A girl, a dog, and mental health

When we first discussed getting a puppy, we were hesitant. The familiar arguments circled around us.. “It’s a lot of responsibility”.. “They’re expensive”… “We don’t have the space”… “You have to train it”.. We thought of every reason why we were not in the right spot in life to get a puppy. But then, during one of our casual sessions of looking at puppies online, we found one that called to us. So, somewhat impulsively, we decided to go for it.

And that’s how Turtle came to be.

Turtle is my best friend in the whole world. She is now two years old, and just as much as a monster as the first day we brought her home. She doesn’t realize it, but she helps keep me grounded everyday. Even before all of the COVID19 business, she played such an important role in my mental health. Now with me being stuck inside, unemployed, and scared about the future, she helping me stay grounded more than ever.

Her need for routine helps me keep a routine. I am one of those people who thrives on routine and a schedule. It could be the Capricorn in me, or that I’m just a nut. But I need routine to keep me balanced, grounded, and happy.

But, with COVID19, I am no longer working.. It would be so easy to fall into the trap of late nights, eating sporadically, and doing whole lot of nothing with my days. But that is where my dog comes in. For her, it’s just another day. Another day where she needs her morning walk, her breakfast, her evening walk, and lots of snuggles of course. She is unwavering with these needs, and she doesn’t understand that things are different right now. She has a set routine, and it needs to be met. This rigidness has helped me stick to somewhat normalcy. She wakes me up every morning. She gets me out of the house at least twice a day for (safe and socially distant) walks. Her feeding times help me stick to mine. Not to mention her boundless optimism, energy and love. In her world, nothing as changed, so we continue to carry on as normal.. something that we can find especially tough to do right now given these times of fear, anxiety and uncertainty.

Dogs are tough, and a lot of responsibility. But they also give back tenfolds in love and kindness. I have learned a lot from my dog, and I am especially grateful for her right now. I wish I could express to her all that she’s done for me.. But I guess in its place I’ll give her lots of cuddles and lovings instead.

Meet Turtle

Non-Alcoholic Beer Review: Part 1

Within the last couple of months we made the decision to quit drinking. We were noticing that we were drinking way too often, and way too much. Coupled with having a family member pass away due to liver failure and drinking, we came to the difficult choice to quit for the foreseeable future.

However, we love beer and drinking. Quitting has been really tough. What’s been the most difficult for us is hanging out with friends (pre-social distancing of course). Seeing other people drinking made us feel like we were sticking out like a sore thumb. So, we decided to try some non-alcoholic beer!

We picked a tough time to explore the world of non-alcoholic beer. We are currently limited to our local grocery store where the pickings are slim. Depending on the circumstances, we might venture to our local LCBO/Beer Store to see what we can find there.

But that being said, for our first foray into the non-alcoholic beverage world, we are coming across some beers that we really like! Check out the list below to see what we’ve tried so far!

TL;DR: Becks Non-alcoholic 0.0 and Heinkein 0.0 are our favourites so far.

  1. Clausthaler
    Bottled (But it does come in cans if you prefer!)
    Ingredients: water, barley malt, hop extract, carbon dioxide
    Website blurb (LCBO): Award-winning non-alcohol lager that’s brewed in accordance with the German Beer Purity Law. Crafted with the finest ingredients and a brewing method that reduces the alcohol but not the flavour. Crisp, lightly sweet bread notes, smooth palate, balanced by grassy hops. 

    Thoughts: This one we were NOT fans of. It tastes okay initially, but proceeds to have a really funky aftertaste. My husband compared it to a laker ice.. so if you enjoy those then you would probably like this beer! Would I buy again? Definitely not.

  2. Coors Edge
    Beer, natural flavours, contains barely
    Website blurb (LCBO): Double-brewed for authentic taste in the Coors tradition, experience the North American-style lager Coors Edge. A refreshing golden lager with that classic Coors taste but without the alcohol, ensuring that you’ll always be in the moment.

    Thoughts: This beer was OK. It wasn’t unpleasant, but it wasn’t amazing either. I was expecting this to taste similar to a Coors Banquet, but I didn’t really get that flavour from it. I drank two in one night and ended up being SUPER bloated (TMI, sorry!) so I didn’t love that aspect of it. I’m also partial to beer in a bottle, so I also didn’t like that it only came in cans. But, this all being said, I did enjoy the flavour and would probably buy it again.

  3. Heineken 0.0
    Bottle (But it does come in cans if you prefer!)
    Ingredients: water, malted barley, hop extract, natural flavourings, yeast
    Website blurb (LCBO): Great Taste Zero Alcohol. Crafted by the master brewers for the beer drinker that is unwilling to compromise on taste. All natural, zero alcohol beer that delivers all of the quality you expect from Heineken. Enjoy its soft, malty, toasted grain and refreshing fruit character. 

    Thoughts: Okay, weirdly enough I enjoyed the non-alcoholic version better than I did the regular kind. I guess that because the ingredients are different, the beer tastes different as well. I always found the original Heineken to be overrated, but I very much enjoyed this beer. I like that it’s 0.0%, and I like that it comes in bottles. The taste is delicious and tastes exactly like a “regular beer” tastes. Its nice to find an option where you don’t have to compromise flavour in the non-alcoholic version. Not very unique in terms of flavour, but a tried and true classic that you can always turn to. I will definitely be buying again in the future.

  4. Becks Non-Alcoholic 0.0
    barely, hops, yeast and water
    Web blurb (TBS): Brewed under the German purity law of 1516, only after the brewing process is complete is the alcohol removed, producing the distinct, crisp, clear taste you would expect from Becks bier, but without the alcohol.

    Thoughts: Again a really tasty option. I don’t think I’ve ever tried the original Becks, so I can’t speak to how it compares, but I really enjoyed this beer. It’s very easy to drink with your classic “beer flavour” to it. I also like that it only has four ingredients. Again, not very unique in terms of flavour, but a classic beer that is very easy drinking. We will be buying this one in the future.

Well, that’s all I’ve got for now! Are there any non-alcoholic beers that I you think I absolutely must try? Any local/craft breweries make non-alcoholic beers that I need to try? Let me know in the comments!