I am on the last day of a 21-day detox program. The goal was to detox the liver, reduce inflammation, and try to identify the foods that trigger it. No coffee, alcohol, dairy, grains, or sugar. Very little animal protein (wild caught fish on occasion). I learned that even without coffee, I am still a morning person. My back is much less painful. My sleep more regular. Energy and mental clarity is better than ever. But the rediscovery of food was the best part.
Did you know that food without cheese is good too?! This isn’t the first time I’ve had this epiphany—I avoided dairy for five years in my 20s. When you reset your tastebuds, a little lemon juice and olive oil on a salad is delectable. And plant-based meals with lots of spices and herbs are satisfying. After two days of fasting, I felt like I ate lentil soup for the first time! It was simple, but satisfying—red lentils with tomatoes, spinach, cumin and topped with mashed avocado and lime. YUM! So, to anyone who thinks that detoxing is hard, or silly, or not for them, I’d encourage you to reconsider. It’s a nice way to start the new year.
So yes, in essence, I did partake in “Dry January.” I posted an article to LinkedIn about its impact on bar owners and got some great feedback. You can see it and connect with me here. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t support my local restaurants. I met colleagues at Union Coffee for herbal tea. My husband and I went to The Swan for dinner and held the scalloped potatoes (and Kim Crawford Sauv Blanc). But with more healthy options, I'm sure we would have been out more.
This has also been an interesting experience working with my start-up clients. We need a Zero-proof cocktail menu! And plant-based food options! I took a client down to the Sysco kitchen in South Philly for a consultation with their Chef last week. She made a Sysco-branded plant-based meatball sandwich, topped with a Sysco-branded non-dairy cheese, and a plant-based sausage, egg and cheese made with Impossible sausage. If Sysco is on board, what does that tell you?
V-Spot and Sprig & Vine in New Hope, PA both cater to a vegan or “flexitarian” audience. V-Spot has an authentic-tasting “Old Fashioned,” sans whiskey of course, served by a 16-year old. Volstead opened in early 2022 in Manayunk, the first zero-proof bar in Philly. A Mindful Drinking Fest in DC earlier this month sold out. More and more people identifying as “sober curious,” are looking for ways to socialize without booze. Further, they are spending money on cocktails, wine, and beer without alcohol.
The bottom line is, it’s important to stay on top of trends. Plant-based and zero-proof—they’re a thing. People are looking for a healthier lifestyle with a lower carbon footprint. Trends can impact not just your menu, but also to-go packaging, marketing, staffing. Dry January happens every year and it’s only getting more popular. Plan for it—not just for January, but all year.
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