Monday, January 7, 2013

On paleo treats

Every once in a while I'll get in these kicks where I want to bake all sorts of paleo treats. I'll see recipes for goodies like paleo monkey bread or paleo brownies, and the next thing I know I'm checking the pantry to make sure I have enough coconut flour on hand.

Paleo brownies. Tasty, but in the end I would personally rather go without.
But here's the thing: I don't even like coconut flour (partly because it doesn't seem to like me). And most paleo treats are still fairly sweet, despite the lack of refined sugar. So, I've made a decision. From now on, when I want to bake I'm going to bake something delicious. I'm not going to seek out "paleo" substitutions for various cookies or breads ... I'm just going to bake whatever seems appropriate for the occasion. If a recipe happens to be paleo-esque, great (I really like the grain-free magic cookie bars from Diane at Balanced Bites)! If not, c'est la vie! I'm going to enjoy a treat now and then. For me, the key is making sure I always use high quality ingredients. Grassfed butter rather than shortening (or even standard butter). Raw sugar rather than the refined white stuff. Farm-fresh eggs. Organic, fair-trade cacoa powder rather than Hershey's. And on the rare occasion that I bake something with flour (either wheat flour or some sort of gluten-free variety), it absolutely must be organic. No exceptions.

Flourless brownie cake from Modern Sauces by Martha Holmberg. Mmmmm.
One of the best desserts I have ever made ... totally worthy of the indulgence.
I know this approach won't work for everyone (either for philosophical or health reasons), but this is what works for me. I consider paleo a framework for health and wellness, not a rigid set of rules. And I guess I've come to realize that while paleo treats do not necessarily fall within this framework for me, conventional treats often do. So, I'm going to enjoy them now and then. Guilt free!

What are your thoughts on treats? Do you like to bake paleo treats, or would you rather just enjoy a conventional treat now and then?


  1. I prefer a paleo treat over a conventional treat. I have way fewer "side effects". My husband has a HUGE sweet tooth, and in an effort to continue to keep the house as Paleo-as-possible I make paleo friendly treats. He usually can tell the difference, but still eats them, and I feel very similar to you in that eating paleo is about health, and having a treat that can be incorporated into everyday living.

  2. I used to work with Martha Holmberg at a PR agency here in Portland. She's a great woman and fantastic in the kitchen!

  3. My thoughts exactly for quite a while now! Our craving for sweets in general has greatly decreased,and we have tried Paleo treats, but usually don't care for the taste and need for too many eggs! It's the most sensible solution; continue to eat treats sparingly, but don't be afraid to indulge in a well-baked treat. I also use more healthy substitutes when I can, such as applesauce for oil, coconut milk for milk, honey or maple syrup for sugars. Also, a more normal tasting treat is easier shared with friends and neighbors thus leaving less for hubby and I to indulge upon. Win win in our opinion! :)

  4. I really have enjoyed several of the 'paleo' treats that I've made, especially a combo of dark chocolate, coconut oil, chopped nuts and shredded coconut all melted together. Mmmmm. But I am not strict at all about paleo. I eat moooooostly paleo but I don't hesitate to enjoy a treat here and there like some pizza or a cupcake or whatever. I try to avoid processed stuff but again, I won't refuse to eat it if that's what somebody gives me. :) I still feel great despite my occasional indulgences! Although my face definitely breaks out a bit if I have too much sugar, erg!


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