by Sue Kira, Naturopath & Clinical Nutritionist
I’d like to share how my husband Rod and I gave up alcohol. We didn’t consider that we drank much, but on Friday nights (and sometimes Saturday’s) we shared a bottle of red wine on the balcony, and Rod had two or three beers, along with some nibbles to eat, often followed by dancing around the lounge room. Nevertheless, the following day we often felt gluggy and lethargic.
Every now and then we would ‘detox’ for three months, giving up alcohol, coffee, dairy, sugar, gluten (and other grains) and instead eat lots of yummy nutritious meals with fresh fruits, loads of veggies and salads and for snacks have nuts and seeds or various healthy dips like avocado dip with cucumber and carrot rounds etc.
For our Friday evening ‘thing’ we drank sparkling (sugar free) mineral water with a slice of lemon or lime or float some blueberries or a strawberry to make it feel special, and we would still dance around the lounge room.
After a short period of time, we felt amazing with loads of energy and vitality and didn’t need to sit around to recover, and subsequently miss out on weekend fun.
At the end of the three months we would gradually revert to old eating and drinking habits and within a few weeks would feel bloated, tired and sluggish and not 100%. Several months later we would detox again and the cycle repeated itself. We did this over two years. Crazy aye!
In 2006, we decided to stop drinking alcohol for 12 months. After a few months, we felt much better and spoke about why would we want to feel less than this, and what was the point of going back to our old habits when we could have more energy and vitality most of the time. I say most of the time, because sometimes things can affect us, like stress or overworking, but we found there were better ways to deal with situations than alcohol.
Shortly after we stopped, we had a couple of situations where we really felt like having an alcoholic drink. One was something stressful (which I can’t remember, so it mustn’t have been a big deal) and the other was a cause to celebrate something good that happened.
Isn’t it strange how we can turn to alcohol for such opposite emotions? But instead we went for a walk which was enjoyable and dissipated the desire for alcohol.
Since then we’ve never looked back and alcohol is simply not part of our lives anymore. We still enjoy social occasions, but now with a glass of mineral water and healthy snacks.
As Rod said, when we had a few drinks, we’d be lethargic and the day was wasted, whereas now we add heaps of days to every year!
Dropping alcohol was also instrumental in improving our diet. Even though we previously did three month detoxes, the permanent changes we wanted to make took time. First, we eliminated gluten foods and dairy products, which was reasonably easy because there are so many yummy substitutes available.
We then further refined our diet by removing caffeine and other foods that we felt were not right for our bodies. Sugar was the toughest and we still need to be vigilant, but the benefits have been fantastic for our health, vitality and love of life.
We were fortunate by going on the same journey together, we had each other’s support. I wanted to share our story in the hope that it may encourage you.