What It's Like To Go A Month Without Alcohol, Sugar, And Caffeine


Could you do it? (Photo courtesy of Phoebe Lapine)

Phoebe Lapine is a food writer, chef, and creator of the website Feed Me Phoebe. She’s also undergoing a year-long endeavor, which she calls “The Wellness Project,” that involves a new health- or beauty-related challenge every month. Yahoo Health is catching up with Phoebe each month to see how she fared — so you can take her tips and teachable moments and apply them to your own life.

Yahoo Health: What was the challenge for January?

Phoebe Lapine: For this month’s experiment, I chose to go off of my two vices — caffeine and alcohol — along with added sugar. I also did it last March because my skin was a disaster at the time.

What was the hardest part about it?

Cutting out added sugar. The thing with cutting out added sugar is that you’re also cutting out processed foods. I swapped out sugary breakfast bars for homemade smoothies, I limited packaged foods, and I treated myself to other indulgences — like massages — instead of sugary indulgences of the dessert variety. But the problem with cutting out sugar is that there are so many not-obvious foods that have it.

For alcohol, the hardest part was surprisingly the loneliness and social isolation. It’s not that I needed alcohol to have fun, but I felt like I was missing out from connecting with other people.

Caffeine was surprisingly not that hard to go without. I realized that I was drinking caffeine-filled drinks as part of my morning ritual. After the initial withdrawal hump, I didn’t really need the caffeine to function.

What changes will you make going forward?

For sugar, I try to read ingredient labels. I don’t drive myself crazy trying to calculate the added sugar, but I do use the sugar information on labels to make decisions about what I do and don’t consume.

For alcohol, I drink now for the taste. I drink more slowly, and if I don’t like what I’m sipping, I’ll put it down and socialize sans drink.

And for caffeine, I now have a cup of green or herbal tea in the mornings. It allows me to keep my morning ritual.

For Phoebe’s full rundown of her month without sugar, caffeine and alcohol, be sure to check out her post on her website Feed Me Phoebe. You can also follow Phoebe on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram.