I remember when I first started following an evolutionary diet. I read everything I could get my hands on regarding Paleolithic era eating. One of the first books I picked up was “Neanderthin” by Ray Audette.
This was one of many interesting introductions to our original diet from a guy who had great curiosity and made it his mission to find out what the hell we should really be eating. Even better, Ray is not a doctor or nutritionist giving his message more unbiased credibility. Ray is a purist though and I was already on my own interpretation of the diet when I remember reading his advice – “Don’t Drink Alcohol”.
Now, for an Irish kid, this was not good news. In fact, if I had not already been eating foods derived from our original Paleolithic diet I believe I would have stopped right there. I love to drink. It is a part of my life. At that time it was mostly beer, sometimes bourbon and vodka or rum and I always drank with friends in social settings. I love wine with dinner. For me red wine is like great, drinkable art.
It is a journey of taste, complexity, history and pure enjoyment. This highly pleasurable and social part of my life was not something that I was just going to give up. I’m Irish so to me it’s almost like my religious right to drink (how’s that for an excuse). No drinking with my buddies? No wine before, during or after dinner? Forget it. This was not going to happen. Thankfully, it didn’t.
What I did was simply ask the question: From what was the alcoholic drink derived? If it came from one of our original Paleolithic era foods I would drink it, otherwise I would not. Obviously, derived from grapes, wine was allowable. Beer, coming from grains was not. Many liqueurs and other drinks were derived from fruits and vegetables, including rum, gin and champagne.
Others, like beer and whiskey were derived from grains and I slowly began to cut them out. This took me about a year. I went from regular beer to light beer and finally stopped drinking it altogether. I still have the occasional beer but very infrequently. I thought I would miss it. I don’t; not in the least. When I do have the odd beer or two I feel bloated and wish I hadn’t.
I now drink wine like a Roman. I actually have some really cool clay cups for the stuff that are copies of the ancient originals. Since I drink more wine than I used to, I prefer very dry, lighter wines, primarily red and all kinds of Sangria.
Years ago I discovered cider at an Irish pub and was overjoyed to find this amazing replacement for my beer. (No, I didn’t get beat up either). This stuff was around 7% alcohol, not too sweet, tasted great and was refreshing as hell.
I have also recently begun to drink more brandy and some other drinks I had never tried. One of my favorites is Mead. This is often referred to as “Viking beer”. It is fermented from fruits, honey and a bunch of other natural herbs and botanicals. Substituting this stuff for the grain derived and more mass produced alcoholic drinks has been a move for the better.
I feel much better physically and I don’t miss beer or any of the other liquors I used to drink, whatsoever. While it is still better not to drink at all, that is just not the choice I wish to make. I’m clearly with Winston on this one: “I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me.” ~ Winston Churchill
Indeed, as long as they are enjoyed responsibly, I believe alcoholic drinks easily remain an enjoyable part of following what is primarily an evolutionary dietary philosophy.
To learn more about the paleo-diet we recommend, to lose weight and gain muscle, check out “The Eco-Diet,” a healthy eating plan and exercise program that’s easy to follow.