Ep. 21: Alcohol 101

By: Cassy Joy Garcia
Fed & Fit
Fed & Fit

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The Fed+Fit Podcast | Nurturing a Healthy Mindset for a Healthy Lifestyle

We're back with our 21st episode of the Fed+Fit Podcast! Remember to check back every Monday for a new episode and be sure to subscribe on iTunes!

Find us HERE on iTunes and be sure to “subscribe.”

Episode 21 Topics:

  • Last week to sign up for the June Fed+Fit Project! Learn more HERE.
  • Last day for the Autoimmune Bundle! Learn more HERE.
  • What is alcohol?
  • How is drinking alcohol (EtOH) made?
  • Four sources of drinking alcohol.
  • How the body processes alcohol.
  • How-to prepare for a night of drinking.
  • How Charissa and Cassy personally choose to indulge.

We would LOVE some feedback, so feel free to leave a review in iTunes, comment below, or even give us a shout on social media!

Ep. 21: Alcohol 101

This is the Fed and Fit podcast starting your week off with motivational thoughts on real food and fun fitness activities with Cassy Joy Garcia and co-host, Charissa Talbot. Remember our disclaimer; the information and opinions shared in this podcast are solely those of any given individual, and not a substitute for medical advice. Here are the ladies.

Today we’re going to talk about where alcohol comes from, how it’s processed in our bodies, how you can prepare for a night out of drinking, and how we personally choose to indulge.

1. Updates from Cassy [1:31]
2. Updates from Charissa [6:30]
3. What is alcohol? [10:01]
4. How is drinking alcohol (EtOH) made? [15:02]
5. How the body processes alcohol. [22:30]
6. Red wine and clear liquors; healthier? [30:12]
7. How-to prepare for a night of drinking. [33:21]
8. Health benefits of alcohol [38:55]
9. How Charissa and Cassy personally choose to indulge. [45:43]

Cassy Joy: Hey Charissa!

Charissa Talbot: Hey Cassy!

Cassy Joy: {laughs} If you’re listening on Monday the 25th, then Charissa and I wish you a very happy memorial day.

Charissa Talbot: That’s right! I’ve been so busy working I didn’t even remember it’s a holiday weekend.

Cassy Joy: Today’s a holiday! As an entrepreneur and as someone who works from home, you kind of lose track.

Charissa Talbot: You do.

Cassy Joy: What the holidays are.

Charissa Talbot: In that case, this episode is perfect! I hope everyone listens to it this morning so they thoroughly enjoy their holiday evening, or day!

1. Updates from Cassy [1:31]

Cassy Joy: Yes. Today we are so excited about our topic. Before we get to it, Charissa, I’ve got to really important update for you.

Charissa Talbot: Oh, I’m ready.

Cassy Joy: {laughs}

Charissa Talbot: I’m so ready. Wait, wait. Ok, now I’m ready. {laughs}

Cassy Joy: Now you’re ready? {laughs} It’s about my garden.

Charissa Talbot: Oooh!

Cassy Joy: It’s really important. I never realized how much of my littler heart that garden would consume.

Charissa Talbot: Mmm.

Cassy Joy: I love it so much. It is exploding. I started everything from seeds, and if you’re a first time listener, this past spring I decided, I live in suburbia of San Antonio, and Austin, my fiancé, built me 3 raised beds that are, what are they, 4 x 8 each. So they’re pretty good sized, and we filled them with organic soil and I sprouted seeds, I was so excited, and things are doing really well. My spaghetti squash is enormous. I have a cabbage patch full of kale and collards, and I have a nightshade patch, which is something that probably only a nutritionist would think about. {laughs}

Charissa Talbot: {laughs} Right.

Cassy Joy: They’re foods, but I’m growing jalapenos and tomatillos, eggplants, and then some tomatoes, of course. Anyway, everything is doing really well. But something that I did not expect is the little friendly family of 6 and 8 legged little critters that have decided to move in because of the garden. And that has been interesting to watch. We’ve got an orb weaver, which is a spider, and a bunch of caterpillars munching on my baby cabbage patch, which at first, Charissa, the first one I saw I was like, what’s happening to my little kale plants! They had these beautiful little sprouts, they were doing so well, and I went out there the next day and they were just like sticks.

Charissa Talbot: Awww!

Cassy Joy: It was so sad! And I found this one caterpillar on there, and I was like, oh you little stinker. So I picked him off with my little spade, and I threw him over the fence. Then all of a sudden I started looking some more, and I saw more caterpillars. They’re these little green ones. So I flinked a couple of more over the fence, then when I started to realize, it was like I was seeing for the first time, all these caterpillars eating my kale, I turned into mad mama!

Charissa Talbot: {gasp}

Cassy Joy: And I was just like, no way! So I started smushing them into the soil. {laughing}

Charissa Talbot: Oh my gosh. You’re so mean, Cassy!

Cassy Joy: I know. And then the next day those caterpillars, I’m convinced the ones that I had thrown over the fence had wriggled their way back to my little cabbage patch and so they got the ax too. Anyway, this has been a huge learning curve.

Charissa Talbot: {laughing}

Cassy Joy: We also had some ants, and we saw some mud daubers. And then the other day, because as you know I’m an entomologist by education, my first round at college. My second round I went back and started studying nutrition. I’m just a forever student, I’ll always be studying something. But I noticed we had this beautiful orange and yellow huge hornet flying around my squash, my spaghetti squash and my cucumbers.

Charissa Talbot: Uh-huh.

Cassy Joy: And we started getting a closer look, and I did some research online, and she is a European hornet, the queen, and it’s really interesting. I just think it’s so interesting, the life cycle of these guys. Apparently, unlike popular belief, they’re not really that aggressive unless you really mess with them in their hive. I’m happy to be peaceful. But apparently these queens, in the spring, they find a new nest, she’s burrowing under my garden, my wood bed. They start their hive, and then at the end of the season, the new little queens go out to find new homes and the old house is dead and they never reuse it again. So, anyway, it’s really interesting. I think it’s just fascinating! It’s like a whole chunk of my life that I don’t get to share with many besides Austin and Gus, so I wanted to tell you about it. {laughs}

Charissa Talbot: Well, Cassy, you’re welcome to share anything you want on your podcast.

Cassy Joy: Thank you. Thanks everybody for listening! In the world of probably real/relevant updates, I wanted to let you guys know that if you’re interested in joining the Fed and Fit project in June, which kicks up, it starts on Monday the first. This is your last week to enroll. So I will include a link directly to how to sign up and enroll in the podcast notes. But otherwise just watch for it on social media, or you can always find a link on my website. So that’s what’s going on over here, Charissa. I want to know what’s new with you?

2. Updates from Charissa [6:30]

Charissa Talbot: Well, as we all know I moved into my new place at the beginning of the month, and there wasn’t a working stove so it had to be ordered. And because it’s a small place it’s a smaller, one of those, it’s a smaller stove made for like studio apartments. So it took a while to get here, and it finally arrived this morning, so this morning was the first morning I was actually able to make my own coffee. Because I don’t have a coffee maker, I have an on the stove top percolator.

Cassy Joy: Yeah.

Charissa Talbot: So that was so exciting to not have to go all the way to the coffee shop, buy coffee. Because when you work from home, you know, that’s part of the luxury. You don’t have to run anywhere if you don’t want to. It’s definitely been a true no-cook experience though for these last 3 weeks, because I have not had a stove or oven.

Cassy Joy: {laughs}

Charissa Talbot: So it can be done. I’m actually probably going to do more cooking over the next week than I normally do just because I’m excited to have the option again. {Laughs}

Cassy Joy: Oh, that’s great! Good for you.

Charissa Talbot: Yep, yep. And work wise, as you all know I work for Sarah Ballantyne, The Paleo Mom, and we have been running our autoimmune wellness bundle, and behind the scenes, let me tell you. I give props to anyone that has run a bundle or help run a bundle. Respect for all of y'all. It’s rewarding and exhausting, but I’m here today and our topic has got me excited. We’re going to do the best we can. I’m glad that Cassy is doing the majority of the talking today, because I’m pretty tired! {laughs}

Cassy Joy: {laughs}

Charissa Talbot: But I’m here! I’m here and I’m excited for the break and to be talking to you guys. For those of you who want, go and check out the bundle. Just don’t email me for support. {laughs} Just kidding.

Cassy Joy: {laughing}

Charissa Talbot: Just kidding.

Cassy Joy: I’m excited for you, and I’m also excited for you to have a little R&R after all this is done.

Charissa Talbot: Yes, yes. Oh, and everyone, Cathy, Cassy. Cathy; see? My brain is not working today. Cassy’s holiday eBook is in the bundle, she made an autoimmune version of it for everyone, which I think is awesome. So go check that out.

Cassy Joy: Yeah, yeah. Exactly. Thank you Charissa. {laughs}

Charissa Talbot: My brain is so bundle right now, it’s all I can think of. I feel like I’m a walking sales ad, so it’s ok.

Cassy Joy: {laughing}

Charissa Talbot: My friends text me, and I’m like, have you seen the bundle! It’s bad. {laughs}

Cassy Joy: {laughs} Tell everybody!

Charissa Talbot: Tell everybody!

Cassy Joy: That’s great. I think that’s awesome. Yeah, no if you do have a copy of my holiday feast from last year, and you enjoyed it, and you are specific autoimmune protocol or you're trying to follow that or learn about it, I did include an addition just for you. And it’s got meal plans and shopping lists and that’s included in the bundle with so many other resources. We’ll include a link to that in today’s show notes, as well, but today is the last day that you can get it. Just keep that in mind; if you’re listening to this on Monday the 25th, this is your chance to grab it.

Charissa Talbot: Last day, last day.

Cassy Joy: Ok.

3. What is alcohol? [10:01]

Charissa Talbot: I am really excited about this topic.

Cassy Joy: Yeah!

Charissa Talbot: And it falls in line with an episode we did earlier, right?

Cassy Joy: It really does. So, we got a lot of really positive feedback after we recorded caffeine 101. Because we asked you guys what you thought about that; because we go sometimes back and forth. And we’re going to keep going back and forth in the future, because there’s kind of a lot that we want to talk about in general, but we like to go between some mindset lifestyle things and also Charissa and I are both certified nutrition consultants with some pretty heavy science backgrounds, and we like to dive into some of that stuff, too. We think talking about this stuff under a really fun, education light is engaging, and knowledge is power. It’s kind of along that thread. So, you guys said you liked it and you’d like to see more of it, so we are taking your advice and we are coming back with a pretty equally information filled episode.

Today we’re going to talk about alcohol 101. And it makes me wonder, Charissa, if we should include a disclaimer on today’s episode, like it’s got mature content. It’s not that we plan to curse, unless you think darn, dang, and crap are curse words! {laughs}

Charissa Talbot: {laughs}

Cassy Joy: If you do, then maybe I should #censor. But we are going to talk about alcohol.

Charissa Talbot: Yes.

Cassy Joy: Also known as, or more specific ethanol, and even geekier, EtOH.

Charissa Talbot: Ok. I’m ready.

Cassy Joy: You might need to flash a, you’re geeking out too much Cassy, sign to give me.

Charissa Talbot: No, no. It’s, I love it. I love it.

Cassy Joy: Ok, good. Go for it.

Charissa Talbot: Go for it.

Cassy Joy: I was going to say, if you’re looking for an education on how the body processes alcohol, and then other ideal sources and how to prepare your body for alcohol, should you chose to partake, that’s why we prepared this episode for you.

Charissa Talbot: Love it. I love our 101s, they’re really popular. So, let’s get started out. Cassy, what the heck is alcohol and where does it come from?

Cassy Joy: Oh, those are great questions Charissa. {laughs} I’ve got some answers for you.

Charissa Talbot: You don’t say!

Cassy Joy: {laughing} Ok, so if you are a chemistry buff, you know that alcohol is actually just an organic compound that is simply formed, and we’re speaking really simply here, when a group of only hydrogen and carbon molecules bind to a hydroxyl group, which is the OH. And the name of that compound when the OH is attached to it changes, the very end of the name changes to add the -ol on the end of it, alcohol.

Examples of this includes methanol, which is toxic to humans in large doses, really volatile and it’s also commonly used as a laboratory solvent. Ethanol, which is what’s in tasty, delicious tequila. Isopropyl alcohol, which is rubbing alcohol, xylitol which is a sugar alcohol, which you can see in some treats that are coming across some of the different paleo blog threads that are out there, glycerol, which is used in a lot of food production as a preservative, solvent, and sweetener. And then methanol; oh, sorry, not methanol. Menthol, which is found in lip balm, Icy Hot, Vicks, and then also in those menthol cigarettes that we know about.

All of those are alcohols; I just wanted to cover the bases. So if anybody is listening, like I said, that is a chemistry buff, you probably have that little burr in your side that you’re like, well, there’s all kinds of alcohol. So {laughs}

Charissa Talbot: {laughs}

Cassy Joy: Today we’re specifically going to talk about ethanol, which more specifically, drinking alcohol. Ethanol is a natural byproduct of the metabolic process of yeast. Therefore, where yeast exists generally speaking, you’ll find ethanol. This can happen in overripe fruit. Naturally, yeast is found in kombucha, of course, bread yeast where the bubbles rise, and also in drinking alcohol. Today we’re really only going to talk about alcoholic beverages in the form of wine, beer, hard cider, and spirits.

Charissa Talbot: So, everyone, get your favorite drink, I know it’s in the morning but Happy Memorial Day! Actually, I’m drinking my kombucha right now.

Cassy Joy: Are you? Well you're partaking in a little ethanol consumption.

Charissa Talbot: Yeah! I’m getting my ethanol on!

Cassy Joy: {laughing}

Charissa Talbot: I’m going to use that as a hashtag. #Getyourethanolon.

Cassy Joy: #GetyourEtOHon.

Charissa Talbot: Oh, I’m so doing it. Where’s my phone. Time to Instagram.

Cassy Joy: {laughs}

4. How is drinking alcohol (EtOH) made? [15:02]

Charissa Talbot: Ok, sorry everyone, off track. Alright Cassy. Now that we know what alcohol is, let’s get to the second part of the question. Where does it come from?

Cassy Joy: Great question too! I love stuff like this, you guys. We’re going to get in a little bit to how alcohol is processed in the body, but I think it’s really fascinating first to know how it would show up to us. How does it even wind up in that wine glass or that mug of beer? So first off, I’m going to talk about wine because it’s one of my personal favorites.

Wine is made from the fermentation of grapes by yeast, or grape juice. So when grapes come off the vine, they have their own wild yeast variety, but most wine makers will add an additional yeast to help both control the speed and the type of fermentation. So the yeast essentially eats up the sugars in the grape juice, and the byproduct is then alcohol and carbon dioxide. So the longer yeast is allowed to ferment the juice, meaning eat up the sugars in the juice, the more dry the wine. So really sweet wines, like Riesling and gluhwein if you’re familiar with what gluhwein is, are made both with a) using very special grapes that are picked at their peak sugar levels, which is usually after the first frost.

If you can’t tell, I’m kind of also a little wine geek. And the fermentation process is stopped before the sugars are all eaten up by the yeast. And if you’re curious, fermentation can be stopped by dropping the temperature of the wine, or some wine makers even add brandy and there are some other ways you can do it.

So the resulting alcohol content of wine ranges anywhere between 9-16% by volume; that’s ABV, alcohol by volume. So when you see that percentage number on a bottle of beer, wine, or spirits, that’s what it’s talking about.

So next up on the list is beer. Beer is made from the fermentation of a grain mash, so to speak, and yeast. Shocker.

Charissa Talbot: {laughs}

Cassy Joy: Barley and other grains, wheat, all kinds of other things, are blended with a variety of other flavors like hops, if you like ales, pale ales was one of my favorites before I really pursued a grain-free lifestyle, I liked really hoppy beers. That blend is fermented than a shorter period of time than wine. Beer, I found a fun fact on the internet. {laughs} Those interwebz have all kinds of useful information.

Charissa Talbot: {laughs}

Cassy Joy: Beer is actually the most popular alcoholic beverage in the world.

Charissa Talbot: I believe it.

Cassy Joy: Isn’t that interesting? I went to Germany when I was, I guess a sophomore or a junior in college, I went there with my family and we went for this festival in Wiesbaden, which is just along the Rhine river where we were hanging out at this festival, and I didn’t really speak much German. I still don’t. But by golly I learned the words “ein bier bitte”.

Charissa Talbot: {laughs}

Cassy Joy: You went up to the beer stand and I was like, I’d like. And that’s “one beer please”. But I didn’t know how to count in German or say a larger number, and I had gone to go get a couple of beers for my parents and some of their friends were there, and I needed 4 beers, and I was like, I’d like “ein ein ein ein bier bitte”. {laughs}

Charissa Talbot: {laughing}

Cassy Joy: Anyways, it’s the universal language.

Charissa Talbot: That’s funny.

Cassy Joy: So, I thought that was interesting. Apparently it’s also the third most consumed liquid in the world, just after water and tea.

Charissa Talbot: Hmm.

Cassy Joy: So beer ends up with an average range of alcohol by volume, ABV, of 4-6%, so that’s significantly less than wine. Although there are some beer varieties that are brewed to be much higher. So that’s controlled by whoever is making the beer. They do those things on purpose.

Next on our list is hard cider, which you will probably see pop up in the paleo/grain-free community as one of the fizzy beverages of choice. Hard cider is almost always made with apples, and it truly is kind of a love child between the brewing process, or the fermentation process of wine and the fermentation of beer. The type of yeast used, I guess in characteristic, in output, is similar to that of beer, but you’re starting with a fruit, like you did in wine. So the fermentation process is much quicker, and there’s going to be less alcohol content, similar to what you’ll find in beer. Often fizzy, and like I said, it’s generally preferred by those of us who follow a grain-free lifestyle. Personally, I’m not a huge fan because there’s a lot of sugar in it, and it’s really sweet.

Charissa Talbot: Mm-hmm.

Cassy Joy: There are some varieties that people say aren’t very sweet, but I think it all still tastes like I’m drinking apple juice.

Charissa Talbot: It’s hard. Like, I really like ciders because I do kind of miss the taste of beer, although there are some really good gluten free beers.

Cassy Joy: That’s true.

Charissa Talbot: I’m not a big fan of beer, but let me tell you, if it’s that right mood where it’s the perfect summer day, maybe you're washing the car or having a barbecue out back. Sometimes just having that one beer; I don’t know, I like to get the gluten-free beers everyone once in a while for that specific occasion. Ciders I really like, but most of them they are just way too sweet. Yeah. I’m with you there.

Cassy Joy: They are way too; it tastes like a candy bar.

Charissa Talbot: Yeah.

Cassy Joy: But I’m with you too. I think if you really only like beer, and you want to kind of explore a grain-free lifestyle, a slightly cleaner version, check out some of the gluten free beers out there. There are some good ones. There’s one with a green label, but I can’t remember off the top of my head right now, that I really like. They have an amber that’s delicious, and there’s another brand called Omission out there. But good point, Charissa, I’m glad you said that.

Lastly, the last kind of alcohol we’re going to talk about today drinking alcohol is a distilled beverage. Which apparently you can only call those a spirit if their alcohol by volume, ABV, reaches 20% or more. Which I thought was interesting.

Charissa Talbot: Hmm. I did not know that.

Cassy Joy: {laughs} Now you know! Anybody; Bill Nye the Science Guy? Ok.

Charissa Talbot: Mm-hmm. {laughs}

Cassy Joy: {laughs} Although, that being said, most whiskeys and vodkas are upwards north of 40%. So distillation of these spirits is actually a major process, and we won’t talk about all of that today, but essentially they just pull the alcohol that is fermented off and collect it separately. It results in a much higher concentrated alcohol by volume and it’s a little bit of a cleaner beverage, because the things that were used to ferment, whether it’s the grains or the wood or the fruit or whatever it is is kind of left behind, and the alcohol and the flavor extracted is kind of what you get. Anyway, I think that’s kind of cool. So, now we know all the basics.

5. How the body processes alcohol. [22:30]

Charissa Talbot: All the basics. So now that we know just to recap, now that we know what alcohol is and where it comes from, Cassy what happens when we drink it? What happens to our body when we drink alcohol?

Cassy Joy: This is the most fascinating part, I think.

Charissa Talbot: So much fun. {laughs}

Cassy Joy: Ok, so I’m going to give you two answers, Charissa.

Charissa Talbot: Ok.

Cassy Joy: First I’m going to tell you what happens in a moderate, basic sense, you know?

Charissa Talbot: Ok.

Cassy Joy: And then we’re going to talk briefly; I’m not going to harp on it, but we’re going to talk briefly about what happens to your body upon chronic consumption; when you have an abusive relationship with alcohol.

Charissa Talbot: Right.

Cassy Joy: Ok. So in a basic sense, pulling back a little bit lighter; remember how in caffeine 101, we talked about how the caffeine molecule essentially works to speed up the neurotransmitters in our brain, right? We feel more awake, more articulate, we’re firing faster, we’re able to solve problems more quickly, we’re really in tuned, our reaction times are really quick. Well, alcohol essentially has the opposite effect. So you might have heard caffeine being referred to as an upper, an alcohol as a downer. So what alcohol does is it acts to slow down those neurotransmitters.

So the manifestation of the brain slowing down, tends to leave us finding jokes funnier longer, you know?

Charissa Talbot: Mm-hmm

Cassy Joy: You tend to giggle a little bit longer, and find things funnier. We start to sway a little bit because our body is taking too long to manage muscle control and balance and stay on top of all of these things. Our speech starts to slur as our words are taking longer to process and pronounce. And our reaction time is lower, which is one of the reasons why we shouldn’t drive when we drink. It’s important to note that all these effects are compounded the more you drink in a short period of time.

Charissa Talbot: Right.

Cassy Joy: Ok, so that’s essentially what happens. I’m trying not to get too, too into the weeds. But that’s basically what happens. In the situation of chronic consumption, the long term effects. And chronic consumption; this could be every single night, 5 beers a night. Or it could be one night of 5 beers. Whether it’s just you binge drink one time a week, or you binge drink 5 days a week.

Charissa Talbot: Mm-hmm.

Cassy Joy: Both of those are generally considered chronic consumption, kind of an abusive relationship. So in either case, the impact on your body, let’s talk first about the brain. It can cause damage to the brains communication pathways. So, if you feel like you’re getting dumber, it’s probably because of the alcohol abuse. It can alter moods greatly, which could also be attune to an addictive nature.

Charissa Talbot: Yes.

Cassy Joy: If you have alcoholism in your family, that’s just something to really be aware of. Just be aware of it; I’m not saying you should never pick up a drink if that’s a decision that you haven’t come to, but just kind of be aware of that, that it’s definitely a possibility or a greater possibility. And it could also make it more difficult to think more clearly in the long-term.

Next let’s talk about the heart; long-term effects of alcohol on the heart. In a sense, it can cause the heart muscle to stretch and sag.

Charissa Talbot: That doesn’t look pretty, y’all.

Cassy Joy: No, it’s not pretty at all.

Charissa Talbot: Nu-huh. {laughs}

Cassy Joy: You want to love your heart.

Charissa Talbot: We want a nice firm tight heart.

Cassy Joy: {laughs}

Charissa Talbot: Healthy, sexy.

Cassy Joy: Yeah.

Charissa Talbot: We want a sexy heart. {laughs}

Cassy Joy: A sexy heart. It could result in an irregular heartbeat, and some of you may notice that after you have a drink, you might have a funny little heartbeat or an irregular palpitation. That’s something to be aware of. And it could also cause high blood pressure, both chronic and immediate. So, all good things to be aware of.

Charissa Talbot: Mm-hmm.

Cassy Joy: As far as your liver goes; this is probably what people think of first, but I wanted to get brain and heart out there, because those are kind of sneaky effects so to speak.

Charissa Talbot: Yeah.

Cassy Joy: When you start feeling you're getting dumber as the years go by. I hate to use such a not pretty term to talk about that, but if you really do feel like you're losing some of your wit, it could be because of too much alcohol for too long. And that’s not to say that you can’t heal, you can. Just something to be aware of.

But liver I’m putting third on the list, it can cause, as many of us know, an enlarged fatty liver. And our livers are just so vital; we can’t go into it today, but Google all the amazing things your liver does for you. And if you’ve ever seen the liver of an alcoholic.

Charissa Talbot: Ooof!

Cassy Joy: It can be a wakeup call.

Charissa Talbot: Not pretty.

Cassy Joy: And I encourage you also, I don’t encourage you to do it while you’re eating, but {laughs} Google alcoholic liver and see what it actually looks like versus a healthy liver. It’s pretty eye opening.

Next up cancer. Chronic alcohol abuse can really increase your risk of developing all kinds of cancer. Lastly, it really weakens your immune system. It can weaken it immediately, so if you’re already not feeling very well, I recommend you kind of stay away from cocktails. And then it can also weaken after chronic use over time. So, there you go. We’re not going to harp on it.

Charissa Talbot: Yeah. Mmm. Good information.

Cassy Joy: Yeah.

Charissa Talbot: its good information to know. Even if you're, you know I was at a point where I was having a glass of wine every single night, and then sometimes, you know I’m a single person so then you go out and you might have a couple of drinks at the bar. I got to a point where it was like, alright. This is really out of hand and just not where I want to be health wise, so it was good to just nip that stuff in the bud and cut it out. Sometimes you have to have a little wake up call to that. Because it can be really easy to be like, well this is pretty normal for everybody, right? But you know, it’s good to have that realization and kind of assess, if you’re kind of in that. Just because it’s not maybe abusive, you could still have something that’s chronic.

Cassy Joy: Totally.

Charissa Talbot: Same thing with coffee. If you get to a point, like right now where I am with coffee, where I’m like, I need coffee! Because it’s keeping me alive right now, I’m looking forward to taking a break and getting back off the coffee for a while. I think when you get to that point when you think you need something versus, oh I’d really enjoy this. There’s a difference. That’s when you kind of need to look at things and maybe see if there’s a mindset or an adjustment you need to make there just to go off track there.

Cassy Joy: I think that’s great. I think it’s important to note. There’s a difference between being aware of the obvious and being aware of the not so obvious, and that’s really what we’re trying to get at here, is kind of shed some light on the things that aren’t very obvious. Because like I said before, knowledge is power. Information is power. You can work your way out of any mental situation by just having more information about it.

Charissa Talbot: Yeah and no judgment. Do what you want. It’s good to have the information.

Cassy Joy: Totally, and Charissa and I are going to share in a little bit our takes on how we approach it now, so you’ll see kind of what we thing.

6. Red wine and clear liquors; healthier? [30:12]

Charissa Talbot: Alright, so moving on. Back on track. So, whether we’re talking about paleo or just trying to be healthier or just making good choices when it comes to alcohol. So Cassy, is it true that red wine and clear liquors are healthier? Because that’s what you hear, that’s what people tell you, and that’s what people say. So what’s the scoop behind that?

Cassy Joy: Ok, so here’s my take on it. And I know it’s probably going to be a little controversial depending on who you’re hearing it from, but you're hearing it from me today. {laughs}

Charissa Talbot: {laughs} Therefore, it’s correct.

Cassy Joy: It’s correct in this context. Ok, so, red wines and clear liquors, which you’ve probably heard some up in the paleo community before, are they healthier? I tend to say that it is true, they’re probably going to have less crap in them. So essentially you’re reducing the likelihood that you’ll have a reaction to something else in the beverage other than the ethanol, the alcohol.

Charissa Talbot: That’s such a good point to make, though. It’s really a good point.

Cassy Joy: Yeah, so it’s like, let’s say you have, one night you decide to have a glass of red wine. There are all kinds of arguments out there; if you Google the health benefits of red wine, you’re going to find plenty of information that makes you feel like red wine is the fountain of youth, you know? {laughs} It’s the secret elixir to lifelong health.

Charissa Talbot: Right.

Cassy Joy: Because there are so many people out there wanting to justify it. They’re going to say, you’re going to read about antioxidants, you’re going to read about some of the things we’re actually going to talk about today, but really at the end of the day, it doesn’t promote health any more than white wine does, so I don’t tend to get too hung up on red versus white. The more sugary an alcohol is, and the higher the alcohol content the more sugars you're going to be ingesting, so that’s something to think about.

As far as liquors go, clear liquors like tequila and vodkas, they have less crap in them. They don’t have as much other stuff like you would find in the whiskeys and the brandys, which have more sugars, processed or unprocessed. And by that I mean converted into alcohol, in addition to some other things. You know, the whiskeys and some of those other spirits are brewed with wheat, so they’re going to have, if you’re celiacs, it’s probably best to avoid those types of liquors, and beers, and things like that.

The red wines and clear liquors are just more of a safe bet. Because you're less likely to have a reaction to something else in the drink. That’s kind of why that comes up, in my opinion.

Charissa Talbot: Yeah, and I think if you do chose to drink, I like to pair what I’m drinking with what I’m eating. If I’m going to enjoy a drink, I want it to go along. And that might be a red or a white. So who knows? It’s ok.

Cassy Joy: Yeah, who knows? Totally.

7. How-to prepare for a night of drinking. [33:21]

Charissa Talbot: Alright Cassy. So let’s say, I’ve heard all this information, I’m like great. It’s Memorial Day, I want to go outside and enjoy the weather, or tonight I’m going to have a nice meal, and I’m going to chose a drink of my choice. So Cassy, what can I do? What’s the best way to prepare my body and myself for consuming that alcohol. What steps or tips would you give us?

Cassy Joy: Ok, so number one, make sure that you just kind of like Charissa alluded to just a second ago, do not skip dinner before drinking. Drink with your food. If you’re concerned about your health ,this is something to keep in mind. A meal high in protein and health fats is really ideal. Throwing some leaf densy greens; {laughs} leaf densy greens. Dense leafy greens in the mix is even better, and I wouldn’t get too worried about eating starches with your meal, because you’re going to be getting plenty of sugars with the cocktails.

Charissa Talbot: Yeah.

Cassy Joy: And then, special shout out to those of you, because I was there one day and I wish someone had told me this. If you’re in college, and you’re just planning on going out and you’re going to go to a party. I’m not here to tell you that that’s right or wrong, but I am here to tell you the best way to prepare your body for it. And I want you to know, it’s best if all day long you drink a lot of water, and the way to know how much water to drink is to take your weight and divide it by 2, and drink that many ounces is a rough go by.

Charissa Talbot: Mm-hmm.

Cassy Joy: And then about one hour before you plan on having your first drink, I want you to have a big piece of protein, that also has some healthy fats. So know that an average can of tuna, which is pretty affordable, you can keep them in your dorm room or whatever, has about 35 grams of protein. And if you have two of those, that’s a good sized meal, you mix it with some healthy mayo, like the Mark Sisson new mayo that’s out there is really delicious.

Charissa Talbot: Oh my gosh, it’s so good.

Cassy Joy: So stinking good. You mix that up, you put it on some chopped up kale that you got and you're keeping in your dorm mini fridge, and bam! You’ve got a good amount of protein and your body is a little bit better prepared to handle some alcohol.

If you do skip your meal, you will feel the effect of alcohol much more quickly and strongly. So on an empty stomach, you will spike your blood sugar and the absorption of alcohol more rapidly. So if you want to kind of help mediate that, definitely make sure you’re eating.

On average, I think it’s important to note that the body can metabolize about one drink every hour, although it’s considered “abusive” for a man to consume more than 4 drinks in a day and for a lady to consume more than 3. So this is just kind of something to be aware of. And that number, of course, is going to change based on your build, and size, and how quickly your body metabolizes alcohol.

Charissa Talbot: And a little note with the men versus women thing, men can actually break down and process alcohol faster than women in their bodies.

Cassy Joy: Interesting. I think that’s interesting. So, ladies out there, don’t feel like you’ve got to keep up with the boys club; know what’s right for you. I think it’s also important to note that if you are “pacing yourself”, let’s say you're out there for an all day tailgate. Fighting Texas Aggies, we’ve got football season coming up this fall, and there’s plenty of us that are planning on barbecuing, and we’re going to start barbecuing at 11 a.m. and we’re going to have ourselves a cocktail every hour on the hour until the game starts. Well, just know that even though you might not feel drunk, so to speak because you aren’t drinking a lot of alcohol in a short period of time, you are still going to have a toxic build up.

Charissa Talbot: Yeah.

Cassy Joy: Which result in a hangover the next day, so your body will have a better chance of keeping up in the moment, but the long-term effect is the same.

Charissa Talbot: Yep.

Cassy Joy: And lastly I want to say, there’s nothing wrong with pretending. You know your body best, so pay attention to what you actually want and what you can actually handle. As a replacement, or as an every other drink while you’re out, my go to is I will order a sparkling water on the rocks {laughs} so to speak, if you want to use some bar terminology, with some fresh lime juice. And if you really want to get fancy, ask for it in a salted glass. I’ve used that trick so many times; if I’m going out with friends and I just really want to be around people but I don’t want to drink. Because I’ve got a big day the next day, or I’ve got a big workout and I don’t want to feel sluggish for it. Well I’ll order that, and I’ll just pretend like it’s a cocktail. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Charissa Talbot: No, nothing wrong. Pretending is my favorite thing to do these days. When it comes to drinking; not other things.

Cassy Joy: {laughing}

Charissa Talbot: That sounded really weird. My favorite thing I like to do is I will do soda water with bitters and lime, because then it really…

Cassy Joy: Mmmm.

Charissa Talbot: And then a lot of people don’t understand the bitters thing, so people are like, what are you drinking? And I’m like, soda water and bitters. And they’re like, oh ok. Most people don’t understand it’s not really anything. I love that, I love that drink. I love the way it tastes too, it’s really my go to.

Cassy Joy: Yeah, and bitters have their own really high rate health..

Charissa Talbot: So good for you, all the digestive enzymes!

Cassy Joy: Totally. It’s good for you adrenal support and all that stuff. I’m not sure about the bitters you find in a bar, what else is in there, but that’s interesting.

Charissa Talbot: Yeah. That’s my go to.

Cassy Joy: Cool.

8. Health benefits of alcohol [38:55]

Charissa Talbot: Alright, so. Now that we’ve talked about all of this information; are there really any health benefits to drinking alcohol?

Cassy Joy: Just like we talked about with caffeine, it’s easier to talk smack about this legal drug known as alcohol, it’s got that whole slew of negative health effects, especially when abused or consumed too young. If you’re a young listener, you know it does have a really negative effect on you if you’re still developing.

That being said, there are some health benefits on the fringe. Now some people will probably listen to this podcast just for these 3 bullet points. {laughs} So, whatever you need. Whatever you want to sink your teeth into. One benefit, it can help you wind down after a long day. So this is real. I know so many people that I work with one on one, especially through the Fed and Fit project that are like, you know, I really wanted to turn my health around and my life around, but I’m not prepared to give up my glass of red wine that I have after a long work day. And that’s ok; if you feel so stressed out; I’m here to tell you its fine, right. There’s a whole nother slew of red tape if we want to get into abuse, but in the general sense, if you are so stressed out that a glass of red wine helps you wind down and shut down and turn off after a long day, then I tend to say that glass of red wine probably has less of an impact on your long-term health than the overload of stress.

Charissa Talbot: I totally agree. Amen with that.

Cassy Joy: Ok, good. So that’s a legitimate thing, I think. That’s a legitimate benefit. Not to be abused, though. Just try not to drink the bottle.

Charissa Talbot: I use that rule of thumb with any change anyone is making when I work with clients. If the thought of cutting out these 10 foods is stressing you out, let’s just start with one. Because we don’t need to add stress on top of the stress that they already have when we’re working with clients, right? I think it’s important when you're looking at anything, when you are working with clients or you’re doing something for yourself. If you find that it’s actually causing more stress, then take it back a notch. Figure out another way that you can kind of; every step forward is still a step forward. You don’t have to do everything all at once. That’s a big point that I like to make.

Cassy Joy: I think that’s a great point. That’s really, really solid. And it’s also important to note that alcohol is a stressor on your body, clearly it has all those negative health effects, but at the end of the day, the stress that you feel in the pit of your stomach and the anxiety is probably worse.

Charissa Talbot: Yeah.

Cassy Joy: Just something to think about. Another potential benefit, in the right amount, it can promote healthier skin by actually increasing blood flow. You know how you kind of get flushed after you have a cocktail sometimes? It could be a sign of two things. {laughs}

Charissa Talbot: {laughs}

Cassy Joy: It could be a sign of ethanol doing its job to increase blood flow to the skin, or you could be having an allergic reaction {laughs} so.

Charissa Talbot: Yeah.

Cassy Joy: Just be aware that that’s a distinction. That’s interesting to know. But that’s after one glass of wine. You have 3 glasses of wine, and it has the opposite effect.

Charissa Talbot: Right.

Cassy Joy: It could help you age more quickly. But that’s something to think about. And then a third benefit I’m going to throw out there is that it gets you out there, man, girl! If a cocktail will help you socialize and feel connected to your community; again, this is another probably rickety soap box to stand on, and there’s a lot of red tape, but I’m going to say it. I’m all for it.

Charissa Talbot: Yep.

Cassy Joy: People who have friends, large families, and pets live longer, happier, healthier lives.

Charissa Talbot: Mm-hmm.

Cassy Joy: Socializing is crucial to how we are as human beings. We’re meant to socialize. After PaleoFx, being somebody who works from home. We talked about this on that episode, but being somebody who works from home, from my computer. I mean, I see Austin and Gus and my friends and my family here, but getting out to socialize and hug all of you people that I essentially think of as my colleagues, I came home on such a high, because people are meant to be around other people. And if alcohol, getting out there and going to a bar, even if you’re just faking it, and you’re having a bitters with soda or you're having a lime on the rocks with some sparkling water, it’s really important to your health. So get out there, I totally support you. Again, all things in moderation.

Charissa Talbot: And for me, as a single person, most activities, people, if you say that you don’t drink or you don’t drink often, it can be kind of a shut down on that first date because guys want someone they know that they can have with their friends at a barbecue, and you’re not going to be like, judging them that they’re drinking. It makes it really hard already {laughs} to not throw that in there. There’s so many other events that you go to as a single adult person where it’s almost expected. It does make it very difficult, and it is hard. But like you said, the pretending works really well, or figure out that one favorite drink and enjoy that one drink that you want. And don’t stress about it. Life’s too short.

Cassy Joy: Don’t stress about it. Exactly. That’s exactly right, Charissa. Life’s too short, don’t stress about it.

Charissa Talbot: Don’t judge.

Cassy Joy: Exactly. And that’s really why, that’s another reason why I like the pretend route, because ok sure, I’m armed and dangerous with all of these factoids, and now you are too! Of all the negative effects of alcohol, where it comes from, what maybe some healthier choices are, but that does not mean that I go to a cocktail party ready to unload on people.

Charissa Talbot: Right. Oh, yeah.

Cassy Joy: Because a part of socializing and a part of being in a community and just hanging out with people and loving people for who they are is to just let them be. And that includes yourself. So that’s why I kind of like the pretending thing. If somebody is really curious, and they ask you about it, that’s a great opportunity to share. And this kind of goes back to our episode of how to paleo with grace that we talked about.

Charissa Talbot: Yes!

Cassy Joy: It was an early episode. But it’s kind of the same thing; how to drink alcohol with grace, or not drink alcohol with grace. At the end of the day, it’s a personal choice. You do you.

Charissa Talbot: Don’t be judgy, be accepting of others, be accepting of yourself.

Cassy Joy: Yeah, you do you. Love all people, it will all be ok.

Charissa Talbot: Love it.

Cassy Joy: So there you go.

9. How Charissa and Cassy personally choose to indulge. [45:43]

Charissa Talbot: Ok Cassy. So, now we get to the fun part.

Cassy Joy: {laughs}

Charissa Talbot: We’re going to talk about our stuff. So, this is exciting.

Cassy Joy: I want to know first, Charissa, so. {laughs} I’m putting you on the spot.

Charissa Talbot: {laughs} Uh-oh. My face is getting flush!

Cassy Joy: Are you? It may be the kombucha.

Charissa Talbot: No I’m kidding. It’s the booch. {laughs}

Cassy Joy: It may be the EtOH in that kombucha. {laughs} So I want to know, what is your favorite cocktail of choice. And you can say kombucha, or you could say straight up sparkling water. And how often do you tend to indulge. I don’t think a lot of paleo nutrition people like to share this information, because we’re afraid that we’re going to be hung up and made an example of for maybe not practicing what we preach. But Charissa and I like to be as transparent as possible about what’s going on and what our real life is about.

Charissa Talbot: Amen to that.

Cassy Joy: So, Charissa I’d love for you to go first. {laughs}

Charissa Talbot: Well, I’m a wine girl. I do love my wine. But I think that’s pretty expected, and if I’m going to have a wine, I really like something spicy and bold, like a red zin. They call them cin zins. They’re really good, and just full of flavor, and they kind of have some bite to them. I really like, I guess they call it full body wine.

Cassy Joy: Yeah.

Charissa Talbot: I’m not a fancy wine person. I buy the cheap stuff. But I really like that. So if I’m going out and having a nice meal, I’ll order myself and enjoy a nice glass of wine. So far as spirits, I love a super dirty martini. I can only have one, because I have found if I have two, that can lead to a very interesting evening. {laughs}

Cassy Joy: {laughs}

Charissa Talbot: Meaning once you get a certain point, sometimes you’re like, well, I can just keep drinking, and then you wake up the next morning and you’re like, oh that was not a good idea. So, I have found when we’re talking about spirits with Charissa, she can only have one. {laughs}

Cassy Joy: {laughs}

Charissa Talbot: That’s just my rule, because it does not go well. And that’s just me being honest. But I really do love a well made dirty martini; that’s a fancy special treat for me for sure. Wine is my go to.

Cassy Joy: I have to know, quickly.

Charissa Talbot: Yeah.

Cassy Joy: Are you team blue cheese stuffed olive or are you team pimento olive?

Charissa Talbot: Oh I’ve got to go with the blue cheese stuffed, even though I should not have cheese! It tastes so good.

Cassy Joy: Mm-hmm. I’m with you

Charissa Talbot: You have it just once in a while. Oh my gosh, so good.

Cassy Joy: Yep.

Charissa Talbot: I will say, so I’ve been in Austin almost 2 years now. My first year in Austin, I had to apologize to my liver, because this really is the adult playground. As a single person in Austin, and you know I talked about this on one of our other podcasts, I had kind of gone off the paleo track, eaten food I shouldn’t have been eating, drinking too much, it’s kind of like, and all the people I talk to say, that’s just kind of what happens your first year in Austin if you're a single adult, because there’s just so much going on here. You get sucked in.

So now I’ve reigned it in, and now I’m much, much better, much healthier, much happier. I had to have like a wakeup moment there just to be honest. Like I said before, I was doing a glass of wine every night, and now I’ve gotten back to my old rule which is, having a drink just a couple of times a week. I would say probably 2-3 times a week I have a drink.

Cassy Joy: That’s great.

Charissa Talbot: Yeah.

Cassy Joy: I think that’s, yeah. Good for you.

Charissa Talbot: Go Cassy!

Cassy Joy: Ok, so mine’s not much different. {laughing}

Charissa Talbot: Now that I’ve put all my stuff out there for everyone to be judgy on Charissa.

Cassy Joy: Thanks for breaking the ice, I’ll just jump on in now. Now that the water is warm.

Charissa Talbot: No, it’s ok. So Cassy, now that I’ve been completely brutally honest, so what. Well I’ll say one more thing that I’ve said to people before, which I find really funny, and I’ll just be honest. You guys like me, I like you too; Charissa has a rule, and I talk about myself in the third person. I talk about this is called 3 drinks to disaster.

Cassy Joy: {laughs}

Charissa Talbot: If Charissa has more than 3 drinks, it’s a disaster. Meaning, no, it’s not good.

Cassy Joy: “snot good”? {laughs}

Charissa Talbot: It’s not good. Meaning, you know you get to that point where you’re like, this is not attractive, because I’m such a light weight that I call it 3 drinks to disaster. So that’s my rule that I have. So, no no.

Cassy Joy: That’s a good one.

Charissa Talbot: It’s a good one.

Cassy Joy: That’s a good rule to have.

Charissa Talbot: And you know I had to figure out that the hard way. Where does my disaster line start at.

Cassy Joy: Yeah, I really toed my disaster line thoroughly in college, so I’m very aware of all corners of my disaster line. And I now live very comfortablely on the safe side of it.

Charissa Talbot: We’re experienced at that. We know where that is.

Cassy Joy: {laughs} Yeah, exactly.

Charissa Talbot: Ok. So, now that we’ve got that out of the way, what about you? Go for it.

Cassy Joy: I usually stick to wine. If you couldn’t tell by my loving to talk about the fermentation process of wine, I’m a wine girl. I find it very fascinating. I tend to stick to Cabs and Merlots. One of my favorite Cabs that’s like middle ranged Cab is the clos du val cab. It’s a brown label with white writing. That’s really delicious. It’s like a $25 price point. I love a good merlot, which kind of went out of style, if {laughs} you care about wine styles. Other red wines, sauvignon blanc is probably my preferred white wine, or like a really nice butter chardonnay.

Charissa Talbot: Mm-hmm.

Cassy Joy: Sauvignon blanc’s from New Zealand are actually my favorite, the Marlboro district, and Austin and I think have decided that we’re going to go to New Zealand for our honeymoon.

Charissa Talbot: {gasp} that’s so exciting!

Cassy Joy: I’m so excited. Austin is not as much into wine as I am, and my family is, so I don’t know if he will be game for a visit to the Marlboro district, but I’m working on it. Whiskey drinks; I’m a whiskey girl. I am, I always have been. Austin makes a pretty mean whiskey cocktail. My sister Kimberly Dunn and I, the country music singer, are actually working on a little cocktail mini project, which may announce at some point.

Charissa Talbot: Ooohh!

Cassy Joy: When we get our act together.

Charissa Talbot: Love it.

Cassy Joy: Pun intended. We’re actually going to act something out. And then, when in doubt, I will order a margarita. Maybe it’s my Garcia blood, but this girl loves a margarita. I love them with extra lime. I want lots of lime juice, fresh lime juice, I love salt, I love it on the rocks, and I want it with the silver tequila.

Charissa Talbot: Mm-hmm.

Cassy Joy: My odor of choice, if I’m at a cool restaurant like La Condesa in Austin, Texas is one of my favorites. Has a really delicious spicy margarita; jalepeno lime is my favorite. And that’s actually, ding, ding, ding, the recipe I’m going to share on my blog this week, you guys, is my favorite margarita recipe. It’s for a fresh jalepeno lime margarita.

So if that’s not on the menu when I’m ordering out, though, I will usually ask for a silver tequila on the rocks in a salted glass with a splash of club soda and some fresh lime. And if they look at you like you’re a crazy person when you ask for fresh lime juice, then ask them to just add in some grapefruit juice on top of that because they usually have a can of that and it’s usually just grapefruit juice, and then some fresh lime to squeeze in there. And then you kind of have a paloma margarita mix. But those are my favorites.

I tend to indulge probably in two to three drinks a week, same thing. Every once in a while I’ll get home and I’ll be like, mama needs a glass of red wine. {laughs} And I’ll pour myself a glass of red wine, and I’ll usually use some of it for cooking. I’ll make marinara sauce and maybe we’ll save that for alcohol 102, talking about alcohol in food and what actually happens to it. But that’s about it. I’ll always have a glass of red wine on Sunday steak night dinner, but that’s kind of the span.

Charissa Talbot: That’s nice.

Cassy Joy: I hope you guys enjoyed this episode. I know we went a little bit longer than usual again.

Charissa Talbot: {laughs}

Cassy Joy: Maybe we should stop saying longer than usual, and this is just the usual.

Charissa Talbot: I know, we started out doing, let’s do 30 minute podcasts for everyone, they’ll be short and sweet. And I think, I don’t know, have we ever done one that’s under 30 minutes? I think we kind of… But here’s the thing, we’re under promising and over delivering, right?

Cassy Joy: Oh sure.

Charissa Talbot: It’s a good thing.

Cassy Joy: {laughs} Thanks you guys for sticking it out with this long. I hope you enjoyed this episode. Once again, we’re loving the feedback. Obviously, you said you liked the caffeine sciencey thing, so we came back with an alcohol one.

Charissa Talbot: Yeah.

Cassy Joy: So, you give us feedback, we’re listening, and I’m going to keep creating content that you’re asking for. So ask us some questions, we’re happy to jump into it and give you our real perspective on stuff.

Charissa Talbot: Have a great Memorial day, y’all!

Cassy Joy: Yeah, if you’re listening on the 25th, have a great Memorial Day. Check out that autoimmune bundle if you get a chance and that’s something that you’re curious about. Sign up for the Fed and Fit project if that’s something you’re interested in. You’ll have another opportunity next month, but the groups are going to get larger, and I’m personally coaching this group. So I’m here for you.

Charissa Talbot: Nice. And don’t forget to head over to my Instagram, No-Cook Paleo. There’s a live link in my profile, and you can purchase your no-cook paleo travel kit.

Cassy Joy: Wohoo! That’s so exciting.

Charissa Talbot: Mm-hmm.

Cassy Joy: We have so much stuff.

Charissa Talbot: So much stuff.

Cassy Joy: Ok you guys, you have a wonderful week. I hope you enjoyed your long weekend, and we will be back again next week.


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