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By Laura Stec

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About this blog: I've been attracted to food for good and bad reasons for many years. From eating disorder to east coast culinary school, food has been my passion, profession & nemesis. I've been a sugar addict, a 17-year vegetarian, a food and en...  (More)

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Dry-ish January 2023

Uploaded: Jan 12, 2023

If George Santos gets away with being Jew-ish, we certainly can be Dry-ish this January.

Launched in 2012 by the nonprofit Alcohol Change UK, 4,000 people joined the first Dry January. Fast forward to 2023 and roughly 15% of American adults or 30,000,000 people are participating this year. According to data from retailer The ZeroProof, the San Francisco Bay Area is one of the strongest markets for nonalcoholic beverages in the U.S. Chances are someone you know is participating this year and studies show they’ll be even more successful if you join them.

So much of Dry January focuses on excess; “I’m tired of being hungover.” But there’s a growing contingency of less dramatic participation, one of self-exploration and improvement. I love a glass of wine at night but I don’t want to love too many. I need to know how many glasses I can drink without causing inflammation in my body. I also need to understand clearly how much sugar I can consume without causing inflammation in my body. As we age, this becomes even more important to fine tune. January is a good time to go on that adventure.

A group of friends and I have cheer-led each other on in past years and I've reported insights learned along the way. This year we’re going dry-ish, choosing a few days a week, rather than the entire month. I think next year I might do Wet-ish January - introducing more of something I don’t eat or drink enough of like water, sea vegetables or dried beans. Make it work for you.

Most of our eating and drinking is just habit and data shows that temporary adjustments can shift behavior toward long term change. Dry January is a good excuse to eliminate anything highly stimulating and refined – alcohol for sure, but also sugar, pizza, chips, ice cream, etc. Never take for granted that high fat, sugar and salt can gain power over you just like alcohol can, unless you maintain power over them.

With so many more nonalcoholic drinks on the market than there used to be, there’s plenty of exploring and discovery to be had. Total Wine and More has a big selection of alcohol-free spirits, wines and beers, and online is prolific. I picked up a few favorites from last year like Bravus Peanut Beer Dark beer, which I drink at room temperature (100 cal/25 g carbohydrates), and Hella Bitters and Soda (90 cal /22 g carbohydrates). Also new products like a single serving Juniper Fly, a gin-free and tonic with great taste and only 30 cal/6g per bottle. Another plan of action is hunting for the best mocktail in town. But buyer beware; many alcohol-free products are low in complexity and high in sweet and price, so shop around. Check nutritional labels when available.

If you want assistance with goal setting and reminders, there’s a myriad of “better habit” apps to pick from. Check out Sunnyside, an online community and app with life coaches who can track your DJ progress.

The most common challenge of Dry January is staying motivated. So make an action plan, enlist friends to join and have fun! It gets easier every year. The Mixer offers drink inspiration and recipes. Here’s their Margarita Mocktail with a secret ingredient, olive juice.

photo by The Mixer

Margarita Mocktail

2 Oz lime juice, freshly squeezed
1 Oz orange juice, freshly squeezed
1 Oz lemon juice, freshly squeezed
a dash of olive brine
1 teaspoon agave nectar (or maple syrup)
2 Oz club soda, to taste
a slice of lime, to garnish
sea salt, for the salty rim (optional)

photos by LSIC unless noted

Don't forget to pick up a copy of Food Fight, A Citizens Guide to the next Food and Farm Bill by Dan Imhoff. We will start reading this book for The Food Party! book group next month.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Justin Tarr, a resident of Woodside,
on Jan 12, 2023 at 12:50 pm

Justin Tarr is a registered user.

Being a vegan-organic oriented blog, psylocybin (magic mushrooms/skull-caps) have been proven to reduce alcohol consumption. A good bowl of weed + a couple of beers also suffices unless one has a self-destructive predisposition towards substance abuse.

For them there is no hope.

Posted by Miriam Jacobs, a resident of Mountain View,
on Jan 13, 2023 at 12:39 pm

Miriam Jacobs is a registered user.

"Dry January is a good excuse to eliminate anything highly stimulating and refined �" alcohol for sure, but also sugar, pizza, chips, ice cream, etc. Never take for granted that high fat, sugar and salt can gain power over you just like alcohol can, unless you maintain power over them."

Given the current global scenario, to restrict oneself from a few simple pleasures (even though they are are potentially unhealthy) is unreasonable based on one's age.

At 75, I have no intention of giving up red meat, pizza, alcohol, salt, sugar, or pot.

Life is too short and tomorrow never knows.

Why punish oneself in the name of health when the world is in the verge of exterminating itself via war, disease, and discontent?

Just partake and exercise. It's no big deal.

Posted by Gertrude Petrovsky, a resident of Mountain View,
on Jan 14, 2023 at 12:49 pm

Gertrude Petrovsky is a registered user.

What is the point of a Dry January if one imbibes on the other 11 months of the year?

Posted by Jacob Weiss, a resident of another community,
on Jan 15, 2023 at 8:37 am

Jacob Weiss is a registered user.

This is turning out to be a very WET January so one might as well follow suit and head over to Bevmo.

Posted by Laura Stec, a Almanac Online blogger,
on Jan 15, 2023 at 9:42 am

Laura Stec is a registered user.

The question of "why do something today I won't do tomorrow" perplexed me last year and we see it again. It's like saying "Why celebrate Christmas today if we aren't going to celebrate it tomorrow?"

Last year's response: Why Give Up Delicious Things? https://www.almanacnews.com/blogs/p/2022/01/16/why-give-up-delicious-things

This year's response: "Changing it up" must be a lifestyle choice some choose and others do not. Do what works for you. I love incorporating new ways of thinking, new habits, new options. Changing life up keeps me engaged and growing as a person. Trying new ways, eating new foods, meeting new people, going new places adds dimension, meaning and gives me an active role in my life, rather than just passively watching others live on TV and TikTok.

What's the point of life if you do the same things all the time?

Posted by Laurie Peck, a resident of Los Altos Hills,
on Jan 15, 2023 at 11:09 am

Laurie Peck is a registered user.

Concurring with Ms. Stec...change is good.

Each year about this time, I ask my husband for a new car (usually a Mercedes-Benz or BMW) & he faithfully complies because he can easily afford to and he wants me to be happy.

I also try to do my part by re-stocking my wardrobe every spring and donating most of my designer label attire to a woman's shelter where the less fortunate can also have an opportunity to dress nicely in last year's styles.

We also try to visit newer restaurants with at least a one-star Michelin rating in order to establish a revised culinary frame of reference.

One of the toughest decisions is how to re-stock our wine cellar as my husband prefers premier CA Pinot Noirs while I am more inclined towards first-growth French Burgundies.

"What's the point of life if you do the same things all the time?"

The answer...if it is something you enjoy, why not continue doing so? And if it is something you are either tired or bored with, try something new.

An example...after 20 years of matrimony and raising two kids (now in college), we mutually decided to opt for an open marriage. Change is good!

Posted by Laura Stec, a Almanac Online blogger,
on Jan 15, 2023 at 11:29 am

Laura Stec is a registered user.

We all get a choice. Life is Play, and time to grow and better ourselves and the larger good. Can we do both? Will we?

Posted by Burke Long, a resident of another community,
on Jan 15, 2023 at 12:14 pm

Burke Long is a registered user.

@Laura Stec...those who try to 'have their cake & eat it too' will always be doomed to failure & disappointment unless they have a good attorney who is ripping them off in the process.

No easy answer(s). Perhaps live free (to choose) and die young is the best alternative as societal definitions of right VS wrong are constantly changing based on progressive, left-leaning perspectives.

Posted by Rufus Young, a resident of another community,
on Jan 16, 2023 at 10:58 am

Rufus Young is a registered user.

Judging by the torrential rain and flooding, this is definitely not a Dry January so why should one bother with such an extreme personal mandate/resolution?

Posted by Lenora Jacobs, a resident of Mountain View,
on Jan 17, 2023 at 9:34 am

Lenora Jacobs is a registered user.

We are basically non-drinkers 365/24/7.

Since others are celebrating a Dry January, would it be appropriate for some to enjoy a Wet January as long as they are not recovering alcoholics?

Posted by Reese Haroldson, a resident of Midtown,
on Jan 17, 2023 at 12:53 pm

Reese Haroldson is a registered user.

"...would it be appropriate for some to enjoy a Wet January as long as they are not recovering alcoholics?"

Given the world situation along with its various political, economic, military, and human rights conflicts, I would be surprised if fewer people drank themselves into a stupor.

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