Navigating Alcohol in Unexpected Food 🤯

As I approach my five month milestone, I’m confronted with challenges that extend beyond the obvious. Being autistic, I face hurdles in social situations, a factor that previously led me to rely on alcohol to ease my social anxiety and assist in communication.

Recently, I encountered a surprising issue that many of my favourite dishes, like gravies and other common foods, often contain alcohol as an ingredient. Unfortunately, this is rarely indicated on menus in restaurants and pubs.

At a recent family meal, I found myself in a difficult position when I discovered the gravy was prepared with wine. Although my family knows about my strict alcohol free commitment, conveying my concerns in such situations is often compounded by my autism.

Many believe that alcohol ‘burns off’ during cooking, but for someone like me, who avoids even alcohol free beer due to trace amounts, this is still a concern. The challenges of this time of year, coupled with these unexpected obstacles, can feel overwhelming.

Despite the progress I’ve made in improving my physical and mental health since becoming sober, I often feel inadvertently pressured to consume alcohol, a feeling exacerbated by my difficulty in expressing my concerns in social settings. I am reaching out to our community for advice. How do you manage similar situations? Is my concern about the presence of alcohol in cooked foods justified?

Understanding that the effects of alcohol can linger, I question if consuming such foods contradicts my commitment to sobriety. I welcome any insights or personal experiences you might have :heart:


I can imagine how difficult that is.

My situation that I’m about to share is not related to addiction but may be helpful.

I have celiac which if you’re unaware is an intolerance/allergic reaction autoimmune disease that causes me to not be able to eat wheat, gluten, barley, and rye.

On family trips for holidays I have extended family that didn’t understand or consider the serious implications eating any of those ingredients is and was for me.

When we found out just how unwilling they were to understand we put up boundaries. Either we cook the things I need to eat so we can be sure, we bring food that I can eat, or we don’t come over.

There are no other options.


I like your method and thank you for sharing and I think I will adopt the same approach


I eat dishes that contain alcohol and consider my sobriety still in tact. I’m not consuming those foods to catch a buzz. I’m eating it because I love the taste of the food itself. I’ll go to a restaurant and have no issue ordering pasta with vodka sauce. There are trace amounts of alcohol in a lot of the things I eat regularly like bananas, breads, mustard and vinegar. I’m not about to give up baked goods made with vanilla extract which contains alcohol too. To each there own though.

But when I have someone over for dinner, I always take into consideration their dietary needs whether it’s an allergy, illness or just preference like vegan. I guess the only way to avoid it is to make everything yourself.


Thank you Lisa for sharing your perspective it’s truly enlightening. I must admit, I was quite surprised to learn about the alcohol content in everyday products like bananas, breads, mustard, vinegar, and especially vanilla extract because that is a favourite of mine in my daily coffees! Your approach to eating foods with alcohol for their taste, and not to seek a buzz, is a refreshing viewpoint. It resonates with me, and I think adopting this mindset could be beneficial for me. It’s a reminder that the intention behind our choices is key x


My feelings are this, many foods have alcohol, either added (e.g. gravy, stews, etc.) or natural (like bananas, soy sauce or bread). The amounts are so low that it’s negligible. Having complete abstinence of alcohol is near impossible.

However, the caveat is the flavor. The flavor of a cooking wine might be triggering for some early on, if that could be you, maybe avoid it for now.

There are somethings that I do avoid as the concentrations may be a lot higher, like homemade rumcake, bananas foster, tiramisu, to name a few.


It’s fine, don’t worry

The alcohol gets burned off mostly.

I just avoid foods that have a white wine sauce for example, I don’t want to actually taste alcohol


No Chef worth their salt will allow unspent alcohol in their gravies, stews and sauces to be sent out of their kitchen. If the alcohol hasn’t been removed, it will taste awful and that’s not a trip advisor review I’d be willing to let get posted up.


I dont want alcohol in my body full stop, im still at the stage where i hate the stuff because it wrecked so much of my life, i know thats not healthy, thats its basically just an inanimate object and im working toward making my peace with it one day but for now im still so repulsed by it i wont even have foods that contain it