Dry July, But What Next?
The benefits of not consuming alcohol for a month are many and well documented, but after your 31 days of abstinence, what should you do next? Terry Herbert has some practical suggestions and reasons why no alcohol now, and moderation beyond July are worthy of your consideration.
I’ll start first by saying up front that I am not taking part in ‘Dry July’, at least not this year. I did however successfully stay ‘dry’ in July 2014. For those of you just embarking on your month of temperance, it is challenging but you can do it!
Support, Support, Support!
What helped me get through was support. I worked at the time for a small ad agency and we all did Dry July together. We all had different reasons: “drop a dress size for a wedding”, “lay off the booze”, “sharpen the brain” and for me it was, “lose some body fat.” We also wanted to raise funds for the worthy Cancer support organisations that have touched all our lives. Friday night drinks were replaced with juice and water, and that special connection we had in common brought us closer. The camaraderie helped us get through.
Unless you live in a cave, social events happen, so be the sober driver. Everyone will accept your ‘status’ and you won’t feel the same pressing temptation to drink alcohol on a social occasion.
Setting Yourself Up For Success
To avoid temptation and peer pressure,lime or lemon drink with soda water , or lime and bitters in a tall glass, no-one is the wiser.
To reduce the craving for alcohol, make sure you drink lots of water and exercise. Don't forget to eat well and eat often.
I won’t go into the detail (because if you’re interested we can explore this in depth in another article) about why all of us need to drink enough water and exercise; but the former is the single most important substance to create balance in our bodies. The latter is necessary for physical and mental well-being to build muscle, bone density, and stimulate dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain. It is especially important to get you through the alcohol craving.
Eating well and often means regular meals and healthy snacks throughout the day. Because alcohol is converted to sugar in the body, when you stop drinking, the body craves sugar. Avoiding processed, simple carbohydrates and opting for whole grains, kumara or basmati rice will slow the release of sugar and stop the ‘sugar rush’.
Choose foods that are low in fat and include adequate amounts of lean protein. I ate lots of poached salmon, nuts (especially walnuts and almonds), loads of broccoli, fresh fruits, vegetables and fresh salads to get the necessary vitamins, fibre and minerals.
And because you’re already here on the Health Discovery site you should know the health benefits of our superfoods and all-natural superfood bars. I would personally recommend the ‘Probiotic Bar’ primarily for the walnuts and the slow, sustained release of energy to get you through any ‘cocktail hour’ urgings.
Keep It Fun
Most importantly make ‘Dry July’ fun, my work colleagues and I certainly did. Checking in every Monday morning made sure we hadn’t lapsed. Making jokes about our improved libidos and swapping meal plans and exercise tips kept us going through the month.
Your body will be better off for this ‘booze free holiday’, but unless you adopt good habits for life, you will lapse. I didn’t want that and neither should you.
In my next article, I want to take you beyond Dry July, introduce you to your liver and explore with you why drinking a couple of glasses of wine a day, but also having three days of abstinence a week, are not only beneficial, they’re going to help you live longer and avoid type 2 diabetes, obesity, cancer and heart disease.
Stay tuned and be healthy.
Terry Herbert our Health Nut , is a journalist and healthcare copywriter who is passionate about discovering and sharing new insights into natural ways we can live healthier and longer lives.