My thoughts on alcohol and paleo

I have always been a bit of a drinker. When you start working in restaurants at the impressionable age of sixteen, I guess you don’t have much of a choice: drinking is part of the restaurant industry’s culture (maybe you have a choice; I didn’t, I am a sucker for a good time). I always thought I was a better person when I was drinking. I am a bit of a misanthrope, an introvert, an awkward geek, the type of person who needs social lubrication, so drinking just fit well with me. And seriously, I am a fun drunk.

I am not an alcoholic, but I think that is just because I was lucky enough to be born without an addictive personality. I am really self-critical, and anytime my drinking started to get out of control, I would check myself and give it up for a couple weeks/months because I never wanted to become an alcoholic. I never wanted to become an alcoholic because I knew it would mean never. drinking. again.

So went my life until I found paleo. Well, I should say, drinking and being around drunks was becoming less and less appealing to me when I found paleo. You can only work at so many bars/breweries before the sight of another drunken idiot starting a fight or “forgetting” to pay his/her tab gets old. I was working at a brewery, a slightly-bitter 29-year-old waitress, when I begrudgingly gave up processed foods, grains, legumes, dairy, and vegetable oils because it was what crossfitters did in Central Oregon, and I had just become a crossfitter. And as I became more smitten with my new lifestyle, something started to change. That after-work beer that is all you think about while running your ass off for rent money started to sound less delicious. I started to get really sick when I did drink- like spending the whole next day puking sick. I started to think of the consequences of what drinking would do to me before I imbibed.

And this has been my dilemma ever since: What the hell are you supposed to do for a social life if you don’t drink? I know many people get along just fine without drinking. I know it is horrible for me to say I feel uncomfortable getting to know someone without a drink in hand. But that is just the way it is.

Nowadays, I imbibe, mostly red wine or tequila, but infrequently. A pseudo-teetotaler lifestyle has fit me well here in Flagstaff. I am busy and broke, putting TDL through nursing school. He is the only one I drink with and he understands my one-drink limit. But what am I to do when we move from this place and I try to reclaim a social life? Do I hope that we move to a place with lots of fellow paleos, so we can have a blast cooking, discussing the latest peer-reviewed journal articles, and trying on barefoot shoes? It sounds like a blast (I am serious), but it is doubtful we will move somewhere that idyllic.

I guess I sound ridiculous, but for someone who has spent most of their life centering their social activities around drinking, this is the hardest thing about paleo. Way harder than saying no to bread.

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5 Responses to My thoughts on alcohol and paleo

  1. Rebecca says:

    This was certainly something I thought about and struggled with when I started Paleo — especially since my sig other brews amazing beer and we are an hour south of Napa (where I also happen to have family living). In the end I’ve settled with enjoying beer or wine sparingly, whereas I used to have a glass almost every night w/ dinner, now it’s about once a week if that, and usually in a social setting. If anything, I get more bang for my buck now — I limit myself to quality wine/beer/spirits, enjoy them more than before (b/c of the novelty, most likely), get buzzed pretty easily (yay cheap date!), and suffer less the next day due to lower consumption (can’t complain about that).

    But, yeah, it’s an effort. Oh and NorCal is a fantastic place, chock full of paleo-eating, minimalist shoe-wearing, CSA-members. Just sayin’.
    (I like your blog! I’m glad you followed me and I consequently found you!)

    • Thanks Rebecca! Has your sig other ever attempted a gluten free beer? I wonder what a home brewed GF beer would be like… Thank you for confirming my suspicion about NorCal. I have no choice but to move there some day.

  2. Rebecca says:

    He hasn’t attempted a GF beer but that’s because we really haven’t desired one, honestly. We don’t get wrecked by gluten and because our consumption of it is so low on an on-going basis we don’t mind veering off-course for a good brew. Perhaps once we start our brewery we’ll tinker with recipes and he’ll come up with one but for now it’s a pass.
    It’s true. NorCal is a magical place, complete with even CSAs for seafood and raw milk. I swear at some point I will find a herd of unicorns pooping rainbows out here and our fate here will be permanently sealed.

    • Opening your own brewery, eh? Well, I hope you don’t mind if I put in an application to be a server there- if I am going to move to NorCal I will need some cash flow- I hear feeding and caring for unicorns can expensive…

  3. Pingback: A Resource Guide to Alcohol and the Paleo Diet | Drinking & Paleo | Smart Diner

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