Dry January: How to give up alcohol more easily, from eating spicy food to avoiding the pub

How to Drink Better: Top tips to reduce the temptation of having a drink in the new year

Q. Do you have any tips on how to drink less alcohol?

A. I have no problem with dry January. If you did overindulge during the festive season, it is probably a very good idea to give your liver a rest. As someone involved in the drinks business, I am very aware of the health problems alcohol can cause. Instead of giving up for the month of January, we try to go dry three to four days a week, usually Monday to Thursday. I don’t beat myself up if I do have a drink, I just try not to do it again. For me, it is largely about taking yourself away from temptation. Below are a few suggestions that I have found useful.

Avoid the pub, or any other place where you usually have alcohol. Go for a walk with friends instead of going for a pint. Alternatively, try out the various zero beers; some are very good.

I tend to have a glass of beer or wine when I am cooking dinner. In the middle of the week, I try to cook simple last-minute dishes that won’t have me in the kitchen for too long. It is amazing how many other things you will find time to do.

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If I cook a sumptuous meal, the first think I look for is a glass of nice wine. So, we try to eat plainer food midweek, often vegetarian Indian food such as dals and roast spiced vegetables. With all that heat and spice, somehow I miss the alcohol less.

Find alcohol-free alternatives. Alcohol-free, or very low-alcohol craft beers offer a great alternative, as do alcohol-free wines. Drinks such as kombuchas and water kefirs can be really interesting and have now gone fairly mainstream, appearing on the shelves of most supermarkets as well as health food shops.

Don’t have drink lying around the house. Not easy in my case, but if I open a bottle for tasting purposes, I drop the bottle around to my very grateful neighbours.

Try to get your partner to join in. It is not easy watching your loved one knock back a glass of wine while you are sipping water.

Treat yourself to something nice. If you get through a week alcohol free, buy yourself a good book or some other treat.

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