One of the most popular new year's resolutions is to give up alcohol for the entire month of January, commonly known as 'Dry January'. Over 3 million people in the UK take part in Dry January each year, but what are the benefits of giving up alcohol?
The 20th of January is said to be the day when most people give up on their pledge to go dry for January, caving in by having a pint with friends or reaching for that glass of wine at the end of a tough day. A study found that people who do stay dry for the whole of January end up drinking less for the rest of the year than they would otherwise. So is it beneficial to stick at it and keep alcohol at bay?
Benefits of giving up alcohol
1. No hangovers
Possibly the most obvious, but hangovers can completely ruin your day and it's doubtful there's anyone out there that likes getting them! They are the bane of any drinker's life and they can have you out of action for a few hours or even a few days. Spending your weekend suffering from a hangover means you can't get other more productive things done, so by reducing your drinking and not being hungover so much, you will increase your productivity and overall quality of life.
2. Reduced risk of getting cancer
Drinking alcohol is linked to many forms of cancer, including mouth cancer. By reducing your intake, you are reducing your risk of developing these life-threatening illnesses. Cancer is the second most common cause of death behind heart disease, so it makes sense to cut down on your drinking in order to improve your chances of living a long and healthy life.
3. Better athletic performance
You're unlikely to find a professional athlete who is a heavy drinker. Alcohol slows your reaction times and can slow the recovery of your muscles. Alcohol is also a powerful diuretic meaning you're more likely to be severely dehydrated which in turn leads to muscle cramps and increased risk of injury. If you want to perform well at the gym or partake in a marathon or Ironman, you will definitely benefit from not drinking.
4. Better appearance
Another side effect of the diuretic properties of alcohol is that the dehydration can lead to dull, lifeless skin and sunken or swollen eyes. If you want bright, healthy-looking skin and an attractive appearance, reducing the amount of alcohol you drink can make a huge difference. There are lots of benefits of staying hydrated on a daily basis, so make sure you always have a water bottle with you as a reminder to drink more water.
Tips for giving up alcohol
There are lots of practical ways you can give up alcohol or drink less without feeling deprived or completely changing your lifestyle. It can feel like the lives of everyone around you revolves around alcohol and that if you don't drink, you'll become a social pariah, but this needn't be the case. Here are some top tips for giving up alcohol in a practical and sustainable way.
1. Stop having alcohol with food
It's very common to have a pint of beer or glass (or bottle) of wine with dinner, especially when dining out with friends. Drinking too much red wine can lead to depression, addiction, and even stroke. When having dinner out with friends, order a glass of tap water instead of your usual tipple, or if cocktails are usually your thing, many restaurants now offer refreshing and appetising mocktails which will satisfy the craving and can be just as fun.
2. Tell your friends what you're doing
By enlisting the help of your friends and having them on your side, giving up alcohol will be much easier. How many times have you had a drink simply because a friend bought it for you or because you were coerced into it? By telling your friends that you intend to drink less or give it up completely, they can help you by reducing temptation and supporting you when you feel like caving in.
3. Set realistic, achievable goals
Setting goals is a great way of achieving something you want, whether it's at work, in your personal life, or to do with fitness. By setting a SMART goal you are far more likely to succeed. A SMART goal is a goal that is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and has a time frame. A good SMART goal for giving up alcohol would be: "I will not drink any alcohol for four weeks and if I achieve this, will reward myself with a spa day." This goal is specific as it gives detail, measurable as you can keep a note of any alcohol you do drink, realistic as it is not too extreme, and has a time frame of four weeks. It even includes a reward at the end which is another great way to stay motivated.
If you are like myself and many other people (especially with kids) you probably think that consuming your “five-a-day” is a bit of a chore. So to get on the back of the juicing bandwagon and try to give five-a-day a chance, we have been working on a variety of smoothie recipes to be consumed in addition your normal meals to provide a boost of vitamins and minerals.
At Sundried, we do not recommend juicing as a method for weight loss, but rather for the nutrition and health benefits to supplement your training and healthy diet. One of the benefits of making your own juice is that it will stay fresh rather than losing its nutrients from being stored for long periods of time. Also, you can modify the ingredients to really suit your taste and maybe even experiment with new flavours. Your children will enjoy helping you make them and I'm personally amazed at how we can convince our daughter to consume vegetables by calling the smoothie ‘green chocolate’.
Personally if the juice contains just vegetables I will not enjoy the flavour and it feels more like forcing medicine down rather than having a refreshing smoothie. By adding in some fruit you end up with a delicious tasting drink. It's true that you are better off eating fruit and vegetables rather than drinking them as the juicing process means you lose many of the nutrients, but the reality is I don't get close to my five day through just eating fruit and veg, so adding a green smoothie into my diet really helps. It's also important to remember that the majority of your five a day should be green vegetables as opposed to just fruit.
So what’s in it?
In this particular juice we have
- 500 grams of strawberries
- 1/2 a cucumber
- 1 avocado
- ⅓ cup chia seeds (soaked in water)
- a pack of baby spinach
- 500ml of apple juice (you can use almond milk or coconut water if preferred),
- A good handful of ice
of which Saturates Fat (g)
of which Sugars (g)
Total Weight (g)
Baby Spinach pack
Strawberries 500 gms
Cup of Chia Seeds
Apple Juice 500 ml
Baby Spinach pack
Strawberries 500 gms
Cup of Chia Seeds
Apple Juice 500 ml
of which Saturates Fat (g)
of which Sugars (g)
Tom Daley claims that drinking lemon water in the morning is his secret to keeping a lean physique. But what does it actually do? Is there any science behind it? Can lemon water really help you lose weight?
Can lemon juice reduce belly fat?
Drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated can reduce bloating which will in turn reduce the appearance of belly fat. However, it is not actually burning your fat, and a healthy lifestyle of regular exercise and a balanced diet is, and always will be, the best way to reduce belly fat.
If you suffer from acid re-flux or indigestion, lemon juice might actually exacerbate your symptoms as it is highly acidic, so drink in moderation.
What does drinking lemon water in the morning do?
If you think you need to detox, think again. There is no need to detox as our livers and kidneys do that for us naturally, so drinking a glass of lemon water in the morning won't detox you any more than any other drink. However, drinking plenty of water is one of the best things you can do to be healthy, so drinking water in the morning, whether it has lemon in it or not, is definitely good for your health and should be something you try to create as a habit. If you don't like the taste of water or struggle to drink enough, adding lemon can make it more palatable and therefore encourage you to stay more hydrated. It has also been claimed that drinking lemon water in the morning can aid digestion and prevent heartburn and bloating, but this has not been scientifically proven.
What are the health benefits of lemon water?
There are actually no scientific health benefits of drinking lemon water. Citrus fruits like lemons contain high levels of Vitamin C which is good for maintaining healthy skin and appearing well, however the amount you would get from a glass of lemon water is questionable.
The main health benefit of drinking lemon water is actually from drinking the water itself. Whether is had lemon in it or not doesn't really make a difference. Staying well hydrated is paramount to being healthy, especially as up to 75% of your body is made from water. The health risks associated with dehydration range from bad skin and bad breath to serious complications such as fevers, fainting, and even death. An easy way to remind yourself to stay hydrated is by keeping a water bottle with you at all times.
Diet teas are still increasing in popularity despite most of us not really knowing if they actually work or not. They're often endorsed by celebrities and Instagram stars, but do fat-burning diet teas really work?
The world of advertising has seen a shift over the last 10 years and now, instead of traditional advertising, many celebrities and influencers promote products on Instagram. It's no secret that health and wellness products are being advertised to us through this medium, and some celebrities even slip up and make it obvious they've been told what to post and with what caption. One of the most popular products that is pushed by celebrities and Instagram stars these days is detox tea. These so-called 'fat-burning teas' claim to facilitate rapid weight loss and promise to detox your body. But what does this mean? And does it work?
Do detox teas work to lose weight?
While it's true that certain natural 'superfoods' can help you burn fat, it has not been scientifically proven that these 'skinny teas' or 'teatox' products can help you burn fat. What actually happens is you are told by the company to follow a healthy diet and rigorous exercise regime and to drink the tea on top of this. What this means in reality is that you are following a healthy lifestyle that you could follow anyway without purchasing expensive teas.
Are detox teas good for you?
Being aware of the vast benefits of green tea is nothing new, and it's true that certain teas are great for your health, but you do not need to buy a specific 'teatox' brand in order to lose weight. As always, following a healthy diet and exercising regularly is the best way to stay fit, healthy, and happy.
You may well have heard personal trainers trying to hammer home the point that you don't need to drink tea in order to detox. Your body detoxes itself naturally using the kidneys and toxins are passed out of the body through urine on a daily basis. The concept of a detox through diet is fairly unnecessary, and can easily be achieved by limiting the amount of processed and sugary foods that you eat.
Detox teas can also have negative effects on your health, such as nausea, cramps, and even diarrhoea. These teas may make you lose a lot of water weight, which will make you appear lighter and less bloated, but in reality you have not actually burnt any fat, and will bloat back up after a few days.
Best detox teas
The best way to detox is naturally, by eating less unnatural food and exercising more to burn fat. Some natural teas do work to help make you healthier and have real benefits. The best detox teas are green tea and white tea. If you do not like the bitter taste of green tea on its own, try our superfood spinach smoothie recipe which includes matcha green tea powder and lots of spinach, both of which are fantastic for your health.
As always, there is no quick fix to weight loss and it is important not to seek a shortcut for dieting. Eating whole, natural foods and following a sustainable training regime will help you see the results you want without any adverse side effects.
If you're anything like me, getting your five-a-day is pretty hard, especially those bitter green vegetables. Making your own homemade smoothies is an amazing way to get some extra vitamins and nutrients into your daily diet, as well as keeping hunger at bay between meals!
My Superfood Spinach Smoothie is something I make daily as it has so many amazing health benefits and kerbs the afternoon hunger cravings before dinner. It contains Matcha green tea powder which has the same health benefits as drinking 10 cups of green tea! I personally cannot stand the taste of green tea, so drinking 1 cup a day would be a struggle, let alone 10! However, green tea has some incredible proven health benefits such as balancing your hormones, increasing your metabolism, and improving the quality of your skin, hair, and nails.
This recipe also contains protein powder making it very high in protein so it's a great boost if you struggle to hit your daily protein intake or are just fed up of eating endless chicken breasts. The smoothie is packed with spinach so that you can also reap the many health benefits of this vegetable, which include improving iron levels, improving your mood, and preventing you from getting lethargic! It really is a magic recipe, it almost feels like cheating the system! It tastes great, and will really help you to achieve your health and fitness goals.
- 300ml plant-based milk (almond/coconut/soy/oat)
- 1 scoop of protein powder (of your choice, I use chocolate flavoured whey protein)
- 1 scoop of Matcha green tea powder
- 1/2 banana
- 2 generous handfuls spinach
Place all the ingredients into a processor and blend them together until you have a smoothie. I use a hand blender, similar to the Nutribullet.
Makes 1 serving - drink immediately, do not store
Calories - 255
Fat - 5g
Carbs - 19g
Protein - 31g
Please note that this smoothie is not designed to be used a meal replacement and we do not recommend skipping meals to achieve weight loss.