I was just asked how I reintroduced alcohol after a multi-year absence. Prior to giving up alcohol completely, I liked going to brew pubs and trying out the sampler trays. It wasn’t something I did often. Maybe 1-2 times a month. When I discovered my issues with wheat, I cited 4 reasons for giving up beer.
During my beer hiatus, I kept away from wheat and all alcohol. I also stayed clear of the antibiotics my dermatologist gave me to deal with my rosacea. I consumed kimchi and dairy kefir on a regular basis. I do not know if these actions repaired me, but when I slowly started testing alcohol in late 2013, I felt better. With a few minor exceptions my skin didn’t turn red and I didn’t get a near immediate headache.
I started my reintroduction with gin. I bought a bottle of a craft gin that won some award, so I knew it was high quality. Then a few times a week I had 1/4 shots of gin with food. Then I moved up to 1/2 shots. Some times I would get headaches, but I wasn’t sure if it was from the alcohol, because at the time I was getting them on a regular basis.
Gin is distilled from wheat and although now I don’t think I was ever that sensitive, at the time I decided to switch to rum for my tests. But I sort of lost interest in the tests and forgot about my 2 bottles of booze. Then I started with beer a few ounces at a time.
From my June 2014 post I Survived My First Beer in 5 Years!
Last autumn I started testing my gluten sensitivities… First with trace amounts of soy sauce and restaurant gochujang. No problems. Then I started to experiment with a few ounces of beer. I had mixed results. Once I drank 10 ounces of beer and felt horrible. So for the past few months I’ve had a few ounces of beer maybe once a month.
In that post I mention that I created a habit of eating a raw carrot and taking activated charcoal when I drink. Raw carrots are big with the Ray Peat people for binding with endotoxins which can be created from alcohol consumption. The activated charcoal idea I got from Dave Asprey, which turns out like much of the nonsense he spews is probably wrong. Even if both of these did nothing to help me, the raw carrot is still nutritious and the charcoal is very cheap.
I consumed the alcohol in the late afternoon with food. I didn’t want the alcohol to interfere with my sleep.
Today I am able to consume a full pint of cider or moderate alcohol ale. I’ve noticed more sensitivity to beers with high IBU. Not sure why. The Saison style works best for me in both how I feel and how it tastes. Lagers have less gluten, but bore me. Also note that the gluten in beer is fermented (pre-digested), which I strongly suspect makes it easier to tolerate. I do not care for wine. For now cider and saisons are enough.
I can already predict someone will comment on how they can never have alcohol. Sorry to hear that. I thought the same thing myself a few years ago and I was fine with that. Last night I had 2 pints of cider with no headache, skin flareup and was able to sleep a solid 8 hours. I now have the resiliency I didn’t have years ago. And the ciders were tasty too!
Mar 10, 2015 — 9:34 am
Wow – thanks MAS! Excellent post, and I’ll report back my own experience :).
Mar 10, 2015 — 11:06 am
“I can already predict someone will comment on how they can never have alcohol. ”
Correction I can’t have non organic alcohol. Funny thing is I done fine with organic beer. I am not sure if it the chemicals or the way it’s processed.
Mar 11, 2015 — 7:00 pm
I hope the guys who participated in that charcoal + magnesium citrate study cited in Mike Rucker’s blog were well-compensated!
Mar 17, 2015 — 7:21 am
So similar to MAS, my first beer in over a year didn’t kill me, but it wasn’t very pleasant.
I definitely felt my immune system being taxed, like the same type of lethargy after I sobered up into the night as with a cold (had the beer in the early afternoon).
I also wanted to raise another hypothesis/theory and hear anyone’s reactions. This is purely anecdotal, but as I’ve heard James Swanwick talk about in this post (http://robbwolf.com/2015/03/12/no-alcohol-30-day-challenge/#comments) and I’ve heard from others, I suddenly felt more selfish, egotistical, and impatient both during and well after having the beer.
I know it’s well documented that people are more short-sighted and selfish while drunk (won’t site any studies, but they’re out there), but can anyone who’s gone a long time with and without alcohol speak to any overall changes in selfishness that have come with the lifestyle change? I’m talking outside of just when you’re drinking.
For me, beer definitely does not seem “worth it” in terms of how my body feels. I’ll have the occasional glass of red, but I don’t get as much out of being drunk as I did in college.
Mar 17, 2015 — 8:28 am
@Scott M – Actually my experience was the opposite. Instead of being short-sighted and selfish, I felt relaxed and more pleasant. Also recall I timed the reintroduction of alcohol as I was giving up Quantified Self. So in both cases it was a rejection of control. Giving up QS greatly reduced my stress levels, which probably played a role in my response to the (at most) 1 beer.