I have had a business called The Food Coach since 2001. I started the business as a personal trainer in healthy eating and over the years I have done several things from writing books, producing healthy eating videos, putting the city of Wagga Wagga on a diet, and running a start-up wellbeing program to improve the physical and mental health of regional Australians affected by drought and bushfires.

My most recent work is a 42-day online program called Lighten Up https://www.thefoodcoachcourses.com.au/signup/lighten-up-summer/ where I help people lose weight using a range of techniques including 5:2 evidence-based reduced energy fasting, weekly healthy challenges, meditation, mindfulness, stress and sleep management, and curated information from global experts. Coupled with one on one coaching, the program is particularly helpful for men and women who have reached a stage, usually later in life, where weight has become a problem to their overall health.  Often when I’m coaching clients, I have to help them reduce their alcohol intake. Not only does alcohol itself have excess calories they can do without, but it also leads them to eat more of the wrong foods.

I do drink alcohol but I try to have at least 4 nights off a week and limit my consumption to a couple of glasses of wine on the weekend. Having said that, we have a busy social life, particularly after lockdown which is why I’m interested in no alc drinks for myself and my clients. Also, I am Scottish and the Scots are notorious for being big drinkers and my family are no exception. My parents drank every night, and alcohol was the cause of a great deal of family distress when I was growing up. Because of that I have a poor relationship with alcohol and worry when I feel like a drink after work whether I have a dependency. My husband continually reassures me that I don’t but I would love to lose the anxiety altogether and enjoy a drink with others, without the alcohol. 

When I first discovered the wide range of no alcohol adult drinks I was eager to explore the experience of drinking them at parties to see how it compares with going out and drinking sparkling water (my non-alcoholic drink of choice). I’m a decaf coffee drinker and find the experience of drinking decaf the same as drinking coffee without the anxiety and agitation. Meeting a friend for coffee and drinking tea is not the same.

Over the Festive season we went to two parties where I took an alcohol-free sparking Wolf Blass Cuvee. I enjoyed it. The parties were great and I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything. Since then I’ve tried a few different bottles of sparkling and still alcohol-free wine. Like their alcoholic equivalent there are some I like more than others.  I only select from those that are low in sugar and calories because I want to know what to recommend to my clients when I am coaching them.

This February we’ll be doing Feb Fast and I will be encouraging all my Lighten Up course members to take a month off alcohol with me – With these adult options it’s easy!

Sherif Goubran