For the duration of the commitment, we will not be consuming alcohol. As stated on their website, “Do not consume alcohol in any form, not even for cooking. (And it should go without saying, but no tobacco products of any sort, either).” This, like sugar elimination, may be a huge challenge for some. It might actually be the dragon that needs to be slayed more than sugar, or perhaps another dragon that will be slayed. Regardless of your personal situation, nothing is impossible, and God is ready to help!
Alcohol has no nutritional value. At all. Its value (and I use the term loosely) comes from allowing folks to “unwind” after a long day, or week. Its value comes from helping to provide a sense of “joy” while celebrating and enjoying life with those we enjoy the company of. Its value comes from assisting in creating funny memories and helping people dance and talk in awkward situations, but it has no nutritional value. Not only does alcohol carry no nutritional value, it is clinically addictive, meaning it “is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.” While we may not be clinically addicted to alcohol, and may just enjoy a drink on a special occasion (for some EVERY weekend may be considered a special occasion), even the casual consumer’s brain and body suffer from moderate amounts of alcohol.
First, alcohol is a neurotoxin that may actually damage nervous tissue. Second, alcohol negatively affects your blood sugar levels, impacting insulin and glucagon, leading to a hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) state; this potentially leads to over carb consumption (feeding cravings) to bring sugar levels back up the next day. Third, consuming alcohol increases empty calorie consumption, and carries with it the potential to over consume other unhealthy, refined foods that do not foster holistic wellness.
What CAN we drink? Water, water and more water! Water is SO good for the body. Coffee is also OK, in the morning, and ideally no later than 2pm because it can disrupt a healthy sleep cycle. Other drinks that can be enjoyed during the program? Flavored waters like La Croix. Electrolyte fortified water is great too. Sugar free electrolyte tabs may jazz up plain water and restore balance.
As we reduce grain and gluten intake, our bodies will begin to flush out more water (we pee a lot). This is where the reduction of water weight comes in, and the first week may look like huge downward movement on the scale. Likewise, our electrolytes (sodium and potassium) will go with the water, which can lower blood pressure. Those with already really low blood pressure, may find an electrolyte drink helps to not feel light headed during those first few days when electrolytes are balancing out (Placebo? Maybe). It also seems for those with strenuous exercise, electrolyte replenishment is very important on a daily basis.
However, electrolyte drinks contain maltodextrin which is a “super-processed corn starch” with twice the glycemic index than table sugar, and NOT Whole30 approved. It goes without saying it is best to rely on a post workout meal to provide all the vitamins and minerals needed, to keep electrolyte profiles healthy and balanced.