Category Archives: General Information

12 Mocktails of Christmas

Count down to Christmas with the 12 mocktails of Christmas advent calendar

The silly season is now upon us and the diary is jam packed with function after function, family gatherings, parties and catch ups all featuring lots of food, drinks and alcohol. For those who are pregnant, planning a pregnancy or taking a break from alcohol, Christmas often means trying to fend off the constant offers of alcoholic drinks while making the most of your sparkling water.

NOFASD and Pregnant Pause (FARE – Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education) want to ‘rock the mock’ this Christmas and have compiled the best mouth-watering mocktails for their 12 Mocktails of Christmas advent calendar When mocktails taste this good, who needs alcohol? Ice-cold, fruity and delicious, these handpicked cocktails sans the booze are easy to make and ideal for all occasions. Save the plastic cups for picnics, these liquorless libations need to be served up in proper glassware – going alcohol free doesn’t mean being demoted to the kiddies table.

12 Mocktails of Christmas  will help you count down to the big day through an interactive advent calendar slowly revealing a new recipe during December.  So, whether you’re pregnant, planning a pregnancy, on a health kick, the designated driver or prefer not to drink alcohol or want to be the hostess with the mostest, why not beat the heat this Christmas and with mix it up with these tasty mocktails.


12 to 14 small mint leaves or 6-8 big ones

30 ml fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons brown sugar

120 ml of sparkling mineral water

Put the mint leaves, lime juice and brown sugar in a tall cocktail glass and muddle the leaves. Fill the glass with ice cubes and add the mineral water. Stir to mix up the sugar. Garnish with another mint sprig.

Modified from recipe at

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We are looking for Graduate/Masters Students with an interest in FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder)


Graduate/Masters Student with an interest in FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder)

We are looking to expand and we could use your help!

The Prevention Conversation: A Shared Responsibility project seeks to raise awareness of the dangers of consuming alcohol when pregnant by promoting a message of abstinence if pregnant or planning a pregnancy.

Supported by the Alberta FASD Cross-Ministry Committee, the project aims to empower medical, health and social service staff to engage in their own FASD prevention conversations with women, partners and communities through the daily work that they do.

This project was developed based on the first and second levels of the Four-Part Model of Prevention (PHAC 2008). The first level utilises community development strategies to raise awareness among women of child-bearing years 18 to 45. The second level supports primary care providers to develop the necessary skills to engage in non-judgmental, empathetic and sensitive conversations about alcohol and pregnancy.

We are now ready to expand the project and the important conversations to adolescents. We are looking for an interdisciplinary team to develop the resources and tools needed to provide the message to an adolescent audience and their supports (teachers, parents, volunteers, etc.)

If you have an interest in the prevention of FASD, this may be an opportunity for you. Disciplines of interest may include but are not limited to, health, education, social sciences and communications.

We believe this would be a time commitment of approximately 6 months and an honorarium will be provided:

Please submit your interest, along with a brief resume of your education and experience.
Independent or group proposals will be accepted. We need to know how you will partner and collaborate with others. Please submit to:
Hazel Mitchell, FASD Prevention Conversation Project Manager at by December 16, 2016.

The Prevention Conversation website ( is a good source of information of what this project is about and the current resources that are available. To support the project, a literature review has been completed.



Women now drinking almost as much as men


Taditionally, alcohol consumption and alcohol abuse have been more commonly associated with men than women. But as more women drink alcohol, a new analysis finds they are catching up with men at an unprecedented rate. This also means women are affected by the same harmful effects of alcohol as men, and the new study highlights the need for women-specific information and educational campaigns in order to reduce the negative effects of alcohol consumption.
[Woman relaxing on a couch holding a glass of wine]
The new study finds women are now drinking almost as much as men.

Historically, men have used alcohol anywhere between 2-12 times more than women, the analysis reports.

However, the new research revealed a steady decrease in the sex ratio of alcohol consumption, alcohol abuse, and related harms.

In the early 1900s, males were twice as likely to consume alcohol than females and almost four times more likely to develop an alcohol-related condition.

By contrast, in the late 1900s, the gender gap has nearly disappeared, with males only 1.1 times likelier to consume alcohol than females and just 1.2 times more likely to experience alcohol-related problems.

The closing gap is most obvious in the youngest adults, namely those born as recently as 1990 and aged between 15-25 years.

The analysis – published in the journal BMJ Open – examined studies that tracked alcohol patterns in participants born as early as 1891, ranging all the way to 2001. The research collected data between 1948-2014 and included more than 4 million people. Some of the studies considered spanned over 30 years or more.

Health risks of alcohol use

Alcohol is one of the leading risk factors for global disease, together with smoking, pollution, and high blood pressure.

In 2010, alcohol accounted for 5 percent of deaths worldwide and was the leading risk factor in Eastern Europe, Andean Latin America, and southern sub-Saharan Africa.

In 2012, alcohol accounted for 3.3 million deaths, which is 5.9 percent of the global number of deaths.

In the United States, alcohol is currently listed as the fourth preventable cause of death by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).

Traditional gender expectations and alcohol consumption

Some studies have pointed to the connection between gender expectations and alcohol consumption patterns. Social norms associate drinking with displays of masculinity, while traditionally defined femininity associates women with abstinence.

Because of sex-based social roles, we also tend to judge women more harshly for using alcohol or having an alcohol addiction.

Gender roles perceived in this traditional way might cause women’s drinking problems to be ignored or mishandled. In fact, a study reported that women often feel that the social stigma stands in the way of seeking and receiving treatment, and women were more likely to report stigmatization than men.

Women must be warned of alcohol risks

The analysis conducted by Slade and team questions traditional assumptions and urges relevant institutions to put women at the center of new prevention and intervention programs:

“Alcohol use and alcohol use disorders have historically been viewed as a male phenomenon. The present study calls this assumption into question and suggests that young women, in particular, should be the target of concerted efforts to reduce the impact of substance use and related harms.”

The study does not provide any explanations for why the gender gap is closing, but speculations include changes in traditionally female gender roles; the researchers point to a study that showed alcohol consumption rates were most similar between men and women in countries where male and female roles were most equal.

The men and women in the analysis were very young and early in their alcohol use, the authors warn. As a result, more studies will have to be carried out as the young males and females age into their 30s and 40s.

Written by Ana Sandoiu

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How childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime

Nadine Burke Harris:

How childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime

Childhood trauma isn’t something you just get over as you grow up. Pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris explains that the repeated stress of abuse, neglect and parents struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues has real, tangible effects on the development of the brain. This unfolds across a lifetime, to the point where those who’ve experienced high levels of trauma are at triple the risk for heart disease and lung cancer. An impassioned plea for pediatric medicine to confront the prevention and treatment of trauma, head-on.

Who coined the term “mocktail” anyway?

Well, it just so happens that I bumped into an article from a 1983 issue of American Speech where the answer was to be found (please don’t ask how I seemed to be randomly browsing such an esoteric journal).

Philip Kolin says: The coinage mocktail appears for the first time, I believe, in an advertisement for Libbey Glass in Food Service Marketing (Feb. 1979, p. 76). According to that ad, mocktails “are a relatively new group of beverages prepared without any alcohol whatsoever.” Kolin comments that the ad was for a new line of mocktail glassware (I had no idea that glassware was so specialized – perhaps because most of mine was purchased at Ikea).

He further states, clearly with the air of someone who loves language: Mocktail is a clever invention. It humorously rhymes with cocktail, but has a semantically appropriate first syllable. Mocktails are literally mock cocktails, with the sense of mock in mock chicken or mock turtle soup. The -tail of the second syllable of mocktail, however, has acquired a new meaning-that of the unshortened (and unadulterated) cocktail.

If the term mocktail has only been around since the late 1970s, what about the term cocktail? Well according to a Wikipedia article, the term cocktail first appeared in print in 1806 where it was described as a ” stimulating liquor composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters — it is vulgarly called a bittered sling and is supposed to be an excellent electioneering potion, in a smuch as it renders the heart stout and bold, at the same time that it fuddles the head.”

Just a little etymology to end you week.

Reference: Kolin, P.C. (1983). Mocktails, Anyone? American Speech, 58(2): 190-191.

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Jaquie Brown’s tips to quit alcohol during pregnancy


Television personality, author and mother of two, Jaquie Brown, is the first to admit pregnancy isn’t always easy and cutting out the alcohol can feel alienating.

But, for her a happy and healthy baby made all the decaf coffees, soda waters and early nights worth it.

“It’s like when you’re building a house, you want to make sure the foundations are solid and strong. You don’t want to try and make a house with matchsticks then put a whole bunch of concrete on top, otherwise it will collapse,” says Brown.

Brown has a few tips for women planning to have a baby or in those early days of pregnancy to manage taking a break from alcohol.

1. It’s not about the size, it’s about the shape

“You don’t want to feel like you’re being left out if everybody else is drinking cocktails and you’re not.

“So one of the ways you can trick yourself into thinking you’ve got something really delicious is if you’ve got the same shaped glass as everybody else.

“Have a tall glass, a slice of lemon, put a little straw in it. Just make it look appealing so it doesn’t feel like you’re left out.”

2. Mocktails – all the fun without the alcohol

“If everyone’s got a mojito, make your drink look the same – have soda water and crushed ice and the lime and the mint, but you don’t have the alcohol that’s in it.”

3. Remember it’s only temporary

“It can seem like trying and pregnancy can stretch on for months and months, but it’s just a brief period in your life that you’re not going to drink, so try think about the benefits. Like, it’s a great way to save money, which you can use for something nice for yourself.

“Sometimes, when you’re trying for a baby and you’re trying to be good and you’re giving up everything but not getting pregnant, it can feel restrictive and a bit depressing. In those cases, just relax, treat yourself to something nice and start again next month because I think the emotional impact of depriving yourself of things can make you feel worse.”

4. If you’re still hiding, hold a full glass

“When I was trying or pregnant and at a social event I’d take a glass of wine and just hold it. But you don’t drink it, so no one thinks, ‘ooh, you’re not drinking’. It’s the perfect crime.

“You just hold the glass, and it’s no one’s business but yours.”

5. Always remember why

“I didn’t drink for three months before trying, the whole time I was trying, or while I was pregnant, which makes me sound like a total nerd, but I was researching for my book I’m not fat, I’m Pregnant. All the specialists recommended reducing your toxic load by cutting out excessive caffeine and alcohol because it can make it harder to conceive and alcohol can harm the baby. So I did what I was told!”

“There are so many unknowns when it comes to making this magical baby, I wanted to make sure that I was in top-notch healthy condition going into it and didn’t want to leave anything to chance because I was a bit older.”

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Sobering Up, And Facing The Reality Of Sex Without ‘Liquid Courage’


I stopped drinking at the age of 35, roughly two decades into my sex life. I was scared to quit for a lot of reasons. I thought I’d be boring. I thought other people would be boring. When you drink as long, and lovingly, as I did, you will find a lot of excuses not to hang up your beer mug. But nothing frightened me as much as sex without alcohol. As in, no way. Not happening.

I’ve always been self-conscious about my body. In high school, I would have worn a scuba suit to pool parties, if I could have gotten away with it. Some mixture of shyness, early puberty and a Hollywood beauty warp kept me in hiding for many years, but alcohol pulled me out into the crowd.

This is the eternal story of alcohol — liquid courage — although it’s acquired something of a modern twist for women. In Peggy Orenstein‘s book Girls & Sex, the veteran journalist describes how young women today rely on booze to stay down with a hookup culture that increasingly takes its cues from porn. I can’t speak for anyone else, but if I’m going to be giving a lap dance, someone better bring tequila.

I applied the same logic to anything around sex. Scared to be seen naked? Drink. Scared he doesn’t like you? Drink. Scared you don’t like him? Oooh, honey, drink up.

In my 20s, I longed to be one of those marauding females who had one-night stands and didn’t demand anything girly in return like commitment or phone calls. But being that vulnerable with another person — a real human person, whose last name I probably did not know — was so confounding to my native sensitivity that alcohol was really the only way I could power through.

And I wanted to like casual sex. I saw it as part of the necessary tool kit for being a Woman of Interest. These days, in pop culture, drinking and promiscuity have become a power brand, embraced by female heroines from Carrie Bradshaw to Amy Schumer.

Drinking and sex make for an appealing rebellion, a pushback to centuries of female repression — and it doesn’t hurt that guys like girls who drink and let loose. Of course, when casual sex becomes the norm, it feels a little less rebellious and a little more mandatory.

Drunken hookups are so normalized among single people in their 20s, 30s and beyond that opting out can make you feel like an enemy of sexual freedom. It can make you feel like — yes, that old slur — like a prude.

When I quit drinking, that’s exactly what I feared I’d become. One of those dull women who ordered seltzer at the party and would probably never dance on a table again. I stayed in my hidey-hole for more than a year, and I had an imaginary love affair with a barista named Johnny. Sometimes the little things get you through.

I began to inch back into the dating world, more slowly than I wanted but more confident with each passing month, and what I noticed was how much I actually cared about physical intimacy. I’d spent all these years trying to detach myself and pretend none of it was a big deal, but my experience was leading me to the opposite conclusion. Sex was a big deal to me.

Around this time, I was listening to a Fresh Air interviewwith the comedian Louis C.K., and he said, “If you’re intimate with a total stranger, it’s a reckless thing to do.” He talked about how strange and wrong it felt for him to be that close to someone he didn’t know, and I felt validated, in part because Louis C.K. is the great philosopher-comedian of our time, but also because here was a man — a straight dude, the kind whose emotional detachment from sex I’d been trying to imitate to prove I was down — and he was saying casual sex didn’t live up to the hype, either.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve been more open about my feelings on this topic, and I think it makes people more open in return. I’ve spoken to friends who agree with me, and plenty who don’t. They like casual sex. It scratches an itch. It’s fun. They might be straight or gay, male or female, but the more I hear people speak honestly about what they want in the bedroom the more insane it seems to me that any one way of being would fit us all. Conformity and sexuality do not mix. It’s like demanding that everyone be the same height.

Giving up alcohol didn’t end my sex life. You could argue it made it more thrilling. There is something rare and radical about daring to be fully present, and fully revealed, to another person. It scares the hell out of me sometimes, but the fear of vulnerability is part of the price of real connection.

Sex is a journey outside our comfort zones — and the trick is making sure that in that exploration, we feel safe. I don’t know how you’ll get there. Sometimes I don’t know how I will, either. But I can promise the best way to power through isn’t alcohol. It’s paying attention to your own wants and desires, and being true to them.

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