We’ve had Christmas day, Boxing Day, New Years Day and Australia Day over the past few months which for many people means holidays, parties, eating delicious (but not so good for you!) foods and alcoholic beverages. If you have over indulged like many other Australians why not try a mocktail alternative at your next gathering as a healthier alternative?
It’s no wonder that February has been chosen for Febfast. Feb-what? Febfast is a “challenge and a tonic for all drinkers, to see if they can take a break from alcohol for the 28 days of February. This short break is both a timely health kick and a vital community fundraiser: money raised helps programs for vulnerable families and young adults tackling serious alcohol and drug issues.”
The idea of Febfast was conceived by Fiona Healey just before Christmas of 2006. She and a friend were only too aware of the festive season of indulgence that lay before them and so decided to take a month off drinking any alcohol. And that’s what they did! The month of February 2007 Fiona and her friend ditched the alcohol and raised $910 which they donated to the Youth Support and Advocacy Service (YSAS) who help young people battling with alcohol and substance abuse.
From there it only made sense to get more people involved. To date there have been 5 Febfasts with over 20,000 Australians involved! These Febfasts have raised a massive $4.5 million for 43 programs across Australia that help young people overcome both alcohol and drug issues! What an amazing effort.
Past Febfasters have reported numerous health benefits such as better sleep, an improvement in their skin and also an increase in exercise during the month. Needless to say, hangovers are something that Febfasters didn’t miss. Other Febfasters have commented on the improvement that they experienced in their relationships because they simply felt better and therefore interacted with others in a more positive way.
So what exactly are the health benefits of saying goodbye to the “grog”?
Did you know that alcoholic beverages strain the liver and make it more sluggish? This is bad news if you are watching your figure, your health and your complexion.
Alcohol also uses up B vitamins, vitamin A levels in the liver and serum (blood) levels of vitamin C, zinc & magnesium. It also interferes with vitamin D metabolism (vitamin D is needed for strong, healthy bones).
In addition to this alcohol dehydrates the body and it can leave you feeling hunger that isn’t genuine the next day. This means that you may feel hungry when you really aren’t hence leading you to overeat. Alcohol is also associated with increased fat around the waist and it adds unnecessary and nutritionally-corrupt calories to the diet.
Alcohol is metabolised using the same pathways that the body uses to remove other toxins, so the body needs to divert its detoxification efforts to alcohol, missing other toxins in the process. Studies have found that moderate alcohol consumption is linked with higher breast cancer rates
BUT there is GOOD news! You can still relax and be social and merry with friends while enjoying some tasty non-alcoholic beverages instead. In addition to the non-alcoholic wine and beer and traditional lemon, lime and bitters that you may have tried, why not give these delicious mocktails a try? Your body will definitely thank you!
Fruit Punch Mocktail
- Pour the apple juice into a rocks glass (tall glass) that contains ice (try to have at least half the cup full of ice)
- Add the cranberry juice, then add the lemon juice (remember you can always add more of this later so be sparing with the lemon juice at first)
- Next add a dash of sugar or agave syrup and the ginger ale
- Stir the mixture and garnish with the cranberries
Baby Bellini Mocktail
- Pour the peach nectar into a champagne or martini glass. Next add the lemon juice and then the apple juice
- Garnish with the peaches and serve
TIP: You can use canned peaches for this recipe. Simply drain the liquid and reserve the peaches for garnish
You can prepare this using a high balled (tall) glass and a muddler or mortar (from the mortar and pestle) OR using a blender.
- In a glass: Add the watermelon followed by the mint leaves, then the lime juice and muddle with a muddler or crush with a mortar. If using a blender add these ingredients to the blender and pulse until it reaches a smooth consistency
- Next add some crushed ice (or add the ice cubes to the blender and blend until crushed but not liquid), then add the peach syrup and the pineapple juice.
- Mix. Garnish with a sprig of mint or a piece of watermelon and serve
Passion Fruit Mocktail
- Pour the passionfruit juice into a high balled glass packed with ice. Next add the lemon juice, cranberry juice and soda water.
- Garnish with the cherry and serve
- Pour the passionfruit juice into a wine glass or a high balled (tall) glass packed with ice. Add the soda water to taste, then garnish with the lime wedge
Non-Alcohol Shirley Temple
- Pack a high balled glass with ice
- Fill with orange juice until 1/3 full
- Pour the ginger ale into the glass until full
- Garnish with cherries and orange wedge
Virgin Pina Colada
- Use whichever glass you wish. Add some ice to the glass
- Fill the glass half full with coconut milk, then add the pineapple juice
- Mix and serve
Eve Nguyen is a degree-qualified Naturopath, CPAP therapist and K.L stretch teacher with over 10 years experience in the field of health and Nutrition. In addition to teaching nutrition and cooking classes, Eve was chosen to be a Fairfield City Green Champion in 2010. As a vegan with a particular interest in environmental impacts on our health, Eve enjoys delivering information/ presentations to help people realise the link between the state of the environment and their own health.
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