Well, have I got something to say this week (not that I didn’t last week – and thank you for the amazing messages in support). So, I did ‘Dry July’. I have to qualify that, before someone tells me off. Because Dry July is actually a fundraiser for cancer. You ask friends or family members to sponsor you to go alcohol-free during the month of July, then when you achieve your goal the funds raised are turned over to the Dry July Trust who distribute the funds to various causes. You get the idea. I had a dry month influenced by the loose knowledge of what Dry July was, without fundraising. I had no idea when I started that I wouldn’t drink for a month – I was aiming for 5 days, just a general health kick – but once I got into it, I just kept going, even when going out for dinner and socialising, which is often the hard part. To help me on my journey I did have a little bottle though, and it’s nearly been my downfall….
It started with checking the zero alcohol offerings on the supermarket shelves. There were quite a few wines to try so I decided to give them a go. I missed the ritual of a glass of wine at the end of the day. And don’t ‘tsk tsk’ thinking one shouldn’t drink alone, that it’s surely the start of the end! That’s nonsense. If you like a glass of wine, just because you don’t have anyone to chat with while you consume it, there’s no reason not to have it. That’s the law according to Julie, anyway. But having an alcohol-free break is something I have done often in my life, (just so I know who’s the boss!).
I do enjoy a wine spritzer – wine and soda water mixed. I generally go ⅓ wine to ⅔ soda water in a long glass. I’ve got a Sodastream, so it’s easy to have chilled bubbles on hand. This is my drink all through summer. In winter the proportion changes to nearer 50-50 and I might swap the Sauvignon Blanc for Tempranillo.
It worked with the zero alcohol wines! I soon worked out a favourite, an Australian rosé, knocked it back to the 30-70 ratio and I was in business throughout July, and August, and into September. I had breakouts, of course. There’s no denying I love bubbles. And sometimes I longed for something with more flavour. But all of that aside, something bad was happening to me. Seriously bad.
I wasn’t eating any more than usual, and I was exercising and walking … but I was getting FAT. Seriously fat. By mid-September I was 2kg heavier than I was at the start of June. I increased my walking, threw the chocolate chippie biscuits to the birds and vowed not to buy any more Proper Crisps or other naughty Lockdown treats, and expected results, but there was no reduction on the scales. And I felt sluggish. Heavy in my body. When this happened after my Covid jab I blamed the jab. When it seemed much worse after the second jab, I really thought, oh here we go, I’m one of the weird ones who has been affected by the vaccine. It was hard to get on top of the sluggishness. Moments of racing energy, then down I’d crash hardly able to move. What was happening? I had a blood test. Normal (good results on the liver!). And then it dawned on me: I read the back of the label of the bottle of zero alcohol ‘wine’. HOLY SMOKE! 7g of sugar per 150ml glass!!! I’d been poisoning myself with sugar!!!
Dry white and red wines have the least amount of sugar, and dessert wines, as you would expect, the most. Sauvignon blanc has less than 1g of sugar per glass. Champagne about 1g per glass. Even by diluting zero alcohol wine with soda water I was still consuming more sugar than I ever had in my life. Fat Bear Championships here I come. Not! I was on the highway to hell (diabetes) and I had to get off. I went out and bought a bottle of 2021 bracingly fresh Sauvignon Blanc, poured some in a glass and cut it 50-50 with effervescing soda. It was glorious. Chilling and thrilling, sharply fresh like a squirt of lemon on an oyster, light and refreshing. I quickly downed it before the bubbles disappeared and poured another.