Is It Really Paleo to Eat Treats, Even if They’re Made from Dates, Honey & Almond Flour?

This is such a great question. How Paleo are Paleo brownies, Paleo breads, Paleo Wraps and Paleo Ice Creams? Honestly? Not so Paleo. Wait- there’s a but.  A big but.  (Clearly this big but has not been adhering to a True Paleo regime…ok, sorry, bad joke). Don’t worry- I’m not changing my stance and suggesting we should begin partaking of daily Paleo waffles and grass-fed butter.   Rather, the but is modeling when we have these treats. I’ev always been one to support special occasion treats.  Something to make you feel you’re not out of the running for something special simply because you opt to eschew gluten, dairy, white sugar and the like and focus on fresh produce and wild proteins. The special occasion, my friends, is the key. As Dr. Cordain suggests, let’s model what we eat on the diet that our ancestor’s ate with foods readily available to us in our farmer’s markets, grocery stores and our own backyards. Let’s think about cavemen and honey. Did they eat it? Most likely.  They’d probably come across the occasional hive, gorge themselves and then not do so again until they happened across the next one. So along those same lines- consider that birthday party, anniversary celebration or holiday meal as the occasion to enjoy a treat.  A small treat.  Made with foods that are more Paleo-ish than their traditional counterparts. A gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free brownie made with dates, raw cacao, almond flour, coconut oil and honey is still a high glycemic thing to eat, very low in protein and not exactly rich in fiber, minerals and vitamins that we’d find in a proper Paleo meal. This doesn’t come from me making up a scheme.  Or trying to be, as one blog reader wrote, “Militant Paleo”. Quite simply- I’ve seen people change their lives by changing what they eat from not food, to food and beginning to move.  And it breaks my heart to think of the number of others who could be reached and healed if they did the same, who are not, because they understand Paleo to be focused on what is really the Faux Paleo approach. Do it in stages, yes.  Find your own balance, yes. Educate yourself and try different approaches, yes. Just please try to make sure you’re mostly eating local seasonal veggies with natural proteins and a good dose of fat and that you have that special occasion treat when it really is a special occasion. (Every afternoon at 3:30pm isn’t really a special occasion…just sayin’.)