There’ll be few people who won’t be sorry to see the back of January, but some of us will have more reason to celebrate than others come February 1st. Anyone who chose to detox for the first month of the new year will know what we're talking about. But was there really any need?
Those that didn’t deny themselves booze, meat and carbs this past month needn’t feel bad. Nor should those that tried, and failed. Sorry to all you detox-ers out there, but that cleanse was a waste of time. Here’s why…
There are no medical benefits
Giving up alcohol for an entire month may seem like the right and moral thing to do after a heady Christmas and New Year, but, sadly, there are few medical benefits. True, the act of abstaining is an admirable one, and it’s healthy to know that you aren’t reliant on alcohol physically or otherwise. But staying off the sauce for just a month is proven to be medically futile. Andrew Langford, chief executive of the British Liver Trust, warns that detoxing for a just a month ‘can lead to a false sense of security and feeds the idea that you can abuse your liver as much as you like and then sort everything else with a quick fix.’
The British Liver Trust advises that we have two to three consecutive alcohol-free days every week, all year round. That’s the way to keep your liver and body in good nick, not only giving up for four weeks at the beginning.
Winter is cruel enough, without the self-flagellation and denial that comes with a detox. It’s dark when you wake up, it rains throughout the day, and night has already fallen by the time you drink that fourth lemon and hot water at 4.30pm. Why deny yourself a snack? A snack doesn’t have to mean a King Size Snickers, but the knowledge that you can’t have anything you like is not going to lift your mood. Sometimes all there is to make that working day bearable, is to reach for a biscuit. Just the one, mind.
People like you less
Just because it’s the first month of the year, doesn’t mean people don’t have birthdays or hen dos or weddings to celebrate. We know that it’s inconsiderate of them, but the show, as they say, has to go on. Turning up to parties and not drinking because you’re doing Dry January (or February or March) is not going to pass muster with your pals. We’re not suggesting you buy a round of Jagerbombs, but raising a glass of Prosecco to your friend on their birthday is the civilised thing to do. And do not even think of trying to collect money for your sobriety – asking people to sponsor you to not drink really is the final straw.
You’re cleverer than that
The adage ‘everything in moderation’, is there for a reason: it’s true. If you want to treat your body well, and feel the benefits, then don’t drink wine every single night, cut down on the doughnuts and exercise more. We all know we should consume less sugar, salt and fat, and more vegetables and fruit. It’s simple, really. Where the nature of a detox means it is something that can be done and dusted, not to be thought of again, eating and drinking responsibly all of the time takes far more dedication. Those that can do that, well, they’re the real winners.
If you do celebrate the end of January this weekend with a few too many glasses of fizz, here are the 7 liver-cleansing foods you’ll need to snack on come Monday.