Don't think you could give up alcohol for a whole month? You'll be astonished at the health benefits that you feel within days of taking a break from alcohol.
Let me tell you more about the benefits for your liver, your energy, your motivation and your waist line!
I love a glass of wine! I aim to be healthy enough to continue to have moderate amounts of alcohol well into old age! That's why I take a break a couple of months each year. It gives my liver a chance to regenerate, and reminds me of how great it feels to be alcohol free.
Alcohol is more than a beverage in Aussie culture. Heavy drinking and bingeing with friends is a cultural norm, with more that 17% of Australians drinking at unhealthy levels every week, according to a 2018 Australian government report.
Dangerous drinking habits are not just confined to younger people. Alcohol is a common way to relax and socialise for people of all ages, with a surprisingly high incidence of unhealthy drinking occurring amongst middle age women and retirees.
Cutting back on alcohol
When I recommend to clients that they could benefit from cutting down on their alcohol consumption, they often agree that they would like to do so.
Unfortunately they struggle to see a practical way to go alcohol free and still participate in work, family and social occasions.
And that's why I love Dry July! Wether you sign up to the official website to raise money for cancer research, or just decide to go it alone, July is a great time to take a break from alcohol. Because everyone's heard of Dry July.
Dry July is the perfect excuse to drink mineral water at a corporate function. The perfect excuse to take kombucha to a family BBQ, and the perfect excuse to have a warming herbal tea after a meal with friends.
Give your liver a break
Your liver is an important organ, it has many functions and it's not just for detoxing. Liver health has wide ranging effects on many aspects of your wellbeing. I recommend cutting back on alcohol to any clients experiencing:
digestive or bowel problems,
fatty liver disease (alcoholic and non-alcoholic),
raised liver enzymes on a blood test,
peri-menopause symptoms and high oestrogen levels,
anxiety or depression,
acne or other skin problems,
fatigue and low energy,
or those who take medication
During your month of no alcohol, drink more water and take notice of your body and how many of your daily symptoms are reduced or eliminated. No more headaches? Constipation has resolved? Feeling less anxious? It's often an eye opener to learn how many of our day-to-day symptoms are a direct result of alcohol, or being dehydrated.
Improve your energy
You will be astonished at how easy it is to train at the gym during your month off alcohol. You will have more motivation to get up early and get to the gym, and you will train easier.
One of the reasons that you will have more energy is that you will sleep better. Many of us fall asleep more easily after we've had a few wines in the evening. But the sleep you have after consuming alcohol is less refreshing than sleeping when there is no alcohol in your system.
Reduce your waist line
Alcohol contains calories, so cutting out a whole months worth of liquid calories may see you drop 2 or 3 kilos (depending on how much you usually drink).
More interesting is the affect that alcohol has on will power. Do you ever go to a function determined not to eat too much, and then after a few wines, you end up ordering dessert? You will surprised by the good decisions that a sober mind can make!
Discover a world of delicious non-alcoholic beverages (I don't mean Coca Cola)
There are many options for drinks that taste fantastic that contain no alcohol.
Water! Water tastes good and it hydrates you. If you don't like the taste you could try adding a slice of lemon, lime, cucumber, or a mint leaf.
Many bars and restaurants have a range of delicious tasting non-alcoholic cocktails.
Kombucha is a probiotic drink that benefits your gut bacteria and is becoming very popular.
Mineral water is packed with healthy minerals.
Herbal teas - peppermint, dandelion, licorice, are a great healthy alternative. There are so many herbal teas, you will find one you love if you keep experimenting.
Non-alcoholic wines and soft drinks can be an option, however watch out for the sugar content. Replacing 3 glasses of wine with 3 glasses of Coca Cola will not improve your health.
Other ideas for cutting back on alcohol:
Changing up the way we socialise can influence the pressure we feel to drink. Consider taking a walk or a hike with a friend instead of meeting up for drinks.
Consider changing the friends you socialise with. Is there a particular group of friends that pressure you to drink? Or are there people that make you feel anxious? Do you drink more to cope with being around them? Can you take a break from these friends and spend more time with people who have a positive influence on you?
Take some time to brain storm ways to have more fun and drink less at the same time.
I hope you feel inspired to join me in taking a short break from alcohol.
Do you need more support to change your habits and your health? Why not work with me?
I am a naturopath, nutritionist, herbalist and certified wellness coach.
I welcome clients to my clinic in Gladesville, Sydney.
This blog contains information from my Bachelor of Health Science degree, continuing research, and from experience gained from working with men and women in my clinic.
The blog is not intended as individual health advice and you should seek assistance for medical conditions.