Dry July is a great opportunity to assess your alcohol intake and what effect it is having on your wellbeing. It’s the perfect time to give your body a break from alcohol, and your liver will love you for this!
Acetaldehyde, the toxic by product of alcohol metabolism, can disrupt DNA synthesis, increasing the risk of cancer, and damage the liver, reducing its ability to perform many vital functions for keeping us healthy, such as detoxification. Depending on sensitivity, even a little alcohol can begin to cause liver damage (Murray & Pizzorno, 2012).
It’s important to remember that it is very easy to exceed the recommended amount of alcohol without realising. For instance, one ‘standard drink’ of wine is only 100ml, much less than a glass (Health Promotion Agency, n.d). Have a look at this guide to see what counts as a standard drink – https://www.alcohol.org.nz/help-advice/standard-drinks/a-guide-to-standard-drinks/the-guide
Recognising the health benefits of giving your body and especially your liver a break from alcohol is a powerful motivation for an alcohol free period. Whether you are signed up to take part in the Dry July fundraiser or simply avoiding alcohol in July for the health benefits, there are many tasty alcohol free alternatives to get you through.
A tip for dry July: have a non-alcoholic drink at the same time you would normally have a wine or other alcohol containing beverage, and do what you would normally do, make dinner, chat to loved ones etc. It could be the activity that gives you pleasure, rather than the alcohol (Weaver, 2018).
Alcohol free drinks to try:
- Herbal teas: especially as the weather is cooler in July, now is a great time to try a wide range. Liquorice (nice and sweet), chamomile, green tea (with jasmine is a lovely combo), rooibos, peppermint… the list goes on. Many herbal teas can also be enjoyed cold as iced tea. Try adding lemon and mint for added flavour.
- A spritzer with half sparkling water and half fruit juice (grapefruit, cranberry etc). Serve in a nice glass, or champagne flute.
- For parties or social events, have a play with creating mocktails. There’s some great ideas here https://abeautifulmess.com/2014/05/lets-make-mocktails-.html
- Add flavour to sparkling water by adding mint, lemon or orange slices, and serve in a fancy glass.
- Chai is another great option for cold winter nights. Here’s a recipe to make some: https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/homemade-chai-201226
Alcohol free mulled wine
This alcohol free mulled wine packs an antioxidant punch with the use of spices and can be served hot or cold. The tea is included for the tannins, which reflect the tannin content in wine. Use a juice without added sugars.
- 4 cups Apple Black Currant Juice
- 2 cups strong black leaf tea or green tea (steep 5 minutes or more)
- Long strips of peel from 1 large orange
- 2 Tbsp raisins
- 6 whole cloves
- 3 star anise
- 1 large or 2 medium cinnamon sticks, broken into thirds
Put all the ingredients into a saucepan, cover and bring to the boil, then turn down the heat to simmer for 20 minutes. The flavour improves if allowed to sit and steep. To serve, pour through a strainer, keeping the raisins to include a teaspoon of in each glass/mug. Enjoy!
This article was written by Sarah Clarke – Tutor, Level 5 and 7
Health Promotion Agency. (n.d). The guide. Retrieved from https://www.alcohol.org.nz/help-advice/standard-drinks/a-guide-to-standard-drinks/the-guide
Murray, M.T., & Pizzorno, J. (2012). The encyclopedia of natural medicine (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Atria.
Weaver, L. (2018). The impact of alcohol. Retrieved from https://www.drlibby.com/health-wellbeing/the-impact-of-alcohol/