Raw Week: Can I Drink?
Navigating the bar on a raw diet
The number one question I've gotten all week when I tell friends and coworkers about my raw eating challenge is, ‘what about drinking?' Followed closely by, ‘how are we going to hang out? Can you go to the bar?' So here it is, the low down on alcohol and the raw diet.
Liquor is not raw, it is distilled, which means it has been boiled. But, if the point of eating food raw is to maintain it's nutritional and enzymatic benefits, who cares if booze is boiled? I'm pretty sure I don't drink vodka tonics for their many health advantages. When it comes to raw, the trouble with alcohol is that it is a toxin and highly acidic and of course, the mixers.
I'm sure you've all felt the uncomfortable churning feeling in your stomach after a night of drinking and if you're like me, some fantastic heartburn the next day. This happens because the alcohol turns your stomach into a very acidic environment. One thing you can do to prevent, and alleviate, this discomfort is to consume a lot of alkaline foods before and after drinking. Alkaline foods include apples, avocado, broccoli, cabbage, cantaloupe, carrots, cauliflower, celery, eggplant, kale, mushrooms, lettuce, sprouts, and wheat grass just to name a few.
Raw food expert Stacy Stowers suggests downing a green juice made of celery, cucumber, spinach leaves, and a little green apple just to sweeten it before pouring yourself a drink. But if you don't feel like busting out the Vitamix or hitting the juice bar before hitting the cocktail bar just eat a salad. Last night Stacy and I had heaping plates of broccoli dipped in guacamole while sipping margaritas. Basically, green is king when it comes to negating the harmful effects of alcohol.
For the most part raw foodies stick to organic and biodynamic wines but if you prefer cocktails be sure to watch your mixers. Fresh juice is always best, and stick to raw sugar or agave if you need to sweeten your drink. Here are a few of Stacy's favorite raw-friendly recipes:
Mojito: rum, club soda, raw sugar, and organic mint leaves (I had this on date night and it was delish!)
Margarita: tequila, lime, raw agave, and club soda
Lemon drop: vodka, lemon, raw agave, club soda, and organic basil
Kombucha cocktails: Add vodka to your choice of kombucha and serve over ice. Stacy's absolute favorite mixer is Trilogy by Synergy.
And one more note on raw boozing. You may find you become a bit of a lightweight. After feeling a tad tipsy off of one raw margarita and one glass of sangria last night I did a little research and discovered that people following a raw diet do tend to feel the effects of alcohol more strongly. Because your body becomes more efficient at absorption the alcohol it hits you harder and faster. The more raw your diet is, the more you'll feel the effects. It's probably too soon for me to suffer the consequences but I'm glad I learned this lesson sooner rather than later!