Two champagne glasses

Paleo Cocktails - The do's and don'ts so you can drink and be merry

Paleo Cocktails - The do's and don'ts so you can Drink and be merry

After more than 20 years in practice helping people to feel – and look — their absolute best, I know of a few of their questions that I can set my watch by.

Conversations with patients often went like this:

Patient: “I get all this real food stuff. It totally makes sense! But … can I still drink (fill in the blank here, it’s usually wine).”  

Me: “Uhhh, maybe.” 

And then I go on to explain that drinking alcohol on a regular basis isn’t part of a Paleo lifestyle. That said, enjoying a cocktail on occasion is okay, whether you wish to raise a glass in celebration, sip a glass of wine to take the edge off or cool off at a hot, Mexican fiesta with an ice margarita.   

Here are the four keys to successfully including alcohol in your Paleo lifestyle:

1. Consume alcohol intentionally and responsibly. Dial into what you are actually doing. In other words, don't pound drinks until you de-evolve.

2. Be in tune with the individuality of your physical makeup. Every person on the planet has a different biological makeup. And each of us handles alcohol differently. Those who have various health issues will want to be super careful about the amount and types of alcohol they can handle and should experiment and explore to see what works or doesn’t for them.  Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, colitis, ulcerative colitis and celiac disease are conditions where alcohol may irritate the digestive system. A glass of wine here, a champagne toast there is probably not going to cause major issues, say my friends who have digestive disorders. But again, you’ll have to be the detective on this one. Investigate what works and what doesn’t.

3. Be Selective with Paleo-Smart Indulgences. Although no alcoholic beverages are technically Paleo, some are definitely better than others. The following are better choices because they are gluten free and “cleaner” than most other options:

Organic red wine (Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot)*

Organic white wine (Sauvignon Blanc and Albarifno)*

Vodka that’s made from potatoes (Chopin, for one)



* These drier varieties are better choices because they have less sugar.

Why not the other stuff?  A day after consuming wheat-heavy beer, whiskey, rye and bourbon or sugary cocktails may find you feeling like you swallowed a bowling ball. Not to mention, that nice ol’ headache that often accompanies these indulgences.

Tip: Always drink a glass of water between glasses of wine or spirits to keep you from getting dehydrated.

4. Pick and choose ahead of time the events at which you may  indulge. Consider going without as the holiday-party invites escalate. I often advise clients and patients to skip alcohol all together, especially as we get into full swing with the holiday season. You don’t need to consume alcohol at every gathering.

Tip: Order club soda with two limes or a couple of olives. No one will know you’re not drinking alcohol — you’ll fit right in! Plus that drink in your hand appeases inquisitive friends.    

In summary, what I love about Paleo is that it’s a customized framework that’s extremely individual. Paleo stresses foods and beverages that work best with our body. After you create your framework, you can become as healthy as you’d like. It’s really that simple!  

Hope these guidelines help!


P.S. When you’re ready to commit to a complete cell overhaul, which involves going on my 30-Day Reset journey, you’ll find that alcohol is an absolute no for the entire 30 days.

You can learn all about the 30-Day Reset in my Living Paleo for Dummies (Wiley) book.

And next month, we plan to offer an amazing get-healthy nutritional plan with detailed guidelines for the 30-Day Reset, including meal plans! (Stay tuned.)

When you embark on the 30-Day, you stick to some simple rules that will help you make some big gains. Healing your gut, building better cells, cutting sugar cravings, boosting your immunity, becoming a natural fat burner, looking young and fresh and performing better are just some of those promises.

The white-knuckle program crushes sugar cravings in just 30 days. But to get there, you must avoid all foods and beverages with sugar, including alcohol .      

After you have done the 30-day Reset and your body is strong and free of those conditions you set out to heal, then celebration cocktails are a go. If you have deep conditions that need to heal, this may take longer.

Keep thinking big and living bold, 

Dr. Kellyann

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