Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find a decaffinated version that isn't also sugar free (I don't do artificial sweeteners), so I have to limit myself to two, or maybe three, cups a day. But real coffee? Not so much. (Warning--Don't come behind me at the conference coffee table if you like half-and-half. I'll pretty much empty the pitcher--my drink is half coffee, half half-and-half.)

I tried the virgin marguerita, but it was a disappointment probably because it didn't taste like the real thing. I don't drink dacqueris though, so maybe I should try a virgin one of those. I'll have nothing to compare it to, so it'll just be what it is.

Good point about the water--I think I'll go grab a bottle and go out for a walk.

Amie Stuart said...

kinda off topic but I had to give up caffeine and I find suprrisingly I enjoy my decaf as much as the caffeinated--so much of it is about ritual and we don't even realize it :)

Congrats on the blood work!

Nancy Morse said...

Glad to hear everything's okay, Sally. I'm not a drinker. Usually a glass of wine when I'm having dinner out is about it. For non-alcoholic I go with green tea. I brew up a pot, then put it in a pitcher and into the frige it goes. I drink it unsweetened with lemon. I also like a glass of OJ mixed with cranberry juice. It's very refreshing. Other than that, water, water and more water. I go for blood tests every 6 months. I've got a vein in my right arm that was just made for blood-letting. A vampire's dream.

Sally MacKenzie said...

Amie, I usually reach for the decaf, too--now that I think about it, the coffee is really just something to warm up my half-and-half, LOL. But there is definitely something about ritual in a lot of our habits, isn't there?

I gave up green tea for a while before we had a suspect in the liver issue, Nancy. I was just trying to eliminate anything that might possibly be adding something unwanted to the old system. Yet green tea is supposed to be very good for you. When I was growing up, my mom always brewed ice tea--and she'd always ask at restaurants--if the tea was instant, she wasn't interested.

Hmm...oj mixed with cranberry juice...I'll have to put that on my list of beverages to try.

Funny how we start to notice things like "good" veins, heh?

Nancy Herkness said...

Sally, I'm SO glad all is well with you again! I'm drinking a toast to your good health!

As for drinks, virgin pina coladas are almost indistinguishable from the alcoholic ones but probably hard to find unless you're on a Caribbean island.

As for celebrating, well, it's shoe-shopping for me. A great pair of shoes is a celebration all by itself.

Sally MacKenzie said...

Argh, Nancy! How I would love to have feet that shoe companies are interested in shodding. But no, even the shoe salespersons at Nordstrom roll their eyes at me. It's enough to drive a girl to drink!

And I'm thinking just being on a Caribbean island might be a celebration in itself.

gailbarrett said...

Sally - I can really relate to this. First off, the coffee. I'm a General Foods person, too. I drink the Cafe Francais. I even carry my little container around when I travel!!!

As far as non-alcoholic substitutes, I've had good luck with diet Ginger Ale. It has a nice fizzy taste to it (I don't like drinking plain water). It also passes off for wine at a party, so no one ever asks if I want a drink. I've tried healthier substitutes such as green tea (made me throw up), sparkling cider (great taste but who needs more calories?), water (dull). I also noticed that the last time I took a big bottle of diet Ginger Ale to a party, everyone else wanted to drink it!

Sally MacKenzie said...

Here's another use for ginger ale, Gail: I bought some Cosmopolitan mix at Williams-Sonoma. (I was getting some other stuff to put together a basket for the high school auction.) The clerk told me to substitute ginger ale for the vodka in a Cosmo for a tasty non-alcoholic drink. (Full disclosure here--I've never had an alcoholic Cosmo. I've decided I'm now too old to consume mixed drinks.) I gave it a spin, but it was too sweet for me.

I hear you on the fizzies. I've concluded that a proper celebratory beverage needs aome fizz to it.

Hmm. Maybe I'll give the Cafe Francais a try. (And I also have been known to pack the GF coffee.)

Nancy Herkness said...

Okay, Sally, if you've driven a Nordie's salesperson to despair your feet must truly be beyond redemption. :-)

Sally MacKenzie said...

Oh, they are, Nancy. They are around a 11 1/2 AAAA--with probably a 6A heel. I've even considered trying to find a cobbler. Anyone know if there really are still folks who will make shoes to order?

gailbarrett said...

I'm sure there are still cobblers out there. You probably have to pay mega bucks for a tailor-made pair of shoes, though.... I remember decades ago in San Francisco I had a pair of "Earth shoes" made for me. Does anyone remember those? They were ugly as all get out but super comfortable.
Oh - I've never had a cosmo, either. I guess that's one cultural experience I still need to try.

Sally MacKenzie said...

I remember "Earth shoes" I think. Were they the ones with the negative heels? I never had a pair.

I know getting shoes made would be terribly expensive, but to have the perfect, comfortable pair? could be worth it. My feet aren't growing any more--I hope!!