How To Choose Your Paleo Beverage Wisely
Alcoholic beverages can be divided into 3 main categories: Wine, Beers and spirits. Wines and beers are the direct by-product of the fermentation of sugars or starches from plants. This includes grapes in the case of most wines and grains like barley or wheat which are used to create most beers. (Note that these grains are Neolithic foods and contain gluten proteins. They are thus not included in a Paleo diet). Spirits, for their part, are the by-product of both a fermentation process followed by a distillation process resulting in a significantly higher alcohol content. Spirits often produces through the fermentation of grain, but the distillation process itself eliminates any residues or proteins from grains which make them completely gluten-free. Spirits produced from alternate starch sources, like potatoes are a better choice when following a Paleo diet.
Most beers are not an option when following a Paleo protocol as they contain proteins and residues from the grains used in the fermentation process. Of course, gluten-free beers can be an option for those who enjoy the taste and flavor of beer.
In the Paleo community, wines are probably your best option when choosing to enjoy some alcohol. Not only your body probably better adapted to the level of alcohol found in them, red wine is also a source of antioxidants like resveratrol.
Clear spirits would be your next best option when deciding on a beverage. These do not contain toxic grains or added sugars. It is important to remember that their alcohol content is usually very high so a little goes a long way. Often people find their alcohol consumption more challenging to moderate when drinking spirits due to this higher alcohol content.
Sugared cocktails or spirits should be avoided and overall alcohol consumption is best kept low and sporadic. If you find your alcohol consumption replacing more nutritious options or becoming a crutch rather than a mindful indulgence, it may be better to refrain from it completely.
Avoid grain-based drinks that can also contain gluten, including :
- Gin (some brands are processed with grain-based alcohol)
- Grain-based vodka
To enjoy, celebrate or appreciate, choose:
- Cider (opt for low sugar brands)
- Potato vodka
- Red wine
- Sparkling wine
- White wine
When selecting a wine, choose the driest (least sweet) possible. Red varietals include Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot whilst your best choices in white wines are Sauvignon Blanc and Albarino.
To manage your body’s insulin response to the sugars found in alcohol, mix spirits, like tequila or vodka, with water, sparkling water or soda water, ice, and a wedge or a squeeze or two of lemon or lime juice. Avoid fruit juices, which are liquid sugar; and avoid tonic water (and other flavored, sweetened sodas), which is also high in sugar.