Drinks for a dry January
Dry January, dranuary.....whatever you call it, it is a staple for lots of people.
We have a run of family birthdays in early January so I tend to wait a week or so, but then I am fully in!
In fact, I’ve been a lot lighter on the booze lately. Because no matter how natural and funny and easy it feels to say “pass the wine” after a hard day, there are just so many of them.
I read an article recently about the glorification of women’s drinking – how many of us are connecting or comforting during these crazy Covid times with a drink in hand.
We have such a tremendous amount of close contact with our families and while we love them, there are aspects of parenthood that set the exasperation dial to max and many of us respond with good humour and a drink in hand. Let’s face it, how many funny mummy/wine memes have you seen online lately?
The problem is that alcohol is bad news for your hormones, for fat-burning and for cancer prevention. I don’t care how many antioxidants there are in red wine (and there are some, phew!), we can’t escape the fact that drinking alcohol raises the risk significantly for many cancers. This risk exists with a small amount and rises, of course, with a large amount. But the adage “everything in moderation” is pushed when “moderation” means one (or more) drinks a day.
When it comes to liver health, one of the most valuable things to know is that it takes approximately three days for your liver to recover from processing alcohol. So rather than a moderate “one glass a day” approach (which is quite a lot if you think about it – picture 30 glasses a month all lined up in a row!) it’s actually optimal to go for at least three days a week when you don’t drink anything at all. And then try not to overdo it on the days you do drink.
Even without any kind of formal addiction, abstaining from that glass of wine in the evenings can take quite a lot of will power. But the great thing is that it gets increasingly easy once you break the habit. And if you create a really enjoyable, alternative go-to, then it’s even easier.
If you think about what you get from an evening glass of wine, it’s probably the “aaaaaand relax!” factor – the cue to help you switch off from your day. You might find that it calms irritation and makes you easier to deal but half of that is psychological, prompted by the cue.
In reality, going for a walk or a run would also be a good cue – you just have to build the habit! And it doesn’t come with any kind of sluggishness or hangover the next day.
However, if you love to make yourself a special drink and enjoy it while cooking or relaxing, then here are three alcohol-free ideas for you to try. I get annoyed when many alcohol-free options are full of sugar because so many of us are ditching alcohol with the purpose of being healthier. So to make sure that this is a proactively healthy cue for you, the sugar content is nice and low.
(For more healthy living tips and an amazing, detailed, optimum nutrition education, join me for Nutrifit starting on January 27!)
Three non-alcoholic drinks to try this January:
My favourite of all the botanical elixirs because they are actually functional too ie they do a positive job for your body! Try the Social Elixir with a splash of soda water, or the Nightcap on the rocks with a twist of lemon. The Livener is good either way but note that it does contain caffeine! These are expensive but worth it. Exclusively at Miles.
It’s so simple, but so good. Spindrift are by far my favourite naturally flavoured sparkling seltzers (with no added sugars, sweeteners or colours). The lemon is my favourite. It just needs to be ice cold and popped in a wine glass with some ice. It’s a completely different experience to lemon Perrier which tastes very fake, in my opinion.
Brew some Rooibos tea – a South African red leaf tea that is caffeine-free, relaxing and packed full of antioxidants. Chill and pour over ice with a splash of OJ, slices of lemon and some freshly torn mint leaves. It’s so good!
Catherine Burns is a qualified nutritional therapist. For more details: www.natural.bm, 505-4725. Follow Natural Nutrition Bermuda on Facebook and @naturalbda on Instagram