I have learned through my years of weight maintenance that the occasional splurge is definitely part of a healthy lifestyle, not to mention an important motivator for continued adherence to a healthy routine. In my extensive experience with fad diets, I have learned that deprivation is not a lasting solution, and eliminating certain food groups should not be an option. Giving myself a few days to indulge (especially around the holidays) is pretty harmless in the scheme of things, as long as I make sure that these special few days remain just that, a few days and not a complete abandonment of all that I have worked for. Having just reached the four month mark at Oldways, I am experiencing my first holiday season as a member of the team and have encountered a few worthy indulgences along the way.  As a Mediterranean Diet aficionado, I greatly enjoy the emphasis put on enjoying food and wine with friends and family, and I have definitely not been left disappointed by this festive time at Oldways. On Monday, December 19, we were lucky enough to have TJ Douglas from The Urban Grape, in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, come to Oldways for a wine tasting. The concept for the wine tasting was to sample different wines from around the world, made from the same grape.  We sampled four wines made from the Chardonnay grape (including one Sparkling wine from California) and four made from Grenache (including one sweet wine from Spain). TJ’s engaging personality and clear passion for his topic were extremely contagious, and his unique system for categorizing wine makes complete sense for someone like me who loves wine, but usually misses the details. My coworker Cindy said it best when she said, “The wine tasting was the first time that wine-talk has ever made SENSE to me. Usually I pretend to listen and just enjoy the wine.” It was so interesting to see the different factors that affect the taste of a wine. I would have assumed that similar grapes would produce similar tastes, but there is so much more to it! As they say, it is the terroir — or taste of the place — which provides the subtle, and sometimes not so subtle differences. When you think about it there are so many factors, including region, soil type, and storage techniques, that all greatly influence the outcome. We then ventured to La Voile on Newbury Street for our holiday dinner where we were able to put our new-found wine tasting techniques to work!  Not to mention that the cozy atmosphere and authentic French cuisine were the perfect cap to a great night. Holidays at Oldways have not let me down, and I look forward to sharing many more!  Happy New Year!! —Abby

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