By the time Ash Wednesday rolled around, Catholic or not, you might have found yourself ready to take a booze break for a least a week or so, if not 46 days. If that’s you, consider signing up for the Ochsner Eat Fit #AlcoholFreeFor40 Challenge. (Disclosure: I’m an unpaid partner via one of my labors of love, Drink Fit Club. I don’t get anything monetary or otherwise if you sign up for AFF40. I just really believe in this program.) 

The free AFF40 challenge was launched in 2016 by registered dietician and Eat Fit founder and director Molly Kimball. It’s too late to get the biometrics tests, but you can still benefit from the programming, events, resources and motivation and support from your fellow challengers on the group Facebook page (visit the link above to get details on all the offerings). 

As long-term Bon Vivant readers know, I participated in the inaugural challenge and then again in 2020. The 2020 installment ended up being the catalyst for me to ultimately go alcohol free at the beginning of July that year. (I’m now at more than two years and seven months alcohol free and am more surprised to write that than you are to read it.). 

Your poor liver has been working overtime throughout Carnival season and it’s highly likely that your liver enzymes are high. You’d be shocked to learn how quickly those enzyme levels right themselves. This is one of the many benefits of taking a break. Expect also to sleep better, have more energy, perhaps lose a few pounds, see your skin clear up and maybe even glow up and enjoy a host of physical and mental health improvements that vary according to how much you were letting the good times roll this season. And possibly before that too — no judgement though, because your girl here was a pro-level drinker until 2020, so I get it!

If you are wondering what to do with your hands for 46 days and nights, check out my list of alcohol free beer, wine and spirits recommendations, along with links to online sellers and local purveyors. (I’m not a paid partner or affiliate of any of the brands or companies mentioned. These are simply my favorite NA beverages.) If you are a champagne gal like me, there are some fabulous dealcoholized options out there, such as Noughty AF and Sovi Sparkling Rosé. This is also a great time to explore hobbies old and new, connect with friends over coffee, tea or neighborhood walks, amp up your exercise and nutrition or just sit back and relax for a bit. No matter what, you could probably use a little R-and-R now that Carnival is over. Oh, and here are some additional links for your reading and drinking pleasure:

Reading material and resources:

My favorite NA drink recipes:

Local flavor:

  • Yoro is refreshing antioxidant- and adaptogen-infused beverage crafted by New Orleans sommelier Robert Haynes.
  • Mockly, also a yummy, New Orleans-born fruit and herb-based mocktail developed by New Orleans mixologist Jesse Carr. Read more about it in this article.


If you want to tell Melanie how absurd it sounds for her to be alcohol free in New Orleans or share your favorite non-alcoholic beverages, email


(Note: A version of this post originally published on Jan. 7, 2022)