Is natural wine as close to Paleo diet as alcohol can be?

Posted on April 29, 2017 by Dimitri Safonov | 0 comments

Paleo diet and Natural wine: paleo recipes and caveman diet wine recommendations

We are all on the quest for a healthier and happier lifestyle by eating healthy food, relaxing with friends and family and sometimes making hard choices about our nutrition. There are some really strenuous diets around. Paleo is a bit different as it is forming longer term habits and doesn't restrict your food choices much. There is definitely not any calorie counting involved. So what about wine? In this article we look into paleo diet more closely, outline what is so special about this 'caveman diet', see how wine fits into this and suggest a few paleo recipes.   

What’s Paleo?

Paleo is lifestyle that has a word ‘unprocessed’ written all over it. In its core there is a diet that is based on the fact that genetically we are very much alike to our ancestors, so everything that they could get fresh is generally good for you. This is to oppose our current overconsumption of processed foods. The latter contain a lot of sugars, harmful trans fats and generally really bad for you. You cannot get into shape by just exercising like crazy. Most of your healthy waistline comes from what you eat (and how you feel in general, so no stress either!)

Why Paleo?

There are quite a few reasons why you should at least try Paleo:

  • Paleo is based on unprocessed so called whole foods. It simply means less additives, no preservatives and avoiding nasty trans fats, excessive amounts of salt and sugars.
  • What it does is lowers your blood pressure by means of reducing salt and increasing potassium. You are going to get your 10 veggies a day super simple.  Healthy fats are good for you, so Paleo will also mean you will work towards reducing your cholesterol.
  • Paleo recipes are usually rich in fibre and protein - both will ensure you are fuller for longer.
  • You don’t need to be a coeliac to feel the benefits of eating gluten-free. Paleo will gradually help you to banish bloating and digestive problems by banning grains.
  • If you are concerned about lower GI foods, paleo diet is exactly that too.
  • As you can imagine this caveman diet is plant based with occasional intake of meat and fish, so all those good phytochemicals are going to be yours - say bye to certain types of cancer and dementia.
  • Research has shown that most of the causes for the latter conditions and many more are triggered by our quite acidic diets. Acidic environment triggers loss of calcium and causes problems with bones and nervous system. Paleo helps to maintain more alkaline environment.

What’s good about Paleo diet is that it is inclusive - it won’t restrict you from eating fish, meat or fats, it will give you directions what not to eat and how to make your nutrition even better. 

Paleo stimulates everyone to have a less sedentary lifestyle, so next time you are thinking about going shopping, go find local farmer’s markets, independent shops and get fresh local produce and cook from scratch. You are not only going to burn calories, but will meet new people, have meaningful conversations, create interesting connections within your community and of course eat something very delicious.

A few Paleo diet rules

What to eliminate:

  • processed foods (ready meals and fast food);
  • refined sugars (ready made puddings with high-fructose corn syrup is the worst for you);
  • grains and beans (ideally stay away from cereals, beans and legumes, flour, rice, corn, bread, pasta, crackers, cakes, oats and sadly beer as it is grain based);
  • seed oils (rapeseed oil may have some benefits but definitely not with its high Omega-6 contents, stay away from it but also sunflower oil and margarine);
  • potatoes (high GI products, so even if you want to indulge, bear in mind that you should limit its consumption);
  • dairy (some studies go as far as stipulating that 2/3 of humans are lactose-intolerant to some degree; what about making a test and checking whether your digestion is a bit better after a few weeks?)

What’s ideal for Paleo diet?

  • meat, fish, eggs
  • fruit
  • veggies
  • nuts
  • sauces that are based on natural ingredients (i.e. stock)
  • sweet things like maple syrup, stevia and honey
  • coconut (coconut flour is your best friend if you want to bake, whilst coconut milk is a great help for Asian inspired sauces; coconut water is to quench your thirst; just check the packaging for any preservatives).

What about alcohol and Paleo?

Most nutritionists who study Paleo agree that alcohol is not strictly Paleo, but can be consumed in moderation. Just watch out for ingredients to eliminate. Beer should be avoided because of the grains,  similarly as vodka, whisky and gin, rum as it is distilled from sugars and sake as it is made of rice. You aren’t left with much, are you?

You’ve got wine, cider, tequila and brandy as most common alcoholic drinks. Obviously cider needs to be dry and as organic as possible.

Same goes for wine, but if we look into the main criteria for Paleo - it shouldn’t be processed much. Let’s go into a bit more detail about paleo diet and wine.

Paleo diet and Wine: can caveman diet contain wine?

Technically speaking wine is not Paleo, definitely not any sort of conventional wine because the latter was definitely over processed starting from pesticides in the vineyard and then preservatives in the winery.

However natural wines that were produced from organically grown grapes and then transferred to a winery, where processed without major intervention, are very close to unprocessed Paleo foods. Low in sulphites (or no sulphites added at all) and all natural winemaking guarantee maximum amount of those heart healthy antioxidants and no residual pesticides to remain in your wine.

People started meddling with natural processes of fermentation just to make their life easier - mask the flaws, make the wine quicker and simply make more wine. Yet more isn’t necessarily better. We know the abundance of processed foods, ready meals, sugary soft drinks and artificially sweetened foods really harm our bodies. The same fact applies to wine. Hence if you are to make a conscious effort to eat healthy, seek out healthy food and nourish your body, you should also choose natural wine.   

How to make wine even more healthy with Paleo diet

We have such strenuous obligations as networking, partying and socialising over a glass of wine or more. One of our admired writers in the no nonsense health world - Dave Asprey, the inventor of Bulletproof diet, - also made a few recommendations how to drink organic and natural wine and minimise the effect of toxins on your body. 

  1. As with the previous recommendation, avoid polyunsaturated fats. Studies confirmed a link between Omega-6 and an increased risk of liver damage by alcohol. So all these corn, rapeseed oils are to be led on the shelf
  2. On the opposite side, saturated fats provide protection against alcohol; so French Paradox isn’t really a paradox - think of dishes that are cooked with organic butter, organic extra virgin olive oil, raw coconut oil or animal fat and you are actually much better off.
  3. Take activated charcoal, this tasteless and natural supplement will help you to detox.
  4. Hydrate yourself. I will recommend to have a full glass of water per every measure of alcohol. The latter dehydrates the body so even if water won’t save your liver from the need to break down the alcohol, the water will make your body feel much better, promise!

Popular Paleo recipes

Finally, just to give you a taster what is Paleo here are two delicious recipes that you can do quicker than Jamie Oliver does his 15 minutes meal TV show.

Tuna salad

paleo tuna saladYou can come across it by many names: tuna tataki and tuna tartare just to name a few, but the main thing remains the same. It is a gorgeous dish that features raw tuna. You will need a piece of tuna (go for quality organic piece even if it would be small but expensive) and add ping onions, slices of chilli, avocado, shredded lettuce leaf, one small diced tomato and dress it all well with organic olive oil, some soya sauce, some cider vinegar and lime juice. I have also added a few sesame seeds on top and a few shredded seaweed sheets on the bottom for just a bit of crunch.

Naked aubergine beef burgers

paleo aubergine beef burgerThere is nothing wrong with piece of beef. Choose grass fed organic beef mince. Processed bread and buns are definitely not paleo, so your task it so are it without it. This time we opt for a few slices of aubergine, but feel free to use lettuce to wrap your burger. It is very easy to make, can be tweaked based on your preferences and is a crowd pleaser. We've sliced a large tomato, added some lettuce and some fantastic grilled onions. For an added crunch you can opt for some almond shavings. If you like this burger juicier, add a dollop of organic mayonnaise made of free range eggs and extra virgin olive oil. You can also experiment with some flavourings to make a fragrant aioli - a wealth of different choices for your burger. 

You will need less than 15 minutes from the time you unpack your shopping, prep and then cook these two Paleo dishes. They are nutritious and you will feel lighter and more energised. 

I truly hope you found this article useful. Just to finish on the high, here is a suggestion as for truly unprocessed, unfiltered wines that will complement every Paleo recipe well:

Posted in lifestyle tit-bits


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