One of the biggest mental obstacles for people to overcome when they start on a Low Carb High Fat lifestyle is the no alcohol recommendation.
It was a big obstacle for us – when we started I didn’t have any alcohol for about the first month – which in my case with my insulin resistance was necessary. Let me explain … our weakness was red wine … about a week in to the lifestyle we made a gorgeous cheese platter with biltong and pork crackling and Vinny said, “Come on, this is crying for a glass of wine!” so I gave in and had half a glass of red wine. Up until that point I had lost 1.8kgs and low and behold when I got on the scale the next morning after that 1/2 glass of wine, I had gained the entire 1.8kgs back! And I started again from the beginning and vowed I would not have any wine … and I didn’t for a few months. Now, being less insulin resistant, I can indulge in red wine now and again and not have the same consequences but as I rule, I try and make better drink choices more in line with my low carb high fat lifestyle.
So … don’t be mistaken … I recommend NO alcohol if you’re following the lifestyle strictly or if you are looking to maximise your weight-loss!
Why is alcohol not recommended?
Well in short … when you put alcohol in your system … fat burning stops while your body rids itself of the alcohol … that’s the very unscientific layman’s explanation. Anything that takes you out of fat burning / Ketosis should be avoided. Living a low carb high fat lifestyle is all about staying in Ketosis and running on fat. When you are out of Ketosis, it can take anywhere from a couple of days to up to 6 weeks to get back in to Ketosis … so imagine if you are drinking / cheating every second day, you will never get into ketosis and never lose any weight. You can measure whether you are in Ketosis with “Keto Sticks” you can buy from pharmacies so you know whether you are in ketosis and also how long it takes you to get back into ketosis after drinking. Make an informed choice.
If, like us, you are very social, young and want to still be able to go out and drink … you need to make informed choices and perhaps swap out your usual drinks for more friendly versions that have less effect on your Ketosis.
Drinks to avoid:
- Beer! Don’t do it – it’s like eating loaves and loaves of bread!
- Wine! Don’t do it if you are insulin resistant! Stick to Dry White or Red if you must!
- Full Sugar Mixers! Coke, Sprite, etc.
- Cocktails! These are inevitably filled with straight sugar or some kind of syrup. So unless you know the recipes, rather avoid!
Better Drink options:
- Most spirits are safely low carb, so think spirit and sugar free mixer …
- Whiskey – On the rocks or with soda
- Vodka – With soda and lots of lemon
- Gin – With sugar free tonic
- Skinny Mojito (with no syrup / sugar)
- My personal favourite at the moment is a Skinny Rock Shandy (for the non South Africans – half Soda, half sugar-free Lemonade, Angostura Bitters) with Vodka – it’s delightfully refreshing and practically zero carb.
- Sugar-free Soda Stream is fantastic – they have a Cranberry & Raspberry mixer which makes a lovely sugar-free Rum & Raspberry. We often take our Soda Stream with on holiday for exactly this reason – great sugar free mixers!
- Coconut Milk – think Pina Colada but axe the Pineapple syrup! Rum and Coconut Milk – yum!
- Boozy Berry Cocktail – the one fruit category I’d say you can have a little cheat with are berries – so if you were home for example – you could make a lovely cocktail with some berries, soda and/or coconut milk and your spirit of choice!
The secret is really to be open to trying new flavours and new drinks depending on availability wherever you go … there will usually be SOMETHING you can choose, if you really want to try stay low carb and have some willpower … And keep asking for skinny / sugar free options. If there’s a demand, your local drinking hole will stock these options or they will lose clientele.