Dry January: Is It Worth It?

Tuesday Dec 30 | BY |
| Comments (10)

A health catch phrase you might hear these days is “Dry January.” Many people use the month of January as a period of abstinence after the excesses of the Holidays. Generally, it’s about giving up alcohol completely for all of January, but I feel the definition could be expanded to include more cleansing and detox programs.

What About the Liver Vacation?

Does giving up all alcohol for a month really make a difference, even if you’re just in the habit of drinking a glass or two of wine a few times a week? Prior to last year, there wasn’t much research to back this up, but now there is!

Last year, the team at the New Scientist conducted an internal study to put the liver vacation to a test.

14 members of the New Scientists, who considered themselves to be “normal” drinkers, got ultrasound scans to measure the amount of fat on their liver. They also did a lot of blood tests to check their overall health.

10 of them drank no alcohol for the next five weeks, while four others continued as normal.

After the experiment, they went back to the hospital to repeat the tests.

Unsurprisingly, the four people who continued drinking saw no significant change. But for the abstainers, the following happened:

  • Liver fat fell by 15% (up to 20% in some people). Liver fat can cause inflammation and can result in liver disease.
  • Blood glucose levels dropped by 16%
  • Total cholesterol dropped by 5%
  • Ratings of sleep quality rose by 10%

The only negative they reported was regarding their social life. Other reports I’ve found online regarding the “Dry January” only show positive results for most people.

Give Your Body a Bigger Vacation

Giving up alcohol for a month can be great, but what if you want better results? Or what if you don’t even drink or drink much?

The Dry January on “steroids” is the raw food cleanse, or something along those lines. For 30 days, or any amount of time, you’d give up all:

  • Bread, and refined grains
  • Oils and concentrated fats
  • Animal products
  • Prepared foods

… and you’d shower your body with raw foods and fresh juices. The higher the percentage of raw food, the more effective this cleanse will be.

It doesn’t mean that for 30 days you have to give up all cooked food, but you can any of the following:

  • Having a giant daily green smoothie for breakfast
  • No restaurant food and only home-cooked food
  • Eating only raw foods (fruits and vegetables) until dinner.
  • Water as your only beverage
  • Intermittent fasting until noon

Whatever you decide to do, stay warm!

Question of the day: Do you plan on doing a cleanse this January?

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog RenegadeHealth.com — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.


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  1. Larkspur says:

    I think if one eats healthily generally, our bodies self regulate. I find this anyway and rather than wanting more and more of say, alcohol and rich / fast food, my body or taste buds tell me, ‘No more of that for quite a long time!’

    Same with weight; if I gradually put on a few pounds I find myself wanting more salads and fresh fruit and the weight drops off in about a week. I think our bodies are meant to be fine tuned like this.

    For instance, our cars would soon splutter and stop without the correct grade of petrol or oil and any pets would soon become lethargic and unwell with too much or the wrong kind of food; so why is it that we humans pour anything and everything down our throats with hoped for impunity!

  2. Bonnie B. says:

    Yes, I will do it !

  3. laura says:

    I like the idea of doing a ‘Reset’ in January, rather than approaching it as going ‘Dry’. Most studies, like the one you cited, have found that the benefits gained, are lost once the intervention is also stopped. So all those healthful changes revert back to their pre-intervention status, or as in the case of ‘yo-yo’ dieting, one actually loses ground over time. A ‘reset’ reminds me that lifestyle changes are not short term intervention, but actually ‘lifestyle’ changes that I incorporate, more often than not, for the duration of my life. That being said, I do plan to do a ‘Reset’ just to give my system a little vacation- I generally spend so much time in the kitchen doing food prep.- I am amazed how much time I have when I limit myself for a few days, to simply drinking smoothies or juices.
    Intermittent fasting is a very interesting idea. I’m thinking of a 12 week experiment with not eating anything solid after 5:00pm- that would certainly open up my evenings!

  4. Suzanne says:

    I am going to start a cleanse on Friday for 10 days. However, I need a little more food than just green smoothies and salads. So I’m going to do this one: The Nourishing Cleanse: A Gentle Broth-Based Detox Program from AmandaLove.com

  5. Mary dean triplett says:

    Just want to let you know , my computer is problem the internet ! I’ m sorry happen . I like to read about good health and how to eat . I can care eat vegetable and fruit for good health important . thanks for information RENEGADE HEALTH .

  6. Lola says:

    I’m confused. I thought coconut oil is EXTREMELY healthful. Please explain.

    I get run down without healthful oil in my diet.

  7. davidburnerr says:

    If you want to become fit forever then should do some work out, not necessary that

    you can do it through exercise only. Because many people don’t get time for it.

    But you can do it by doing some physical work like walking instead of using

    vehicles for the small works around your home or by following some

    Health Tips for a healthy life.

  8. Sonya says:

    I have tried cleanses in January and have realized it is not a good time of year for me or the members of my family, we always end up sick. I think it is because we live in the North and temperatures sometimes reach the -40 degrees Celsius? We’ve learned over the years that April works well for us. We always feel fantastic after a good cleanse

  9. Cindy says:

    I realized in 2013 that I was eating out at restaurants way too much, & so at the beginning of 2014, I decided to not eat out at restaurants for at least a month. It really wasn’t that hard to do, & I lost 10 lbs. while still eating what I wanted to at home. I’m going to do it again for 2015.

  10. Tracy says:

    Can you post a couple of good green juice recipes.
    Great email.
    Tracy Giles

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