Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
15 Oct

Top 10 Paleo Party Rules

Is That a Cocktail or Just Lime and Soda Water?It’s Friday! You worked all week, made healthy meals, hit the gym, ran errands, did laundry, walked the dog, and cleaned the house. Now, you think, it’s time for a reward – Happy Hour. So, do you ditch the diet and savor a sweet syrupy mudslide while popping pieces of fried calamari and gossiping with friends? Or do you go home and slump into your couch with a bowl of salad? Fortunately, staying healthy and leading an active social life doesn’t have to be so black and white. Enter Kelly Milton. Kelly is an expert when it comes to paleo entertaining and navigating the social scene. She blogs at and is the author of Paleo Happy Hour. In this guest post, she outlines ten party rules that will help you stay paleo in a social setting without feeling excluded or falling off the paleo wagon.

The 10 Paleo Party Rules!

One of the biggest challenges as a paleo follower can be the desire for an active social life. You still want to meet up with friends for dinner, attend parties and throw them; all while feeling included and true to your diet. Drinking alcohol is not paleo, it’s true, but it is a part of many people’s lives. The paleo community hasn’t spent much time laying out your options for alcohol and mixers. Also, even if you feel confident in what to drink, the social scene can still pose many other challenges. For some quick tips to keep in mind when attending social functions, I have created The 10 Paleo Party Rules.

1. Food First

Think about food before anything else. If you will be going out drinking, eat a high protein low carbohydrate meal beforehand. You will get plenty of carbohydrates in your cocktails, so stick to protein and non-starchy vegetables for your pre-party meal while making sure to get in some healthy fats. A full stomach helps slow down the absorption of alcohol. WARNING: Do not skip dinner because you are planning on “drinking” your dinner. Alcoholic beverages can cause blood sugar spikes. By skipping a meal you will only make blood sugar spikes worse, causing an increase in the absorption of alcohol.

Eating after you have been drinking is another issue. You may find yourself hungry without any paleo options. So, pack a snack in your purse, pocket, or car (like trail mix or jerky) so you won’t be tempted to eat pizza at 2 a.m. If you’re going to a dinner or house party, bring a healthy food option to share so you aren’t stranded with nothing to eat.

2. Be Prepared

Set goals for the night before you go out. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, men should have no more than four drinks on a single day and fourteen per week; women no more than three drinks per day and seven per week. Keep in mind serving sizes on typical drinks when counting. Decide how many alcoholic beverages you plan to drink that night before you go. Also, the act of planning a cut-off point can help you to remember to count your drinks throughout the night and stay at a low and healthy number. Rehearse turning down unhealthy options like sugary mixed shots or chips and spinach dip. This will make it easier when the foreseeable challenges arise.

3. Practice the Every-Other Rule

This rule is to alternate water between each alcoholic drink. When you are at a party it is comfortable to have a drink in hand, but no one said that it had to be alcoholic. Try having water between alcoholic drinks. This will help keep you hydrated and reduce the number of alcoholic drinks you consume. There is a misconception that having water will sober you up. However, the hydration you will get from the water can help save you from a hangover and slow your overall consumption of alcohol.

4. Be a Giver

Share your new favorite paleo drink or food recipe. Don’t hold out on your friends! Bring healthy food and drink options to any party. Nothing is worse than feeling left out because there are no paleo options at a party, so be proactive in bringing your own food and drinks with you. Here are 50 paleo appetizers and some paleo drinks that you can bring to any party. Also, check out this infographic for more paleo drink ideas (click to enlarge):

Paleo Drinks

5. Use Your Carbs

Ditch your drink, and get on the dance floor. Move while you are out partying. Dancing, walking between bars and restaurants, or standing (away from the buffet table) will help use up those extra carbs. Plus, getting on the dance floor allows you to leave your drink behind and free up your arms for dancing!

6. Don’t Preach; Do.

Oftentimes people say there are things you just don’t talk about with friends or at parties like politics and religion. I challenge you to add paleo to the list. Many paleo followers are very passionate about the health advantages that the diet brings, and on the flip side, can be very critical of the standard American diet. It is good to feel strong about your beliefs, but it is important to be a role model rather than a preacher. Be the person at the party with the most energy, a great figure and who demonstrates healthy food choices: be the example! Giving a five-minute lecture on why gluten is death will most likely not inspire your fellow partygoers, but will probably offend, alienate or enrage other guests. If someone asks you about it, give a short, heart-felt answer and then move on.

7. Fake It Till You Make It

I’m typically not one to promote deception, lying, or faking anything. When it comes to alcohol, however, I think this can be a valid choice. No matter your age, there is still a lot of peer pressure to drink. Sometimes I think you can even pressure yourself to drink. To avoid friends questioning your sobriety, or chanting for you to grab a glass of wine, it may be easier to just fake it. I was recently at a brew fest where everyone’s beer steins were filled to the rim with glutinous beer. I quickly found the other refreshments and filled mine with iced tea and a splash of lemonade. It pretty much looked exactly the same. If you don’t feel like justifying your choice not to drink, and want the comfort of having something in hand to sip, this may be your best option. At bars, just order a club soda with fresh lime which easily passes as a vodka soda. Your wallet and your waistline will thank you later.

8. Move On

Whether you had two drinks or five and also devoured a late-night pizza, wake-up the next day and get back on track. You will have extra carbs to burn, so plan to exercise. Even if it’s just a long walk, moving your body is a good choice. Don’t fuel your hangover with greasy food. Pick up your paleo diet right where you left off.

9. Create Community

Surround yourself with friends who share or support your health values. I great place to meet like-minded people is at the gym or health food store. Plan social activities together that don’t revolve around food or drinks. Participate in the paleo online community for even more support.

10. Don’t Stress

YOLO (you only live once)! You need to enjoy life and the paleo lifestyle. Beating yourself up and feeling bad every time you slip isn’t any way to live. Paleo isn’t a test. If you get upset about every little “cheat,” you are more likely to quit altogether. If you are eating real food and living the paleo lifestyle you are way ahead of the curve. So, don’t stress, and celebrate every small victory!

For more information on how to integrate paleo into your social life get a copy of Paleo Happy Hour. Also, here are some more resources on alcohol and its role in your Primal/paleo diet:

Let us know what you think, and share your party tips in the comment board!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Thank you so much for this. I am a alcohol writer and podcaster, I lead beer and bourbon tours in Cincinnati, and I do just plain enjoy having an active social life that includes drinking at least once a week. So avoiding alcohol completely is not something I want to or even can do without re-evaluating my career. One of the reasons I was drawn to paleo and your site in particular was that it seemed the best system for balancing my health needs with my social and drink needs. I follow a lot of these guidelines already and feel like I have even more information now.

    One of the weird things I noticed about going primal was that I feel my cravings for alcohol are much less than they used to be and I feel worse the next day when I do over indulge. This has made it much easier for me to cut down my drinking quite a bit while still doing a job that I love.

    Ginny Tonic wrote on October 16th, 2013
  2. I love having a handful of drinks every so often. A very BIG handful, but in order to be healthier and functional, I’ll also drink traditionally prepared kava. It gives you the buzz and sociability without the dangerous intoxication and calories. I used to have big kava parties where a huge bowl of kava was mixed and everyone drank it out of coconut shells. People would open up, be chatty, and generally have a blast just like with alcohol, but without the angry drunk, stupid stunts and regrets that can follow a night of heavy boozing.

    If you’re interested, do some research on traditional kava drinking. It’s definitely more paleo to drink the juice of a ground up narcotic root than a pink cosmopolitan.

    Jeremy wrote on October 16th, 2013
  3. One of my favorite drinks since giving up beer last November is Sweet Tea Vodka. I usually just drink it over ice, but have invented a new drink…. the Paleo Russian. Just add a little heavy cream to a glass of it over ice, and it tastes very similar to a White Russian. Very satisfying!

    Michael wrote on October 16th, 2013
  4. I do not understand why we can’t simply say ‘no’. That’s what I do in social circumstances, to the point people think I am teetotaler and just don’t insist anymore.
    Which I am not, I just prefer to drink at home an occasional high quality XO cognac, or red wine, to the low quality stuff found in pubs and restaurants (or simply exaggeratedly expensive when it comes to quality).

    Some may say that alcohol helps socializing. Well… I believe that if one needs the booze to get social, the problems are other…

    Alex wrote on October 16th, 2013
  5. Best party rules ever. These simple party rules will help me to live life to the fullest. Your post has great timing. Thanks so much for your attempts to help.

    Ana wrote on October 16th, 2013
  6. (1) I discovered club soda and lime years ago, and I actually prefer it. If I AM drinking alcohol, it is a refreshing every-other option and I don’t mind one bit. (2) Maybe it’s because I’m older, but I don’t give a rat’s BE-hind if someone thinks I’m a short hitter when I choose not to drink. Or not to eat something that makes me miserable. (3) I get more preaching, than I would ever dish out myself, from people who don’t understand real food. These people are cardio addicts and hard drinkers and glutinous carb eaters who are never happy with their bodies and have all kinds of aches and pains that they can never resolve. I am supposed to believe in THIS? Um, no. (4) Ditto on the love for the Irish exit.

    Nannsi wrote on October 16th, 2013
  7. In reference to: Don’t fuel your hang-over with “greasy” food.

    What does that mean exactly?

    Dan wrote on October 16th, 2013
    • “Fuel” just refers to how you replenish your body the next day. Greasy food refers to how some people experience craving for unhealthy food the morning after drinking and it’s a myth that it will help your hangover. Check out this source and scroll down to “Eating Fried or Greasy Foods”

      Kelly Milton wrote on October 16th, 2013
  8. Why are martinis on the avoid list? What’s wrong with vodka, olives and a little brine?

    kay wrote on October 16th, 2013
    • Dirty Martinis are all good! Most however (lemon drop, cosmo, ect) are filled with sugar and flavored syrups. Its explained more completely in the book!

      Kelly Milton wrote on October 16th, 2013
  9. How about supplementation? NAC, activated charcoal and Vitamin C is my recommended stack.

    Dr. Anthony Gustin wrote on October 16th, 2013
  10. Wannna try something you shouldn’t? Google – vodka Nikolashka

    Paul wrote on October 16th, 2013
  11. Great party ideas! I want to add a resource for those considering quitting drinking altogether, like I did over a year ago. I am so happy I did so! Nowadays, if anyone asks, I just say I quit alcohol, just like someone who quit smoking. Or, I broke up with alcohol. Anyway, here are the links:
    1. Started by a couple of women in the UK. Awesome support for those who function, sort of, with alcohol but would rather quit, and those who have quit.
    2. This is a great book for those considering quitting alcohol. Totally dispels all our cultural myths about it and gives you the tools you need to step up and do it!

    Mary Decker wrote on April 11th, 2014
  12. One ready to drink paleo option is a bloody mary or one of its many derivatives, especially when made with v8.

    Trying to sort out why potato vodka is considered better than a grain based vodka. Both are distilled alcohol from a fermented source which is then diluted with water to proof. The only differences from potato and grain based (or any vodka to any other) is how many times its distilled, whether its carbon filtered or not, and what kind of water is added (mineral content, etc).

    The alcohol end is identical other than impurities that make it through the distillation process. For a 2-3 distilled alcohol or one that is carbon filtered at least 2-3 times, the results would be indistinguishable. Big difference in the water that’s added. If there is anything in the bottle other than nearly pure distilled alcohol and water, then its not vodka.

    cfb wrote on July 30th, 2014
  13. Our body is our Temple, and we must learn to love it. We are living in the 21st century, where healthy food costs much more than unhealthy food. A healthy living plan consists of consuming healthy food as well as exercising regularly.

    The minimum recommended times we should exercise per week is three times. By exercising three times per week for at least an hour, we can tremendously improve our health. It is recommended that we should do 50 minutes of moderate exercise and 25 minutes of vigorous exercise per workout.

    Albato Healthy Life wrote on July 3rd, 2015
  14. Has anyone tried Ciroc Vodka? Its made from grapes. Thoughts, feedback?


    Rajat wrote on August 22nd, 2015

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