From mid-November through New Years Eve, we all spend an inordinate amount of time in celebratory mode. We plot and plan our menus for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and the many other happy days filling November and December. We scour the web for decadent recipes in the hopes of eating, drinking, and making merry. We shop, we schlep, we peel, chop, cook, bake, and make many taste buds sing with delight
And why not? Hopefully we all have plenty to be thankful for and wonderful people around us to celebrate having in our lives.
Okay, it’s January…you feasted and fested and made merry many times over. Now you are dealing with the credit card bills and the pounds you packed on.
Time for Dry January!
Dry January is a public health campaign, started in the United Kingdom in 2012, urging people to abstain from alcohol for the month of January. As with many fashions and great ideas, it has made its way here.
For many, this is part of their annual New Year’s Resolution. The bottom line is, after bingeing for these many weeks, removing alcohol from your body for a few weeks has some very positive effects. Many people feel depriving your body for a short period of time is a great way to detox.
30% of the American population claims they do not drink. In America, 24 million adults over the age 18 consume, on average, 74 alcoholic drinks per week. Being only 10% of the population, they account for half of the alcohol consumed in any given year. Alcohol is the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States.
According to The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, too much drinking alcohol, whether on a sole occasion or over time takes a serious toll on your health.
- Alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways and can affect the way the brain looks and works.
- Drinking can damage the heart, causing life-long problems like Cardiomyopathy, Arrhythmias, Stroke, and high blood pressure.
- Heavy drinking strains the liver, leading to liver inflammations and life-threatening disease.
- Alcohol causes the pancreas to generate toxic elements which may lead to pancreatitis.
- There is a strong scientific consensus relating alcohol drinking and several types of cancer; specifically mouth, esophagus, pharynx, larynx, liver, and breast. An estimated 3.5 percent of all cancer deaths in the United States (about 19,500 deaths) were alcohol related.
- Drinking a lot on a single occasion slows your body’s ability to ward off infections – even up to 24 hours after getting drunk.
Believe it or not, drinking in moderation is considered to be up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men. One glass of wine, one glass of beer, one shot of straight alcohol. One glass is not the tremendous glass you wish for!
Okay, so you now know what drinking can do to your health and wellbeing. Here is what abstaining can do for you!
- WEIGHT LOSS: Alcohol is loaded with calories. At 7 calories per gram, a standard 5 oz. glass of wine can contain about 130 calories, and a 12 oz. serving of beer close to 330 calories. Let’s not discuss the calories of eggnog and mixed drinks because it is too depressing. Your beloved Cosmo packs in 218 calories!
- BETTER SLEEP: You may fall asleep quickly with your happy buzz, but alcohol disrupts the most restorative phase of sleep that occurs later in the night
- HAPPIER IMMUNE SYSTEM: You no longer have alcohol compromising it.
- IMPROVED COMPLEXION AND SKIN: Alcohol acts as a diuretic which increases fluid loss. This can lead to dehydration and possibly skin damage.
- HAPPIER WALLET: Americans spend about 1% of their gross annual income on alcohol.
- HEALTHIER LIFE CHOICES: If you tend to drink excessively and may possibly have a problem, Dry January can give you a start to a healthier lifestyle. Many people drink as a way to relieve stress or induce sleep (even if they are not consciously aware). Removing alcohol from your routine promotes learning better coping skills.
- HAPPY DIGESTION: Less heartburn and reflux
- OVERALL HEALTH IMPROVEMENTS: Less insulin resistance, weight gain and blood pressure improvement
- BREAKING THE CYCLE: If you have gotten into the routine of drinking to excess, taking the month off may break the cycle.
So…this is 2020. Grab your drinking buddy and buddy up for Dry January. When you start feeling better physically and emotionally you will thank each other.