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Diet & Nutrition

Why you should give booze a break

The silly season is well and truly over, but many of us are struggling to reduce our holiday alcohol consumption.
Enter Febfast, which is challenging Australians to give up booze for the month of February to raise money for young people struggling with substance abuse problems.
The Weekly's editor-in-chief Helen McCabe has risen to the considerable challenge and is avoiding alcohol for the next four weeks.
Here, nutritionist Lola Berry tells you why you should quit booze too, and how to do it.
Why should I give up alcohol for a month?
We all indulge a little bit more than we should over Christmas and New Year, which can be really hard on your liver. Avoiding alcohol for a month will take the pressure off and if you stick with it you'll find you have clearer skin, more energy, improved moods, and you'll sleep better. You may even find you lose a bit of weight too, because alcohol is so high in kilojoules.
How long until I start feeling good?
It normally takes about four days to start feeling good. You will feel rubbish for the first three days. While your body is getting rid of toxins you can get headaches, feel nauseous and feel bloated but that should all ease by the fourth day.
How can I possibly last the whole month?
  • Try and do it with a few mates so you've got people to inspire you
  • Have a bit of fun with it — make mocktails or have a dinner party at home instead of going out.
  • Find a replacement drink so that you don't feel like you're missing out when you're out on the town. Cranberry, apple juice and a little bit of soda water is a nice little mixed drink that still lets you feel like you're enjoying a bit of a beverage.
If alcohol is so bad, what difference will just one month off make?
Australians generally consume a lot of alcohol, so it's always a good idea to take a close look at your intake and maybe cut down a little bit. You don't need to stop drinking forever though. As long as you look after your liver and give it a little detox every six months it should okay.
Okay I'll do it! How do I make the most of it?
You can really use this month to have a full detox. Start the day with a bit of lemon in warm water because that will help stimulate bile secretion of the liver. On top of that, think about getting more veggies in. Switch any white carbs to brown carbs — switch white bread for wholemeal pasta. Go for less-processed options and more whole foods. Your body will definitely thank you for it.
Click here for more information on Febfast or to support Helen's campaign.

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