Quitting alcohol for Dry January could come with a whole host of benefits.
After the (almost) inevitable excesses that come with the celebrations of the festive period the new year can be a good time to reset our habits. Dry January is an initiative by Alcohol Change UK that began back in 2013, encouraging people to think about their drinking habits and take a break from alcohol for the month. Last year 130,000 people signed up and around 4 million took part. But why bother? According to Alcohol UK there are a bunch of reasons.
WHAT YOU’LL NOTICE
See your skin get brighter, your wallet fuller, your days busier. Feel your step get bouncier, your mind calmer, your nights sleepier. Most people who do Dry January see a whole host of obvious benefits that make Dry January the perfect start to the New Year.
LONG TERM CHANGE
The real magic happens when Dry January is over. Dry January helps people to drink more healthily year-round. Research conducted by the University of Sussex has found that six months after Dry January more than 70 per cent of people who take on the month with Alcohol Change UK’s support are still drinking more healthily. On top of that, they have boosted levels of wellbeing, and much more besides.
How can it be that just a month off has a long-term impact? Being alcohol-free for 31 days shows us that we don’t need alcohol to have fun, to relax, or to socialise. It helps us learn the skills we need to
manage our drinking. That means that for the rest of the year we are better able to make decisions about when we drink and how much, so we can avoid slipping into drinking more than we really want to. That’s extra good news, because alcohol is linked with more than
60 health conditions, including liver disease, high blood pressure, depression and seven types of cancer. In fact, alcohol is the biggest risk factor for death, ill-health and disability for people aged 15-49 in the UK. Cutting back on alcohol long-term reduces your risk of developing these conditions.
ON THE INSIDE
A month alcohol-free has a lot of benefits: research published in 2018, conducted by the Royal Free Hospital and published in the British Medical Journal, found that a month off lowers blood pressure, reduces diabetes risk, lowers cholesterol and reduces levels of cancer-related proteins in the blood.
Taking part in Dry January doesn’t have to mean compromising on flavour and quality in your drinks…
One of the challenges of giving up alcohol can be finding something vaguely interesting to drink that actually tastes good and isn’t just packed with sugar. Thanks to increasing numbers of people choosing to reduce their alcohol intake, however, there is an ever growing market for high quality alternatives. One of those is the Devon-based Sea Arch drinks. We find out more from co-founder Sarah Yates.
WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO MAKE A NON- ALCOHOLIC SPIRIT?
My husband Geoff and I ran a wine bar in our home town of Torquay for four years. Like many of our customers, we were looking to live a healthier lifestyle but we still wanted to socialise with friends. We found that an increasing number of people in our bar were looking for better quality alcohol-free options. They no longer wanted claggy, high sugar soft drinks;
they wanted sippable, sessionable drinks, made and presented with the same skill and sense of occasion as alcoholic drinks, using elegant glasses and quality ingredients. Thus the idea for Sea Arch was born.
Geoff bought a still and played around with various ingredients and flavour combinations, creating the first very small batch of Sea Arch spirit. Things have moved on since then and we now work with some of the very best distillers and mixologists to create the Sea Arch range we have today, which is still based around the original blend that Geoff created.
HOW IS SEA ARCH MADE?
Sea Arch Coastal Juniper is made from eleven carefully selected, all- natural botanicals. The very best is individually extracted from each botanical using both traditional copper pot and steam distillation, then the distillates are skilfully blended by expert distillers to create a uniquely complex and deliciously full-flavoured alcohol-free spirit.
WHICH ALCOHOLIC SPIRIT WOULD YOU SAY IT IS MOST SIMILAR TO?
It’s a juniper-led spirit, and a Sea & T is definitely a great alcohol-free alternative to a G & T, so I suppose you’d say it’s most similar to a gin in style. That said, we’re certainly not trying to mimic gin. I appreciate it can be a useful reference to help people recognise how to enjoy it if they’re not familiar with the category, but this is a different product altogether, providing a healthy alternative that still has the complexity and sense of occasion you’d expect from an alcoholic drink.