The paleo diet is no doubt healthy for everyone, as you can’t argue that eating clean and balanced is somehow working against you. The idea behind a paleo diet is to eliminate sugar, processed carbohydrates, gluten and for some, dairy and grains while also focusing on the quality. What that does is naturally increase our nutrient intake by eating more organic produce and balancing our meals with protein and healthy fats. The paleo diet also teaches us about nutrition, how to know what we’re putting in our bodies and that fuels us. It’s a win-win all around!
But what does it say about us all, in general, that when you search “paleo entrees” on google, you are returned with roughly 400,000 results yet doing a google search for “paleo dessert” yields over 2,250,000 results? Hey, I’m not complaining about some of these recipes. It’s great to have options. But when do we cross the line from eating healthy and clean, to really just eating a lot of clean crap?
I’ll tell you. We cross the line when the majority of our snacks consist of honey, almond flour, coconut sugar and cacao nibs. This is because we focus mainly on feeding our sugar addictions by replacing them with ‘healthier’ sugar. As a nutritionist, I agree that paleo ingredients make for healthier snacks and desserts but our bodies still react and process it all as sugar. Especially if it isn’t balanced by other healthy options such as proteins, fats and vegetables.
We cross the line when we stop eating balanced meals and start habituating ourselves with paleo breads, paleo cakes, paleo donuts (pre-workout bro), paleo cookies, paleo-baked-anythings. Your macronutrients, whether you’re tracking them or not, look something like this: 10% protein, 30% fat (because butter) and 70% carbohydrates. Now, you can claim to be 100% paleo but if that’s your macro profile, you’re not doing yourself any favors. You are still walking a fine line of cravings- to- cavings. Do you know what that means? If you feed your body mostly carbohydrates, it will want and ‘need’ more carbohydrates, therefore when given the temptation, it’s more likely you’re going to crave it, then cave into it.
Paleo treats are awesome, and I for one prefer a paleo dessert recipe over any ‘ol gluten free baking mix any day. I prefer that my kids eat paleo, though it’s not always 100% successful. There are benefits to all these recipe loopholes and options but it’s important to draw some boundaries. If you are following a paleo diet for health, performance, or weight loss, I can assure you that replacing SAD carbs with “clean carbs” is still over-carbing it and over-sugaring it. Keep your focus on how you fuel your body to run efficiently, remember your broth, your proteins, and your organic eggs and produce. Get your healthy fats to stabilize blood sugar levels and maintain healthy hormone levels. From there. please do enjoy some paleo fudge now and then!