Food / Wellbeing

Fast forward

February is around the corner and many of us are ready for change come the new moon. With February often comes ‘the fast’ from vices that became frequent indulgences during the festive season. The most common of these – coffee, sugar and alcohol – usually top the list. Here’s what to expect should you choose to say goodbye to them for 28 days.

"Consider this a time to learn new ways to relax and to enjoy being social. Take your wind down with a walk, swim, stretch or meditation."

Initially there’s chance of headaches, irritability, tiredness, change in mood, and feeling like something is missing from your routine. Stick with it – this only lasts two to three days and then your body adjusts and thrives. Don’t despair in losing your morning ritual either; instead try green or herbal tea, a smoothie, fresh pressed vegetable juice, or a matcha or turmeric latte if you’re open to it. Just because the vice is gone doesn’t mean the ritual goes too.

This is a vice that strikes even when we’re trying to avoid it, so stay savvy. Sugar is addictive and tasty, there’s no denying that, and if it’s been present in your life you’re going to feel a change from it not being there. Your energy may drop slightly to start, so be sure to have the snacks on hand to stabilise energy levels and keep you on track. Try healthy fats from raw nuts, seeds and avocado, veg sticks wrapped in nori with hummus, or a small portion of cheese wrapped in leafy greens with fresh herbs.

Whether it’s the wind-down drink at the end of the day or gatherings with friends in the balmy summer evenings, alcohol can be tempting even if it’s just one drink. Consider this a time to learn new ways to relax and to enjoy being social. Take your wind-down with a walk, swim, stretch or meditation and consider non-alcoholic options like kombucha, sparkling water with lemon or lime or iced herbal tea with fresh berries and citrus fruits. As for social time out, simply change the way you think about it. Get out and move with friends: hiking, paddling and climbing to get your fix this February and beyond.

Jacqueline Alwill is a qualified, practicing nutritionist, author of Seasons to Share and director at The Brown Paper Bag.