The Paleo (cave man) diet doesn't forbid alcohol. The key to successfully imbibing alcohol while living Paleo is choosing the right adult beverages and consuming them in a responsible, intentional way. There's an appropriate time to enjoy a moderate amount of alcohol to unwind or to celebrate. Aside from the positive aspects of socializing, some types of alcohol are associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, and they may also reduce the risk of infection with the bacteria that causes ulcers.

[Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/Kirby Hamilton 2008]
Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/Kirby Hamilton 2008

Here are a few key factors to help you decide whether you should pop a cork:

  • Alcohol is a toxin to the liver.

  • Alcohol is a drug, which means it's addictive.

  • If losing weight is your goal, remember that your liver can't help you with fat burning if it's busy detoxifying alcohol.

Before you pour yourself a glass of something intoxicating, consider your health goals and overall eating habits, and then make smart choices about which type of alcohol you drink.

Steer clear of grain-based drinks that can also include gluten, such as the following:

  • Beer

  • Bourbon

  • Gin (some brands are processed with grain-based alcohol)

  • Grain-based vodka

  • Whiskey

To celebrate on special occasions, feel free to choose one of these:

  • Potato vodka

  • Red wine

  • Rum

  • Sparkling wine

  • Tequila

  • White wine

To manage your body's insulin response to the sugars found in alcohol, mix spirits, like tequila or vodka, with soda water, ice, and a squeeze of lemon or lime juice. Avoid fruit juices, which are liquid sugar; and avoid tonic water, which is also high in sugar.

When uncorking wine, choose the driest (least sweet) wines possible. The driest reds include Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot; the driest whites are Sauvignon Blanc and Albarino.

Our hunter-gatherer ancestors occasionally let their hair down when they were exposed to alcohol by eating fermented grapes. But they didn't sit around the fire doing shots. You can't maintain a high level of health if you drink alcohol frequently or in large quantities. The pleasant buzz that alcohol provides also places stress on your liver, creates a strong insulin response, and dehydrates your cells. Enjoy cocktails in moderation.