Have you ever noticed that whether something is ‘good’ for you or ‘bad’ for you seems to change all the time? I often find my inbox spammed with things like ’10 ‘Bad’ Foods That Are Good For You’ (http://www.womansday.com/health-fitness/nutrition/advice/a2260/10-bad-foods-that-are-good-for-you-115099/) or ’50 Seemingly Healthy Foods that are Bad for You’ (http://www.shape.com/healthy-eating/diet-tips/50-seemingly-healthy-foods-are-bad-you). It would be easy to wonder what on earth you should do about your favourite indulgences, be it red wine, chocolate or butter! Luckily, there is a recurring theme. Within reason, no matter what your vice is you can rest assured that you can safely enjoy it from time to time. As long as you are careful how much you consume, of any one thing, then your health is unlikely to be put at risk. In short, too much of anything can be a bad thing, but with the increasingly monocultured selection in our supermarkets and mass produced produce you could be forgiven for falling into bad habits. We all have our vices, unsurprising really as we have a relatively short time on this rock. We might as well enjoy ourselves, but lets try not to spoil it for those yet to inherit.

I don’t remember when my personal pursuit of pleasure began, but university was a particularly hedonistic time for me. Bath and the surrounding areas are well known for producing some really fine ales. During my time there I went from ‘happy as long as my pint was cold and fizzy’ to ‘real ale fanatic’. I was always on the lookout for the next drink that would dance across my tongue. In fact I grew too found of ales, as well as a few other indulgences, and found myself rather unwell with no clear route to improvement or any idea of the cause at the time. It turned out that I, like others in my family, had developed an intolerance to gluten. A pernicious coupling of proteins that has a way of irritating the gut lining and, for some (Cealiacs), can really ruin their day. As someone that not only loved real ale, but certainly made the most of having a ‘ strong stomach’, this was serious blow! It has taken a number of years to learn more about the idiosyncrasies of my intestines and adapt my habits, but it has been a worthwhile and enlightening journey. It was in fact my craving for something equally diverting to the palette, as my fondly remembered real ales, that brought me to discover Whisky, Gin and all things spirits, which thankfully are all naturally gluten-free due to the distillation process (the proteins that make up gluten have too much mass to be carried over with the tiny ethanol molecules). Also the enchanting world of foraging that promised to break the shackles of monocultured food and flavours.

Moderation really is the best policy, particularly where alcohol is concerned, which is why I encourage you to choose quality over quantity. That is what I hope to provide, so when you do get to indulge in your favourite tipple, you can drink something really special. Sip your favourite spirit, whether short or long, savour every drop and be sure to share it with your friends!

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