Did ancient people partake of any alcohol during their day? It’s hard to tell, but seeing as how alcohol can also be ingested from eating specific fruits that have begun to ferment, it’s not unlikely for them to have “enjoyed” its effects. It’s hard to say when our ancestors first started drinking alcohol, but in any case, it’s likely that wine was the first form of alcoholic beverage. In that sense, there is no valid reason for this particular form of alcohol to not meet the standards of the Paleo diet.
What’s the Big Deal about Alcohol?
Alcoholic beverages contain ethanol, a flammable liquid that is the by-product of the fermentation of starch and sugar. Alcohol, as you most likely known, has psychoactive and depressant properties, hence its inebriating effects. It comes as no surprise that alcohol is considered by many to be the world’s first recreational drug known to man.
3 Types of Alcoholic Beverages
Alcoholic beverages are divided into 3 categories, namely, beers, wines and spirits. The first two are by-products of the fermentation of starch and sugar found in fruits and plants such as grapes, coconuts and rice for wines, and wheat and barley for beers. Barley contains gluten, which can cause problems with those sensitive to it.
Spirits on the other hand, are also a result of fermentation from grains but undergo an added process called distillation, which causes a much higher alcohol content. The distillation process however, removes any gluten and other residual proteins brought about by fermentation. However, that doesn’t mean that gluten isn’t added back into the alcohol after the distillation process in the form of colorings, and even other alcohols.
The Benefits of Alcohol
Many books and articles have been written about the cons of alcohol consumption, such as liver problems, drunkenness and addiction. But how about the pros from a Paleo diet perspective?
Let’s tick them down:
1. Lower risk of heart disease
2. Helps in relaxing
4. Reduces risk of ulcers
Note that alcohol only yields positive effects when taken in moderation. Only when things get excessive do the problems begin to arise.
So how does alcohol fit into my Paleo Meal Plan?
We hate to disappoint you, but most beers are definitely out of the question if you plan on sticking to a strict Paleo meal plan as they contain gluten proteins. There is gluten-free beer, but even gluten free beer is still made with grains…
Spirits are fine, as long as they are pure and come free of grain residue and sugar. Due to their significantly higher alcohol content however, be sure to exercise restraint.
Wines however, are by far the best option for individuals on the Paleo diet. Not only do they have a lower alcohol content, they are rich in antioxidants such as resveratrol. This is due to the fact that wines are essentially fermented fruits.