The Weekly Thread: why you should choose ‘old world’ wines, ditch the standing desk, and research shows you’re cooler than you think you are.

When choosing a wine, go ‘old world’ for the healthiest glass of wine. 

‘Old World’ wines are wines described mostly by region, rather than actual style. An ‘Old World’ wine is typically going to be from Europe, however, it can also include regions of the Mediterranean basin with long histories of winemaking, such as North Africa and Near East. 

European countries often included and considered ‘Old World’ are Austria, France, Italy, Georgia, Spain, and Portugal. These countries can have very different styles of wine, which is why ‘Old World’ is not considered a specific style. 

It is also a term used in contrast to other regions, such as the United States, Australia, South America, and South Africa, which are known as ‘New World’ wines. 

So, now that you know the distinction between an ‘Old World’ and a ‘New World’ wine, let’s discuss why choosing ‘Old World’ wines could be the greatest wine hack ever. 

‘Old World’ Wines FTW

Generally, an ‘Old World’ wine is going to be made using, well, ‘Old World’ methods. Which means, the herbicides, pesticides, and other harsh chemicals we use in growing aren’t used, as they weren’t available. 

You know how in the U.S. we make a distinction (and subsequently label as such) for plants grown like this, called “organic”? 

Well,  not the same with ‘Old World’ wines, as you can generally assume many of these wines are “organic” because inorganic, or “conventional” as we now call it, wasn’t a thing in the ‘Old World’, 

The grapes grown for ‘Old World’ wines will also be grown in a more biodyNamic environment, meaning in a more robust, nutrient-rich soil, which will make a healthier glass of wine.

These wines should also not have preservatives called “sulfites” added to them, because, well, once again, this was not a thing in the ‘Old World’. Wine naturally contains a small amount of sulfites, however, these sulfites are often added to ‘New World’ wines as an additional preservative, and people can have sensitivities to these sulfites, and in many cases, can be one of the main culprits behind the dreaded “wine headache”. 

In short, ‘Old World’ winemakers are purists, making wine in the traditional ‘Old World’ way of making wine, before we started adding preservatives, and using harsh chemicals on our crops, making them “organic” and free of preservatives simply because that’s how it’s always been done. 

Also as a result of this, the grapes grown using ‘Old World’ methods will be more rich in anti-aging antioxidants you hear so much about with red wine, as they have to be more resilient to natural elements, because they don’t have the protection of the herbicides and pesticides. 

Finally, an ‘Old World’ wine will typically be lower in alcohol content as well. 

All said and done, a great general rule of thumb if you want to drink the healthiest glass of wine without the headache (and yes, red wine, in moderation, is quite good for you and appears to provide real anti-aging benefits) is to go ‘Old World’. 

How to Choose an ‘Old World’ Wine 

If out at a restaurant, and they have a Sommelier, you can simply ask for ‘Old World’ recommendations as a starting off point, and then select something whose taste profile jumps out at you from there. 

When shopping for yourself, or personally selecting a wine at a restaurant, going regional for Italy, France, or the Basque region (in between Spain and France) is a pretty good rule of thumb to ensure you are getting an ‘Old World’ wine. 

Actual wine at our house now

Actual wine at our house now.

I typically drink 3-4 glasses of ‘Old World’ and only ‘Old World’ wine per week, and some of my personal favorite styles are Tempranillo (Basque region of Spain), Bordeaux (French regional), and a Cote du Rhone (a coastal region of France). I’ve found Italian wines that are regional, and most likely ‘Old World’, are not named after a grape or region, but rather, the family vintner, so look for Italian wines named after the winemaking family itself. 

And I know this may burst some bubbles, but for me personally, I never select wines from the U.S., even the esteemed Napa Valley. Sorry California. 

Worth noting: I am not a wine expert, nor do I claim to be one. I know what I like, and why I choose the wines I do. This segment is meant to provide insights and guidance on selecting wine from a health and nutrition perspective. 

9 Mental Dispositions that are Sabotaging your Social Life

I recently came across an article titled, 9 Mental Dispositions that are Sabotaging your Social Life,, which on the surface, felt like kind of a negative title. However, I’m glad I read it, cause upon reading it, I found the findings of the research to be some of the most positive, uplifting research I’ve come across, and I’m stoked to share it with you, 

Have you ever had a conversation with someone, say, at a party or event, and afterwards, became self conscious of yourself, or things you said? 

Maybe you felt you got too personal, or discussed things that after the fact, seemed a bit too intimate?

Or maybe you helped someone out, or did something to brighten their day, only to think it doesn’t really matter? 

Well, it turns out, it does matter, more than you think. 

And on top of that, it also turns out, people like you a lot more than you may think, and they also tend to appreciate deeper, more intimate conversations more than you might think. 

This article is definitely worth the read, but I’ll share some of my favorites with you, and hope that it leaves you feeling more uplifted by how much more positive our social interactions are than we may realize. 

You underestimate how much you will enjoy talking to a stranger.

We typically shy away from starting conversations with strangers, whether it’s out of fear that it won’t be welcomed, or several other possible reasons. Turns out, research shows that if you do strike up a conversation with a stranger, or a stranger with you, that it will be more enjoyable than you think, and leave you both in a better mood.

You underestimate how much new acquaintances like you.

Turns out, people like you more than you may think when they first meet you, and that’s pretty cool to know. I myself, find myself thinking back when I first meet people, thinking maybe I talked too much, or was a bit too intense. It’s probably somewhat natural to go back and second guess those interactions, however, rest easy, cause it appears that often, you make a better first impression than you think. 

You underestimate how much people will care about intimate disclosures.

TMI. Something I think many of us are cognizant of in ourselves in conversations. In fact, so cognizant, that oftentimes we’ll preface a statement, or a detail we share by first alerting “TMI”. Divulging too much, or going too deep in a conversation, for fear of turning the other person off with all your deep, intimate details. Once again, it turns out those thoughts, or even fears, probably aren’t warranted. It’s not 100% the case of course, but it seems most people truly appreciate conversations that go past small talk, past the surface layers to be deeper, and thus, more meaningful.

You underestimate the positive impact of giving a compliment.

Turns out, we have a tendency to shy away from giving compliments to others for fear that it will be viewed as awkward, and this is an overestimation on our end in how it will be received. In fact, it appears that not only do you overestimate how awkward you may seem in giving a compliment, but you also underestimate how much of an impact that compliment will make on the recipient. So don’t shy away from complimenting others, even, or especially complete strangers, as you probably don’t realize just how positively that small gesture can impact them, and their day.

You underestimate how much someone will appreciate you checking in on them. 

A quick call or text to check in on a friend or acquaintance can go a long way. The longer it’s been without talking to them, the seemingly more impactful it may actually be. If you’ve ever drafted a text to someone you haven’t seen or communicated with in a while, to check in on them, only to delete it before sending for fear that it might seem weird, don’t. It will be well received, and even the smallest gesture, like a quick text to check in and say “hey”, can go a long way. 

If you use a standing desk thinking it’s better for you than sitting at a desk all day, or work a job where you are standing in place, versus sitting, research shows, it may not be any better for you than sitting. 

A study titled, Metabolic Effects of Breaking Prolonged Sitting with Standing or Light Walking in Older South Asians and White Europeans unpacks just that. 

This study showed that light walking, or movement in general, yielded a more positive metabolic effect than standing when breaking up bouts of prolonged sitting. 

No surprise there. 

However, the biggest takeaway for me, is that it appears simply standing to break up prolonged sitting, doesn’t really yield a positive metabolic effect. 

Which means, to actually generate any type of a positive metabolic effect, such as improving circulation, boosting metabolism, increasing energy, and stabilizing blood sugar, you actually have to move.

If you are using a standing desk, or working in a setting where you are standing in place, it’s important to know that you should also be breaking up your prolonged standing, just like prolonged sitting, with movement. 

In short, anytime you are not moving for periods of time, whether it’s standing or sitting, break it up with movement. 

If this is a typical day for you, be sure to “snack on movement” throughout the day. 3-5 minutes every 30 minutes suffices. This can be in the form of push-ups, jumping jacks, body weight squats, kettlebell swings, and yes, walking. 

Just keep it moving baby!

“The things that hurt…instruct.”  
-Ben Franklin

I came across this quote this week in the form of a “memory” on my social media, as I had posted it 8 years ago, and it got me thinking about it again. 

And as I pondered it, I found it to be more true than ever for me. 

A more tangible analogy we use a lot is the analogy of the kid touching the hot stove, and not doing it again, 

It hurts.

Therefore, it instructs. 

I find this goes for pretty much all things in life, whether they be mental, emotional, or physical pain. 

Growth, most often, comes from pain. 

It’s easier said than done, but if you’re going through something as you read this, or next time life decides to punch you in the face, try to embrace it for the instruction that it is, and know that you will come out the other side better for it.