Wednesday, September 19, 2012

alcohol, caffeine, nutrients and life

Another half-pound down!  Woohoo!  The big trade off seems to be wine for weight-loss -- WHICH will i find more life-enhancing, today?  ...Because they're different facets of the same precious stone, quality of life.

I've never made a secret of the fact that caffeine and alcohol are my drugs of choice.  What i've learned more recently, though, is that nutrients qualify my desire for them in some very interesting ways.  Since i started using tyrosine, i'm more likely to reach for the decaf than the high-octane coffee.  (In fact, now that i seem to be "replete" in tyrosine -- if you can say that about an amino acid -- i'm even more wired by it, and i'm stepping down my intake.)  As a hypothyroid, i'm so accustomed to being under-energied, it feels strange to find it hard to sit still and focus my mind on ONE IDEA.  I'm still learning how to do it -- something that people with normal energy probably learned in elementary school!  :-)

When i feel over-stimulated like this my instinct is to go have a glass of wine, which then puts me in a pleasant alert-but-mellow state, but it's also a bandaid situation.  For a lot of reasons.  And i consider it a mistake to do as a default.

I looked for years (before the internet made information easier to find) for how alcohol fits in a weight-loss diet.  I kinda suspect that not a lot was really KNOWN till the end of the twentieth century.  Yes, it was realized that alcohol ingestion crippled weight loss efforts.  Yes, alcohol (especially the distilled kind) has a shitload of calories.  But something else was going on beyond that, and diet-book-after-diet-book told me NOTHING -- they either failed to mention the subject entirely, or skimmed over it evasively.

I still don't have the whole "skinny" on it.  I know enough to be going on with, though.  Seems to me, the body tries to burn first what is most deleterious to let hang around.  If alcohol is in the system, the body wants it OUT as expeditiously as possible.  Then sugars.  Finally fat burns as the body's planned default fuel.

On the way out, alcohol tries to screw things up due to its puckish delight in mischief -- setting traps in the liver involving metabolic flexibility (among others), so even though you've gotten the rockstar out of the hotel, you enter the room he last inhabited to find it trashed ... figuratively speaking.  He promises to pay the bill if he's readmitted (and some fools let him back in), but he never does.

Though not a carbohydrate, alcohol and sugar-alcohols seem to have metabolic problems that are similar.  I find it ironic that the fastest way to trash your liver is EITHER alcohol and omega6s, OR fructose and omega6s!  And some poor misguided souls think agave nectar is a healthy alternative....

At any rate, i've found that it's POSSIBLE to lose weight and still have a glass of Mount Pleasant with my steak, but when the losing gets difficult, the wine HAS to go!  Truel but crue.  I strongly suspect that the worst thing one can possibly consume are sweet cocktails!  You get the double-whammy of alcohol and sugar, all in one very moreish package!

So how best to get the relaxation of a glass of something, without the metabolic consequences?  There are a number of things, and i'm still working on identifying the best ones for me.  Sometimes it just isn't possible to get into a meditative state -- the world is too doggone NOISY.  Using carbs as downers isn't a good choice for MY body, and i have yet to experiment with herbs (though Wooo has some good information and advice available about those, on her blog).  I'll keep seeking....


  1. I think this type of "people" research is GREAT! Looking up info, experimenting with our own bodies, then sharing what we learn. What I find with alcohol is it lowers my resistance to being disciplined with my food choices. After a glass of wine or two I start thinking it would not hurt if just this once I ........ fill in the blank. That is why I only drink socially now which is hardly ever.

  2. so right! someone wrote "alcohol is the gateway drug to carbs" (i think it was Mike Eades), and my experience confirms it -- it's SO easy to drink away my inhibitions (with food).

    i'm very happy when people add their experiences in the comments section! gives us a database of information. thanks for contributing!

  3. I’ve never heard of the metabolic problems caused by alcohol being similar to sugar alcohol. Could you be more specific?

    1. i'm not sure i've ever seen anybody else observe this, but it's something i see in myself -- if i start eating candies that are sweetened with SAs, i find it hard to stop, just like certain cocktails. (sugar-sweetened versions are self-limiting with me -- chocolate-covered peppermint patties are the perfect example.) they also mess with my blood sugar, and inhibit fat-burning in a similar way. :-) it's something my body seems to understand better than my brain does!

  4. I'm not sure why but I've noticed my alcohol tolerance has decreased significantly since going low carb- which is nice actually, I can just as buzzed on half and much!

    1. i've seen something similar; i wonder if it has to do with retained water?

  5. have you tried drinking green tea? For me, the effect is not immediate, but it really makes a difference over a number of days.
    Really, Mount Pleasant? Can't get it here, and I'll have to say, never met anyone else who even knew about it.

  6. :-) i love the Norton. every year i have to go taste MP and Augusta Winery, to see whose is better, because they seem to alternate.

    green tea doesn't seem to agree with me. just like chamomile -- there's something in there that doesn't feel right. annoying to have so many plant-foods rub me the wrong way!

  7. There are times when a can of sardines makes me feel wonderful. I find tea relaxing as well, though I don't drink the green stuff. I prefer chai with some coconut milk and a drop of liquid stevia.

  8. it's remarkable how, when we eat what we NEED we feel so good.... i had an avocado yesterday, and got that feeling. :-) coincidentally, i just ordered more of my favorite sardines (wild planet) today! i also get a "glow" from raw oysters.

    i love chai, too ... and i just had a cup today! years ago, i found this recipe, and it translates beautifully to coconut milk:

    Bill Waddington's Real Chai

    (Tea merchant Bill Waddington of St. Paul’s TeaSource shares his recipe for Chai.)

    1 teaspoon cardamom
    1 teaspoon ginger
    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon cloves
    1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
    1 14-ounce can condensed milk (sweetened or unsweetened)
    Mix the spices and condensed milk thoroughly. Refrigerate at least 24 hours.

    Brew a strong black tea (Assams are great) or Rooibos for an herbal chai. Stir in 1/2 to 2 heaping teaspoons of chai concentrate mix per cup of freshly steeped tea. Enjoy!