Beer, Mead and Paleo- Can They Work Together in Harmony?

Can beer be a part of a real Paleo diet? 

A few months back, I wrote a piece on this very topic for Dr. Cordain’s The Paleo Diet Blog.

The question was whether or not one can enjoy beer or mead as part of their paleo routine.

As today is National Drink Beer Day, I thought it would be worth reviewing a little on why or why not one might opt to partake.

Beer is of the oldest man-made beverages in history and has been produced since the Neolithic Era1 with some breweries dating back as far as 1040. Drinking beer has come to be such a popular and entertaining activity and National Drink Beer Day gives all drinkers a wonderful opportunity to sample both local and internationally brewed ales and lagers.

No doubt, beer and mead are two beverages consumed globally and enjoyed by people of all walks of life.

But can it fit into a healthy diet?

Let’s begin with some definitions.

Beer is made of barley, hops, water and yeast2, so with two out of four failing to stay true to strict Paleo guidelines, the resulting beverage can’t be suitable either. Even gluten free beers are grain-based; all grains, rich in anti-nutrients and quite helpful in promoting leaky gut syndrome, are one of the key things to be avoided on a Paleo diet.

Mead is an alcoholic beverage created by fermenting honey with water, sometimes with various fruits, spices, grains, or hops, so that isn’t exactly the most Paleo of beverages, either3.

Ok, so neither fit into the paleo protocol.

Plus, they can both add significant calories to one’s daily total, as well as contribute to poor eating habits while drinking.

Individuals who drink alcohol are more likely to overeat and to consume fewer healthy foods, such as whole fruits, vegetables or lean protein sources. Poorest eating habits and food choices were displayed by those who drank the most volume of alcohol. When one is intoxicated, assessing one’s appetite and making healthy food choices is dampened4.

While this isn’t to say that a single glass of wine or a neat Ciroq has to equal a trip down candy and soda lane, it is worth considering whether you want to choose beer if you are going to partake.

If you’re brand new to your paleo diet, try to stick out your first 30 days true to plan.

Then, if you choose, you can opt to test out not so paleo foods, including beer and see how your body reacts.

If you wake up the next day with a migraine, bloating and joint pain, that can serve as your answer as to wether or not it’s worth it to drink it now and then.

Whatever you decide, make a plan and stick to it.  If you do feel adding it now and then is what’s going to create your ideal balance, then adjust meals accordingly.

If you’re hitting your favorite sports bar with twenty beers on tap that also happens to have the nacho plate you used to inhale and buffalo wings that are off the hook,  don’t have all of them.

Stick with your pint and enjoy the heck out of it, rather than Hoovering it all.

When you’re emotionally prepared for the one thing you enjoy, it will serve to keep you from feeling guilty and subsequently eating everything and anything in sight.

And, enjoying your beer with dinner a few hours before bed will leave you with restful sleep, an energetic awakening in the morning, and a far greater chance of staying on your true Paleo path.

[1] “Drink Beer Day.” Days Of The Year. National Day Calendar, n.d. Web. 28 Sept. 2015.

[2]The Beer Academy | Beer Academy | Beer Info | What Is Beer? N.p., n.d. Web. 27 May 2015.

[3] Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 27 May 2015.

[4] “Effects of Alcoholism on Appetite.” LIVESTRONG.COM. LIVESTRONG.COM, 11 May 2015. Web. 28 Sept. 2015