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From Dry January to Veganuary

Healthy eating

As we enter 2023 and make our list of New Year resolutions, our focus sometimes turns to improving our health and wellbeing. At Benenden Hospital, we promote mental and physical wellbeing among both our patients and staff.

With so many ways to achieve this, which ‘anuary’ will you choose post-Christmas? 

What is Dry January?

2023 marks the ten-year anniversary of Dry January, a 31-day alcohol-free challenge. Since starting in 2013, hundreds of thousands of people have taken a January off drinking to raise money for Alcohol Change UK. There’s a reason why so many people took part in the UK’s one-month alcohol-free challenge, could this be your ‘anuary’?

If you choose to cut out all alcoholic beverages for 31 days, most people see both their physical and mental health improve. Your skin will be healthier, you will save money, you will feel calmer and you will have a better night’s sleep. Give your liver a break at the start of the New Year.

The health benefits of significantly reducing or cutting out alcohol include:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduced diabetes risk
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Reduced levels of cancer-related proteins in the blood

Out of all the previous Dry January participants it was recorded that:

  • 70% of people slept better
  • 86% of people saved money, and
  • 65% of people noticed generally improved health

What is Veganuary?

If you’re feeling a bit bloated after your festive food feast, Veganuary may be more suited to you. Over 629,000 people switched to veganism in last year’s 2022 campaign across 228 countries. Can these figures be beaten?

What are the health benefits of going vegan?

  • A vegan diet is richer in certain nutrients
  • Eating a vegan diet means your calorie intake will be less. This makes a vegan lifestyle is effective at promoting weight loss
  • It may reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes as eating mainly whole foods is particularly effective at reducing blood sugar levels
  • Certain parts of a vegan diet can offer protection against breast, colon and prostate cancers
  • It can improve your heart health by reducing the risk of factors which contribute to heart disease
  • Vegans eat a lot of probiotic whole foods that may decrease osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis

Through the Veganuary campaign, businesses have increased food provision in shops and restaurants which makes veganism more accessible. Did you know more than 1,540 new vegan products and menus were launched for last year’s Veganuary?

If you don’t want to cut out alcohol or go vegan, maybe one of the following could be your chosen ‘anuary’?

  • Starting a new exercise regime
  • Getting better at saving money
  • Improving your close relationships
  • Picking up a new hobby

How to stick to your goals

To set realistic goals, it is important to set them by imagining you’re feeling really unmotivated. This makes them more achievable and allows you to build upon them quickly. For example, if you want to start running, say ‘I will run once a week and go for one lunch break walk’. This will look different for everyone so focus on your progress and watch your satisfaction levels rise.

Health and wellbeing at Benenden Hospital

At our CQC rated Outstanding hospital, we encourage a healthy work/life balance. Our employees have access to a plethora of informative free resources to support and encourage healthy minds in the workplace.

To find out more, read our Healthy Minds articles or visit the Careers area of our website.

Published on 12 January 2023