By Amanda Tiberi, MSCN, HHP
Unless you have been living under a rock, you have seen the hashtags and all the celebrities going dry for January. This means no alcohol for the entire month of January. While it might sound painful to give up your Happy Hour cocktail or Sunday brunch, there are proven health benefits to pumping the breaks on the sauce.
For one, your gut will thank you. Chronic alcohol consumption has actually been shown to alter the gut microbiotia, causing inflammation and malabsorption of nutrients. Giving your digestive system a break would allow for repopulation of the microbiome and a reduction of feeling bloated.
In addition to boosting gut health, you might also get a boost in mood. Have you ever had the Sunday blues nursing a hangover after a night out on the town? Although alcohol can help relax and is known as “liquid courage” for social situations, it has also been known to disturb sleep patterns and negatively impact mood, such as depression and anxiety. Going alch-free can give you a more stable mood, plus you get the added bonus of not feeling anxious about anything you might have said the night before.
Some other benefits to giving up the juice are potential weight loss (kiss that 2am pizza goodbye!), healthier skin, and some studies have shown that you might even give your immune system a bit of a boost.
You might be asking yourself at this point how to begin. The tip that I always recommend to clients is to replace your cocktail with a mocktail. It helps to have something in your hand to sip so that you can continue to socialize and participate in all events. You do not need to stay home drinking water watching Netflix on Friday night just because you are sober (unless you want to, which I totally support!).
My favorite type of mocktail is one made with a flavored sparkling beverage to elevate it, such as a Cloud Water + Hemp. The CBD is an added bonus of benefits and to make it even better, you can pour it into a fancy glass and garnish with fresh herbs. Your friends will be begging to try your mocktail!
My other tips to get started are to find support from friends and even social media to find other people participating in Dry January or going sober so you feel less alone. Having community can help motivate and keep you on track. Best of luck and stay dry, my friends!