Many moons ago, when Crystal & I first made the switch to a diet of organic wholefoods, we knew that it wasn’t just the conventional, sugar & gluten laden foods that had to go.
It was alcohol too.
And that was hard.
Because back in those days…we were just a little obsessed with one particular type – wine.
We really, really LOVED wine.
Now if you’re picturing 2 wino’s drinking out of a couple of goonbags or cradling bottle shaped brown paper bags… replace that image with regular trips to the Yarra Valley cellar doors, eagerly ogling the little black books that restaurants keep their ‘special’ bottles in… or our favourite – holidays in the Barrosa Valley where we would come back with more wine than we had the room for!
In fact, we ended up purchasing a proper wine fridge which we filled up to the very brim with our precious bottles – each one from a special location, each one with its own unique story.
We really loved wine.
Initially we gave up all alcohol completely.
Which (as you’ll find out shortly) – our bodies so desperately needed.
But as time went on, we made the decision to start having a glass for special occasions… Christmas… birthdays… or one of those super special celebrations.
We also wanted to make sure that – when we did have the occasional glass – it would be the healthiest way possible.
Cue in Organic Wine.
You know it’s interesting… because through our travels we’ve met many people that really appreciate Organic food – but when it comes to wine – unfortunately the same principles often get passed up.
So that begs the question – is organic wine really THAT much better than conventional?
Here’s the scoop…
Grapes are some of the most heavily sprayed foods going around.
And even though you can’t see them, the pesticides unfortunately do end up in your wine glass.
Which – once consumed by you – has all kinds of effects on your body.
They put strain on your liver & prevent it from being able to effectively remove toxins from the body, which can lead to weight gain & skin issues like acne.
Some pesticides can mimic your naturally occurring hormones & cause imbalances like estrogen dominance.
Pesticides destroy your good gut bacteria which are crucial for healthy immune function, being able to absorb nutrients from food, maintaining overall gut health & have even been linked to the increased cases of autism in children today.
Pesticides are seriously bad news – & just like conventional produce – conventional wine is no different.
So let’s talk about Organic wine…
Certified organic wine on the other hand, made from certified organic grapes, avoids all of that.
The soil the grapes are grown in is healthy & mineral rich, the grapes contains more vitamin & minerals + less nitrates.
The deal with Nitrates…
Nitrates on their own aren’t harmful, it’s what they turn into that can be a problem.
See, as soon as they hit the tongue they are converted in nitrite… & then from there either to nitric oxide or nitrosamine.
Nitrosamine is a known carcinogen, formed when nitrite is exposed to high temperatures, either from cooking or from your stomach acid.
In short – the less Nitrates the better – thank you Organic wine!
Organic wine can also contain up to 80% more resveratrol (a powerful antioxidant) than conventional wine, & significantly less sulphites, an additive used to make all wines that can cause allergic reactions in certain people.
So in conclusion – If you’re going to drink wine – Organic (or Biodynamic) wine should be very high up on your list!
Is a glass a day actually ok?
So if Organic wine is SO MUCH better than conventional (which as you now know, it really truely is) – why do we only choose to have a few glasses each year?
Well, the pesticides are only half the problem.
The other half, is the alcohol.
Now you likely know that alcohol isn’t good for you.
I think everybody is aware that ‘it’s no good for your liver’.
What you might not be aware of is just how damaging it can actually be on your body.
(And by the way – if you love wine as much as we used to – don’t shoot the messenger! Instead – know that you now have the power to make an informed decision on if you should cut back or not).
So here’s the deal.
Alcohol & your liver…
Alcohol contains 7 calories per gram & ZERO nutritional value, & as far as fuel for your body goes, it’s the first to burn.
That might sound like a good thing, but it’s because your body sees it as a toxin. It’s the only substance that goes directly into your bloodstream upon consumption & your body knows that if too much is allowed to build up, you will die.
So it needs to get rid of it ASAP… by moving it to the front of the line of the liver where it needs to be converted into a safer substance before it can be excreted.
When this happens, all other metabolism is put on hold & over time this can take its toll on your liver & cause weight gain.
Alcohol & your B Vitamins…
B vitamins play a role in so many important functions in the body.
They help your body to absorb the nutrients from the food you eat, giving you energy & avoiding fatigue.
They keep your hair & nails strong & healthy, reduce the signs of aging in your skin, as well as treat acne & dryness. They also assist your liver in the detox process.
Ready for the bad news? Alcohol depletes your B Vitamins.
Alcohol & Glutathione…
Glutathione – known as the mother of all antioxidants – is one of the most important substances your body produces.
It helps immune function, fights cancer, increases strength, endurance, improves recovery time & enhances mental performance.
It also plays a huge roll in helping your liver to remove toxins from your body.
Unfortunately – Alcohol destroys your Glutathione. This is incredibly bad news for your body!
A few other scary things Alcohol does…
Alcohol disrupts sleep & can stop your body from performing important repair tasks while you rest.
Alcohol lowers testosterone in men & can cause reproductive issues in women.
Alcohol is linked to an increased risk of breast cancer, even in moderation, I’m talking just one glass a day.
Unfortunately, drinking one glass a day is not the smartest move.
Does this mean you should never drink again?
If you enjoy it – then no. You don’t have to go to extremes.
But now that you know how it effects you, can can choose to go about it a bit differently.
You can choose to cut back to just special occasions like we do – or maybe even one glass a week instead of one glass a night?
A word of advice though – If you are going to enjoy a drink or 2, make sure you’re doing everything you can to support your body.
Things you can do to support your body before & after consuming alcohol:
⇒ Take a high-quality B vitamin supplement, especially with B6 & B12 for glutathione production. Thorne Research is an excellent brand, you can find it on iherb. (A note on the B12: there are a few types of B12, Methylcobalamin is the easiest for your body to absorb so look for that)
⇒ Take a high-quality glutathione supplement, again Thorne make a great one that you can find on iherb
⇒ Take St Mary’s Thistle as it’s a powerful detoxifier & will help rebuild liver cells.
⇒ Eat foods high in sulphur – Getting more cruciferous veggies on your plate is a great way to support glutathione production & your liver function. Kale, rocket, broccoli, bok choy & kohl rabi just to name a few! Check out this post for more awesome benefits of those leafy green legends. Other great food sources of sulphur are the allicin family (garlic, leeks, onion etc.)
⇒ Up your vitamin C, E & Selenium intake – You’ll get a double whammy of vitamin C & sulphur with the cruciferous veggies. Munch on a handful of brazil nuts for your selenium needs & some almonds for vitamin E
⇒ Choose red wine over white wine. Red wine contains more antioxidants & other beneficial compounds than white + as an extra bonus, also contains less sugar
Last but not least…
Know that these tips aren’t a free pass to go overboard on the juice (& by juice I mean the alcoholic type), they’re just some ways for you to better support your health if you decide to indulge in the occasional glass of organic wine.