Friday, July 4, 2014

What to drink when you go PALEO

Right now the whole idea of the Paleo Diet/Lifestyle is pretty popular.  It's something that I personally try to follow, and feel good doing.  If you don't know what the paleo diet is, well, it isn't a "diet" in the conventional sense as in "eat this and don't eat that to lose weight" but the term diet is used as "the food we eat".

Lots of people/websites/etc. describe it as "eating like a caveman" which I don't necessarily agree with because that would mean that we can only eat the things that are local to our area and for me, living in the Canadian prairies, I would not be able to consume many of the "paleo" versions of our modern food floating around on the internet.  Anyway, I don't need to go into great detail about what paleo is all about because Steve over at Nerd Fitness does a good job of it here and as a bonus, there's pictures of lego men.  Go check it out as soon as you're done here.

What I found I had questions about was "what does one drink when on the paleo diet?"  Well here's a bit of a do and don't list for beverages that may or may not be paleo.  Please note that this isn't a comprehensive list, and different people have different views on some things.

Paleo "Approved" Beverages
Water - obviously
Coconut Water - personally, not something I'd go out of my way to consume, but others love it.
Herbal tea - hot or cold. Unsweetened, ideally, use honey if you must.
Fruit juice - best if you can juice it yourself.  If not, watch out for added sugar, and other unnecessary ingredients. Drink it in small amounts, and/or water it down.
Almond milk - same as fruit juices, best if you can make your own, watch out for sneaky ingredients.
Coconut milk - Generally not something that most people would drink "straight up" however it can be an awesome additive to things like coffee, tea, or recipes.  Like almond milk, read the label, watch for mystery ingredients.  If you don't know what it is, it's probably not paleo.
Soda water - see, this is one where I think "A cave man would never drink that" and if that's your guideline for being paleo, well then don't drink it.  Other people think it's okay.  Use some type of logic that makes sense for you, and works for you to determine if you should drink it.
Flavor Infused Waters - these are AWESOME.  Add anything you like to water - lemons, cucumbers, raspberries, mint, etc. to make your own flavored water.  Check out these suggestions from Jamie Oliver here.  Move over Mio, we're making our own flavored water (p.s. Mio isn't case you didn't know....)
Aloe Vera juice - again, definitely not something I would go out of my way to drink, but it's paleo.
Bone broth - bone broth gets huge props in the nutrition department.  Lots of paleo peeps like to drink it by the mugful as a hot beverage for a cold day.  Made from cooking the bones (typically beef) in water, this drink provides you with a satisfying drink full of gelatin-y goodness.  Check out how to make your own in a slow cooker from nom nom paleo!

Paleo "No-No" Beverages
Animal Milk - the image of a caveman chasing down a cow/goat makes me giggle.  If you choose a more "primal" diet, you may decide you want to consume animal milk.
Soda Pop - I think this one is pretty obvious
Sports Drinks - Mostly sugary and completely unnecessary, unless you're a high performance athlete (think Olympic level) chances are fruit juice and water in a 1:1 ratio will meet your athletic hydration needs for the average person.  Coconut water is toted to be a pretty good substitute for this same purpose too.
High-sugar anything - again, kinda self explanatory.
Beer, wine, most alcohol in general - sorry.

Coffee - this one can be a bit of a grey area, but a lot of people think it's okay, others would argue that'it's not.  Generally if coffee is consumed, it should be done in moderation.

I hope this gives you a good selection of things you CAN drink.  Of course neither list is exhaustive or hard and fast rules to the paleo lifestyle, but it should give you a good place to start.

The beverages you choose to consume may also be linked to your goals of being on the paleo diet.  Maybe you have a gluten intolerance, maybe you are aiming to lose some body fat, maybe you don't know yet.  Keep in mind your goals when choosing what you drink.  Even homemade fruit juices can contain a lot of sugar, and so if your goal is to lose some weight, you will want to drink these in moderation.

I'd love to hear what your favourite paleo drinks are - let me know in the comments!

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