Can anyone believe that we're already over half way through the year? With the return of 'Dry July' it felt like a good time for us to talk about the amazing affects of giving your body a little hiatus from alcohol.
If you're reading this blog, you've probably already signed up for Dry July, congratulations! Whatever your reasons for partaking in Dry July there are some incredible health benefits you'll be about to experience.
Whatever your reasons for partaking in Dry July there are some incredible health benefits you'll be about to experience.
To help you succeed, we're setting you up with everything you need: understanding the health benefits of taking a break from the booze, finding a new way to wind down and managing social drinking situations.
1. Focus On The Positive Things You're Doing
When the going gets tough, it can be difficult to remember why you started in the first place. We've found that understanding what is actually going on inside your body and the wonderful health benefits occurring, can be really motivating.
- Stabilising Your Blood Sugar Levels. Alcohol is essentially a sugar, so every time you have a drink your blood sugar levels rise. On the flip side, reducing alcohol means your blood sugar levels will stay lovely and stable, supporting everything from hormone health to energy levels and insulin.
- Giving Your Liver A Much Needed Break. When you drink an alcoholic beverage, 10% of the ethanol (the chemical compound that makes alcohol alcoholic) is broken down by the stomach as a 'first pass' effect. Another 10% is metabolised by your brain and other organs. The remaining 80% hits your liver and must be broken down there. Your liver is also responsible for processing chemicals we consume in our food, or absorb from beauty products and our environment. In our modern day world—it's constantly loaded! Giving it a break from alcohol allows it to process some of the 'backlog.'
- Supporting Your Intestine Integrity. Your intestinal wall is comprised of many tight junctions. These junctions are the gateway between your intestines and bloodstream. When you drink alcohol on an empty stomach, it damages the intestines, weakening these junctions and causing gateways to open into the bloodstream. This is a common cause of leaky gut. An alcohol break allows your body to focus on rest and restore here.
- Deep, Nourishing Sleep. While a few vinos might make you fall asleep in record time, alcohol actually affects the quality of your sleep—all smart watch owners will also be able to attest to this..! Alcohol disrupts REM sleep (the restorative kind of sleep that generally happens about 90 minutes after you drift off). This can make you feel drowsy and tired during the day, even if you get your 8 hours.
2. Establish a New Wind-Down Routine
If reaching for a glass or two of vino is part of your wind-down routine from a busy afternoon, day, week.... then you're going to need a new habit this month.
Here's some ways you could wind-down without the wine:
- Meditation and yoga are great ways to calm your mind and clear the 'noise' from the day. Don't have time for a yoga session or not sure where to start? Try Ben's 2-Minute meditation.
- Try putting your legs up the wall and enjoy the calming effect.
- Take an epsom salt bath or a hot shower.
All of these activities down-regulate the sympathetic nervous system and activate the parasympathetic nervous system (known as the ‘rest and digest’ state), which is essentially the physiological effect we're chasing when we reach for that glass.
3. Swap Your Drink for One of These
- Kombucha and sparkling water with a wedge of lemon (in season at the moment and full of vitamin C!)
- A mug of chai, turmeric latte or hot cacao is lovely and warming.
- Vitamin C has some fantastic stress-supporting benefits - we really love having a teaspoon of BePure Super Boost C in the Immune-Boosting Elixir and drinking it from a champagne or cocktail glass—to make it feel a little fancy. It has all the same relax perks as your evening wind-down vino but it also supports collagen production and immunity.
- There are also some great non-alcoholic liquor options out there like Seedlip. If you're missing the 'actual taste' try our Gentle Seedlip Cocktail.
Beyond Dry July
Hopefully these 3 tips to tackle Dry July give you everything you need to succeed and you reap the health benefits of an alcohol break! If you want to continue these habits beyond this month, we think that's great.
When it comes to the research there is a lot of back-and-fourth between studies. Some studies link moderate alcohol consumption (such as up to 4 servings of organic red wine) to wellbeing and longevity while others take a zero tolerance stance.
The bottom line is that we are all humans, not the fun-police! Love it or leave it, alcohol is very ingrained in Kiwi culture. We recommend continuing to educate yourself on how alcohol impacts the body so you can make your own informed decisions on when and how much, to drink. And stay hydrated, always