Let’s Commit to an Almost Alcohol-Free January

Dry January is a practice where people decide to stop drinking alcohol for a month. But in reality, cutting back just a bit can be rewarding. In the end, it is about doing a detox to feel better!

Here are a few recommendations, of course, including wine:

  • Start by exercising more.
  • Drink more water, including while having any alcohol, and drink only fresh (100%) juices.
  • Let’s adopt the Mediterranean diet philosophy and spend more on the quality of ingredients.
  • Cook more at home. That’s the only place where you can control the quality of what you eat and what you drink.
  • Increase the amount of fresh veggies, reduce the amount of carbs, and forget about frying.
  • Cook more chicken, fish, and lean cuts of pork (like loin), and avoid heavy red meat. That’s not difficult!
  • Add proteins rich in Omega 3, like imported preserved mackerel, tuna, or sardines.  If buying fish or seafood, buy fresh and support local.
  • Ignore all desserts. A cup of coffee, tea, or a piece of fruit will be better!

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You don’t have to say no to a lovely glass of wine. Enjoy these low-alcohol suggestions:

  • Sparkling: Most sparkling wines are low in alcohol, but if you want to taste something different, try a Gruner Veltiner or Riesling. Austria and Germany produce great styles (usually around 10-11% ABV).
  • White: A Txakolina from north Spain, one of the most refreshing and delicious whites you can have (around 10%). A simple Riesling Kabinett from Germany will be a great one, too. Both pair beautifully with seafood dishes, including sushi.
  • Red: A Nouveau wine.  Not sure about what it is? It means that the wine has been vinified and bottled during the same year of harvest. This, in turn, leads to youthful, pale-in-color, fruit-driven wine that begs to be enjoyed now (with a slight chill, of course). This style of wine is mainly produced in Beaujolais with Gamay grapes (around 12%).
    Another French term used to describe nouveau wines is “glou glou” because they are extremely drinkable – it’s roughly the French equivalent of “glug glug,” aka the sound of wine rapidly going down out of a person’s throat.
  • Sweet: You can play safe with Moscato D’Asti because, by law, this dry and sweet wine can’t be more than 5.5% ABV. It is from the Piedmont region and falls under the DOCG category. It will pair great with simple, fresh fruit tart or spicy Indian or Asian dishes.

My very last recommendation is to please don’t drink any alcohol on an empty stomach. Eat before and during enjoying a glass of wine, beer, sake, or spirit, and always have a glass of water near you.

Have a healthy 2024!

Doreen Colondres is a celebrity chef. Author of the book The Kitchen Does not Bite. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram @DoreenColondres and visit www.LaCocinaNoMuerde.com, www.TheKitchenDoesntBite.com