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IF YOU ENJOY A DRINK NOW AND THEN…

When you get to Cycle 3, you can enjoy a glass of red wine, even every day if you would like. I know you've heard that alcohol can help reduce your risk of heart disease. It can, but only in the right amounts: one glass max for women and two for men. In fact, studies have shown that people who drink a glass of red wine each day are thinner than people who don't. I think it's probably because it helps them reduce stress. Also, they are probably not having dessert. They are having wine.

Pinot noir has the highest resveratrol content. Resveratrol is an amazing antioxidant and is also anti-inflammatory. It's also been found to switch on the gene that helps slow down the aging process. Drink it with my blessing in Cycle 3 — in the right quantity.

Because red wine is full of antioxidants and other healthy ingredients, I prefer it over white. But white wine and even champagne are also okay in moderation.

As for beer, they don't call it a beer belly for nothing. I wonder if the reason beer does this so much is because it contains gluten. You can buy gluten-free beer now, and when you reach Cycle 3, you might be able to tolerate a little gluten. Avoid all types of beer in Cycles 1 and 2 and perhaps treat yourself to one gluten-free beer per week in Cycle 3. If you have beer, choose dark beers. They are rich in Saccharomyces boulardii, which helps reduce bacterial overgrowth; raises secretory IgA, which drives your major gut immune system; and may help prevent yeast overgrowth. Dark beer is a great probiotic, too.

Mixed drinks are where you can get in trouble because they are often full of sugar and easy to suck down. In general, I'd like you to stay away from them, although a bloody Mary is fine. Tequila is another exception, which you can also have every week or so. But only one shot and not in a sugary mix, which is what you'll get in most margaritas. Drink it straight or try the delicious mixture that I invented myself and got a Chicago barman to mix up for me (see page 291 for the recipe).

Of course, if you aren't currently an imbiber, I don't recommend starting! Women's risk of breast cancer increases with alcohol intake, so be careful. One glass of wine is fine. More than that is a problem.

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