Every year as we enter July, thousands of Aussies step up to challenge themselves to Dry July, a full month without alcohol. Yikes! While many are doing it for a noble cause, to raise money for cancer research, others use it as a chance to cut back or cut out the alcohol for their own physical and mental health.
Alcohol has long been embedded in Australian culture, as ‘having a drink’ becomes our way of dealing with a bad day, celebrating a good day and marking almost every social occasion in between. For many, what starts as a social habit slowly merges into an almost daily occurrence and before you know it our physical and mental health suffers, along with our hip pocket.
But, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), our relationship with alcohol is shifting, with alcohol consumption across the nation decreasing over the last 15 years to the lowest level seen in 50 years. According to the most recent data, 9.51 litres of pure alcohol was consumed for each person aged 15 years and over annually, which equates to an average 2.08 standard drinks per day daily.
While alcohol remains the most commonly used drug in Australia, our country (and many others worldwide) is seeing a move toward sobriety and ‘mindful drinking’, with 31 per cent of Australians saying they had reduced the number of alcoholic drinks they consume in one session. Just a few months ago, The Big Starts at 60 Survey 2021 reflected similar results, with 60 per cent of our readers hoping to cut back on their drinking this year.
You’ve likely heard it all before, but even a small change in alcohol consumption can lead to huge improvements in your mental and physical health. Reducing your alcohol consumption can improve your mood and help you sleep better, but it also has a raft of other health benefits including lowering the risk of long term health problems like cancer and heart disease. Just some of the other benefits include;
There are no black and white rules on how to approach your relationship with alcohol, and for many, it changes during the journey, but it doesn’t have to be as strict as going completely teetotal. For many, the idea of cutting it out completely may seem unrealistic, especially if you’ve got events or special occasions on the horizon.
The ‘mindful drinking’ movement focuses on being intentional with your decisions around alcohol. It empowers you to make an intentional decision instead of grabbing a drink out of habit – you’re encouraged to ask yourself, do I want a drink, or am I doing it out of habit? The movement is a long-term approach based in mindfulness, not restriction.
Cutting down can be the first step in the journey, as you start to feel and see the benefits the appeal of a drink can wane helping you to continue the journey to a more healthy relationship with alcohol.
For most of us, drinking isn’t about getting drunk, it’s about the taste, the socialising and the experience. Some of us look forward to treating ourselves to a cold beer at the end of a hard day of work, a glass of red in front of the fire, a white perfectly paired with dinner or a glass of bubbles to celebrate.
As the movement toward sobriety grows, many are realising alcohol-free options can offer the exact same experience (and taste), without the hangover. So, you can still feel the reward and the celebration just as much as anyone else at the party.
There are many non-alcoholic products out there, from imitation alcohol, alcohol removed drinks, mock alcoholic drinks, healthy drink alternatives and zero per cent drinks – and it can easily get confusing because they are all very similar. While the terminology is varied across the board, they essentially mean the same thing – that the drink doesn’t contain alcohol – but the process of creation is very different.
Generally speaking, an ‘alcohol-free’ (or zero-proof) drink, contain from absolutely zero to 0.05 per cent alcohol by volume and are produced without any form of fermentation. While a non-alcoholic drink will often have undergone some form of fermentation but has been stopped during the fermentation process to ensure 0.5 per cent or less alcohol is in the final product – keep in mind here that orange and grape juices often contain small amounts of alcohol and would fit into this category. Finally, a ‘de-alcoholised’ beverage is one where the alcohol has been removed from the product after the fermentation process, meaning that often they have a more similar taste to the original alcohol product.
One great (and delicious) alcoholic-free option we’ve found is by a Canberra based company that focuses on showcasing native and organic ingredients. Altina Drinks was created by two Aussie’s who have embraced the mindful drinking movement and are “on a mission to shake up the Aussie drinking culture.”
If you’re a cocktail drinker, and the lime sodas just aren’t cutting it anymore, we love the Altina Drinks ‘Espresso Yourself’ zero proof cocktail! It tastes just like an espresso martini (or better) and offers the same pick-me-up to get the party started. The rich cold-brew combines scorched orange, notes of tropical fruit and cocoa, creamy nitro bubbles and a kick of chilli to finish. With no added juices or syrups, the cocktail is full of natural ingredients and a int of cane sugar to bring out the flavours of orange, cinnamon and cocoa.
If you’re after the fruity flavours of your regular cocktail, sans sugar and alcohol, the ‘Light Me Up’ cocktail combines the delicious flavours of forestberry, a native eucalypt with native wattleseed, which brings a nuttiness and hints of sweet apple and green tea. Without excess sugar, fruit juices, or artificial colours and flavours, these cocktails can be enjoyed without any guilt, and are perfect for those warm summer days.
If wine is your go-to, you can’t go past Altina’s range of non-alcoholic wines, offering a delicious Rosé and a sparkling white that are perfectly refreshing and incredibly similar to your usual drop featuring all natural ingredients, without excess sugar, fruit juices, or artificial colours and flavours.
Altina’s La Vie En Rose resembles a dry rosé wine with hints of organic hibiscus and pink rose petals, laced with sweet orange and a long finish. This gorgeous lightly sparkling non alcoholic rose alternative is not too sweet but perfectly refreshing.
Sober curious? The brand also offers a great starter pack with samples of each option so you can taste test to find your perfect drop.
These are just a few of our picks from the range, the full selection of Altina Drinks can be found here. Or, if you’re looking for more tips on how to ditch the booze take a look at our 7 easy tips here.
IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.