Every year after the Christmas season, which is packed with festive fun and delicious indulgence, comes the often dreaded month of January! We are usually low on money, anticipating the return of real life and generally not feeling our best, due to either too much food, alcohol or the shorter, darker days.
January is the start of a new year. We should use this as motivation for getting back to our health and looking forward to a fresh start; especially after the difficult past year we have all endured. To feel our best we need to take it easy, be kind to ourselves, re-energise our bodies, exercise and get in as many nutrients as we possibly can.
One of the factors which can help with this is avoiding booze for a month. More and more people sign up to go dry for January, avoiding alcohol for the month to change their habits and hit the reset button after a heavy festive and fun-filled season.
Dry January was created by UK non profit Alcohol Change UK, the first official Dry Jan began in 2013. So, it also brings the opportunity to raise money for charity, which is another amazing reason to jump on the no-booze bandwagon!
So, how can going dry for January support our health?
Alcohol depletes certain vitamins & minerals.
Alcohol depletes various important vitamins and minerals including our B vitamins, magnesium and zinc, which can make us fatigued with a low mood and generally feeling under the weather.
A great benefit to participating in Dry January is that you will be able to properly absorb your nutrients, which play key roles in supporting the nervous system and overall brain function.
Increase your energy levels.
You will have more energy to be active and to get excited about the aspect of exercise, rather than dreading it due to your body feeling exhausted and depleted.
Hangover days make us want to hibernate and consume all the food we can, rather than go to a yoga class or for a jog. If you dread being hungover, Dry January is the perfect time to experience a hangover free month!
Love your liver.
The liver turns glucose into fat and sends it around the body to store. Alcohol can affect the way the liver handles fat and it can become swollen, leading to poor liver function.
However, the liver is a very forgiving organ and can actually regenerate and heal itself. Of course this depends on the severity of damage, but a break from heavy drinking for a month can make a big difference to the health of your liver and how it functions.
Lose weight and feel healthier
A study in 2018 by The University of Sussex found that the simple act of removing alcohol for a month helped people drink less in the long-term. It found the benefits to be saving money, sleeping better and losing weight.
Depending on the amount of alcohol being consumed per week before starting, Dry January could significantly impact a decrease in overall calories since a standard drink usually has around 150 calories. Alcohol also makes us feel hungrier, and often we make poor food choices after drinking, leading us to not feeling so great.
Improve your sleep (REM sleep).
Alcohol disrupts sleep patterns. Many claim it actually helps them get to sleep, which may be the case at first. However, research has shown that excessive alcohol can disrupt REM sleep (the stage of sleep where we dream the most). A lack of REM sleep can affect memory and motor skills which play a major role in our every day lives.
Removing alcohol for a month can make you feel more clear headed; helping you to sleep better, resulting in more energy to get in your workouts and to support healthier eating habits.
Balance your blood sugars
Alcohol often disrupts blood sugar levels; increasing them which leads to crashes later in the day, especially if your drink of choice is high in sugars like wine and beer.
By avoiding alcohol for a month, you can give your body a chance to level out and keep your blood sugar levels steady, with no crashes, leading to a more energised you!
Kombucha, Ginger & Cranberry Mocktail
Kombucha is a fermented tea which is widely regarded as a probiotic and beneficial for our guts. It is becoming more popular and is an ideal addition to this Mocktail, allowing you to sip the night away and still feel your best the next morning! Plus, you get a healthy dose of lovely probiotics for your gut, it’s a win-win!
Ready in 20 minutes
- 1 bottle kombucha of choice (can be flavoured or unflavoured, whatever takes your fancy)
- 1/4 cup 100% cranberry juice
- 1-inch of fresh ginger, thinly sliced, plus a little more for garnish
- 1 large sprig of fresh rosemary, plus a little more for garnish
- Fresh cranberries, rosemary sprigs, and thinly sliced ginger for garnish
- Fill 4 glasses with ice.
- In a pitcher, muddle the ginger and rosemary together using the end of a wooden spoon.
- Add the cranberry juice and kombucha, stir gently to combine all together.
- Pour the mixture into the ice-filled glasses and garnish with sprigs of rosemary, a slice of fresh ginger, and a few cranberries on top.