Around this time last year, phil and I embarked on a month of sobriety - and call us crazy, but we're doing it again! Sober September/October, picked purely because of the alliteration/rhyming factor, is upon us. So why on earth are we having an alcohol-free month? This year, my reasons are slightly different... no, I'm not planning on having a child, so just stop thinking it!
- Between Greece, Italy, and just general summer nights out, I've been indulging far more often than I usually do
- I've been studying the connection between yeast (candida) overgrowth in the body and digestive issues, and found that alcohol and sugar are the number one contributors - a "yeast detox" is a good way to bring the levels down and give your digestive system, especially your liver, a break
- Yes, this means I'm off sugar for a month as well (and no yeast, no caffeine except green tea, no glutinous grains, and no dairy except yogurt)
- However, I won't be giving up mushrooms, dried fruit, alternative sweeteners (like maple syrup, honey, or dates), peanuts, spicy foods, or vinegar - that's a bit too hardcore for me, but is encouraged on a yeast-free diet
- The aim is to significantly reduce my weekly alcohol intake once the month is over. Easier said than done, but we'll see how we go.
You may now be thinking, "What on earth are you ALLOWED to eat?" Well just have a look at the list of awesome food that is encouraged on a yeast detox diet:
- all vegetables - especially of the dark green, leafy variety
- beans - this includes chickpeas and lentils
- fish and shellfish
- meat - beef, poultry, and pork (as long as they're unprocessed)
- whole grains - brown rice, millet, barley, couscous, buckwheat, quinoa
- whole grain pasta - corn, rice, or spelt varieties
- raw seeds and nuts
- oils - olive, coconut, flax, avocado, canola, grapeseed
- plenty of water, herbal teas, unsweetened cranberry juice
- 1-2 servings of fruit per day
Keep in mind, this is only for one month, but some people will notice a big difference within 2 weeks of this diet. Once you've gone at least two weeks eliminating the foods mentioned at the beginning of this post, you can gradually add them back in. Everyone is different - this diet is only for those people who find that their bodies feel much better without alcohol, dairy, sugar, yeast, and gluten. If you're not sure, give it a try - these are all substances we can live without!
If you don't want to try the detox diet, maybe try the sober month and see how it goes. Aim to be completely alcohol-free for one month, preferably before the holidays! Think of fun non-alcoholic drinks you can have in place of your normal favorite cocktail or glass of wine. Here are some suggestions:
- Soda water with a splash of cranberry juice and lime
- Spicy ginger beer
- Homemade lemonade - lemon juice, water, and raw honey
- Banana smoothie - bananas, almond milk, ice, vanilla
- Vegetable juices - carrot, parsley, spinach, lettuce, celery
- Virgin bloody mary - tomato juice, salt, herbs (cilantro, parsley), dash of cayenne
Stock your fridge at home with ingredients to make some mocktails during your month off! If you're not going completely down the yeast-free route, fruit juices are fair game. But try and pick the most natural fruit juices you can, with no sugar added and no artificial ingredients. Better yet - make your own!