This is my third year doing Dry January!
By the looks of things, my cat needs to join me this year!
Dry January is the brainchild of the UK charity Alcohol Change UK. It’s for everyone, whether your goal is to cut down, give the booze a break for a while, or go alcohol-free.
Some join because they love a 31-day challenge.
Some are sober curious. Often millennials, who question if drinking is really as cool as Gen Xers and especially Boomers make it out to be.
There are those who know they have a problem, and want to make a change.
There are those who don’t have a problem, and don’t want to have one.
There are those who are looking to tweak their health, lose a little weight, or save some money.
It’s definitely a challenge that teaches you a lot about yourself, and provides a good reset – especially after a Holiday season during a pandemic.
I think it can be especially helpful for the plant-based.
Alcohol Isn’t Always Vegan
“What?” you gasp. “But … but …. but … wine is made from grapes, and last time I checked, a grape was a fruit which came from a plant!”
And you are right. Grapes ARE vegan. Unfortunately, some wines include honey or dairy. And many wines – especially white wines – are “clarified” by filtering with egg whites, gelatin, fish bladders (a.k.a. isinglass), and sea shells.
Most beers are vegan, except for those with honey.
Most hard liquor is vegan, but often the additives to mixed drinks aren’t. These could include milk, cream, whipped cream, egg whites, beef broth, clam juice, anchovies … And let’s not forget that those innocent looking red maraschino cherries often get that gorgeous red color from carmine (crushed beetles).
You can investigate more by visiting www.barnivore.com or my previous post, Raise Your Glass … To The Veggie Life
Alcohol Makes It Easier For New Vegans To Slip
Five or six years ago, a British study claimed approximately 1/3 of vegetarians ate meat when drunk. The study was poorly done. No information on how long these people had been vegetarian, what their reasons were for being vegetarian, and if they classified themselves as vegetarian, vegan, or plant-based. (The study also showed that 63% of vegetarians never ate meat under any circumstances, but that part was conveniently overlooked.)
My guess is that these slip-ups happened to the newbies. And it makes sense. I know from my misspent youth – when you’re tipsy, a lot of bad ideas seem like really good ideas. And the more terrible the idea, the more awesome it seems!
You’re more likely to give in to peer pressure when drinking (and peer pressure is a major struggle for many new vegans).
And once you have a good pair of beer goggles on?
That vaguely humanoid creature sitting at the end of the bar starts to look really good to you! Who knew unibrows could be so SEXY?
And then that pepperoni pizza your omni friends ordered and are sooo willing to share starts to look kind of sexy, too!
Let’s not forget the morning after. Back in Charlotte, in the day, the best cure for a hangover was a sausage gravy biscuit from McDonalds or Burger King, along with a fizzy coke. Sad to say, this was effective! So naturally newbies with hangovers might return to a food that makes them feel better.
If you are a newbie, and think alcohol sometimes causes you to make food choices you later regret, Dry January is for you!
Here’s a vegan sausage gravy biscuit recipe for you if you do need hangover help …
You’re Vegan For Your Health
OK, personally I don’t give a flying f*ck why anyone’s vegan. If the result is less dead animals on plates, I’m cool with your reasoning – whatever it may be.
Still, most of us become vegan because of the animals, our health, or the environment. The longer we’re vegan, the more we realize the three intertwine. And definitely, the older we get, and the more medications we see our omni friends taking, the more we get invested in the “health” aspect. Maybe taking a step back from all the Gardein and Ben and Jerry’s non-dairy and taking bigger steps towards whole foods.
Alcohol is fun and fine in moderation, but if you are making changes for your health, it makes sense to do a Dry January and really get an idea of your alcohol habits. Participants who are tracked saw improvements in insulin resistance, blood pressure, weight, and skin.
Dry January Can Spark Creativity For Long Time Vegans
The early days of vegan are so heady! You’re doing something great, making a difference, and learning so much!
Then, five or ten years later, it’s second nature. You don’t lose your sh*t about a new brand of bean burgers because you make several varieties of your own bean burgers at home. You don’t get all excited when a restaurant offers avocado toast for $10.00 when you’re making that stuff in your hotel room. You roll your eyes when a vegan FB group gets into a fight about palm oil or Oreos for the 40,001 time.
Dry January gives you an opportunity to be creative again. We’ve been told over and over – “Don’t drink your calories!” So, we tend to stick with a few things – water, flavored carbonated water, Pumpkin Spice lattes – and “save” up our calories for the alcoholic drink.
There are lots of fun things to drink BESIDES alcohol! When was the last time you made homemade ice tea (not the nasty stuff in bottles)? A cup of hot cocoa with marshmallows? (YES, that is possible for vegans now!) Real fruit punch? A cherry limeade? Explored different fruit and vegetable juices? Made a lassi? – so easy now that vegan yogurt is widely available. Had an ice cream float? Explored herbal teas? Are you a coffee lover? – there are so many different vegan creamers to choose from now!
And mocktails! Dang, I am glad they have started calling non-alcoholic drinks “mocktails” and even listing them on menus. Mocktails are cool now, thanks to millennials! I always felt so pervy walking up to the bartender and whispering, “So, do you have any good virgins?”
Hopefully a few of my readers will take this Dry January journey with me. I will be giving more tips and sharing some super-easy mocktails and other non-alcoholic beverages!