Most of us have heard of Movember … but have you heard of Ocsober?
Ocsober is an Australian fundraising initiative: the aim, to stay off alcohol for the month of October. It was set up a few years ago to raise awareness about alcohol abuse. The funds raised are used to educate children on the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse. Although Ocsober is not a highly publicised initiative in South Africa, it has been tried by some charities in the last couple of years. And it is trending on social media.
We are spoilt for choice in South Africa. Internationally acclaimed wine, thriving craft beer industry … and oh yes, that weather! It is the fun factor on your night out and it helps you unwind after a long day or week.
Sometimes its good to change things. Maybe its worth swapping your usual for a mocktail this October?
Giving up alcohol for a month will help detox your liver. The liver works hard when you drink. It produces a substance that breaks down the alcohol to turn into fuel. But if you don’t give it a break (even if you are not a binge drinker or dependent) the liver’s ability to do this becomes impaired. Alcohol turns some liver cells into fat, and because the liver has no feeling, so you only find out if you are damaging your liver when it is too late. Given a chance, the liver can repair itself from a lot of damage.
New Scientist ran a Dry January experiment this year. 10 staffers (who drink an average volume of alcohol) gave up alcohol for the month of January. At the end of the experiment, doctors found that in just 30 days, the now sober crew, saw their liver fat drop by 20% (a dangerous precursor to liver damage) and their blood glucose levels drop by 16%, reducing their risk of diabetes. These results surprised the doctors: it was the first study to show such an immediate drop in these metrics.
And if your insides are healthy, you will see the benefits on the outside – glowing skin, glossy hair, sparkly eyes!
BREAK THE HABIT
Drinking is accessible and social. Taking a break for a month will allow you to evaluate why and how much you drink. Letting alcohol creep into your everyday life is easily done. Stopping the cycle helps put everything back into perspective. And when November arrives, your appetite for alcohol, more than likely will have dropped.
A glass of dry white wine (175 MLS) at 12% alcohol volume, has about 160 Kcals/ 1092 kilojoules. Both red and white wines are equally calorific. If you only drink 3 glasses a week, that’s an additional 2000 Kcals/ 8400 kilojoules per month. And don’t forget, these are empty calories – they provide no nutritional benefit to your body. The body stores the sugars as excess fat.
Giving up alcohol for a month will reduce your calorie and sugar intake. As long as you don’t eat extra pizza to compensate for these drinks, you should lose some weight.
Cutting out alcohol should put a spring in your step. You sleep better, you get more out of your workouts and your body is better able to absorb essential vitamins and minerals. As a result, you will have more energy and probably welcome your Sunday mornings.
Alcohol costs money! Try saving the money you would spend on your favourite tipple and give yourself a treat at the end of October … a massage, facial, lunch with a friend. Just try to avoid a booze-up!
Are you up for it?