Whether it's part of New Year's resolutions or a just quick way to reset the body after holiday indulgences, many people choose to give up alcohol at the start of the year. Coined by some as, "Dry January," this popular practice—that doesn't cost a thing and will actually save you tons of money—promises immediate improvements to your health. A recent experiment in The New Scientist showed that participants who abstained from alcohol for only 35 days saw a significant decrease in blood sugar and liver fat. "Passing on alcohol for a month has a profound effect on your overall well-being," notes nutritionist Kirstin Dahl, founder of Dahl House Nutrition. Well and Good tapped Dahl to share her insight on why giving up alcohol in January is a good idea. "Your moods stabilize, you have more energy, and your mindset is more optimistic," she says. If these sound like things you want in your life to kick off the New Year, keep reading for Dahl's tips for how to have a successful "dry January."
Pack in the nutrients. Once you cut alcohol from your intake, Dahl recommends loading up on healthy, nourishing foods that replenish your system. Whole, plant-based, protein-rich meals will help to balance your blood sugar, and probiotic-rich foods will help to rebalance your digestive track.
Overhaul your social calendar. The hardest part of giving up alcohol will be turning down opportunities to drink, like at a happy hour with co-workers or a night out with friends. Dahl suggests stacking your schedule with other activities that give you a natural buzz, like working out, which will also help you flush toxins from your system.
Refocus on self-care. If having a couple of drinks was a go-to option to de-stress after a tough work week, find other daily self-care rituals to address your stress and support a healthy balance. Journaling, long baths, and meditation can be helpful to calm your nerves and overcome the anxiety that might be encouraging you to drink.
Have you committed to a dry January? Share your experience with us in the comments.