Drink Alcohol without Ruining Your Paleo Diet
You don’t want to destroy all the hard work you’ve put into your diet and lifestyle. You really don’t. On the other hand, you have a life. You need to hang out with friends and family. And who could possibly do that without having an alcoholic drink or 5? I’m not going to sugar-coat the facts. Alcohol isn’t really Paleo. More importantly, alcohol is not helping you reach whatever health goals you want to achieve. There are ways to make alcohol less toxic, to keep your Paleo diet more intact.
10 Ways to Ensure that Drinking Doesn’t Derail Your Diet
As a quick aside, people argue all the time about whether alcohol is healthy and whether it’s Paleo. On both accounts, it’s mostly just wishful thinking. The studies showing that alcohol is potentially healthy are almost always confounded. They do not take into account the effects of a stronger social network and social life. All that said, I still drink sometimes. I’m not drinking at all because I’ve randomly decided to be incredibly strict about my diet for the next four months.
Do These Things All the Time Anyway
Eat Less Polyunsaturated Fat.
Avoiding Omega-6 fats is important for decreasing inflammation. Also, Omega-6 fats make it much more likely that alcohol will damage your liver. Here’s one study courtesy of Paul Jaminet. It shows that a diet high in corn oil (high in Omega-6) and alcohol led to both liver disease and metabolic syndrome. Whereas a diet not high in Omega-6 fats did not.
Eat More Saturated Fat.
This tip is also by way of Paul Jaminet and is very related to the prior tip. This study demonstrates that a diet high in saturated fats was protective against alcohol consumption. If you want a more specific suggestion, eat more coconut oil. This study shows just how protective coconut oil is against fatty liver disease.
When You’re Drinking…
Drink the Right Alcohol. Or at least don’t drink the wrong ones. Beer is still highly toxic and still has some gluten in it. Although many of the toxins break down by fermentation, Avoid at all costs. And, as sad as it makes me, red wine is high in mycotoxins, sulfites, and phenolics, as Dave Asprey points out. If you’re going to drink, do it with distilled liquors like vodka, brandy, rum, tequila, or whisky, or with a dry white wine.
Skip the Mixers!
Just about anything that normally gets mixed with alcohol is not Paleo at all and is not healthy. From juice to soda to sweet and sour mix, they all have some form of sugar or artificial sweetener. As well as a bunch of other additives. Use Club Soda/Soda Water, which has no sugar. Beware of tonic water, which has added sugar.
Add Lemon or Lime for Insulin Sensitivity. Alcohol is going to spike your blood sugar. There’s no way around that. But you can make yourself a little bit more insulin sensitive just by mixing in some lime or lemon. Plus, the acidity tastes great with most liquors.
Detox as You Go and Avoid the Hangover.
This is something that has been known and then forgotten for a very long time. There are certain supplements that will protect your body against alcohol. They’ll help you detox more quickly, prevent hangovers, and minimize the damage. If you want the full explanation, see this old article from Steven Fowkes. The way to do it is to take a little bit of Vitamin C, a little bit of Cysteine, and a few B-Vitamins with each drink.
What If you’re drinking something that is dark? Such as some rums, most brandies, or many tequilas. Make sure that your body has some extra ability to clean up the mess inside your body. Do this by taking some activated charcoal. Either while you’re drinking or immediately afterward.
Have a Meal or Snack Ready. One of the worst things that happens when you drink is actually that you tend to binge eat. I’m sure you have fond memories of pizza and other incredibly unhealthy meals after a night of drinking. Next time, don’t kid yourself into believing that you’re going to make better decisions at the end of the night. Have a meal or snack lined up. So, you’ll be able to avoid the late-night pizza, sandwich, or other-non-Paleo-food you might eat.
Stop Drinking Early. Alcohol disrupts your sleep a little no matter what time of day you drink. However, if you drink during the 2-3 hours before you’re planning on going to bed, it disrupts your sleep even more. And we all know how important sleep is. Get your drinking done early.
Limit to 1-2 Drinks. No matter what research you look at, all bets are off once you start drinking more than 1-2 drinks in a day. With 3 or more, diseases and lots of bad things become much more likely. Plus, you start making incredibly bad decisions.