Half Ironman Now, Wine Later

I’m driving up North to Sonoma today for another half Ironman race.  It’ll be my 10th time navigating this absolutely to-die-for course and I’m keen to enjoy another lovely weekend in Wine Country.


Vineman 70.3 as it’s now called, is particularly special race to me, as it was the very first half I did back in 2000 when I was a total newbie in the sport of triathlon.


While I was getting ahead on some blog posting yesterday it seemed fitting that I write something not solely focused on the race, but, given the gorgeous venue in which the course lies, it would’ve been a real shame to skip over it without mention. Plus, let’s face it, it’s as opposed to some races held in places we wouldn’t necessarily have chosen to travel to, Sonoma County is an absolute destination in and of itself.


In a nutshell, athletes have a beautiful swim, bike and run to do, overseen by an extremely well organized organization, while spectators and sherpas alike can enjoy the scenery while rooting for their friends and family members. And when all is said and done, there’s certainly room on a real Paleo diet for taking in some local viticulture!


To set the record straight, drinking copious amounts of wine on a daily basis is obviously far from recommended to anyone trying to lose weight, become fat adapted, address migraine headaches or autoimmune conditions. However, for argument’s sake, it’s worth noting there are some health benefits to be gleaned from savoring a hearty, full-bodied glass of rich, California Cab, as one example, particularly when you’re right in the heart of from where it was created!


Benefits include,1 but are certainly not limited to:



As with any other food or drink we might classify as Paleoista Approved for a special occasion, it all comes down to balancing out the macros.


Paleoista’s Tips to Drinking Wine While Keeping Your Macros Balanced


  1. If you know you’re going on a wine-tasting tour, make sure to have had a good bout of exercise first thing in the morning, followed by a natural fat and protein-rich breakfast with veggies.


  1. Keep hydrated and keep even low-glycemic fruit consumption to a low, if you eat any at all, while steering clear of any added sugars (you’ll get plenty later on from the wine!).


  1. Along with plenty of drinking water, be sure to also bring some high fat snacks along with you for the tasting trip, such as some raw, sprouted walnuts or single serve packets of coconut oil.


All of the above will help ensure minimal consequences of skewing yourself out of fat burning and into a carby overindulgence thanks to too much of the good stuff!


Lastly, be mindful of wines containing sulfites. For some, as little as two glasses can result in sulfite toxicity, the symptoms of which can include: flushing, fast heart beat, stomach upset, diarrhea, abdominal pain, hives, wheezing, dizziness, difficulty in swallowing, tingling in limbs and low blood pressure.2


Wondering how on earth to determine which wines might fall into this category? Not to worry! International Wine Review provides an online directory and local information about Sulfite Free Wine in Sonoma, CA.


And if you’re wondering if a glass of sulfite free wine now and then is pushing the envelope too much, you can rest assured it’s not; “Wine is a delicious compliment for special meals – if you would like to treat yourself to this non-Paleo item, check out the sulfite free wines which are available at your local dealers, and see if these wines make a difference for you,” said Dr. Loren Cordain, Founder of the Paleo movement.3


Now, where was I, before I went off on this wine tangent? Oh, right, the race!


My wave starts at 6:36 am PST and if you’d like to follow me online, I’d welcome virtual energy! Tweet @NellStephenson with #FinishlineWine. Race first, wine later…or not?


Stay tuned for my next post on Paleo athletes, wine and drinking in general.  Can it hurt us more than those who don’t go the distance?  Or, on the flip side, can it actually help?


Find out more on Monday! See you at the races!




[1] “Health Benefits of Wine.” WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 09 July 2015.

[2] Vally H, Misso NL, Madan V. Clinical effects of sulphite additives. Clin Exp Allergy. 2009 Nov;39(11):1643-51

[3] The Paleo Diet, Alcohol Consumption and Sulfites in Wine, Beer, and Food.” The Paleo Diet. N.p., 18 Aug. 2014. Web. 09 July 2015.