Dry Jan - Is it time for a detox?

With so many external pressures all around us from national lockdowns, homeschooling, remote working and trying to find the motivation this winter to get into that health kick, starting dry January may seem impossible to think about this year. 

Dry January is a simple challenge for you to go alcohol-free for 31 days with the aim to raise awareness of the effects of alcohol. Not only can it save you significant money over the month, but the campaign is also about raising the awareness of the many health benefits from having a month off alcohol.  

This can include:

- Improving your relationship with alcohol

- Allowing you to have a conversation about alcohol: why do we drink, what does it do, how can we reduce the harm it can cause.

- Also allows your body and liver some rest from the toxic effects of regular alcoholic consumption. 

We all drink alcohol for different reasons and it is useful for us to be reminded what our bodies continually consume throughout the year.  However there any many different ways you can view this challenge and simply stopping for a month may not be the most suitable thing for you.   

Having a clearer picture of what is recommended is always useful.  Equally, there are some great alternatives to going completely alcohol-free and possibly helping to change your habits for longer than just one month. 

What is the recommended alcohol intake per week?
14 units of alcohol is the recommended amount for men and women to drink on a weekly basis.

Well, excess alcohol consumption can lead to liver damage, hypertension, cardiovascular disease or certain types of cancer.

What is 14 units?
14 units amount to 6 pints of average strength beer or 10 small glasses of low strength wine.

Did you know?
A 750ml bottle of 14% ABV (alcohol by volume) = 10.5units A 568ml pint of 5.2% ABV (alcohol by volume) = 3units 

Don't fancy dry Jan, here are 6 alternatives:

Cutting Down: Whilst Dry Jan provides you with the challenge of an alcohol-free month, for some who feel they drink above the recommended amounts, cutting down on the weekly consumption could be just a great goal to achieve.

Spread: If you are reducing your intake down to 14 units a week, try spreading your consumption over three or more days.

Reduce down: Also look to consider having a lower strength drink, having rest days from drinking, or drink small qualities of drinks with smaller measures or glass sizes.

Look at alternatives: there are also many great-tasting alcohol-free ales, wines, and beers that you can substitute. They also can provide the much needed social and psychological effects of stress relief that drinking can provide. 

Explore: There is a huge variety of soft drinks on the market and its a great chance to explore what you may like. 

Back to basics with water: Remember to also stay hydrated with fluids (preferably with water). The recommended amount of fluid intake for men is nearly 3.6 litres per day or 2.5 litres for women. So if you are not managing to have this amount, slowly increase the number of cups of water you are having daily. This may also help you feel less thirsty in the evenings when you are more likely to turn to an alcoholic drink.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do and always remember you are only ever challenging yourself, so whether its 3, 7 or 30 days, every action you make can make a difference to your health! 

For more advice or information check the NHS website out: ww.nhs.uk