Monthly Archives: December 2017

Dry January With CanFASD


Join the CanFASD team for Dry January! Abstaining from drinking alcohol for a month has a number of health benefits and serves as a detox after the holidays! If you’re looking for some alcohol-free alternatives for Dry January, check out our mocktail guide!

Click to download mocktail guide: CanFASD-Mocktail-Guide-Dec-1-30

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Americans (and Canadians), Can We Talk About Your Drinking?


After a season of indulgence, many Americans (and Canadians) resolve to drink less in the new year. It’s a common pledge — many of us can recall cringe-worthy texts sent after a raucous night out or a regrettable comment uttered after that third glass of wine.

These intentions are rooted in a stark reality. For all the deserved attention the opioid crisis gets, alcohol overuse remains a persistent public health problem and is responsible for more deaths, as many as 88,000 per year. While light drinking has been shown to be helpful for overall health, since the beginning of this century there has been about a 50 percent uptick in emergency room visits related to heavy drinking. After declining for three decades, deaths from cirrhosis, often linked to alcohol consumption, have been on the rise since 2006.

The pattern has been years in the making. Rick Grucza, an epidemiologist who has been studying alcohol consumption patterns for more than a decade, says the numbers are incontrovertible. Since the early 2000s, according to five government surveys Dr. Grucza has analyzed, binge drinking — often defined as five per day for men and four per day for women — is on the rise among women, older Americans and minorities.

Behind those figures there’s the personal toll — measured in relationships strained or broken, career goals not met and the many nights that college students can’t remember. In researching my 2013 book on women and drinking, and many articles on the topic since, I’ve spoken with hundreds of problem drinkers of all races. Most of the people I’ve spoken to were college-educated; it’s a sad fact that many people learn to drink excessively in college. I found that a lot of people lack physical symptoms of alcohol dependence but they think they are overdoing it, and they are worried.

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Many alcohol researchers and substance-use clinicians believe the steady increase in problem drinking arises from a deeply felt sense of despair: “Since the attacks on 9/11, we’ve been in a state of perpetual war, and a lot of us are traumatized by that,” said Andrew Tatarsky, a clinical psychologist who specializes in treating people with substance-use disorders.

The superrich might be making money, Dr. Tatarsky said, but many others are just worried about making ends meet. Uncertainty about tax changes and the cost of health insurance only adds to their burden.

And the culture around drinking, the way we drink, has grown more intense. Epidemiologists say that excessive and binge drinking begins in college, and that for many it continues through early adulthood with after-work happy hours — so much so that Thursdays, in many circles, have become “Little Friday”— code for hitting the bar after (or in some Silicon Valley companies during) work.

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Certificate: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Education


Program Description

This certificate prepares you to care for individuals with FASD.

One of the unique challenges of FASD is the different ways it can impact people. This is due to the variety of ways alcohol affects brain development. The conditions include mental health issues, addictions, school difficulty, and difficulties maintaining employment.

To help you develop the skills to help those with FASD, you will study addiction, the justice system, and more. This program is suitable for graduates of Bow Valley College’s diploma programs in Practical Nurse, Early Learning and Child Care, Education Assistant, Disability Studies, Addiction Studies, and Justice Studies.

The focus on FASD is growing, as is the demand for those with the knowledge to support it. This is the only program offered at this level in Canada.

This program is offered online. Students have up to three years to complete online courses and their practicum. Students have a maximum of four months to complete each course.

If you plan to do your practicum outside of Alberta, you must speak to the Program Coordinator before applying for the program. Contact 403-410-1650 to speak to the program coordinator.

Web links for the FASD Education Certificate


CFAN Calgary Fetal Alcohol Network


FASD Alberta

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For more information please visit

Making the case for a dry January

dry january

I’ve decided that I’m not going to drink any more in 2018. I’m not going to drink any less, either.

Back when I was in the music business, drinking went hand in hand with networking and checking out fledgling bands in bars. After I crash landed in the culinary world, it was easy to rationalize that one had to be intimately familiar with wine and spirits in order to pair them with food. I suspect that if my next career is in concrete, I’ll find a logical way to justify why drinking is an integral part of the business. That’s because I have always appreciated the taste and restorative effects of a drink – or two.

Despite my appreciation for the fine art of fermentation and distillation, I’ve seen too many people burn through their party tickets early on in life. Fortunately, in my early 20s, I recognized the dangers of overindulgence in alcohol. In order to avoid flaming out, I decided that I would have to be pro-active. I toyed with several options: drinking on even-numbered days; limiting myself to one drink a day; carrying a spit bucket. I settled on the strategy of abstaining from alcohol for one month of the year.

I picked January because the first week of not drinking after the holidays is like a get-out-of-jail-free card. January also has 31 days, which adds to the challenge. In the 30-plus years that I have abstained for a month, I have only caved once. Shortly after my mother died in 1985, I went to a Club Med resort with my dad to spend some quality father-and-son time. I am not sure if it was the death of my mother, the prospect of spending a week alone with my father, or the faux free spirit of the resort, but on the 29th day of the month, I succumbed to the temptation of a Planter’s Punch. It still haunts me that I wasn’t strong enough to tough it out for those last two days – and since then, my willpower has been unassailable.

Over the years, many friends and acquaintances have joined the club. Some follow my path, and others make up their own rules – and exemptions. The dedicated succeed and the less committed are taken down by a well-shaken martini or a whiff of a vintage wine. But everyone finds a positive side to the experience.

My appreciation for this annual dry month has grown so much that I actually look forward to it. And at the end of every January, I feel so mentally clear and physically strong that I seriously contemplate quitting drinking altogether. But then I give in to temptation and take my first sip of wine. As the liquid trickles down my throat and the first tingle of a heady buzz kicks in, I become a prisoner in paradise for another 11 months.

If you are on the fence about joining the January Club, here are some of the pros and cons to consider:


  • You sleep really, really well, thus requiring fewer hours of shuteye. You also wake up less frequently to pee.
  • You have more energy well into the night, you get out of bed with a spring in your step and, by week two, your workouts become more vigorous.
  • Clarity of mind means you can unravel unsolved mysteries (who you lent that book to), you never tell the same joke twice and you read more in bed.
  • You develop a more optimistic perspective on day-to-day life and experience fewer mood swings.
  • You drop pounds without even thinking about it.
  • You save money – fancy restaurants become affordable, local dining joints seem like a steal and taxi expenses are non-existent.
  • Drinking is far more pleasurable when you start again, and you really appreciate the bouquet of a wine (even if you don’t drink it).
  • You see people at parties in a whole new light (and you remember meeting them), and you see in other people what you are like when you drink.
  • You prove that you have a modicum of willpower.


  • Inevitably, you miss out on at least one amazing opportunity to try something rare and fabulous.
  • Without wine, a great steak or cheese doesn’t taste the same.
  • You tend to eat sweets (especially at the beginning of the month) to replace the sugar in alcohol.
  • Splitting the bill when you eat out with friends really sucks (even if it is payback for all those times you drank at your non-drinking friends’ expense).
  • Long flights or functions can seem interminable.
  • You can feel socially awkward at parties and gatherings, and some people don’t trust you. You also have to endure other people’s “booze breath.”
  • You discover that some of your friends and family are less interesting than you thought they were.
  • Major events, such as weddings, can be difficult. Even watching sports with the homeboys can be tough. And blind dates are virtually impossible.
  • Every night seems like a Monday night.

Bob Blumer is a Food Network host and cookbook author. He is currently working on a new book, #flavorbomb.

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Yukon halts warning labels on liquor labels over industry concerns


WHITEHORSE — Concerns from national alcohol companies have prompted the Yukon Liquor Corp., to stop putting warning labels about the risk of cancer on all bottles and cans sold in the Whitehorse liquor store, at least for now.

The corporation was the first in Canada to roll out new labels in the store in November as part of the federally funded Northern Territories Alcohol Study. The warning labels make a link between alcohol use and cancer risk and encourages moderate drinking.

“There’s a large range of concerns,” liquor corporation spokeswoman Patch Groenewegen said about the alcohol industry’s response.

They centre around “legislative authority, label placement and trademark infringement, defamation and damages related to messages on labels affixed to brand-owner products without consent,” she said.

Groenewegen declined to identify the national brand owners that have approached the corporation with concerns.

“We’ve stopped applying labels to any new products coming into the store,” she said about a decision that was made this week.

Labels will remain on bottles and cans that are already on the shelves.

The liquor corporation is working with the national brand owners and facilitators of the Northern Territories Alcohol Study to determine next steps, Groenewegen said.

The label phase of the study was intended to run for eight months, followed by a survey to assess the impact.

Concerns have also been raised at the local level about the study’s impact on long-standing labels that read: “Warning, drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause birth defects.”

The liquor corporation has been attaching these labels to bottles and cans since 1991 but stopped doing so in the Whitehorse store in November when the study involving the new labels was launched.

Wenda Bradley, executive director of the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Society Yukon, said she believed that the new labels would accompany, rather than replace, the drinking-while-pregnant warning labels.

When Bradley realized that was not the case, she approached the liquor corporation and said officials were open to discussion.

“(Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder) needs to be a focus,” she said. “It’s a lifespan disability.”

Groenewegen said the liquor corporation is working with the society as it determines the future of the study involving the new labels.

“As we continue these discussions, we’re also going to make sure we include (the society’s) priorities … and what to do with labels in general,” she said.

The drinking-while-pregnant warning labels continue to be applied to alcohol containers at the five other liquor corporation stores across Yukon.

Retrieved from 

More pregnant women are using pot, study finds

web-nw-po-marijuana-economiBy Jacqueline Howard, CNN

More pregnant women seem to be using pot — sometimes to ease the nausea of morning sickness or heightened anxiety — and a new study suggests that this slight rise in marijuana use is most pronounced among those younger in age.

The prevalence of marijuana use among a sample of moms-to-be in California climbed from 4.2% to 7.1% from 2009 through 2016, according to a research letter published in the journal JAMA on Tuesday.
Among pregnant teens younger than 18, marijuana use climbed from 12.5% to 21.8%, and among women 18 to 24, marijuana use climbed from 9.8% to 19%, the researchers found.
That research involved only certain women in California, but a separate study of pregnant women across the United States, published in JAMA in January, found that those who reported using marijuana in the previous month grew from 2.37% in 2002 to 3.85% in 2014. The women were 18 to 44.
Doctors caution that the health effects of marijuana on a fetus remain unclear but could include low birth weight and developmental problems, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many of the chemicals in marijuana, like tetrahydrocannabinol, known as THC, could pass through a mother’s system to her baby.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that “women who are pregnant or contemplating pregnancy should be encouraged to discontinue marijuana use” and “to discontinue use of marijuana for medicinal purposes in favor of an alternative therapy.”
Additionally, “there are insufficient data to evaluate the effects of marijuana use on infants during lactation and breastfeeding, and in the absence of such data, marijuana use is discouraged,” according to the recommendations.

What are the Wellness Dimensions?


Career & Academic Wellness

Career and academic wellness is about having something to do and somewhere to go that is personally satisfying and gives you a sense of contribution or giving back to society.

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Emotional Wellness

Emotional wellness is about feeling good and managing the ups and downs of life in a positive way.

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Environmental Wellness

Environmental wellness is about living and traveling in safe and secure environments and being responsible for your impact on the world around you.

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Financial Wellness

Financial wellness is about managing the money that you have in a way that allows you to meet your personal goals.

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Physical Wellness

Physical wellness is about fitness, strength and flexibility, nutritious eating habits, avoidance of harmful substances and seeking health care assistance when you need to.

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Social & Cultural Wellness

Social and cultural wellness is about interacting with others in a way that improves your sense of support and belonging.

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Spiritual Wellness

Spiritual wellness is about knowing yourself and what you believe in and making choices that support this.

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