Breaking Up With Pour Decisions: Ringing in The New Year Alcohol-Free

alcohol with cross out

If you really want to get healthy for the new year, then you need to break up with alcohol for the month of January.

This may sound like a shot to the heart for my wine mommas or my people who love that dirty martini with extra olives. I get it (especially as a semi-retired, dirty martini gal myself).

But as a holistic nutritionist for over 20 years, I can assure you that drinking alcohol does more harm than good. And this is your sign to go booze-free.

Why Should You Go Dry?

There is not one health benefit of drinking alcohol. Not one. And when you drink regularly, you can expect a lot more than a hangover the next day. Take a look...

Weight Gain - Regular alcohol consumption can contribute to weight gain. Don’t you remember your first freshman 15?

This is because alcoholic drinks are loaded with refined sugars, from concentrated fruit juices to sugary mixers. These concoctions are also mixed with flavors, liquors, and soft drinks, like soda. There is no avoiding sugar when it comes to alcohol consumption. You’re essentially drinking empty calories with no nutritional value, which will cause weight gain over time.

And do not be fooled by low-sugar spritz options. Those drinks are likely to contain natural flavours, artificial sweeteners, preservatives, and a ton of ingredients that are just downright bad for your overall health and wellness.

Weak Immune System - Alcohol is absorbed into your bloodstream directly through your gut, where a majority of your immune system is (Yes, a majority of your immune system lives in your gut).

Alcohol directly impacts your GI tract by altering the number of microbes in your gut microbiome, which are bacteria that keep the gut healthy [1]

Poor Gut Health - Studies show that consuming alcohol can cause issues in the gut [2]. One issue is bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), a condition with excessive bacteria in the small intestine, causing issues like bloating, nausea, diarrhea, and/or abdominal pain [3].

Another common stomach-related issue to consuming alcohol regularly is gut dysbiosis, a condition where bacteria are out of balance in the GI tract. This can cause fatigue, heartburn, food intolerances, gas, bloating, inflammation, acne, and skin rashes [4]

Dehydration - Consuming alcohol in large amounts leaves you at risk for dehydration. Alcohol acts as a diuretic, reducing fluids in the body through excessive urination [5]. This means your body will get rid of essential vitamins and minerals, which is why when you drink in large amounts, you wake up with that dreaded hangover.

Dull Skin - Alcohol can dehydrate and inflame your skin, even if you drink the suggested minimum of 1-2 drinks per day or low-alcohol drink options. This is because your body functions on a holistic level, so when you drink alcohol, even in small amounts, it impacts mucus membranes in your pancreas, liver, and skin [6]. Think about how red your face turns when you sip a glass of your favorite vino.

Pre-mature Aging - Drinking alcohol promotes something called Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS). ROS are reactive molecules that can damage cellular molecules, fats, proteins, and DNA.

Alcohol consumption amplifies ROS by interacting with the body’s natural functions, leading to oxidative stress, cell injury, and premature aging. [7]

Heart Health - Alcohol intake is associated with elevated blood pressure, irregular heart rhythms, and a heightened risk of heart disease.

The Problem with Alcohol-Free Alternatives

Nonalcoholic options are no better. Let me explain...

Non-alcoholic drinks, like non-alcoholic wine, non-alcoholic cocktails, and non-alcoholic beer, may not always go through a fermentation or distillation process. However, they still contain not-so-good-for-you ingredients found in alcohol that contribute to health issues.

While they do “check the box” for alcohol-free drinks, they also “check the box” for ingredients like natural flavors, artificial sweeteners, preservatives, added refined sugars, and dyes.

Here are just some of the following ingredients in a popular nonalcoholic beverage:

“Carbonated Water, Natural Cane Sugar, Natural Flavors, Fruit Juice Extracts, Citric Acid, and Malic Acid.”

Rest assured, there is nothing natural about those “natural” products.

A Healthy Drink To Replace Alcohol With

While you are making this choice to better yourself, why not swap out the alcohol with something that brings its own set of additional benefits?

If you want a healthy alternative to alcohol for Dry January, swap out the booze for green juice and watch yourself get healthier with every sip.

Adding a green juice or smoothie each day will help you:

  1. Reduce cravings for unhealthy foods.

  2. Boost your immune system.

  3. Lessen or eliminate bloating.

  4. Detox your whole body.

  5. Brighten lackluster skin.

  6. Flood your system with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

  7. Mental clarity

  8. Improve overall well-being

  9. Flood your system with naturally occurring digestive enzymes, prebiotics, & probiotics from fruit and vegetables.

What makes green juice such a great alternative? Its chlorophyll content is the green pigment that gives plants their color. Chlorophyll is known to cut cravings, flood your system with vital nutrients and minerals, gently detox your system, and give you glowing skin. Cut back on alcohol and support your body with the chlorophyll-rich Green Routine®.

Swap My Alcohol For Green Juice

Common Hurdles of Going Dry and How To Cope

When I started limiting my alcohol consumption, I noticed the way people acted toward me at social events or gatherings. If I didn’t have a drink in my hand, there was always a comment or a nudge to drink.

When you’re trying to stay dry, whether it is a short-term thing or a lifelong choice, it is not easy socially. People don’t always understand the reason behind your why, especially since drinking has become so normalized in American culture.

Sick of the comments, I came up with this “life hack” for navigating social events, which was to always have a beverage in hand, but a non-alcoholic beverage at that. I mean, who would know?

This very story taught me that cutting out alcohol has more challenges than just physical. Here are some other challenges of going dry and how to deal with them:

  • Social Pressure - It’s your best friend’s wedding or your sister’s bachelorette; alcohol will be involved. The thought of declining drinks is making you anxious. You can communicate your decision with confidence or have a non-alcoholic spirit ready to go in hand.

  • Peer Influence - Friends are pressuring you. But you really want to stick to your goals this year. You want to lose the weight and feel healthy. Declining isn’t working, so it’s possible that you may need to find some friends that you can go on lunch dates with or take trips to the farmer’s market with. Taking breaks from certain friend groups to stay on track is going to not just help you physically reach your goals but also boost your mental health too.

  • Coping With Stress - Alcohol is a de-stressor for many. Finding alternative ways to manage stress is key here. Go for a walk. Write in a journal. Learn to cook a meal you love with a healthy twist. Surround yourself with supportive friends and family.

  • Fear of Missing Out - Do you have FOMO? Do your friends love to drink, and the thought of alcohol-free spirits sounds like a drag to you? Make plans as a group that doesn’t involve drinking. There are plenty of places to go that don’t involve drinking. Plan a spa day. Go sightseeing. Go for a hike. Plan a board game night. The possibilities are endless here.

  • Cravings - When we train our brain to have a glass of wine every night with dinner. We are going to naturally want a glass of wine every night with dinner. As the holistic nutritionist and production manager at Raw Generation, I have created some tasty drinks that can totally help you to “get your fix” naturally and replace that craving for alcohol. Drinks like Piña Colada or Ginger Turmeric (tastes like Sunny D!) will satisfy any cravings for alcohol you may have while also flooding your system with beneficial ingredients.

Resolution On The Rocks

Resolutions can be rocky. Dry January may end. And social drinking may make a comeback in your life...

If it does, it is especially important to keep that daily green goodness in your daily routine for those wellness and health benefits, and especially for those dreaded morning-after hangovers (since green juice is known to be super effective in preventing and relieving hangovers).

Remember that when January is over.

Get in Your Daily Greens

  1. Alcohol and Immune System

  2. Alcohol and Gut-Derived Inflammation

  3. Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)

  4. What is Dysbiosis?

  5. Does Alcohol Dehydrate You?

  6. Alcohol Destroys Your Skin. Here’s How to Offset the Effects

  7. Alcohol, Oxidative Stress, And Free Radical Damage


Bio image of article author Lisa Testa, M.S.

With over two decades of expertise in the field of Health & Wellness, Lisa Testa, M.S. is an experienced nutritionist who has dedicated her career to empowering hundreds of clients on their journeys to weight loss and natural healing through the transformative power of raw food nutrition.

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