Abluvion gave a great answer as to why alcohol (or too much alcohol) doesn't help with weight loss and can even hinder it. I enjoy alcohol in moderation, especially in social situations (meaning a gin and diet tonic in the summer or red wine in the winter). However, I'm doing a really strict "clean" eating challenge during the month of January (paleo)
which is NO alcohol. There have been a few nights where I normally would have had a glass of wine, but I must say I am doing it -- one month with no alcohol is manageable. And, I am really losing and feeling good, so I'm motivated to continue.
As to the peanut question... I remember that when I first started to read about primal lifestyle, the peanut thing (and beans!!!) was really tough for me to wrap my mind around. I've never been a huge peanut butter lover, but I do like
it and enjoyed it from time to time or had it in certain recipes (like Asian dips/sauces, which I love).
The way Mark Sisson (PB) and Robb Wolf explain it goes sort of like this: legumes (beans, peanuts) contain fairly high levels of lectins, which are in a lot of foods but happen to be quite high in legumes.
Leptins are proteins, but they are toxic, and are especially damaging for anyone with an autoimmune disease (diabetes, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.) or for anyone with the tendency or predisposition to develop AI problems (this includes a lot of people).
Here's a bit from wikipedia on leptin toxicity:
Digestion and immune distress
Foods with high concentrations of lectins, such as beans, cereal grains, seeds, and nuts, may be harmful if consumed in excess in uncooked or improperly uncooked form. Adverse effects may include nutritional deficiencies, and immune (allergic) reactions. Possibly, most effects of lectins are due to gastrointestinal distress through interaction of the lectins with the gut epithelial cells. Recent studies have suggested that the mechanism of lectin damage might occur by interfering with the repair of already-damaged epithelial cells.
Lectin and Leptin Resistance
Lectin may cause leptin resistance, affecting its functions (signal have high levels of leptin and several effects gathering to protect from lipid overload), as indicated by studies on effects of single nucleotide polymorphisms on the function of leptin and the leptin receptor.
Such leptin resistance may translate into diseases, notably it could be responsible for obesity in humans who have high levels of leptin."
I used to be a huge bean eater -- beans and rice, bean burritos, beans and cheese, beans in chili, etc. etc. I grew up eating beans a few days a week. It was really hard for me to get this connection, but even if eating beans or peanuts doesn't make you feel poorly immediately (which, to be honest, they DO -gas, bloating, etc), the effect on the gut lining is cumulative and can lead to problems down the road.
Interestingly, my bean loving family is full of AI illnesses - RA, my sister has had lupus for 20 years, and more. Personally I went through a few terrible years of ill health -- total lethargy, achey joints, etc, and even had a borderline test for lupus -- but I've since recovered from "it" (whatever "it" was).
Apparently there is a HUGE connection between gut inflammation and inflammation in the body, which plays into AI illnesses, cardiac issues, etc, etc. Here is a link for a very science-y article on the connection between lectins (the culprit in beans and peanuts) and RA.
I am probably not explaining this all that well, but I hope it helps a little and maybe the links and books (once you get them) will provide a clearer explanation.
I never thought I could give up beans, but now that I've been eating this way for 9 months, it's easy-peasy. I love it, it's easy, I feel great, I've lost weight... I can't say enough.
Give it a try and see what you think!