Friday, July 15, 2011

Is Alcohol Paleo?

Ah, summer weekends. The perfect time for getting your drink on, right?

Well, maybe not for us Paleo nerds. After all, our prehistoric ancestors never kicked back with a bottle of Colt 45. Cavemen didn’t frequent bars or brew their own IPA.

But then again...this isn’t about historical reenactment. And didn’t I hear someone say something about the benefits of red wine?

I smell a debate, so let’s dive into some of the pros and cons to boozing it up on a Paleo diet.


  • Beer equals liquid grain. As you all know, grains are eeevil. So unless you’re drinking the gluten-free stuff, beer is off-limits for those of us on Team Paleo.
  • A bunch of spirits also contain some amount of gluten (even those that are distilled): gin, some vodka, whiskey, bourbon. If you’re gonna partake, stick with tequila, white rum, potato vodka. (Not to be confused with Pringles and Smirnoff.)
  • Mixed drinks are often loaded with sugar. Sugar bad.
  • Beer goggles.
For me, the decision’s a pretty easy one. See, I’m of Asian descent, and most of us have a genetic mutation that limits our livers’ ability to process alcohol. (If we imbibe too much, we get red and sweaty and vomit. It’s somewhat less fun than it sounds.) I’ve had my share of alcohol-sodden episodes, but Paleo or not, those days are well behind me.

But if I were you (meaning a person who can’t bear the thought of life without regularly tossing one back)? I guess I’d stick with red wine. Of course, there’ll probably be times when you feel it’s totally worth it to indulge. (Think weddings, Irish wakes, getting dumped, etc.). For those occasions, just remember that a NorCal Margarita or a vodka tonic & water are better choices than a hefeweizen. If the elimination of beer from your diet is an absolute non-starter, at least give the gluten-free stuff a shot.

Better yet, just abstain and save the money you would've spent on alcohol. College tuition ain't cheap, yo.