Fun-Free February

Fun-Free February

Thursday 1 Feb 2024, 5:14 pm

Some people do ‘dry January’. I never have. My birthday is in January after all, and it’s always nice to have a glass of wine or a few beers on your birthday.

But I’ve always found the concept of ‘dry January’ an interesting one. A sort of ‘fire break’ after overdoing it over the holidays. A while back I decided that I would quite like to do something similar, and settled on dry February (it is the shortest month after all…)

Dry February grew a bit of a life of its own over time. My wife needed to start on a very restrictive diet for medical reasons, and so I decided to do a bit of a ‘sympathy diet’.

The one constant has been giving up alcohol, but in parallel, I’ve also done:

  • Sugar-free
  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan
  • Gluten-free

The most extreme version so far was vegan, sugar-free, and gluten-free, on top of the alcohol-free.

Most years, I do cut out sugar. It makes things a bit more difficult, but we do cook a lot from scratch anyway, so in practical terms, it mostly just means cutting out snacks.

This year though, I wanted to set myself a bit of a challenge. On my ‘TIL’ page recently I posted an article about caffeine, and I’ve decided to go caffeine-free, and to give up processed foods (Nova Categories 3 & 4).

Out of all of the Fun-Free Februaries I’ve done so far, this one I think is the most interesting. I have been drinking more and more coffee, especially with a nice coffee machine, and working from home, but it feels like I have got to a point where I am having a coffee because I can’t think of what else to do, and I don’t think that’s a great place to be in.

I’m also interested to see how hard I find the processed food one. I feel like there are a couple of areas where this will be difficult (I eat a lot of ham and cheese) but there’s also quite a lot of potential for me to learn more about the food I eat there. As a small caveat, I’ve decided that if I am the one doing the processing, then I’m also allowed to make things that would otherwise be considered category 3 or 4 (so far example, homemade bread is OK, homemade hummus is OK), provided all of the constituent ingredients are category 1 or 2. I’m not sure if that’s how the framework is intended to be used, but it will do for me.

So, wish me luck!