Alcohol & The AIP

Alcohol on the AIP

By now you probably realize that alcohol is out on the AIP … but you’re likely wondering the whys behind it and how you’ll possibly manage to get through family functions, social events, the holidays and what are you possibly going to do to constantly dodge casual drinks after work!

This post will cover they whys, a glimmer of hope and my take on the situation. If you haven’t already seen my post on Surviving Social Life on the AIP, you’ll want to make that your next stop after this post, because what ever you do, you don’t want to isolate yourself just because the AIP can be hard. You’re strong and you can do hard things … you’ve got this!

Why is Alcohol Out on the AIP?

So – what’s the real deal about alcohol? So many health gurus are touting it as “good for your health” – especially wine! So why do we need to avoid it on the AIP?

Be sure to read Dr. Sarah Ballantyne’s full article – The Whys Behind The AIP: Alcohol – click here. (The following are a few of the most important snippets and are direct quotes taken from the article.)

Highlights From the Article: 

  • Alcohol consumption directly causes an increase in intestinal permeability (i.e., leaky gut)
  • The “holes” that alcohol makes in the gut epithelial barrier are known to be big enough to allow some very large molecules into the body, … If it gets into the blood stream, it stimulates systemic inflammation, stimulates the immune system, and damages the liver.
  • Alcohol consumption feeds gram-negative bacteria such as E. Coli to create bacterial overgrowth of these more toxic bacteria… Excessive alcohol consumption is also correlated with gram-negative bacteria growing very high up the digestive tract, in the duodenum and sometimes even the stomach.
  • Even fairly small amounts of alcohol can damage the lining of the gut; specifically, alcohol leads to “mucosal damage in the upper small intestine with a loss of epithelium at the tips of the intestinal villi, hemorrhagic erosions and even hemorrhage in the lamina propria.” If that sounded bad, that’s because it is. It’s similar to the damage caused by gluten in celiac patients.

Why This Is EVEN MORE IMPORTANT If You Have Autoimmune Disease:

  • If you have autoimmune disease, you have a collection of genes that makes you more susceptible to developing a leaky gut and to having an exaggerated immune reaction to substances that leak out. This means that anything that increases intestinal permeability should be avoided.

Will I Ever Be Able to Drink Alcohol Again? 

  • Dr. Ballantyne advises to avoid all alcohol until you are starting to see some success on the autoimmune protocol.
  • There is some good news, but I want you to read Dr. Ballantyne’s full article first. You’ll find out more there about what, when, and how often you can try a reintroduction.

Read the full article – The Whys Behind The AIP: Alcohol – click here.

You may also want to consider this article – Understanding Your Social & Emotional Relationship With Alcohol – click here.

My Two Cents on Alcohol and The AIP

I’ve taken a lot of questions from distraught members about this topic, so I’m compelled to include some personal comments and reminders here to help you keep this all in perspective. Trust me, you’re not alone, this is not the end of the world, you will get through this too! You’ve got this!

  1. You’re not the first person to have to say no to a drink. While I know this is not the same thing, think about those recovering from alcoholism – saying no is not that unusual – don’t feel awkward about sticking to your healing plan.
  2. There are LOTS of people on various diets these days that avoid alcohol – some for health reasons, some for weight loss – again – you’re not alone – don’t feel awkward about saying no to alcohol.
  3. One of my favorite sayings since I started AIP is “Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail” – set yourself up for success! Think IN ADVANCE about how you’ll handle the situation – this is covered well in my Surviving Social Life on the AIP post – check it out – lots of great advice!  Own it and act natural! Or as Angie Alt of Autoimmune Wellness says “Don’t Be Weird”! If you don’t make a big deal about it, no one else will either. When it comes time to order, simply defer to a mocktail or non-alcoholic sparkling beverage and don’t apologize for it or miss a beat. If asked you could say something as simple as “I’m taking a break from alcohol right now” – that might be all that it takes!
    TIP: I have a friend who manages feeling awkward about ordering by getting to the restaurant or work function early so she can speak to the bartender – she orders a mocktail or a spritzer in a fancy glass and asks the bartender to remember her order – no one questions if it has alcohol in it or not and she feels better about not having to create a dialogue about why she’s not drinking. You can use the same plan of attack at a family gathering, wedding or a party – no one notices, no one really cares.

Take Me To The Mocktails!

Looking for some great alternatives to alcohol on the AIP? There are LOTS of great recipes posted in our Facebook Group – simply use the group search feature there and look for “mocktail” “cocktail” or “beverage” or the exact name of what you’re looking, for like “iced tea” “lemonade” “egg nog” or “mule” – I even use a hashtag there called thirstythursday, so you can search for that too! Trust me, there are LOTS of great options so you won’t feel left out! ♥