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Another Study to Back Your Beer Habits This Winter

Another Study to Back Your Beer Habits This Winter

A new study finds that a compound in beer can help protect people against pneumonia and bronchitis

There are definitely known benefits to getting just a little bit tipsy when the weather turns colder (notable, the boozy "blanket"), but another health study gives us yet another reason to pick up a pint of beer.

Researchers at Sapporo Medical University (notable: not related to Sapporo Breweries) have discovered that a certain chemical compound in hops actually protects against a virus that causes pneumonia and bronichitis in youngsters.

According to the research, humulone helped curb the respiratory syncytial virus, which can "cause serious pneumonia and breathing difficulties for infants and toddlers, but no vaccination is available at the moment to contain it," Jun Fuchimoto, a researcher from the company, told AFP.

Obviously we're not advocating for beer-swigging children, but the RS virus does affect adults as well. The researchers are working on channeling humulone into an antivirus, and unfortunately for 21-plus adults, beer won't work as a deterrent. According to Fuchimoto, a person would have to drink thirty 12-ounce cans of beer to seriously fight the virus.

Instead, they're working on incorporating humulone into food or non-alcoholic drinks. "The challenge really is that the bitter taste is going to be difficult for children," Fuchimoto said. Us beer drinkers? We'll be fine.


8 Ways Beer Is Good for You

Can you drink yourself pretty? In April 2015, Japanese brewing company Suntory launched a new light beer called Precious that contains two grams of collagen in each can. Suntory claims that drinking collagen — a naturally occuring protein that gives skin its elasticity — will make you look younger. When injected, collagen does reduce signs of aging by making skin look plump and smoothing out lines and wrinkles. But there is no scientific evidence that drinking collagen will make you look prettier in fact, because collagen is a protein, your digestive system will just break it down before it even has a chance to reach your skin.

So collagen-infused beer may not be the fountain of youth, but regular beer does come with many surprising health benefits, from brightening your smile to heading off dementia. While you may hear more about the healthy effects of red wine, beer is just as rich in beneficial chemicals called polyphenols.

Here are eight healthy reasons to enjoy a brewsky once in a while:


8 Things That Happen When You Finally Stop Drinking Diet Soda

You've decided to give up diet soda&mdashgood idea! Maybe you weren't hitting your weight-loss goals or couldn't stomach that long list of ingredients anymore. Or perhaps you heard one too many times that it's just not good for you.

Whatever the reason, eliminating diet soda from your diet will improve your health from head to toe. Research on diet soda is still in its infancy, but there's enough out there to identify what you can look forward to when you put down the can and cool down with an unsweetened iced tea instead.

Migraines Disappear and Focus Sharpens
It turns out the headaches you expected from a diet-soda withdrawal didn't materialize. And now that you've quit the stuff, you probably find yourself thinking clearly for the first time in a while. That's because the chemicals that make up the artificial sweetener aspartame may have altered brain chemicals, nerve signals, and the brain's reward system, which leads to headaches, anxiety, and insomnia, according to a review in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. And a 2013 animal study found that rats that drank diet soda had damaged cells and nerve endings in the cerebellum&mdashthe part of the brain responsible for motor skills. (If you're still drinking diet soda, here's what's happening in your body right now.)

Taste Buds Are More Sensitive
It's not your imagination: Without your usual diet soda chaser, you may find that food has more flavor. It has subtlety. It's more enjoyable. That's because the artificial sweeteners in your diet soda overwhelmed your taste buds with an onslaught of sweetness. Aspartame ranks 200 hundreds times sweeter than table sugar. Splenda? 600 times. In fact, brain scans show that diet soda alters sweet receptors in the brain and prolongs sugar cravings rather than satisfies them. "We often see patients change snack choices when they give up diet soda," says Heather Bainbridge, R.D., from Columbia University Medical Center Weight Control Center. "Rather than needing sugary treats or something really salty like pretzels and chips, they reach for an apple and a piece of cheese. And when they try diet soda again, they find it intolerably sweet."

The Scale Finally Goes the Right Way
While you may have started drinking diet soda to facilitate weight loss, quitting it may actually do the trick. A recent nine-year study found older adults who drank diet soda continued to pack on belly fat. The study piggybacks on research that found each daily diet soda increases your chance of becoming obese in the next decade by 65 percent, and a study published in Diabetes Care that found drinking diet soft drinks daily was associated with an increase in metabolic syndrome&mdashobesity, high blood-pressure, high triglycerides&mdashwhich leads to heart disease and diabetes.

Bones Strengthen
Putting down the soda may be the best way to improve your bone strength and reduce your risk of fractures. One 2014 study found that each daily soda increased the chance of hip fracture by 14 percent for postmenopausal women. And another found that older women who drank cola had lower bone mineral density in their hips. The jury is still out on why soda has this effect, but the science pretty clearly suggests that a soda habit weakens your bones.

Your Attitude Toward Food Changes
Since diet sodas have no calories, people drinking them often feel it's okay to indulge elsewhere, finds Bainbridge. Often, she sees her diet soda-drinking patients make poor food choices, like a burger and fries, a piece of cake, or potato chips because they think they can afford those extra calories. Plus, soda often accompanies unhealthy foods. "Sometimes, those poor choices are built-up habits," she says. "You're conditioned to have soda with chips, fries, or something sweet. When you eliminate the soft drink, you also break the junk food habit."

You Handle Booze Better
It's a fact: Diet soda gets you drunk faster. When you mix it with alcohol, your stomach empties out faster than if you used regular soda, causing a drastic increase in blood-alcohol concentrations, according to an Australian study in the American Journal of Medicine. And when you add caffeine, look out. Another study in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research found that bar patrons who mixed drinks with diet colas were intoxicated much more easily and frequently. Your best bet for a mixer? Club soda, which is naturally sugar- and calorie-free.
For more information on how you can eliminate harmful sugar from your diet for good, check out the Sugar Smart Express.

Your Fat Storage and Diabetes Risks Decrease
Our hormones may explain the great paradox of why people gain weight when they switch to diet soda. A study in Diabetes Care found that drinking two-thirds of a diet soda before eating primed the pancreas to release a lot of the fat-storing hormone insulin. When the pancreas is overworked from creating insulin to control blood-sugar levels, diabetes rears its ugly head. And a recent study in Japan found that middle-aged men who drank one or more diet sodas daily were much more likely to develop type 2 diabetes over a seven-year period.

Kidney Function Improves
Now that your body no longer has to make sense of the unpronounceable ingredients in diet soda, your kidneys can get back to clearing toxins, stabilizing blood pressure, and absorbing minerals. One study looked at 11 years of data and found that women who drank two or more servings of diet soda doubled their chances of declining kidney function.


Lunch: Curry Cauliflower Soup

A hearty soup is full of vitamins and nutrients. And, it’s the perfect lunchtime treat to enjoy on a cold afternoon.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 head fresh cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and sliced into rounds
  • 2-4 slices fresh jalapeno (optional)
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 400g tomato sauce
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 400g canned coconut milk
  • 1 whole lemon, juiced
  • chopped cilantro or parsley

This soup is full of immune-boosting ingredients, and even though it may look like a lot, it’s easy to make, as it is just a matter of adding all of the ingredients and letting it simmer.

This creamy soup is full of manganese, vitamins B1 and B5, potassium, protein, phosphorus, and dietary fibre.


The Healthiest Beers Around the World

The history of beer dates back to the world’s first civilization, Sumer, in Mesopotamia. A 5,000 year old brewery was discovered in China, including a recipe of broomcorn millet, barley, Job’s tears, and tubers. Recently, a 6,000-year-old Italian wine was discovered in a Sicilian cave, tying Armenia for the earliest evidence of winemaking. A 9,000-year-old tomb in China unearthed a recipe with hawthorn fruit, sake rice, barley, and honey, the oldest known fermented beverage in history and a hybrid of beer, rice wine and mead.

The Neolithic era represents the agricultural age that started 10,000-12,000 years ago and came with many faults. But I think many of us can agree that the best invention that came out of the Neolithic era, was wine and beer. Unlike today’s beer, beer in ancient times was not bitter, rather flat, and most likely a combination of sweet and sour. However, sour beers are now making a come back.

Mainstream beer companies that have created an embarrassing imposter full of chemicals, additives and depleted vitamins and minerals. Real beers served as a source of nutrition, rich in b-vitamins, minerals, probiotics and medicinal compounds from numerous herbs. Thankfully today, there is a craft beer scene that is as wild as the yeast in the air with creative brewers everywhere recreating what beer should be.

During my research and exploration of brewing methods for beer along with wine production, I discovered a startling revelation. The majority of beers and wines are no different than any other sector of a processed food, with a high chemical load and nutrient deficient profile.

In the past, the question “is beer good for you?” would have gathered a hearty laugh. For many cultures, drinking beer provided a major source of clean hydration, vitamins, and minerals. Today, people just assume beer has negative health effects and therefore is just categorized as a guilty pleasure. In fact, beer is good for you in moderation of 1-2 beers a day, but you have to choose wisely.

What You Won’t Find on the Label of Mainstream Beer and Wine

When you start to look at the content of many mainstream beers, you will find MSG, high fructose corn syrup, propyl glycol, food dyes, BPA, unnatural preservatives (due to pasteurization), and chemical residues like glyphosate found in 14 German beers and California wine (higher in non-organic). A study from the American Chemical Society in August 2016 found that 97% of imported and US beers tested had glyphosate levels of 0.46 – 196 ppb. A good beer isn’t full of chemicals.

In California, conventionally-grown wine grapes received more pesticides than almonds, table grapes, tomatoes or strawberries. Residual concentrations of many different pesticides have been detected in bottled wine were similar to initial concentrations on the grapes. Since hops are notoriously prone to pest and disease issues, I imagine a similar issue with many beers along with sprayed grains.

I knew from research that alcohol depletes b-vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium, zinc and disrupts gut flora. But it started to become clear that this depletion is negated based on where it is grown, how it is produced, how much is consumed, and the diet of the individual. The good beer of our ancestors – or places where traditional fermentation is still intact – did not contain the chemical load that many US wines and beers do (and other places in the world), and the mineral levels in the water and soil have always been higher in the past. The beer was unfiltered and unpasteurized, leaving the yeast in that contains the nutrients that alcohol depletes, was a source of probiotics and often had medicinal herbs that increased the medicinal value.

The Medicinal Qualities of Yeast, Beer, and Alcohol

If you look at the breakdown of brewer’s yeast from Nutrition Data in 1 oz., it is quite impressive for b-vitamins, immune-boosting selenium and the electrolytes magnesium and potassium.*Chromium isn’t listed, but is also found in yeast and is important for stabilizing blood sugar.

Now, take a look at a beer that was tested for B-vitamins:

This beer shows 62.5% of folate and 170% of B12!

Yeast Provides A Major Source of Nutrition

If you filter the yeast out and pasteurize the beer, you lose most, if not all of the b-vitamins and probiotics. While you will keep the benefits of compounds in barley and hops with filtered and pasteurizing, you are losing out on a major source of nutrition due to the loss of the vitamins, minerals, and probiotics.

The Health Benefits of Beer

The benefits of beer not only come from the grains and yeast but also the herbal change to hops. Hops contain a flavonoid called xanthohumol that strongly suppresses CYP1A2 (suppressing is good), a liver enzyme that metabolizes various environmental procarcinogens such as heterocyclic amines (created during high heat cooking of meat or fish), nitrosamines (pesticides, cosmetics), and aflatoxin B1 (mold) that can lead to cancer when overexpressed.

When you have a homozygous variant in this liver enzyme as discovered through Nutrition Genome, you have to take more dietary strategies to prevent the activation of procarcinogens. Hops appear to be one of those strategies, while they also improve fat metabolism. Hops are also a potent phytoestrogen due to 8-prenylnaringenin something that doesn’t make me get on the heavy hops IPA bandwagon of brewing for guys. I prefer a smaller dose of hops and a higher use of other herbs myself. But for post-menopausal women, the hops may increase bone density and the prevention of hot flashes.

Beer Instead of Tranquilizers

One study highlighted in The Science of Healthy Drinking found the following: Two months after the hospital staff began offering one beer a day to the geriatric patients, the number of them who could walk on their own increased from 21 percent to 74 percent. Social interaction tripled, and the percentage of patients taking Thorazine, a strong tranquilizer, plunged from 75 percent to zero.

If you want your mind blown by 400 pages of studies showing the positive benefits of moderate alcohol intake, including drinking beer every day, pick up The Science of Healthy Drinking .

Beer’s Superpower Against Radiation

Radiation is another risk factor for cancer, as it may damage cellular DNA. In one study , human volunteers were asked to drink two beers a day, and then X-rays were irradiated to blood samples collected three hours after beer consumption. The results showed that the frequency of chromosomal aberrations in lymphocytes after beer consumption was significantly lower than that before beer consumption. This effect was not attributable to alcohol, but to the compounds in beer.

Beer and Homocysteine Levels

Another study found that when volunteers consumed either beer, red wine, or spirits for one week, it was only the beer drinkers that did not have a rise in homocysteine due to the B6 and folate content.

You can have too much of a good thing. If you or your family members are prone to gout, beer appears to raise uric acid levels higher than liquor and wine, with wine being the best option for not pushing uric acid levels too high. It is important to note however that the reason gout has been known as the rich man’s disease is that it occurred from a combination of over-consumption of sugar, red meat, and alcohol during a time when only the wealthy could afford it. Uric acid actually acts as an anti-oxidant comparable to vitamin C , and moderate elevations are beneficial. It all comes back to balance.

Since beer companies are not allowed to make any health claims, you have to dig for the beer health benefits in the research.

The Medicinal Effect of Moderate Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol itself works in medicinal doses. Both too little and too much appear to be an issue. One study on alcohol from Harvard was published recently in the European Society of Cardiology and is perhaps one of the longest of its kind. It followed 14,629 men and women aged 45-64 and followed them for up to 25 years. They found that for those who drank one 5 oz glass of wine or 12 oz. beer per day, the men had a 20 percent less incidence of heart disease and 16 percent for women. What’s interesting is that heart failure rates were higher for those who drank less OR more. For those having more than 21 drinks, a higher risk of dying from any cause went up 47 percent for men and 89 percent for women.

In a new study from UCSD, “researchers found that among men and women 85 and older, individuals who consumed “moderate to heavy” amounts of alcohol (1-4 drinks based on gender and weight) five to seven days a week were twice as likely to be cognitively healthy than non-drinkers .” This study looked at 1,344 older adults (728 women 616 men) in an upper class, Caucasian population. I think it is important to note here that this San Diego demographic is also highly active.

Let’s also take a look at the PON1 gene, which codes for enzymes that break down pesticides and helps prevent LDL from oxidizing, a major mechanism in atherosclerosis. One study found that alcohol in small amounts (4-5 oz. of wine or 12 oz. of beer for example), improved PON1 activity by 395% . However too much decreased it by 45%. PON1 is responsible for elevating HDL in response to alcohol. Another study reported that three weeks of beer consumption significantly reduced the level of plasma c-reactive protein (CRP), but was attributed to the alcohol.

Many other studies have confirmed this fact over and over again. Alcohol can be very good for us, but it must be treated like everything else in our food supply. The source, production, and amount is the key. Even more reason for responsible drinking.

Is Beer Good for You? It Depends on the Beer

I came across a beer in Whole Foods by Propolis Brewing Company from Washington state a few months ago when I started asking the question “is beer good for you?” I was so impressed by their beer, that I looked them up and found a description on their website that resonated with other literature I had read about beers of the past.

For thousands of years beer served as food and medicine it had antiseptic, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. Old world ales were referred to as “gruits” and were created from various malted grains and bittering herbs. Proprietary herbal blends were passed down from generation to generation as was the knowledge of how each herb served to promote health throughout the year. We carefully selected local herbs and botanicals that bitter and flavor our ales. Our herbal blends are developed to harmonize with the spectrum of malt that shifts from light to dark with the sun and the harvest.

Before the Beer Purity Law 500 years ago this year, other herbs were used in beer instead of hops. According to the book Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers , before the use of hops in beer, gruit ale was the beer staple made primarily with sweet gale, bog myrtle and yarrow. These herbs were mildly narcotic and some were considered aphrodisiacs. Due to these qualities, it was under extreme interrogation by the Protestant church. Unhappy with partying habits of the Catholics, the Protestants played a role in the banning of certain herbs and replacing them with hops, a known sedative.

I scoured the internet and contacted breweries to compile a beginning list to seek out these special craft beers. Whole Foods and specialty wine and beer shops will most likely carry some of these. If you have one of these breweries in town, that is also the best place to go.

The Healthiest Beers Around the World (Unfiltered aka Hazy and Unpasteurized)

Some of these may indeed contain organic ingredients but are not certified. It is very costly to be certified and I understand companies choosing not to. But some companies will use organic ingredients without being certified, and I’m trying to find these. Many beers in Europe are organic, unfiltered, and unpasteurized by default. I was told that the east coast of the US has more breweries that are creating unfiltered, unpasteurized beers, while more west coast breweries filter many of their beers.

“Bottle conditioned” is another word used for unpasteurized to look for on labels. Yeast is added at the bottling stage for carbonation.

North Coast Brewing : Blue Star and Pranqster. Prankqster is a very delicious, good beer. Great customer service.

Sierra Nevada : Porter, Stout, and Kellerweis (most yeast). Pale Ales are bottle conditioned. All others are filtered, but unpasteurized. All beers use non-GMO ingredients. I can vouch that the porter is excellent. Great customer service too.

Bell’s Brewery: According to Bell’s Brewery: “Most of our ales are unfiltered, it’s been one of our main philosophies since Larry Bell first started brewing more than 30 years ago. Our lagers, on the other hand, are filtered, but unpasteurized.” Amber Ale, Kalamazoo Stout, Porter, Oatsmobile, Two Hearted (non-GMO verified), Oarsman, Oberon (non-GMO verified), Winter White, Best Brown, Expedition Stout, Special Double Cream Stout, Hopslam, Arabicadabra, Christmas Ale and The Oracle.

Crux Brewery: All of our beers are unpasteurized and only one is unfiltered, our Hazy IPA, Bubble Wrap. All other beers are centrifuged.

Allagash : All beers are unpasteurized and bottle conditioned. Sixteen Counties uses organic oats.

Red Oak Brewery: A brewery in North Carolina that makes some awesome unfiltered and unpasteurized beers.

Great Divide : Orabelle Belgian Tripel, Nadia Kali Hibiscus Saison, Colette Farmhouse Ale, Samurai Rice Ale (being released later this year). Ingredients are not organic.

Chimay : This one is actually pretty easy to find at Trader Joes, Whole Foods and at restaurants. Chimay is a very good beer.

St. Bernadus: If you like Belgian beers, this is a delicious choice.

Lagunitas: Lagunitas is in Petaluma, CA, and has a limited release in 2020 of a Little Sumpin’ Hazy, that has bold letters in red at the bottom that says UNFILTERED. I like to think that my pestering emails asking about unfiltered beers may have influenced this.

Einstok : “Our White Ale in bottles is unfiltered, unpasteurized and bottle-conditioned, and our Toasted Porter is unfiltered.”

Orval: Orval beer means is in the exclusive club of authentic Trappist beers.

Westmalle: Westmalle is also a Trappist beer made by the monks.

Rochefort: Trappist Rochefort is an easy beer to find from Belgium.

Green’s : One of the few gluten-free beers on the market.

Lindemans: If you like sour beers, Lindemans make some wicked Belgian lambics. Check out Cuvée René Gueuze and Lindemans Cuveé René Kriek.

Du Bocq beers: This is another beer from the famous Belgian region.

Budvar’s: They have an unpasteurized yeast beer.

The Bruery : Email response. “All of our beers are going to be unfiltered, as well as all of our sour beers will be unpasteurized.”

Beau’s: A great find for Canada! Organic malt, hops and local spring water. However, they pasteurize their beers but have unfiltered versions.

Weihenstephan : Vitus, Korbinian, Hefeweissbier Dunkel, White Hoplosion are the best beers. *Update. I received an email that all their beers are flash-pasteurized.

The Healthiest Beers Around the World (Organic, Unfiltered and Unpasteurized)

*Only certain beers for some of these companies may be certified organic, or use mostly organic ingredients.

*Only certain beers for some of these companies may be certified organic, or use mostly organic ingredients.

Propolis Brewing : This brewery is in Port Townsend, Washington, and I would consider this beer to be at the top of the healthy beer list. They have access to natural spring water, which I think is a secret ingredient for the best beers. I ordered a case of their yarrow beers for my wedding to show you how highly I think of them. They also have a monthly ale club.

Flying Embers: I just found out about this one in 2021. USDA organic and they combine medicinal mushrooms like Lion’s Mane lager and Reishi stout. My kind of brewery!

Logsdown Farmhouse Brewery: I bought these as gifts for my groomsman. They are definitely on the healthy beer list.

Aslan Brewing: I haven’t had the pleasure of trying this one yet, but they are organic, unfiltered and unpasteurized. If you live in Washington state, try this one out.

The Ale Apothecary : This brewery is in Bend, Oregon, the land of beer. They would also be categorized as a healthy beer due to their water source, clean ingredients, and ancient fermenting practices.

Gjulia : Gjulia is made in Italy and is a little harder to find. I have only seen these at one Italian restaurant where I live.

Ayinger Brewery : Ayinger is from Germany and they are excellent beers. I’ve seen Ayinger at Bevmo, Whole Foods and numerous grocery stores.

Bison (unpasteurized, but filtered). Bison is one of the few breweries that sing their organic certification loud and proud. Numerous health benefits from the herbs and spices added to their beers.

Deschutes Brewery : Deschutes is also in Bend, Oregon, and if I was picking beer stocks, I would invest in Deschutes to become the top craft beer distributor along with Sierra Nevada. Black Butte Porter, Chainbreaker White IPA, The Abyss, The Dissident, Flanders Black, bottle condition all the beers in the Mainline, Seasonal, and Bond St. lines, Reserve Series beers have live yeast. Non-GMO ingredients and some are organic. Deschutes County doesn’t fluoridate their water, another win. Great customer service.

Dogfish Head : Email response. “We use organic ingredients when available but we do not claim to be 100% organic. Some of our beers are unfiltered like our wheat beers (Namaste) and certain high gravity beers (120, Burton) other beers are filtered (like 60 Minute). And we are unpasteurized.”

Fish Brewery Company: I haven’t tried these beers yet but would love to hear from anyone who has.

Lakefront Brewery : (different degrees of filtering): New Grist and New Grist Ginger are gluten free. Fuel Cafe Coffee Stout, White Belgian Wit, and Growing Power Farmhouse Pale Ale are year round organics. Barrel Aged Beer Line Barley Wine is limited.

Hair of the Dog Brewing Company: Hair of the dog has an excellent reputation in communities lucky enough to be able to buy them.

Brooklyn: I haven’t tried these beers yet.

Pinkus: Organic, healthy beers. The taste wasn’t anything to write home about.

Samuel Smiths : Samuel Smiths Organic Ale is their healthiest option.

Wychwood : Scarecrow Ale is their organic beer.

K&L Craft Beers : I might fly to Italy just to try these beers.

La Birra di Meni : Now I have two reasons to fly to Italy.

Please feel free to help me add to this list from your hometown in the comment section. Cheers!


12 Beers of Christmas

Spiked cocoa and mulled wine are nice, but with craft beer enthusiasm at an all-time high–and so many wonderful local breweries nearby–it’s time to discover the spicy winter warmers, sultry stouts and hop-forward holiday brews handcrafted just in time for the season of good cheer(s).

1. The Brewery at Hershey has two beers sure to warm you this season. Naughty & Spiced is their annual holiday ale, brewed with a wee heavy Scottish ale base and loaded with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and orange zest. This winter warmer is intended to take the chill out of otherwise cold Pennsylvania evenings. ABV: 8.4%

2. Meanwhile, you’ll want to stay tuned to The Vineyard and Brewery at Hershey’s social media channels for announcement of a limited bottle release of Bourbon Mean Cup O’Stout. This wintertime stout is a tasty oatmeal coffee stout brewed with a proprietary coffee blend from Mean Cup in Lancaster. New for 2015: this year’s batch was aged in Smooth Ambler (WV) bourbon barrels for five months. A must-have. ABV: 5.8%

3. Liquid Hero in York honors “Pub Santa,” a local regular who drinks at area bars, including Liquid Hero Brewery, with their holiday seasonal. The Pub Santa winter warmer is a delicately spiced ale made with cinnamon, vanilla, and cherries. ABV: 7.4%

Note: If you’re in the York area, word is to keep a lookout for a barrel-aged beauty in the works for this holiday season as well.

4. Tröegs Independent Brewery’s Mad Elf is one of the best-known and highly sought-after holiday beers. But have you had their winter seasonal, Blizzard of Hops? Part of their Hop Cycle series, this is a Winter IPA designed around the annual hop harvest. Centennial, Chinook and El Dorado hops are featured, then the beer is dry hopped with Chinook and Galaxy hops for a perfect storm of pine and citrus notes. Serve this in a tumbler–or, new this year, straight from the can. ABV: 6.4%

For the indecisive (or equal opportunity) imbiber, Tröegs also revamped its Anthology Winter mixed 24-pack case for 2015. It now includes Perpetual IPA, Troegenator Double Bock, Blizzard of Hops Winter IPA and, for the first time ever outside of the brewery, a Scratch Series beer–this winter: Scratch Series Chocolate Stout. A perfect holiday gift.

5. Forget regular old milk, and instead leave Santa Lancaster Brewing Company’s Double Chocolate Milk Stout. Intense roasted malts and an infusion of cacao nibs create a velvety, chocolatey treat that is sure to win over the big guy. Just save some for yourself to pair with a spicy Mexican meal. ABV: 6.8%

6. What’s Better Than a Lottery Ticket? This beer: Moo-Duck Brewing Company’s Imperial Brown ale, brewed with orange peel and holiday spices. Serve this beauty in a goblet to take in the aroma of spices. The beer’s name comes from owner and brewer Mike Brubaker’s family tradition of exchanging lottery tickets as gifts for the holidays as well as just about any other occasion. One year, instead, Brubaker gave out this beer because he thought it was “better than a lottery ticket.” The name stuck! ABV: 7.5%

7. Moo-Duck is also offering a new Candy Cane Stout this holiday season. Brubaker brews a stout with peppermint leaves. After fermentation, he adds candy canes to the beer as it ages. Serve this in a pint glass, maybe even rimmed with crushed candy cane dust, if you’re feeling festive. ABV: 6.5%

8. Formerly known as Millbock, the reinvented Boneshire Brew Works will be open in time to release their annual holiday beer, The 12 Hops of Christmas. Each year, owner and brewer Alan Miller plans to create an IPA with twelve different hops that showcase a specific hop-growing region. This year’s version highlights the Pacific Northwest and will feature Amarillo, Ahtanum, Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, Citra, Columbus, Crystal, Mosaic, Nugget, Simcoe and Warrior. Look for this in cans, large format bottles, and on draft. ABV: TBD.

9. Originally in conjunction with the now-closed Lancaster tattoo shop Tattoos Ink, St. Boniface Brewing Company brews the “big and really dark” Black Currant Stout every holiday season. Brewer Jon Northup experimented with a variety of ingredients to attain this deep color–including squid ink and black raspberries–before settling on the black currants. We’re glad he went with the fruit instead. ABV: 9%

10. The brewers at Crystal Ball Brewing Company in York had a revelation: They hate pumpkin beers. To avoid this holiday phenomenon, they instead whipped up two winter wheats to get you through the cold season. Cold Weather Wheat is available October through February. A black wheat ale brewed with real cranberries, this is an exciting new style of beer perfect for cold winter nights. This begins with a tart cranberry flavor that washes out with smooth roasted notes and finishes with deep chocolate flavor. ABV: 8% Note: Watch for a tropical Jamaican style wheat coming in February.

12. Two Front Teeth is a Belgian-style saison designed for the holiday season by Spring House Brewery. Sweetened with real cherries, this full-bodied beauty balances maltiness with a light hop nose. ABV: 9.4%


For Scientists, a Beer Test Shows Results as a Litmus Test

Ever since there have been scientists, there have been those who are wildly successful, publishing one well-received paper after another, and those who are not. And since nearly the same time, there have been scholars arguing over what makes the difference.

What is it that turns one scientist into more of a Darwin and another into more of a dud?

After years of argument over the roles of factors like genius, sex and dumb luck, a new study shows that something entirely unexpected and considerably sudsier may be at play in determining the success or failure of scientists — beer.

According to the study, published in February in Oikos, a highly respected scientific journal, the more beer a scientist drinks, the less likely the scientist is to publish a paper or to have a paper cited by another researcher, a measure of a paper’s quality and importance.

The results were not, however, a matter of a few scientists having had too many brews to be able to stumble back to the lab. Publication did not simply drop off among the heaviest drinkers. Instead, scientific performance steadily declined with increasing beer consumption across the board, from scientists who primly sip at two or three beers over a year to the sort who average knocking back more than two a day.

“I was really surprised,” said Dr. Tomas Grim, the author of the study and an ornithologist at Palacky University in the Czech Republic, who normally studies the behavior of birds, not scientists. “And I am happy to see that the relationship I found seems to be very well supported by my new observations in pubs, bars and restaurants.”

Dr. Grim, carried out the research by surveying his fellow Czech ornithologists about their beer drinking habits first in 2002 and then in 2006. He obtained the same results each time.

The paper has quickly been making the rounds among biologists, provoking reactions like surprise, nervous titters and irritation — often accompanied by the name of a scientist whose drinking is as impressive as his or her list of publications.

Matthew Symonds, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Melbourne who has also studied factors affecting scientific productivity, called the results remarkable.

“It’s rather devastating to be told we should drink less beer in order to increase our scientific performance,” Dr. Symonds said.

Though the public may tend to think of scientists as exceedingly sober, scientific schmoozing is often beer-tinged, famous for producing spectacular breakthroughs and productive collaborations, countless papers having begun as scrawls on cocktail napkins.

Yet the new study shows no indication that some level of moderate social beer drinking increases scientific productivity. Some scientists suggest that biologists in the Czech Republic could prove to be an anomaly, given that the country has a special relationship to beer, boasting the highest rate of beer consumption on earth.

More important, as Dr. Grim pointed out, the study documents a correlation between beer drinking and scientific performance without explaining why they are correlated. That leaves open the possibility that it is not beer drinking that causes poor scientific performance, but just the opposite.

Or, as Dr. Mike Webster, an ornithologist and a beer enthusiast at Washington State University in Pullman, said, maybe “those with poor publication records are drowning their sorrows.”

In spite of his study, Dr. Grim, who said he would on occasion enjoy more than 12 beers in a night, is not on a campaign to decrease beer drinking among scientists. Why not? His answer: “I like it.”


A-z Object Lessons By Topics

AIR is a wonderful object to help us understand that even though we can't see God, we can know He is near.  And just like we need air, we also need God!

Use an  APPLE   to teach a lesson on the Trinity - Father, Son & Holy Spirit.

This is a great back-to-school object lesson!  Use a BACKPACK to remind students they are unique & special.  God wants to use them with their special gifts and abilities!

Or use a BACKPACK to teach a lesson on worry!

A helium BALLOON can teach how being filled with the Holy Spirit impacts our life and empowers us!

Missing the mark.  Use a BASEBALL to demonstrate the truth of Romans 3:23 - we all fall short of the glory of God.  We need Jesus and what He did for us.

Faith is a hard concept for kids, youth or even adults to wrap our minds around. This interactive object lesson uses Hebrews 11:1 & 6 and a BLINDFOLD to demonstrate faith believes & then acts on that belief. Faith is not blind. Also includes other faith teaching tools.

Use the act of BREATHING along with 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to teach the importance of prayer and staying in constant communication with God.

Romans 8:28 comes to life using the ingredients in a  CAKE to show how God causes all things to work together for our good.  This gives kids a new perspective on tough (bad) times in our lives.

A digital CAMERA or photo to teach how we are not only created in God's image, but our lives should also reflect His image each and every day.

Wrapped CANDY is a great way to teach about protecting our hearts.

A simple CANDY CANE   teaches a wonderful Christmas object lesson!

A CELL PHONE can teach lessons on staying connected to our Source (Jesus) and also about salvation and prayer!

A CHALKBOARD or Dry Erase Board can be used to teach a fun interactive object talk on sin and the need for forgiveness.  Using a misspelled word shows kids that just because we want to do something our way doesn't make it right.

  CHRISTMAS LIGHTS can be used to teach about Jesus coming as the light of the world and use the color of the lights to expand this Christmas object lesson and remind them of what Christmas is really about.

Use a box of eight COLORS/CRAYONS to share eight wonderful truths about Jesus with kids, youth or adults.  This object lesson shares the Gospel along with other important truths.

This COOKING/RECIPE object talk uses the instructions of a recipe to show kids that we can trust the Bible because of Who wrote it - God.

The colors of  EASTER EGGS਌ an teach six important truths about Jesus:

  1. Purple  – Jesus is the King of Kings He is fully God & rules over all.
  2. Orange  – Jesus was fully man He understands.
  3. Pink  – Jesus is Savior His blood brings forgiveness for our sin when we believe & trust in Him
  4. Green  – Jesus gives new life, eternal life.
  5. Blue  – Jesus is always with me through His Holy Spirit.
  6. Yellow  – Jesus is preparing a home for believers in Heaven.

Another great Easter egg object lesson that's fun for an Easter egg hunt is "Empty to Faith-Filled"!

Whether FISHING with a pole and hook or a barrel net, both can teach great Bible lessons on how Satan tempts.

FOOTBALL   season is a great reminder of the armor of God and the protection God gives us in the game of life. No football player, in their right mind, would run on to the field for a game without his uniform including all the pads!

Use a pair of GLASSES to share a Bible lesson of how the Holy Spirit helps us see and know God and how we can live for Him. Includes ideas for a game & take home craft.  

Use GLUE to help kids understand that although we can't see God's Holy Spirit, He can be with us and strengthening us so we do not have to be afraid or alone.

Includes instructions for fun optional craft ideas as a take home reminder.

2 Timothy 3:16 tells us the Bible is our guide for life. Use fun activities in this object lesson using a GPS!

These HUNTING object talks teach how Satan can hide snares among the normal surroundings of our everyday life. We must realize we can be caught unsuspecting if we're not careful to keep our spiritual eyes open and be on alert.

INK absorption provides a fun science object lesson to show how God wants us to share the His love with others! Perfect for Valentine's or any time!

A dirty shirt and a JERSEY help explain "imputed righteousness" or how Jesus gave us His righteousness to cover and pay for our sin.

Help students own the idea that God is the source of all LIGHT and by plugging our lives into Him, we will therefore shine too!

A yummy M&M'S candy  object lesson pointing out three important things about Christians - we are marked as believers we are different and not all the same  what really matters is what's on the inside of us - Jesus!

Or use M&M or Skittles candy to help kids understand that although we all look different on the outside (even skin colors), we are each special to God and created to be filled with His sweet love.

Two object talks using MATH !  The first uses corresponding numbers with letters in words to demonstrate God's great love for us!

The second MATH Bible lesson uses equations demonstrating how perfect & orderly God shows Himself to be even in the area of computing numbers!

This Christian object lesson using a MIRROR teaches how we are not only created in God's image, but our lives should also reflect His image each and every day.  ਊ MIRROR can also be used to teach an interactive, but simple, Bible lesson on forgiveness that great for little ones!

Use a twenty-dollar bill or other value of MONEY and Romans 5:8 to demonstrate how sin is damaging, but it does not change our worth to God His grace continues to pursue us! 

Or use MONEY along with Ephesians 2:8-10 to teach how salvation is a free gift, but is not automatically received!

What's in a NAME ?  Talk about how we all go by different names but we're each only one person to teach a great lesson on the Trinity!

A new NOTEBOOK or even a clean sheet of paper along with Psalm 51 teaches a lesson on how God can use us in amazing ways when we have a clean heart and right spirit.

This ORIGAMI object lesson for kids or youth will help you demonstrate how when we trust God and His directions, we don't really need to know the end result of His plans for us.

Have you ever thought about how a PENCIL can teach us that if we allow ourselves to be held in God's hand and let Him control and guide our lives, we can accomplish great things?!  Not only that, but we are all different!  Some may be pencils, pens, markers, or highlighters.  God created us each unique and usable in His hand!

A great object lesson on self worth using PENNIES!

This simple object lesson encourages students to see their worth and value comes from God and is not based on how others may see them or even how they see themselves.  Identity is something everyone deals with.  God desires for each of us to find our identity in Christ.  

Our U.S. currency can be used to teach wonderful Christian object lessons in a day in which there is such a push to take God out of our schools, our government, & our daily lives. Help kids think differently next time they find a PENNY !

There is an old saying, "the proof is in the PUDDING . " Actually the original saying said: ""the proof of the pudding is in the eating" meaning that the quality or true value of something can only be judged when it has been put to use. In the same way, the proof or truth of God's Word in which we believe will be revealed as we actively put it to use in our lives.

Use a PUMPKIN to illustrate how through Christ we can get a new face and let His light shine through us!

This PUZZLE object lesson looks at Jeremiah 29:11-13.  God has a plan for us.  We may only see a few pieces, but He knows the whole picture.  Even when we mess up, there is hope when we seek Him with our whole heart He forgives.  With suicide becoming so prevalent, this is a vital lesson to teach our kids and youth. even adults.

A ROAD can lead us to many destinations and direction can be confusing.  Jesus keeps the directions to Heaven & God the Father simple as He instructs in John 14:6 that He is the way (the road) to Eternal Life!

"The Legend of the SAND DOLLAR " -  it's design by God ,the Creator, tells the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ! This makes a wonderful Christian object lesson for kids of any age!

A SEED is such a beautiful picture of salvation!  Several of Jesus’ parables talk about the planting of seeds.  By itself, a seed appears to be dead, and for all basic purposes in and of itself, it is.  There is no life, no growth, until….

Every seed has potential for life and potential for growth, but it is not until water is added that life and growth begin to take place!

Use your tarnished SILVER tray to teach a Bible lesson about how God is at work in our lives even when things are tough.

God's ability to take a speck of dust and create a SNOWFLAKE makes a wonderful object lesson using the science of snow to give a Bible lesson on forgiveness!

How should Christians respond when "squeezed" by the world? Use this Bible lesson and a SPONGE   to demonstrate how we can r espond in times of trials and tribulation.

This is such a creative way to share the resurrection story using a TEA BAG   for an Easter lesson!

God's TOOLBOX is a lesson about the different spiritual gifts God gives and how He uses us each uniquely to build up His church. 

A tube of TOOTHPASTE can illustrate how we should think before we speak we can't just put words back into our mouth once they're out!

A TOOTSIE ROLL POP can teach a lesson on how the Holy Spirit perseveres to reach our heart no matter how much we have sinned.

The tiniest shell can become a lesson on how He cares about the tiniest details of our lives.  He is amazing!

Whether we are walking on the beach, climbing a mountain, or just sitting in our own home, God is waiting to speak to us!  He desires to have conversations, and many times He'll even use everyday objects to begin them.

Teaching children using everyday objects will carry your Bible lesson beyond the classroom into real life.  Every time they see that object again it will be a reminder of the Bible truth that was taught.  It will also teach them to look and listen for God speaking wherever they go!  What better lesson is there than that they learn they can know Him personally and He can be with them anywhere. always!

If we look around, we see and hear God speaking through so many object lessons - from an apple to water seasonal objects super easy objects or other everyday objects !

Almost any everyday object can become a lesson to help us better understand Who God is and how we can know Him better!


Load Up on Green Tea

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One eye-opening study found that participants who combined 4 to 5 cups of green tea with a 25-minute sweat session daily (or opted for 180 minutes of exercise a week), lost two more pounds than those who didn't sip. Instead of just brewing a cup, try cooking grains such as rice and quinoa in green tea to boost your grains' antioxidant factor.


Best time to have a baby? It's winters, say studies

The moment you decide to grow your family is the most special time. However, leaving the adorable feelings aside, babymaking involves taking into consideration a lot of other factors. If you do a google search, you will be bombarded with information ranging from the best time, best month to the age to have a baby.

While there is no specific time (or the day) which is most favourable to have a baby, a new study has revealed that most couples achieve success when they conceive around the chilly winter months, as compared to other months. Curious? Read!

02 /5 The study

Ever wondered why so many babies in the world are born around August and September? A study published in the journal, Human Reproduction has now found out that the chances of ahieving favourable results are higher around the late fall and early winter months.

A survey was conducted on 14,331 parents to observe the reason for the seasonal spike up in birth rates. The study used data from women who had been trying to conceive for no more than six months from the United States, Canada and Denmark.

The participants were tracked on a number of factors (every two months till the time of conception) including details like the frequency of intercourse, menstrual cycles, ovulation, age. Apart from this, other lifestyle factors such as their diet, smoking habits, education and income levels.

When all these factors were taken into consideration, it was observed that there was a stark decline in fecundability around the spring and fall season. Fecundability refers to the probability of a woman conceiving within a particular time period, or a menstrual cycle.


5 science-backed ways to have a healthier weekend

We live for the weekends. A glorious reprieve from the daily grind.

It’s also a detour from the health goals you put so much effort in to during the work week. You stay out later and allow yourself to sleep in (without a blaring alarm), indulge in some pizza and beer on Friday night and loosen the reigns on your exercise routine.

It feels great, but what happens during the weekend most definitely doesn’t stay there. In fact, letting loose for two days leaves us with baggage that we carry into the new week. Meaning all that hard work you put in can be completely derailed by the short span of time between happy hour on Friday and Sunday brunch.

A study from Cornell University found that people tend to weigh a little bit more on Mondays than they do on Fridays. And your weight isn’t the only piece of your overall wellness that suffers on the weekends. From your sleep schedule to your stress levels, here are some simple ways to give your weekend a health boost that will keep your weekday goals intact.

Don’t Ditch the Alarm

We know, it feels oh so good to ditch the alarm clock and sleep until 10 a.m.

But researchers at the University of Arizona-Tuscon found that “social jet lag” — the discrepancy that occurs between our body’s biological clock and the sleeping schedule we keep on weekends due to social activities — ends up making you more tired, and inevitably, in a worse mood than if you maintained a consistent sleep schedule all seven days.

Sleeping in on the weekends leaves you more tired, and in a worse mood, than if you maintained a consistent sleep schedule all seven days.

Plus, they found that it can have some more serious health consequences. With every one hour that sleep is shifted, you increase your risk of heart disease by 11 percent. Each one-hour shift was also linked with a 28 percent higher likelihood of people reporting their health as poor or fair compared to excellent.

Waking up at a consistent time is earlier said than done — your bed is very appealing on a lazy Sunday morning. So make getting up a little less painful by scheduling something you can look forward to earlier in the day — whether that’s a manicure or a coffee date with a friend.

Keep Moving

A report released by Jawbone (that looked at data from their fitness and diet trackers) found that workouts peak on Monday. Not so surprising, they decline throughout the week, bottoming out on the weekend (they hit an all-time low on Friday). Which makes sense: When you’re on a specific schedule during the workweek it’s easier to keep exercise on the calendar. But once you hit Friday afternoon, you’re easily convinced to trade the sneakers for a pitcher of sangria.

But the lack of movement is partly to blame for the weight gain that happens over the weekend, so it’s important to schedule it in on Saturday and Sunday, too.

Research shows that people log the least amount of exercise Friday through Sunday, while bacon, beer and French fry consumption spike.

We don’t blame you for dreading holing up in the gym on Saturday afternoon — so mix things up and take your workouts outdoors. Being outside has some added health benefits, like improved focus, a boost in happiness and lower levels of anxiety. And let's be honest, we’re much more likely to stick to our weekend plans of kayaking in the park than rotting away on the treadmill.

Have a Cheat Meal (Not a Cheat Weekend)

The Jawbone report also revealed that diet patterns follow suit. As tracked workouts decline over the course of the week, bacon, beer and French fry consumption spike, hitting a peak between Saturday and Sunday.

You may think that letting loose for two days and then tightening the reigns on your diet again come Monday is a good plan of attack for your weight-loss goals. But think again. A study conducted by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine found that people who stuck with a strict diet all week, then overindulged on the weekends, not only lost weight slowly, but actually gained an average of .17 pounds per week (which, over the course of a year, would leave them nine pounds heavier!).

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t allow yourself to indulge at all — it’s actually important to incorporate cheat meals into your otherwise healthy diet — but keep it to one meal, not an entire weekend.

“There is a psychological component to the cheat day. Without rewards, it can become mundane to keep a healthy lifestyle day in and day out. Oftentimes, it may take several weeks to see the scale budge, so knowing that a cheat day is coming can help keep up motivation,” Jillian Guinta, professor in the Health and Physical Education Department at Seton Hall University, told Medical Daily.

So pick your poison, be it beer with the guys on Friday night or an indulgent Sunday brunch, and then get healthier fare back on the menu.

Be Social

Between juggling work and family obligations during the week, finding time for social events is near impossible. But the lack of socialization may be hurting your health.

Social isolation and loneliness can have effects on our health similar to obesity.

It’s a no brainer that socializing is good for our mental and emotional health, but it’s also literally good for our brains. A study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that older women who maintained large social networks reduced their risk of dementia and delayed or prevented cognitive impairment. And another study from the Harvard School of Public Health found that people who had an active social life in their 50s and 60s had slower rates of memory decline compared to those who were more isolated.

Plus, a study conducted at Brigham Young University compared the effects of social isolation and loneliness to obesity.

Looks like we’ll be making that solo Netflix and chill session a group affair.

Take a Hot Bath

We know the dangers of chronic stress well.

But as hard as we try to manage it, sometimes it’s out of our control. Train delays during a commute, juggling kid’s summer activities and last-minute deadlines at work can take a toll on our mental health over the course of the week, so it’s important to take advantage of the downtime on the weekend for a little self-care.

Spending time with friends and squeezing in exercise will help. Another super simple way to de-stress that won’t take a ton of time out of your weekend schedule (which is somehow still jam-packed with soccer games, family barbecues and summer weddings)?

Trade your shower for a bath.

When you take a hot bath your body temperature rises, and then quickly cools down, which relaxes your body and primes it for sleep. A pre-snooze bath also helps induce higher quality sleep (which can be hard to come by when you’re stressed). Making baths a habit can also lower blood pressure (which tends to spike when we’re chronically stressed).

Plus, you can burn some calories while you’re soaking: Researchers at Loughborough University found that relaxing in a hot bath and doing absolutely nothing burned 130 calories, the same amount you’ll burn on a half-hour walk.

Make the kids walk the dog — “soaking in the bathtub” is your workout of choice this weekend.

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