So you have been following the Paleo diet for a few weeks and you look good, you feel fantastic, your clothes are loose, and everything is working great. Except today is Friday and your colleagues are gathering at a water hole to socialize, or it’s your best friend’s birthday and the party is always wild. Whatever the occasion is there will be alcohol involved and you’re asking yourself if you can have a drink, is alcohol allowed on the Paleo diet? What types of alcohol, if any are allowed on the Paleo diet?
So, is alcohol Paleo or not? The answer: it really depends. Confusing isn’t it? One of the basic ideals of the Paleo diet is to keep toxins out of the body. That’s one of the reasons processed foods are a no-no, and you have to remember that alcohol is a toxin.
We all want to celebrate life’s milestones though. Let’s try and make it a bit simpler. For the most part alcoholic beverages are broken down into three main groups; wine, beer and liquor. They are all made differently and with different ingredients so let’s have a look at each one and which are the closest to being Paleo friendly.
Wine is probably as close as you’re going to get to a Paleo approved alcohol. Both red, white wines have organic options and red wine in particular has been shown to have antioxidants like resveratrol that are good for the heart. During the process of making white wine the skins from the grapes are removed and that’s where the resveratrol is, given a choice choose the red wine.
Beer: Some of them
Beer is brewed from three main ingredients; wheat, barley and hops. Two of the three are both grains so those are out, however with gluten free options popping up everywhere there are some options made of sorghum. While yes sorghum is technically a grain it doesn’t have gluten so it isn’t as bad as traditional beers. Another option to try instead of beer is cider. Ciders are made using fruit like apples or pears that have been fermented; just be wary of added sugars or preservatives.
Liquor: Yes and No
There are lots of different types of liquor, and some of them you can rule out right off the bat as they are made from grains, thus the term “grain alcohol”. The ones firmly on the forbidden side are rye, whiskey, scotch, bourbon and gin. These are the ones you want to steer clear of altogether. Here are the ones that are a yes: you can drink tequila, brandy, cognac and cachaca. Brandy and cognac are both made from a process that is similar to how wine is made, tequila comes from the agave plant and cachaca is very similar to rum except it is made from sugar cane with no byproducts of molasses.
Now for the maybes: those include rum and vodka. Rum is distilled two ways the first from fermented sugarcane juice, or from molasses which is a byproduct of sugarcane, of the two sugarcane juice is preferred. You also needn’t worry about color that comes from how it is stored. Vodka comes from potatoes, grains or fruit and while it does go through a fairly long distillation process you still want to select the kinds made from fruit whenever possible.
If you are going to celebrate, try to stick with alcohol that is Paleo friendly. Remember, most liquors are served with a mixer- usually fruit juice or a soda- and those are NOT Paleo friendly. Moderation is also key. After all, hangovers are no fun!