When starting a Paleo diet, people often wonder what drinks are allowed other than simply water. With a little forethought and creativity, Paleo drinks can be as varied and delicious as those that are not as good for you!
Read up on the Paleo diet basics here
What To Drink On A Paleo Diet
Water is the obvious first choice. Aim for drinking pure, filtered water to maintain hydration on the Paleo diet. A good guide to the amount of water you need to drink half of your body’s weight (in pounds) in ounces of water each day. This is very individual and you may need more or less water depending on your metabolism, activity level, where you live, and other lifestyle factors.
Drink to thirst but keep in mind is that thirst can be disguised as hunger. Drinking water between meals can also help to curb cravings, however, drinking liquids during mealtimes may slow the emptying of the stomach and impair digestion.
We covered hydration in this post
There are so many variations of water that are perfectly okay to drink on a Paleo diet. Just be diligent about reading the ingredients to ensure there’s no added sugar or other non-Paleo ingredients. Choose brands that contain only one or two ingredients: carbonated water and “natural flavor”. Options include:
- Sparkling water
- Sparkling mineral water
- Club soda
- Soda water
- Any type of plain carbonated water
Try adding a twist of lime, lemon, or orange or a couple to your carbonated and plain water for added flavor. Carbonated water can be a helpful tool when trying to stop drinking soda!
For centuries, tea has been popular beverage for many cultures. All types of tea are Paleo friendly. Varieties include
Green and black teas, specifically, are high in antioxidants and other healthful compounds.
Make sure your tea is not sweetened with non-Paleo refined sugars with no added non-Paleo creamers.
There has been much debate in the Paleo community about whether drinking coffee fits in a Paleo diet. (We go into that in more detail here). What generally puts coffee on the not Paleo list is additives like cream, milk, sugar, and artificial or processed flavorings and additives.
If you love a hot cup of coffee to start your day, fear not – you don’t have to give up this drink on your Paleo diet. However, if you tend to add dairy to it, try using Paleo-friendly non-dairy options including nut milk, coconut milk, or even coconut cream for a rich, creamy taste. You can switch out your processed white sugar for a Paleo alternative (you can find a comprehensive list here)
Be mindful of when you consume your coffee and how much you’re drinking per day. It can spike your cortisol which not only disrupts certain body functions but also disrupts sleep.
You can create your own coffee shop inspiration and still have a great coffee drink for you Paleo diet. Some options are:
- Collagen - Dissolved collagen powder adds a nice thickness to your coffee without adding any taste.
- Spices - Trying adding flavors and spices such as vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cacao powder to your coffee. These will help enhance and compliment the coffee flavor.
- Coconut Cream - You can make some coconut whipped cream and add a touch of vanilla extract (without alcohol) and a hint of maple syrup. Better than your gourmet coffee shop!
- Protein - You can also try blending in eggs or egg yolks for protein and micronutrients.
Bone broth is great warm option when wanting something warm to drink on a Psleo diet. It is an incredibly nutritious beverage and one of the best foods for a healthy gut. Bone broth also supports your joint health, boosts your immune system, helps you get a better night’s sleep and can even improve your skin and make your hair shiny and strong.
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Read on here to learn more about what makes our bone broth the best there is
(or other fermented non-dairy beverages)
Fermented beverages like kombucha or kefir are very popular and offer variety in what to drink on a Paleo diet. Fermentation creates probiotics which can play an important role in gut health.
With that being said, it is important to be mindful of your consumption of fermented beverages. While all of them contain some added sugar to feed the fermentation process, certain brands contain more than others. As always, it is important to read your ingredients for extra added sugars, flavorings and additives that are not Paleo friendly. Better yet, make your own!
While coconut water does contain a good amount of natural sugars along with a number of beneficial nutrients and electrolytes including potassium, magnesium, sodium, phosphate, and calcium. Coconut water has also been touted as a great antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
While it is an option to drink on a Paleo diet, don’t go overboard. The sugar content adds up, and depending on your goals, needs and concerns, you may need to limit consumption.
What About Alcohol?
Alcohol is one category that most people like to pretend is not part of any eating plan. Drinking alcohol is definitely a Paleo grey area. It’s well known that excess alcohol consumption is never a good idea, whether you’re following a Paleo lifestyle or not and technically, alcohol isn’t really paleo-friendly.
One of the main purposes of a Paleo diet is to avoid modern, processed foods and toxins. Unfortunately, alcohol falls into both categories. There are, however, better and worse options.
Alcoholic beverages can be divided into 3 categories: beers, wines, and spirits. The first two are by-products of the fermentation of starch and sugar found in fruits and plants. Grapes, coconuts, and rice are fermented to make wines. Wheat, barley, and other grains are fermented into beers.
Wine has been shown to contain some beneficial compounds like tannins and antioxidants and is a Paleo friendly option when consumed moderately. Cider, on the other hand, is a naturally gluten-free fermented beverage made from apples or pears. Be sure to check labels, though, as some ciders do contain gluten and/or preservatives.
Beers and other alcoholic beverages fermented from grains are best avoided.
Spirits are also the result of fermentation from grains, but undergo an additional process called distillation which significantly increases the alcohol content. The distillation process supposedly removes any gluten and other residual proteins brought about by fermentation. However, gluten can be added back into the alcohol after the distillation process in the form of colorings and even other alcohols!
Also, be careful with alcohol consumption if you have a history of gut issues, as even small amounts tend to exacerbate them.
Read on here for details on what alcohol you can drink on a Paleo diet.
Drinks That Are Not Paleo
- Milk, kefir from dairy and other dairy-based drinks
- Beer and other gluten-containing drinks
- Fruit juice or processed fruit/vegetable drinks
- Sodas, colas, sweet teas, diet drinks, and other sweetened drinks
- Energy drinks
- Sports drinks and electrolyte beverages
- Any drinks containing artificial colorings, flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives