The Feel-Good Fun of Clean Living

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We’re more than halfway done! It’s the third week of the Hill Street Challenge to go alcohol-free for one month. We checked in with Zoomer Breakfast Radio with Neil, Sam and Jane to learn whether they made it through Canada Day long weekend without a drop of booze.

Over the past week, Jane shares how her 23-year-old son tried the Hill Street Craft Brewed Lager. “He cracked one open and said it tastes a lot like Steamwhistle. That’s a good thing – he means it tastes like real craft beer.” Neil adds, “Sam’s son likes it, too, including the gorgeous artwork on the can.” (This week Sam is sipping her alcohol-free beverages on vacation.)

What clean living looks like

A growing number of people of all ages are adopting clean living habits. For instance, they are replacing processed food with natural, organic, and nutrient-dense foods. For a healthier mindset, they’re replacing negativity and worry with yoga and meditation, and clutter with minimalism. We asked whether these clean living trends have impacted the Happy Gang.

Jane reveals that, even before the Hill Street Challenge, “exercise has been a huge part of my life. I’ve done three to four workouts per week for forever.” Nourishment is another priority. “At home we’ve eliminated packaged or processed food; we make all of our meals from scratch. We eat a lot of vegetables, have fish every week or two, and cut back on carbs for dinner.”

“Beer almost has a stigma attached to it; it doesn’t need to be that way.”

~ Neil Hedley

Neil credits his wife for their healthy home. “That’s Mrs. Hedley’s influence. I’ve been doing yoga and eating healthy. Doing things better and healthier is something I’ve been conscious of for a while.”

Asked whether alcohol still has a role within the clean living trend (or whether it’s incompatible), Neil states, “It depends how people consume it. If their alcohol comes with a burger and fries, it’s not that healthy. If you want to eat clean, having alcohol-free beer would make it easier to make healthy new choices.”

Along the spectrum ranging from teetotaler to frequent drinker, many choices exist. As Jane puts it, “Alcohol can coexist with clean living. It’s about adhering to guidelines and consuming it in moderation. That’s why, at doctors’ appointments, our doctors ask us how much we drink per week. One glass of wine per day can be part of a healthy lifestyle. So is choosing an alcohol-free Merlot.”

Making responsible parenting easier

Congratulations to Neil and Mrs. Hedley, whose baby is due this month! To protect his wife and baby from off-limit consumables, like sushi, brie, and alcohol, Neil says their lifestyle, “hasn’t been that different from the outset” of the pregnancy. His wife has “always been more cognizant than I am” of diligence with healthy habits.

Instead of removing alcohol from his life, Neil says the Hill Street Challenge with alcohol-free beer and wine has “put new options on the table, both literally and figuratively, that haven’t been there before,” given Neil’s alcohol-free lifestyle beyond this month-long challenge.

For others who are unable to drink due to pregnancy or other health conditions, Neil suggests, “If it’s the taste that you miss, you have alcohol-free options like Hill Street’s drinks. Miss beer? Here’s your solution. This beer actually tastes like beer, not near beer. It’s virtually indistinguishable from your alcoholic options.”

“Mommy wine culture is everywhere”

~ Jane Brown

Since Jane’s a working mom with family and professional demands 24/7, we asked if she ever felt tempted to unwind with a glass of wine for some relaxing ‘me time.’ “Definitely, yes. That’s a reward for sure,” she shares. “Yet the older I get, the more I adhere to moderation. I don’t have too much ‘me time.’ I don’t enjoy feeling inebriated, so after I have a glass of wine, I’ll grab a glass of water.”

Yet the sobering truth is some parents lack such wise limits. Recent reports show a surge in mothers in their 30s and 40s with drinking problems and liver disease.

“Mommy wine culture is everywhere: it’s on cocktail napkins and t-shirts and greeting cards,” Jane states, referring to mothers who turn to alcohol as their own Mother’s little helper. “They joke and call it ‘Mommy juice.’” As evidence, she cites former ABC News anchor Elizabeth Vargas’ disclosure of alcoholism amid a culture that celebrates motherhood and drinking.

For family-friendly choices, Jane says, “Alcohol-free wines are a good supplement for clean living habits. Plus, the taste and the packaging are just like other wines except they’re a healthy addition that can help you stay on track.”

Magnificent Merlot dazzles the Happy Gang

During this week of the Hill Street Challenge, the featured beverage is the Vin(Zero) Merlot alcohol-free wine.

“It’s unanimous: we felt the Merlot was the best of the bunch,” Neil states. “It’s the most full-bodied of the wines we’ve tried.” Neil plans to cook pulled pork with the Merlot and bring it in to work for his colleagues to enjoy. As a fan of Hill Street’s Merlot, Jane says, “it pairs well with whatever you’re having for dinner and it took away my craving.”

Bottom line: As the Happy Gang proves, it’s possible to live clean, have fun, and celebrate Canada Day long weekend without alcohol.