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By Laura Stec

Dry January 2022 Begins

Uploaded: Jan 3, 2022

And so begins the story of a woman slowly losing her mind.....

But not for what you may think. Last year, Dry January brought me back to my 20’s and 30’s – early years of experimenting with fasting. The chance to stop doing something, anything, done on an ongoing basis is extremely illuminating and helpful. Dry January exposed the importance of drink complexity, whether a beverage has alcoholic or not. It helped me with brain-train, and introduced me to handy new bevvies. Most importantly, I learned alcohol wasn’t hard to eliminate, and what my real nemesis was – that highly addictive, white, powdery substance...

Actually, any highly refined carbohydrate will do, thank you. Sweet or salty, add in some flour too (sorry - even gluten -free) - it don’t matter.

So this year I’m pushing a little harder, trying to NOT mindlessly “carbohydrate balance” (my descriptor, meaning “to replace a drink with a dessert”) as I did so freely in 2021. We will go into depth about this non-scientific discovery more later this month, but essentially, I replaced whatever carbohydrates eliminated from the beverage(s) with a nightly dessert instead (something I rarely choose), removing the alcohol, but adding a sugar charge to remain within a similar or increased carbohydrate load for the day. Readers wanting to pray for change and Gods’ grace, THIS is the elimination that could cause many a healthy habit soldier to go completely bonkers. NOTE: At the end of this month if you see me babbling incoherently on the street, please administer Swedish Fish immediately.

The art of the evening drink was also on full reveal last year - one of those finer things in life. After a hard day, and hopefully a good day of getting things done, transitioning from day to night requires attention. It’s helpful to have systems in place to assist the change; exercise, jumping in a pool or hot shower, or enjoying a beverage are some options. But it wasn’t alcohol that revealed vital to the process – a smooth transitional libation can occur with or without. A daily hurrah at the end of the work day – in whatever form it takes, offers comfort and enjoyment. Work into cooking is a tough transition. “Only wine at the stove,” is a possible motivator when it's not DJan. Find transitions that work for you.

Let’s begin our journey with a reading recommendation - How to Change by Katy Milkman. Available from your library as a book or on tape, it’s a helping hand for any New Year’s resolution. Fast anything you want in January – – this book will help build new habits for success, breaking human tendencies toward impulsivity, procrastination, forgetfulness, laziness and lack of confidence / self-efficacy (a wonderful term we’ll explore later in the month). Really a good read to learn about human idiosyncrasies and how to build in effective work-arounds.

I’m doing Dry January again because, well, my friends do it and it’s good exercise to keep on top of your brain. You are either in control of your brain, or your brain is in control of you. I don’t want flabby body, or flabby brain.

And this is a near-perfect time to do it. With omicron everywhere you have a good excuse to lay low. Less social gatherings make for an easier ride.

If you have any non-alcoholic drink recipes or tips, please send them in for us all to enjoy. Jan sends this one to start us off…

Mix Lapsang Souchong tea and black cherry juice. May wish to sweeten a bit. Portions are half and half. Serve HOT.

Danna suggests this...
Seltzer and any flavored balsamic vinegar from Sigonas.

Wirecutter in The New York Times offers this list of nonalcoholic beverages. Products have come a long way!

Here’s a recipe from last week @Shtwo.

Virgin Dirty
Makes 1

A non-alcoholic version of the Dirty Martini, just as refreshing and exciting.

1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
High-quality olive juice
High-quality olives and onions for garnish
Soda water

Mix together the salt and paprika. Sprinkle mix onto a plate. Rim a rocks glass with lime slice, then roll the rim in the salt to coat, just like a margarita. Add ice to glass, add olive juice (to taste). Top with soda water. Garnish with olives and onions.

In response to the discussion of last week, and as we go through this month, readers should realize The Food Party! is written from the perspective of someone who does not have problems moderating alcohol intake. If you are suffering from addiction, or concerned for someone who is, a 24-hour hotline for addiction treatment can be reached at 800-854-6025.

Also a reminder please that The Food Party! is an insult-free blog. Our motto: If it ain't fun it don't get done! Please keep your comments constructive and respectful. Writers Tip: Aim to inspire, entertain, or make people laugh. :)

- photos by LSIC