If we have long praised the merits of detox after the end-of-year holidays, the success of dry January consisting of not drinking alcohol throughout the month of January has finally taken precedence in the recommendations at the beginning of year. The success is such that the concept of this challenge has fueled a whole bunch of other challenges which are supposed to dictate our behavior at the table…
First of all, let us point out to those who are not familiar with the language of Shakespeare that this expression literally means “dry January”. Understand “sober January” in good French. Because we are talking about alcohol, or rather the absence of it. This operation, launched in 2013 in the United Kingdom, consists of taking a break from drinking wine, beer, spirits and any other alcoholic beverage. It was an English student who launched the idea of this communication campaign when she became a member of the Alcohol Change UK association. Until now, this type of challenge mainly concerned smokers with the tobacco-free month, relayed by numerous health organizations, in Europe as well as in the United Kingdom. Year after year, “dry January” is a hit with consumers who see it as a good way to preserve their body after (too) drunken holidays. The challenge becomes a new form of detox. This alcoholic diet has since convinced the whole world, including Australia. In Europe, around a third of adults, or 17 million people, planned to take on this challenge in 2023, according to an IFOP survey. In the United Kingdom, one in six adults (8.5 million people) plan to take a break from alcohol consumption in the first month of 2024, according to the Alcohol Change UK association.
Even if Dry January is successful, some participants, like other consumers who did not want to try it, consider this challenge too drastic and would have preferred more flexibility in the rules of “the game”. Once again, we use the English language to propose an alternative, namely “damp january”, meaning the month of wet January. Rather than banning alcohol for a month, the idea is to reduce your alcohol consumption. The challenge is still significant since it involves avoiding aperitifs and only accepting a drink on special occasions such as birthdays and weddings. And during these events, it’s about limiting yourself to just one drink.
In recent years, another option has attracted consumers who are not tempted to follow the dry January principle because of its too drastic nature. A movement, let’s say parallel, has been formed around a logic reminding us that it is more useful to drink sensibly, but better. In this case, it is a question of preferring quality wines and alcohols, rather than drinking piquette. Here again, it was the English who invented this alternative, in particular to support wine merchants, producers and all small traders, such as pub owners, who make a living from the sale of alcohol. This movement is still little known, compared to the tidal wave of Dry January, and yet the Vinepair site reports that it was created in 2015, two years after the launch of Sober January. The activity of bars and restaurants having been sacrificed during confinements, the operation resonated all the more at the end of the health crisis with consumers who were invited to support the sector.
Quickly after the launch of Dry January, the vegan community seized on the principle of a challenge to offer as many people as possible to also try a plant-based diet. The objective is therefore not to eat any meat or animal protein until January 31 inclusive. For once, it was in England that the movement started. The non-profit organization of the same name, Veganuary – a contraction of vegan and january, directs operations and brings together all those who wish to commit to putting an end to animal suffering as well as to participate in solutions to limit animal suffering. climate deregulation. In Europe, the L214 association is the main organization taking up the challenge. Volunteers will meet consumers in Monoprix distributor stores to help them make changes to their menus. Coaching sessions will take place throughout the month of January in 18 cities.
NO to diets, YES to WW!
In the same way that “damp january” or “tryanuary” offer more flexible alternatives to dry january, a movement annexed to “veganuary” has been formed to, not prohibit meat eating, but to suggest thinking more to menus in line with seasonal and local products, more respectful of the environment and the work of farmers. The ending “uary” continues to spark initiatives, and it is now regenerative agriculture which is at the heart of a new portmanteau word. We therefore speak of “regenuary”. Concretely, this means preferring foods from agriculture in line with permaculture, which pays attention to biodiversity and relies on soil regeneration methods. This agricultural concept counts, for example, on the capture of carbon dioxide in the soil and on grazing. The “regenuary” challenge was launched in 2019 by The Ethical Butcher, a group of British farmers.