Dry January and Veganuary are growing in popularity every year. It’s the health kick fad many are jumping on right after the holidays and what better time to do it after succumbing to endless gluttony and flowing down the prosecco river.
Why I Decided to Do Dry Jan
It’s no secret that our society and the way we socialize tends to heavily revolve around alcohol. Every outing, celebration, milestone, even just dinner or meeting up with a friend can seem to include a cheeky drink. This is not true for everyone of course, but as a majority, in my opinion, it seems to be this way. Especially living in the UK, pub culture is a THING.
I grew up around alcohol and it seemed to be what you just did. As a teenager, weekends involved parties and drinking. I even remember being in high school and because we too young to go to a bar, we would drink outside. We even drank in a graveyard a few times. Dark, I know. Don’t get me wrong, it was insanely fun! But that mentality of always having alcohol around when celebrating or “it’s the weekend” seems to stay with many of us as we venture into our adult years.
I love a glass of wine just as much as the next person but I have found that over the years alcohol seems to be more present in my life than I would like. And there is no one else responsible for that but me. So I have been taking a closer look at this recently and decided to make some changes.
With all of the news of this past year and going back into yet another lockdown here in the UK (can’t keep track anymore), I have found that I’ve used alcohol as a way to destress from time to time rather than sitting with my emotions.
I really didn’t like this approach so decided it was time for a change and time for a reset of my alcohol relationship and intake. Plus I am one for a challenge so bring on dry January!
Why I Decided to do Veganuary
Health is very important to me and has been for many years. I’ve made some significant changes in my life to live more in line with this value. That includes saying goodbye to cigarettes nearly two years ago. Safe to say I was borderline a heavy smoker for many years and struggled a lot with this addiction. New Years 2019 I also became a vegetarian. Cheese is my weakness and although I have tried following a vegan lifestyle before, cheese and eggs always seem to find their way back in. I’ve been flirting with the idea of veganism again and figured why not do two challenges at the same time! And in all honesty, veganism feels more aligned with my own personal values and morals. So I don’t feel like I am being truly authentic in this aspect of life. One of my 2021 goals is to live more purposefully and authentically. Really embody and align more with my values and who I am.
I have very strong opinions and emotions regarding how animals are treated when it comes to factory farming and the whole industry for that matter as well as the impact on the environment. I could go on and on, but that is for another day. So with that said, I decided to give Veganuary a go as well. Why not go the extra challenge and fuel my body with nutrient-dense foods while also getting the health kick of no alcohol for a month? Challenge accepted!
So here I am one week into being a sober vegan and to be honest, I’m really loving it! I’ve seen some great benefits and also some other side effects that in time are meant to subside.
The holidays are a time where we indulge more than we usually would and this includes food and booze. I definitely had my fair share of wine, Prosecco, and gin over the holidays. I think I also ate my body weight in cheese. Weakness remember? Big weakness. I was feeling groggy, foggy, and not my healthiest. Time for a reset.
Dry Jan actually began on the 2nd instead of the 1st because well why not. And to be honest, lockdown is probably the easiest time to go sans alcohol because well there’s not much socializing to be done!
So what have I noticed?
I sleep like a BABY! Whenever I drink alcohol even just a glass of wine before bed, my sleep is broken and I wake up a few times in the night. I definitely don’t feel that rested the next morning. Without any alcohol I’ve been falling asleep easily, sleeping through the night, and wake up naturally feeling fresh.
My anxiety has lowered. Anxiety is something I tend to struggle with at times and I’m very aware that alcohol can increase the levels of anxiety that people experience. I’m not sure if this is a direct correlation since it’s only been a week, but I feel calmer and more at ease.
Energy levels and my mood have increased for the better. I’ve been fueling my body with whole foods including lots of fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, grains, and legumes. I’m dancing, singing, and bouncing around. Loving this part!
The not-so-good – I’ve been bloated, looking super pregnant, and feeling gassy (TMI) sorry, not sorry! But switching up your diet quickly and upping your fibre game can leave you feeling rather bloated. I’ve read that a lot of people experience these effects when transitioning to a plant-based diet and in time they go away as the body adjusts.
I haven’t felt deprived at all. If I feel like a sweet snack, I’ll have some dates with peanut butter or dark chocolate. I even bought dark chocolate soy pudding and let me tell you it’s unreal!
I did feel like a glass of wine when Friday rolled around because that is typically what I normally do. It’s Friday so unwind with a glass of wine. I drank some herbal tea instead.
Week 1 Takeaway
So overall, I’ve only experienced really positive benefits minus the bloating and looking pregnant part. I can’t tell if I’ve lost any weight yet but, that’s not the main focus for me. The main focus is to feel vibrant, healthy, and energised!
I feel healthier with the changes over the past 11 days and feeling more motivated in general with goals and things I’m focusing my energy on.
I’m really looking forward to the benefits as they unravel over the month and sharing them with you on here!
Have you done a dry Jan or given up alcohol for some time? Or perhaps made some big lifestyle and diet changes? Would love to hear. Comment below!
I usually end with safe travels, but most likely not many are traveling so let’s just go with stay safe!