Since I’m planning to spend the month of February in a state of abstinence from alcohol, I thought I’d do some research into groups, religions, and cultures that also abstain from alcohol use. Naturally, I started with the Mormons.
Did you know there is a website called “Ask a Mormon?”
Here you can ask questions like “Can you define ‘hot drinks?”, “Can a Mormon date an Atheist?”, and of course “Why don’t Mormons drink alcohol?” Unfortunately, despite its awesome name, it appears that this site is very unofficial and that the answers provided are only opinions submitted by members of the church. There’s very little useful information about my question on this site, sadly, so I went next to http://www.Mormon.Org.
Official responses to the question seem to go along a continuum from one end (“We try not to put things into our bodies that could harm them.”) to the other (“God told us not to drink so we don’t.”). Somewhere in between is the explanation I have heard from Mormons I know, that they believe the body is a temple and that it should be treated with the same respect that such a place deserves.
Whether it’s a Mormon thing or not, I think that taking care of our bodies is a GREAT idea. While I certainly understand that alcohol can be very, very bad for some, I also understand that moderate consumption of alcohol, especially red wine, can be good for one’s health.
In his book Food Rules, Michael Pollan attempts to distill all of the current scientific and nutritional wisdom on healthy diets into 64 simple, easy-to-remember rules. (My personal favorite is that you shouldn’t eat cereal that changes the color of the milk). Rule #43 is, in fact, to have a glass of wine with dinner. The fine scientists at the Mayo Clinic do a great job of summing up the research on this topic and attempting to separate fact from myth. Their advice in the end is to drink red wine in moderation or not at all.
“Red wine’s potential heart-health benefits look promising. Those who drink moderate amounts of alcohol, including red wine, seem to have a lower risk of heart disease. However, more research is needed before we know whether red wine is better for your heart than are other forms of alcohol, such as beer or spirits.”
So here’s what I want to know. Where do I sign up to be a participant in THAT study?