Back when I was three or four stone heavier than I am now, I would look at people who had a slim waist and think – fair enough to you. You’ve suffered. You have to eat horrible rabbit food AND you can’t set foot in the pub.
How wrong I was.
I have talked at length about the food that I eat in other posts, and in The Primal Solution programme itself. But I wanted to say a few words today about alcohol, because, rightly or wrongly, it’s a part of most people’s lives these days. Now I know that it’s unnecessary, I know that it’s poisonous, and if you have decided to live your life without it, then I have the highest respect for you.
But, if like me, you like to have a couple of pints on a Sunday afternoon (and I am talking a couple, not ten), or a glass or two of wine with your dinner, or maybe a gin and tonic at sundown, you may be wondering whether this is compatible with The Primal Solution, and whether your taste for a snifter is going to scupper any plans you may have for getting rid of those man-boobs and that spare tyre.
Well, I have good news and bad news. You know what the bad news is though, don’t you – if you drink four pints of Ruddle’s County every evening in the lounge bar of the King’s Head, you are going to struggle to shift the extra pounds. It’s not impossible, but you’re really shooting yourself in the foot. But you know that, don’t you, and you are going to mend your ways just for the next thirty days, so that I can show you a different way.
And here’s the good news. You certainly don’t have to go tee-total. When it comes to the Primal Solution lifestyle, not all booze was created equally, and it will help you to differentiate, or to adapt your ways slightly, so that you maximise your weight loss prospects.
Please note that the following is partly a result of my own research into alcohol and the Paleo lifestyle, and partly my own research. Like I was saying yesterday – you have to be the scientist and the experiment.
In reverse order then, from most bad for you to least bad:
1. Spirits. Especially stuff like dark rum. If you have a sugary mixer like Coke with it then that’s a double whammy. Even with a diet mixer, they are still a bad idea.
There is one exception to this however, from my own research and others, the lowest carb of the spirits is Gin, and if you mix it with water then you aren’t getting any extra sugar. Though, Gin and water is a pretty horrible drink, and there are better solutions further up the list.
2. Vintage Cider. This is a shame, because vintage cider is absolutely one of my favourite drinks of an evening. It’s very strong and can contain a fair bit of sugar. Shop around though and read labels.
Again, a note from my own observations. I have been living this lifestyle for a couple of years now, I am at a good weight/waist size/body composition, and I do like a couple of ciders once or twice a week. In small amounts, not too often, it doesn’t seem to do you any harm.
I have a little theory on this, which is probably entirely bogus, but it makes me feel better: apples have been falling to the ground and rotting for a very long time. I suspect that early man discovered self-fermented fruit so far back in his evolution that we have become more adapted to it than to fermented grain based drinks.
3. Beer and Lager. From a dietary point these are mostly sugary water and so should be avoided in any volume. I find I can keep my weight constant with two or three pints of Guinness a couple of times a week. I know that if I did more than that then the spare tyre would probably start to appear around my waist again!
4. White wine. Better than beer but not as good as… drum roll…
5. Red wine.
If you do your own research into this subject area, you’ll see red wine come out on top every time. I have found that if you don’t allow the fact that you have had a few glasses of wine to give yourself an excuse to eat a load of pizza or a Chinese takeaway, it’s pretty much harmless.
I think that’s a point worth making again: if you keep your food Primal, you can enjoy red wine with it. But keep your goals in mind, even when you’ve had a glass or two. Transforming your body is a long haul, not a sprint. But it’s one of the most worthwhile things that you can ever do, so always be asking yourself if what your’e eating and drinking is part of the problem, or part of the solution.