So. This post is about the alcohols.
Don’t worry. I’ll keep it PG-21.
Being the holistic health counselor that I am, I deal with “real life nutrition” rather than “pristine nutrition.” My ultimate goal with a client is to help them make sustainable change– aka change that they can live with forever. Change that will stick with them through the ups and downs of life.
As a holistically focused counselor, I get the alcohol question a lot.
“What are the healthiest alcohol options?”
I actually like getting this question most of the time.
When a client asks me this question, it means that they’re comfortable admitting to me that they drink.
For most of them, it means that they realize that the goal of our work is long-term change for long-term life.
And for most of them, this long-term life involves enjoying an adult beverage every now and again.
So, without further ado, here is what I think about adult beverages.
Many people have a sensitive relationship with drinking, thus alcohol, even healthy alcohol, is not something to be taken lightly. As with any substance, you know, deep down inside, the nature of your own relationship with it. Alcohol is considered a drug by some. (A common bumper sticker says so: “Alcohol is a drug. Do you abuse drugs?”) I believe there is a little voice in all of us that lets us know if we’re okay or not. You may need someone else to help you find this voice, but it’s there. You just need to listen closely for it and to it.
If you feel like you need alcohol– whether to relax, to have a good time, to numb something, to fit in– then you absolutely need to listen even closer to that voice. Or ask someone to help you find that little voice.
If you feel like you have a healthy relationship with alcohol, and that you can responsibly enjoy a drink or two or three every now and then, why not choose a drink that won’t make you feel totally gross physically.
Once you’ve evaluated your relationship with alcohol, we can get to the healthiest options.
Stay away from any sugary drinks. No Mai Tais or Whiskey Sours for you. You know why. But I’ll tell you anyway. Pure alcohol elicits an insulin response– you don’t need to increase the burden on your system by adding MORE sugar to your drink. Citrus juices like those from lemons and limes actually help to blunt your insulin response. Stick with lemon or lime juice, or no sugar added juice and soda water as mixers. You’ll be surprised at how good it tastes.
For wine, stick with dry reds. Dry red wines have less sugar than other varieties.
For spirits (I don’t usually call them that in real life, but I thought it was gentler than booze), go for the pure stuff. No Whipped Cream Vodka for you either. Tequila seems to be the Paleo alcohol of choice. Mainly because it’s made from fermented agave, which means it’s naturally gluten and starch free.
For beer or beer-like substances. M likes a nice cold, gluten-free beer every once in a while. While these beers are gluten-free, they are not grain-free, so if you have intense sensitivities to the proteins in grains, skip these. I personally like hard cider more that beer. There are some great hard ciders out there that don’t have added sugar. My favorites right now are Harpoon, and Woodchuck Granny Smith flavored. These have the least sugar, and a really crisp and delicious taste.
I do enjoy adult beverages as a part of my normal life. I go mostly for cider, tequila and rum. Not all at once, or even in the same evening…cider before liquor…well, you know what they say. But I would be lying if I told you I didn’t drink. I drink, and I strive to drink responsibly in a way that neither affects my emotional or physical goals.
For more opinions on alcohol and Paleo, check out these links: