If George Santos gets away with being Jew-ish, we certainly can be Dry-ish this January.
Launched in 2012 by the nonprofit Alcohol Change UK, 4,000 people joined the first Dry January. Fast forward to 2023 and roughly 15% of American adults or 30,000,000 people are participating this year. According to data from retailer The ZeroProof, the San Francisco Bay Area is one of the strongest markets for nonalcoholic beverages in the U.S. Chances are someone you know is participating this year and studies show they’ll be even more successful if you join them.
So much of Dry January focuses on excess; “I’m tired of being hungover.” But there’s a growing contingency of less dramatic participation, one of self-exploration and improvement. I love a glass of wine at night but I don’t want to love too many. I need to know how many glasses I can drink without causing inflammation in my body. I also need to understand clearly how much sugar I can consume without causing inflammation in my body. As we age, this becomes even more important to fine tune. January is a good time to go on that adventure.
A group of friends and I have cheer-led each other on in past years and I've reported insights learned along the way. This year we’re going dry-ish, choosing a few days a week, rather than the entire month. I think next year I might do Wet-ish January - introducing more of something I don’t eat or drink enough of like water, sea vegetables or dried beans. Make it work for you.
Most of our eating and drinking is just habit and data shows that temporary adjustments can shift behavior toward long term change. Dry January is a good excuse to eliminate anything highly stimulating and refined – alcohol for sure, but also sugar, pizza, chips, ice cream, etc. Never take for granted that high fat, sugar and salt can gain power over you just like alcohol can, unless you maintain power over them.
With so many more nonalcoholic drinks on the market than there used to be, there’s plenty of exploring and discovery to be had. Total Wine and More has a big selection of alcohol-free spirits, wines and beers, and online is prolific. I picked up a few favorites from last year like Bravus Peanut Beer Dark beer, which I drink at room temperature (100 cal/25 g carbohydrates), and Hella Bitters and Soda (90 cal /22 g carbohydrates). Also new products like a single serving Juniper Fly, a gin-free and tonic with great taste and only 30 cal/6g per bottle. Another plan of action is hunting for the best mocktail in town. But buyer beware; many alcohol-free products are low in complexity and high in sweet and price, so shop around. Check nutritional labels when available.
If you want assistance with goal setting and reminders, there’s a myriad of “better habit” apps to pick from. Check out Sunnyside, an online community and app with life coaches who can track your DJ progress.
The most common challenge of Dry January is staying motivated. So make an action plan, enlist friends to join and have fun! It gets easier every year. The Mixer offers drink inspiration and recipes. Here’s their Margarita Mocktail with a secret ingredient, olive juice.
photo by The Mixer
2 Oz lime juice, freshly squeezed
1 Oz orange juice, freshly squeezed
1 Oz lemon juice, freshly squeezed
a dash of olive brine
1 teaspoon agave nectar (or maple syrup)
2 Oz club soda, to taste
a slice of lime, to garnish
sea salt, for the salty rim (optional)
photos by LSIC unless noted
Don't forget to pick up a copy of Food Fight, A Citizens Guide to the next Food and Farm Bill by Dan Imhoff. We will start reading this book for The Food Party! book group next month.