If we’re being realistic, cavemen weren’t exactly ripping shots of tequila or sipping on hard ciders by the fire back in the day. But then again they also weren’t chugging down whey protein or tossing around kettle bells for pleasure. While many of us are striving for that “paleo lifestlye”, our modern world has changed quite a bit since those times and it’s realistic to adapt the the changes and create a lifestyle that is sustainable and realistic for today.
Alcohol is a popular discussion topic among paleo eating folks, especially during the holiday season. I get asked a lot as a coach if alcohol can fit into the paleo diet and what the best options are. Coming from some research and personal experience I’ll share what I believe to be just a few of the worst, better, and best options for alcohol. So if you do plan on indulging, especially this time of year, you can make some paleo-ish choices and not feel so bad.
Beer: Typically made from fermented wheat, rye, or barely. These are not gluten free and definitely far from paleo.
Whiskey, Bourbon, Gin: All distilled from different grains, best to avoid these liquors if you want to keep it paleo.
Gluten Free Beer: Fermented from gluten free grains such as Sorghum. If you are a beer conosioure you may not appreciate the taste of many of these beers but if you’re simply looking for a decent cold brew, there are some good ones on the market. Try looking for the brands New Grist and Bard’s.
Hard Ciders: While these are gluten free they are also full of sugars. From personal experience I prefer very dry ciders as they leave me with less of a sugar hangover the next day. Popular ciders like Angry Orchard tend to be quite sweet, try some smaller companies or local ciders for a drier option.
Vodka: Distilled from grains or potatoes. The distillation process likely removes all the anti-nutrients from grains that we try to avoid, but your best option would be to look for potato vodka.
Red Wine: Look for organic red wine to avoid pesticides. White wine is also a decent option, but is just not as full of antioxidants. And drier wines contain less sugars. Just watch out for that hangover!
Tequila: Made from the Agave Plant, stick with 100% Agave Tequila to avoid the added sugars. Patron is a good option. When I’m out I almost always order a tequila with soda water and ask for several lime wedges. No it isn’t the tastiest or most exciting drink on the menu but I have found it is just about the only drink that keeps my hangover at bay and doesn’t contain any extra sugar.
Here is a “paleo friendly” holiday recipe for Gløgg, a hot, spiced Scandinavian punch made with red wine. This would be a great option to serve or bring to a holiday party.
A traditional Scandanvian holiday drink, Gløgg is typically sweetened with a bit of sugar or honey… keep it paleo by choosing a sweeter red wine and leaving out the additional sweetener. This is a loose recipe and can be tweaked to your liking.
- 1 Bottle of Red Wine, any variety
- Peel of one Orange
- 3 Cinnamon Sticks
- 5-10 Cloves
- 1/3 cup each of Raisins and Blanched Almonds
- Other optional add ins: Dried figs, Cardamon Pods, Fresh Ginger
Allow everything except the raisins and almonds to simmer in a pot for 45 minutes, do not bring to a boil. Strain through a colander and garnish with raisins and almonds.