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DOING FEBFAST? HERE’S HOW TO SWAP YOUR VICES

February 1 is upon us in less than a week and it’s a time that many decide to give up their vices for the month of February as a part of FebFast. For those of you new to FebFast here’s the down-low :

  • Over the month of Feb you give up your vice – chocolate, sugar, beer, coffee, lollies – whatever that might be
  • In the process of giving up your vice you discover not only how great it FEELS both mentally and physically to be without these vices for a while but by participating and registering you can help raise funds for vital support services for YSAS – Youth Support and Advocacy Services 
  • Throughout the month you create new habits and find alternative and more conscious ways fill the void where that vice was that actually SUPPORT your health in the process.

Sounds pretty great right?

This coming Feb, I’ll be getting right amongst FebFast too and my vices, which are fairly rare in consumption as they are if I’m to be honest are:

  • Coffee – which pop into my life about 2x per week
  • Chocolate – and that’s the good stuff too – raw chocolate, cacao in any form!
  • Alcohol – somewhat same as the above, but life is too short to not enjoy a great glass of red at some point throughout the week

Given theses are three things which come into many people’s lives as frequent or even just occasional vices, here’s how you can make some swaps so there isn’t a complete gap where once they stood. Sometimes it’s more about the habit we’ve created in reaching for the wine, coffee or chocolate themselves than the actual element of eating them, would you agree? On the other side of that however, is that if you’re having really great quality of any of the above then it’s just as much about the enjoyment too. So there’s lots of reasons to find ways to shift the way you think about your vices and rewards.

Here’s a few ways you can approach them:

COFFEE

Whether it’s first thing, mid morning, mid afternoon or even after dinner, I’m a firm believer that you’ll need to find a replacement for this one in the similar ‘cuppa’ form. Try:

  • Black tea, green tea or matcha in the mornings for the first week or so or no one will want to be around you from the likely caffeine withdrawals. Once you’ve moved through those, reduce the caffeine if you wish by going with herbal teas. It’s up to you, but tea will always be more nourishing than coffee. Did you know matcha has up to 100x the antioxidants as green or black? Reason to switch right? (Read more on the beautiful benefits of Matcha and Herbal Tea to change your health here)
  • Almond milk chai, hot chocolate (if you’re not giving up cacao too) or dandelion latte mid morning if that’s your time to have a break from your desk. Dandelion latte not only tastes slightly similar to coffee but with its bitter taste helps support the detoxification processes of the liver.
  • Turmeric milk by night after your meal if coffee lures you out of habit. You’ll find sleep will be a whole lot easier with this wind down option, not to mention the incredible anti-inflammatory effects inside our body thanks to curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric.

CHOCOLATE

For a long time I rejected chocolate, let’s call it circa 15 years, so it was a while. I refused all of it, dark, milk, white, couldn’t even stand the idea of it sprinkled on top of coffee. It stemmed from an eating disorder I suffered as a teenager and was probably one of those controlling things that remained into my mid to late twenties. And then one day, I managed to release that burden and haven’t looked back.

Maybe it was a coming of age and understanding how to be kinder to myself, maybe it was motherhood and the realisation that I couldn’t maintain all these ‘rules’ around eating and be a good role model for Jet, maybe it was the lovely introduction to raw chocolate and understanding at that time whilst studying nutrition that not all chocolate was ‘bad’ and if you eat it mindfully it’s a perfectly fine to have it in your life. There are lots of factors I suppose.

A number of years down the track from that moment and I LOVE CHOCOLATE – good stuff that is, made with nourishing ingredients, raw cacao, coconut oil, spices, nuts, seeds, dried fruits, natural sweeteners. So whilst by no means is there hatred or need to get chocolate out of my life, I am just out of curiosity going to give it up for February and see how my mind works around the idea.

Here’s how I’ll swap one of my favourite foods:

  • a medjool date filled with some cashew, almond or peanut butter, or just a few pecans or walnuts if the nut butter isn’t handy
  • grilled stone fruit with a dollop of greek or coconut yogurt if that occasional twang of the sweet tooth hits
  • few scoops of avocado, because avocado, next to chocolate is one of the best foods on earth!
  • almond bark which is a must if you’ve not yet tried it #gothere

ALCOHOL

Alcohol isn’t a big one for me, I’ll happily go without it for a period of time, but to be honest it’s never been following the festive/summery months when I will easily enjoy a few wines throughout the week over dinner. Other times during the year, it may only be once a week. January has seen probably 2 nights with a glass of red, sometimes 3 and I am ok with that. Again it comes back to not letting things burden the way you think and feel about yourself and to enjoy moderately and mindfully.

The drinks I’ll be turning to when during the wind (not wine…) down hour and when out and about with friends?

  • Kombucha – a delicious fermented, probiotic rich tea, that is naturally sparkling as a result of the fermentation process and can be pimped up with beautiful flavours from ginger, lemon, berries, and all other sorts of goodness. Check out the booch by my friends at Remedy Kombucha – they make theirs with stevia too so if you’re giving up sugar this month then this won’t be an issue for you.
  • Sparkling water with fresh lime and mint
  • Iced herbal teas with fresh berries, mint, orange, lemon or lime

What vices will you be giving up this coming February and how can we help you find the swaps? Feel free to start a conversation in the comments below!

Jacqueline Alwill

Jacqueline is an Accredited Nutritional Medicine Practitioner specialising in family and early childhood nutrition and gut health. She writes for several media publications, hosts a regular nutrition segment on Channel 7 and in 2016 published her first book, "Seasons to Share" (Murdoch Books). Jacqueline is passionate about working with corporations and brands to support and educate their community and audience and is currently a media spokesperson and ambassador for Remedy Drinks, Eimele Australia, Woolworths, Kitchenaid and Nutrition Director at Bondi Bubs Wholefoods. She is mum to Jet and outside her working hours you'll find her with her family in the surf, on the beach, or out and about in nature.

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