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The new wellness trend overtaking our socials, #sobercurious, is encouraging TikTok and Instagram users to explore the benefits of sobriety on their physical, mental, and spiritual health. Sober curious literally means sober curious, a gentle exploration into the benefits of not drinking. The hashtag has become a resource for people trying to navigate the path of sobriety, and many of the videos offer useful tips, motivation, DIY mocktail substitutes, and personal endorsements and success stories.
Zendaya, Zac Efron, Anne Hathaway, Brad Pitt, and Tyra Banks are just a few of the celebrities regularly flashing up on your phone as you explore the hashtag. "SoberTok” now even has celebrity endorsements. Whether you're struggling with alcohol or just plainly not enjoying it, #sobercuriosity allows you to explore this lifestyle change on your own terms, with real people. If you ever feel alone on your journey into sobriety, a few minutes on SoberTok will connect you to a community of millions who are in the same boat.
The Toronto food and beverage industry is doing a great job with staying on top of this trend. Canadian non-alcoholic beverage companies are growing faster than ever; restaurants are introducing better mocktail options and even pairing them with food. It can be understandably difficult when you're freshly sober or trying to reduce your alcohol intake while still socializing in your normal restaurants and bars, especially when the first thing to hit your table is a drink menu. The food and beverage industry is consciously trying to dissolve the notion that eating out equates to drinking. New York City has alcohol-free nightclubs, event pop-ups, bars, and even restaurants not serving any booze on their roster. Toronto recently also got its first alcohol free bar, Zero Dry, which focuses on crafting excellent alcohol-free cocktails; it's only a matter of time before we too have loads of options for the #sobercurious.
The #sobercurious trend could not come with better timing. The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse and Addiction recently updated their low-risk drinking guidelines after years of research and they are shocking: CCSA now recommends that both men and women consume no more than two alcoholic drinks per week and no more than two drinks per sitting in general to maintain a low-risk drinking lifestyle. To compare, last time this guide was updated CCSA advised no more than 10 drinks a week for women and 15 drinks for men. That's a massive difference.
Instagram and TikTok scientists are offering their own take and recommendations on low-risk drinking as well. Social media's favourite neuroscientist, Dr. Andrew Huberman, released a 2-hour podcast where shocking snippets went viral on social media. His recommendations? Probably don't drink at all. Doctor Daniel Amen, an Instagram psychiatrist, also recently debunked drinking myths and discussed how any amount of alcohol can cause seven types of cancer.
If you're feeling a little #sobercurious, we recommend you definitely explore the hashtag on TikTok and Instagram, do your own research, and simply just listen to your body. The Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA) predicted in 2023 that one of the biggest major trends in the Canadian wellness space will be alcohol-free beverages (along with mushrooms, probiotics, and plastic-free packaging). DRNK Beverage, Nonny, Lumette, and Sobrii-0 are just a handful of Canadian beverage companies focusing on non-alc drinks. If you're looking for something super local, Teetotaler Wines and KICKASS89 are based right here in Toronto.
This year it might be time to reflect on how much drinking is really necessary, and what value it offers you personally. The following list of great bars and restaurants in Toronto offer excellent mocktail options and menus, and are a fantastic place to gather with friends and family where both drinkers and non-drinkers can get a delicious tipple together.