• Why Paleo Donuts Suck

    Why Paleo Donuts Suck | stupideasypaleo.com

    It’s time somebody to say it: Paleo donuts suck.

    [Full disclosure: There are a few recipes for treats on this site, but I don’t make it a habit of posting tons of desserts because, well, they’re not a part of my plan for optimal health and wellness, and I don’t think it’s right to pass them off to you with illusions that eating them regularly is a good idea.]

    Desserts and treats are a tricky—and touchy—subject.

    I’m not saying that you can never have a treat ever again when you make the commitment to improve your health by changing your diet. Being a Paleo perfectionist every day for the rest of your life is not a way to live and isn’t sustainable. (On the other hand, being squeaky-clean for a 30-day nutrition reset such as Whole30®, where you’ll completely avoid added sugar and desserts, is valid because it’s 1) a learning tool and 2) temporary.) But, let’s be honest. You may be here because you have a history of health issues, obesity or disordered eating. I was a sugar addict. We all have things we’re working on.

    As a Paleo blogger with a sizable readership, I have a responsibility to you: to provide thought-provoking information, educate about nutrition best-practices and provide you with tasty, healthy recipes. I do all this without the illusion that making Paleo treats and desserts on a regular basis is a good idea. Sadly, there are influential folks out there selling you the sexy side of Paleo. A million and one desserts, even sweets and treats as part of clean-eating programs. (Remember, the programs where you’re supposed to reset and learn something about yourself?) They do this without preface…”Oh hey, by the way, these aren’t really for daily consumption.” Many have mentioned not eating the treats they make and blog about. How is this truth in advertising?

    Where did we get things so mixed up? When did things become so grey? I guess I feel a bit like a Discovery Channel documentary to their Entertainment Tonight: One is good for you and the other, fantasy fluff. My readers deserve better. You see, bloggers have a responsibility to be transparent and readers, to know their context. Looking for gut health? Trying to normalize your metabolism? Performing your best athletically? Losing fat? These will all influence your unique dietary needs. Again, perfection isn’t the name of the game, but making good choices and building a strong nutritional foundation is non-negotiable.

    So, back to Paleo donuts and why they suck. Okay, it could be Paleo [insert any dessert here], really…

    Reason #1 Why Paleo Donuts Suck: They Don’t Taste Better Than the Real Thing

    How to replicate the whisper-light crisp of a donut as you bite down, followed by the pillowy soft interior with almond flour? It’s not possible. Part of the reason why people love donuts is how they taste, feel in your hands and smell—faintly yeasty with sweet overtones—as you eat them. Instead of making Paleo donuts on a regular basis, why not just save up for a really special occasion and eat the real thing? You know it’ll freaking taste better than any Paleo recreation! (Celiacs or other people who should legitimately not eat wheat, please take this as intended.) Go to your favorite shop and sit down with your favorite kind of donut. Put your phone down. Savor each bite. Enjoy the experience. Then go back to life—and nutrition—as scheduled.

    Reason #2 Why Paleo Donuts Suck: Gluten-free Flours Aren’t Perfect

    Even Paleo ingredients aren’t perfect. Yeah, I know: Gluten-free flours may be “better” than wheat. The gut irritation caused by gluten is real, and it’s not good. But let’s not jade ourselves into thinking gluten-free flours or nut flours get “unrestricted consumption” status. They’ve got issues: phytates, the potential for gluten-cross reactions, and high caloric content just to name a few. Just because an flour is gluten-free doesn’t give anyone carte blanche to eat tons of it. Sweeteners hold the same burden. Some may be more “Paleo” than others, but it shouldn’t be eaten without limit.

    Reason #3 Why Paleo Donuts Suck: They’re Not Helping You Make Better Choices

    Like me, you may be here because you’ve got some serious issues to resolve with food. I was the queen of sugar, and I still have to watch myself. Does this mean I don’t indulge in a sweet from time to time? Not at all, but I have to be very careful about how frequently I make treats. In the four years I’ve been Paleo, I’ve had to pull the reins back more than a few times because “once in a while” became more like “every few days.” Sugar still messes with me if I eat too much of it, even from “Paleo” sources like honey or maple syrup. So, I avoid it in my day-to-day because I know I make better food choices when I do.

    Reason #4 Why Paleo Donuts Suck: Daily Desserts Aren’t Part of a Healthy Nutrition Plan

    Desserts should be special. And by special, I don’t mean eaten only on days that end in “y”. End of story.

    Reason #5 Why Paleo Donuts Suck: Paleo Baking is Not Economical

    Trying to do Paleo on a budget? Worried you can’t afford it? Paleo baking—and all the special ingredients that goes with it—is expensive. If you’re trying to decide between meat and eggs and good quality produce or baking, you’re going to get much more nutrition from the former than the latter.

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    Why Paleo Donuts Suck | stupideasypaleo.com

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    Okay, time to weigh in. What do you think about this? Leave your comment below.

    Steph Gaudreau is a certified holistic nutrition practitioner, weightlifting and mindset coach, and the author of the best-selling Performance Paleo Cookbook. Her recipes and expert advice have been featured in SELF, Outside Magazine, Elle, and Greatist. Steph loves barbells, cats, and anything Lord of the Rings. She lives in San Diego, CA.

    145 thoughts on “Why Paleo Donuts Suck

    1. Haha. Read this article and loved it! Went to check my email… PALEO DESSERT ALERT! I had an email from another blog giving me the third dessert recipe this week. Thanks for posting this. I needed the reminder!!!

    2. Thanks for this post!! It was great and timely because I had made paleo donuts two days ago that were a waste of ingredients – not yummy and dry as anything. Don’t get me wrong I will still occasionally be making dessert, but def not a donut recipe 🙂

    3. Thank you! I think the part you said about your responsibilities of a paleo blogger were great. I make treats or desserts for my family when I know they would make dessert with or without my paleo options. At least I can help in that way. However, I feel like the paleo treats/desserts have flooded the true meaning of having a lifestyle where you eat nutrient dense whole food. I LOVE this post and think it absolutely needed to be said.

      1. Ever grateful for your support on this one, Malorie! I think, especially for folks who are new to Paleo, they either get confused or think, well this is all about sweet stuff. Thanks for stopping by!

    4. Completely agree, 100%!!! I am right there with you, but I know a lot of people aren’t…. It’s a total change in mindset. When we dropped sugar and wheat from our diets, I initially wanted to try and replace a lot of the sweet treats and breads that we ate on a regular basis. But I’ve found for me, it’s not about finding a way to replace those things but the realization that eating bread and sweets all the time is NOT GOOD FOR YOU! I try to eat for nutrition and if I can’t find good nutrition in what I’m eating, then I probably shouldn’t be eating it. Of course when we have treats at home, we try to make them as healthy as possible. We’ve found new recipes that we love! Everyone in my household is healthier because of the changes we’ve made. Plus, nobody has ever died from not having cookies every day! 🙂

      1. So true, Apryl!! When I first started Paleo 4 years ago, I was a bit fan of Paleo cookies, yet I couldn’t figure out why I was craving sugar all the time. It’s a pretty vicious cycle. Really appreciate your reply!

    5. This is so very me! I ate a nearly “perfect” paleo diet for about 6 months – and I felt amazing! Then, I found out about paleo baking… I’ve gained over 10 pounds in the last 3 months, and a lot of problems the paleo diet had resolved for me have come back… So, at the most treat-filed moment of the year, I’ve decided to crack down again – because I deserve it and because my body deserves the best treatment!

      Sugar will not dictate my life =p

    6. Bravo! Thank you so much for focusing on this topic. I will admit that I have been swayed by the delicious looking paleo baking recipes that are plastered on Pinterest. But making healthier choices and sticking to real whole foods (meat, vegetables, some fruit) is a main priority of mine. It isn’t easy sometimes and I’m starting to think that I may have a bad relationship with sugar but it’s something that I’m working on one day at a time. Great info! Thanks again!

      1. I can really relate to the sugar relationship issues! It’s funny…I love looking at the pics on Pinterest and then I think, “It’s probably not as tasty as it looks.” You’re welcome and thanks for stopping by!

    7. I love this!! As someone who has struggled with disorderly eating, paleo literally saved my life. But that does not mean that I don’t still battle with food. When I eat a paleo treat, do I feel strong and healthy? No. Do I feel remorseful and bloated and wishing I could take it back, just like I do with regular treats? yes. It’s the same thing, and the beautiful paleo bloggers that post treats all the time certainly don’t eat them as much as they encourage their readers to. Thanks for posting this!

      1. Thanks for your honesty and candor, Jessica. It gave me chills to read your second sentence. There are folks who visit sites who are literally in a life or death struggle with food. I appreciate your comments very much!

    8. I love this post. I am not an avid paleo follower- I do my best to stay on a clean diet and try to do a few paleo recipes a week (I will be trying full Paleo after the holidays). I do follow and read a lot of Paleo blogs and I am constantly seeing Paleo desserts, Paleo Bread, and Paleo this and that. I think hmm that looks good, but how will that help my waist smaller. I would have to track the amount of calories, which is what I am trying to avoid.

      I love your blog and even more because you confirmed what I always think.

      Thanks for yet another awesome post 🙂

      1. Many thanks, Marly!! The part that I think is most deceiving is the idea that some sites promote tons of treats without prefacing that, “Hey, these aren’t for everyday if health is what you’re after.” Appreciate your kind words!

    9. What you are saying is the truth – a whole foods lifestyle is not about treating yourself, it’s food for nourishment and paleo donuts are most definitely not yummy. But I do greatly appreciate the paleo bloggers and cookbook authors who have a specific focus on paleo treats. I need them because baking is a science. Creating a meal is more like art and I don’t have to spend as much time looking for ways to make whole foods taste good. But when I need to bring a gluten free dessert to my child’s class party or bring a dessert to Thanksgiving dinner because there won’t be anything there my kids gluten-allergic kids can eat, I rely heavily on the paleo bloggers who have content devoted to treats because that’s where I need the most help in the kitchen. I am grateful for the lengths and depth they’ve gone to in giving me options for treats to fit so many different occasions. So, I’m really glad there are paleo people out there willing to devote their voice to treats – because of them I’ve made some treats that were unanimously yummy and had whole food ingredients too. I hope my perspective is helpful. Thanks for writing with such honesty and humor 🙂

      1. I certainly appreciate your point of view, Sara! Thanks for bringing it to the table with candor and respect. It’s not even so much the baking wizards I have the issue with (as a former bakery worker, I can for sure agree that it’s a science!), but rather the sites that promote clean-eating programs and such, only to have desserts as part of the program. I think it confuses folks who are new to this way of eating.

        I have to commend you on your efforts for your kids…it takes a smart mama to be so devoted to them. Appreciate you stopping by!!

      2. I agree with Sara. They are not a staple in our diets, but when all the other Boy Scouts are eating smores it’s great to be able to make something as a treat for my son that he’s not allergic to his allergies are (molasses, wheat, barley, sorghum, cane sugar, and walnuts.)

        These are treats to him. And if you really know your stuff and pay attention to what your making and use a variety of foods (as everyone should regularly) the Paleo diet can be completely substanable. My children are very healthy, they have way less colds than most, a ton of energy and very active.

        No one in my family has ever needed to “diet” because we practice something called don’t eat if you’re not hungry.

        The problem with processed foods are the chemicals that are added. Your body doesn’t know how to break them down and stores them as fat. Some (such as carrageenan) are directly linked to cancer. Good intentions to make food in greater quantities and more affordable, bad side effects of obesity and health problems.

    10. Hi Steph! I’ve been Paleo for almost 2 years now… and I don’t do Paleo treats. I had a lot of emotional/binge eating around food with wheat and sugar. I’m also post thyroid disease and I feel a lot better without nuts. To manage my emotional/binge eating, thyroid, and my 70+ pound weight loss, I don’t do Paleo treats.

      Also, I think that almond and coconut flour taste like sawdust! That probably helped sway me away from any sort of wheat substitute.

      I can see how I might use a banana bread recipe or a paleo treat recipe for my 13 year old daughter who is transitioning from the SAD to Primal. But I don’t eat any of it myself. And I don’t dislike people who make paleo treats if that’s what floats their boat, but personally steer really clear of them myself.

      I found I was able to eat a small amount of 85% chocolate, so that’s it for me. If I want to get all “Holiday” I add cinnamon to coffee and coconut milk or some peppermint to some of the melted chocolate. That’s it. Somewhat “treat” like but doesn’t trigger anything for me.

      It’s so NOT worth relapsing from the emotional eating. Enjoyed your post! Karen P (weight maintenance blogger from N. Co. San Diego, also science nerd!!! 🙂 )

      1. Hey Karen!! Thanks so much for your wise words. I appreciate your perspective on this. I will say, very dark chocolate (85-90%) is my go-to treat. It’s very rich and I find a square or two does it for me.

        I’m really glad you’ve found balance and such an improvement in your health. Science nerds, UNITE!

    11. I agree whole-heartedly! I am done trying to duplicate regular sweet treats – it’s expensive, needing ingredients that I don’t normally have on hand and are full of sugar (be that honey, maple syrup, palm sugar) , time consuming and, most of the time, not worth the effort. I think I will stick to savory foods and maybe once in a great while, have the real thing (my fav is creme brûlée !).

      1. Love all these points, Cathie!! I find honey and maple to be realllllly bad for my sugar issues. As long as I avoid, it’s all cool but if I start to add it in here and there…it snowballs quickly. I have to agree with you on the creme brûlee…once or twice a year, I just go for it!

    12. Amen. And unfortunately the recipes don’t just make on or two so you can indulge. It makes an entire batch that you end up eating too much of!

      1. Girl, I have made one too many batches of Paleo cookies in my past and eaten the whole thing. I’m so glad I’m out of that cycle of overdoing it and then feeling like crap. Thanks for stopping by!

    13. I completely agree with everything you’ve said here! I too, am a sugar addict, and it’s really important for me to avoid it in all its forms, even natural, “most” of the time. If I find myself eating it too often I find myself craving it strongly, whereas if I ditch it completely those cravings disappear. I do indulge in the occasional treat (probably once a month at the most, and then only a few bites, not a whole bag/box/piece), but I prefer to eat the real thing. I’ve experimented with several paleo treat recipes and none of them were as good as “the original”. For me, it’s just not worth the time and expense. It is slightly off-putting to me to see the plethora of paleo blogs out there pushing sweets, but to each their own I guess. If some people can eat sweets regularly and not have it affect their health, good on them. I cannot.

      1. You make so many great points, Diane! It’s so much about knowing yourself, your triggers and what you do best with. I’m really glad you brought that up again. I think we have an illusion or memory of what these desserts / cheat foods are supposed to be like and think a Paleo version can do the trick but usually, I just think, “Meh. Not very good.” Thanks for adding your comments (sorry it took so long to show up…I decided to take a break yesterday).

    14. Oh how I can relate to this! I have ALWAYS had problems with controlling my sugar consumption- as a teen I had mood swings and dizzy spells. It was awful! My mother had me go sugar free for a while (but not grain free as we were vegetarians) and it helped a little but really didn’t go far enough. I recently found some really nice German white chocolate bars that I intended to share with family and friends for Christmas. I bought two boxes and let’s just say that one of them never made it to the party….. SO I’ve packed up the last box and I’m giving it to a friend who is GMO free because I know her kids will like it, and she’ll be able to be reasonable with her consumption! I’m going grain free again in January. I’ve learned my lesson. 🙂

      1. Thanks Amanda! I had the SAME EXACT symptoms you described. Sadly it took about another decade before I figured it out. Avoiding sugar helped a lot, but I really think it was the whole package that finally helped it kick in. Thanks for stopping by!

    15. Reason #6 – They pull you back into eating junk!! I did a Whole60 followed by a month of clean Paleo eating only to let myself slip back into eating junk after starting to add some Paleo treats. Paleo or not, I believe the sweet treats trigger your cravings for more and I have experienced that first hand. Gotta go back to square one with another Whole 30 or 60 or forever.

      1. That’s a great one to add to the list. I won’t profess to eating 100% sugar free but I am really mindful of it…so easy to slip back as you’ve described…and when you felt / feel so good, you want to keep it that way!

    16. Paleo treats/desserts are indeed controversial in our little community but not for me. After having been paleo for a year or so–I started in early 2009–I decided said treats/desserts were more trouble than I was willing to put up with. I’m a good enough cook that I do quite well with the usual eggs, meat, and vegetables. Besides, coconut flour, almond flour, etc., just don’t have the ‘je ne sais quoi’ of plain ol’ wheat flour.

      1. Hi Dullen…I was much the same way. I can’t tell you how many batches of paleo cookies I made in 2010 and 2011 before I was like, wait…this is NOT doing anything for my sugary tendencies. I think there’s something to be said about how our taste buds change over time, too. I think I’ve come to just think less of the sweet stuff.

    17. Awesome! Glad to see some honesty, we don’t need any more people (esp people on the “Paleo Team”) trying to brainwash us into thinking our lives are incomplete without cakes, pies, sweets and treats. The SAD world is good enough at doing that, so it’s nice to hear a realistic piece that makes me rethink that false need. Good food for thought 😉

      1. Thank you Dani! I thought it was about time for a counterpoint article to be out there. It’s certainly debatable for some folks, but for others, the treats are a slippery slope. I really appreciate your comments.

    18. Well done! This is such a wonderful post and so true. I am just starting to truly recognize what sugar does to my system. The impact was delayed and less noticeable before, but the cleaner by system has become the more obvious my intolerances are.

      Great post!

      1. Hi Monica! I am so much the same way. Gluten or dairy didn’t seem to bother me (of course, I didn’t really know the signs) but now…I just can’t do it. Thanks for the kind words.

    19. Hi Steph,

      This is a Great talking point! I do have to agree with you and especially that there is no substitute for the real thing when it comes to sweets and treats.

      Having been obese for part of my life and then having lost 90 pounds, I knew that I would still have to have some form of chocolatey treat or I would go insane! I knew that it would never approximate the real thing, but at least it was something. I randomly threw some ingredients together and created a “protein muffin” that went viral from my blog. (and only four ingredients, and microwavable, so easy.) I didn’t even know what Paleo was at the time, but it turns out that this muffin is in fact Paleo! When I’m eating eggs, I still eat it from time to time. But having it all the time would definitely spell disaster, and a quick road back to finding those 90 pounds that I lost.

      And it is totally shocking to see some sites (well, well loved sites!) that have so so many decadent paleo sweets! I just have to scroll through and ignore them.

      Thank you for all you do in the Paleo world, Steph!

      1. Hi Deb! BIG kudos to you on making such a positive change for your life and your health. That’s outstanding!

        Isn’t it funny how the recipes we just throw together end up being the most popular (same thing happened with the tortilla recipe here on the site). You make a good point about scrolling through and ignoring! I’m hoping that folks new on the scene will know to do the same thing.

        Thanks for stopping by!!

    20. Steph, as a former sweets lover I appreciate your approach. Since my family’s transition to paleo, we hold the treats to special occasions and it works! You and Michelle Tam are my inspirations. Thanks!

    21. Can’t say that I agree with the “eat the real thing” suggestion. Even for people who don’t have a specific gluten intolerance, it’s a gut irritant that should pretty much be avoided whenever possible. I think a sugar binge is easier to recover from than a gluten binge for the vast majority of people. That isn’t to say that there’s no place for “non-Paleo” foods EVER AGAIN, but I would still suggest going with a gluten-free option whenever possible – and gluten-free baking can taste just as good as the gluten-y kind.

      There are lots of different clean-eating programs that people can try if they’re having issues: the 21-day sugar detox, the autoimmune protocol (helped me figure out that I should be avoiding nut butters and flours except as an occasional treat), and so on. But over the holidays? Transitioning a family to Paleo? Still battling the sugar demons and/or a full-blown eating disorder? Paleo treats are popular because not everyone’s ready to go whole hog right away with a “squeaky clean” Paleo diet. Your occasional may be different from mine, and that’s okay. Personally, I’m too lazy to do much Paleo baking, but I eat more non-Paleo sweets than I should, and I don’t think that’s a better choice – it’s one I make because I’m busy and stressed.

      1. Thanks Natasha. I appreciate your points of view. As a former baker, I can say with confidence that a yeast donut can’t be replicated for Paleo, though the cake type donuts can. My point was almost tongue in cheek but I feel like if people want a treat (and it truly is on occasion) it’s the real thing they’re craving, not a Paleo version. Gluten messes up my guts for sure so my solution is…don’t eat donuts.

        I definitely don’t recommend people undertake clean eating challenges over the holidays..very tough. The issue I have is as a blogger with a large audience who talks about health and wellness, I have a responsibility to be transparent about what is going to best help people on their path. Some programs for clean-eating challenges have sweets built in. I just can’t wrap my head around it. Maybe when people are done with those protocols, but during just doesn’t seem responsible to me.

        Thanks for bringing up some great points. I’m fortunate that we can have frank and open discussions here on the blog. Thanks for stopping by!

    22. amen for saying this… 🙂 i have been primal for just over 3 years now and i am shocked at the sudden influx of these tempting recipes. i can’t even eat carrots or sweet potatoes let alone doughnuts but i understand that is the tradeoff for being the fabulous healthy person i have become….. 🙂

      1. You make a great point, Shari! After cutting out the sweet stuff, I’m now amazed that some foods I would’ve gone for in a heartbeat are now just way too sweet for me!

    23. I really appreciate this post. I’ve been grain-free and sugar-free for a year and a half, and I may always have a sweet tooth, though I’m by no means the carb addict I once was. All the sweets and baked goods I see on paleo and GAPS blogs are so tempting, but the ratio of them seems out of wack. Thank you, for speaking with the voice of reason!

      1. Hi Diane! I took the day off from blogging yesterday, so I’m just now getting around the approving all the comments. Thanks!

    24. I’m so glad you wrote this. I recently picked up the 21 Day Sugar Detox book and was flabbergasted to find that THERE IS A DESSERT SECTION! How can you do a sugar detox with dessert? The message sounded like ‘replace junk with less-bad junk and you can keep going just like always.’ If doing what I’ve always done (eat dessert with dinner, and/or as an afternoon snack, almost every day) worked, then I wouldn’t be looking to change my eating habits to begin with. Ugh. People, we have to accept that we need to majorly overhaul our lifestyles and eating habits if we want to significantly improve our health.

      1. Hi Sarah! It amazed me that when I cut out the Paleo treats from my diet, I just stopped wanting sugar all the time. It was that easy. Habits are really the key!!

    25. Love, love, love this! I know it’s not easy to put yourself out there, and it doesn’t always make you the coolest kid on the block, but sometimes things just need to be said. I put myself out there in a similar way this week, in order to help a family member, and was totally criticized for it. Good thing I have thick skin, and I believe in my heart that I did the right thing 🙂 That’s all that matters, right? Sometimes people just have to agree to disagree.
      I’ll say for myself, I certainly indulge in paleo treats on occasion (and I’ll also occasionally post them on my blog), but I can’t say I’ve ever had a paleo donut. Ha! Funny enough, the first paleo recipe I ever tried was for pancakes. They were amazing, and I was like “I can eat these all the time while staying paleo?!” Clearly I didn’t know what I was doing back then, because I now know the answer is NO! Not if I want to be healthy anyway 😉 I’m someone that won’t ever touch gluten again, but I also can’t say I really miss or crave treats, so it doesn’t bum me out. I used to love those glazed donuts at starbucks, and now they just have zero appeal. The more I stay away from treats, the less I want them. Kinda cool how that works! With 2 whole 30’s under my belt, I now know exactly how sugar makes me feel, even using too much honey and dates makes me feel less than amazing. It just isn’t worth it to me. I know that I feel better without treats, and they certainly don’t make me any healthier, so that’s why I keep them to a minimum 🙂

      1. This is why I love you, Kristen!! Thanks for you constant support, and your wise words. You’ve definitely lived the truth of how food can heal and despite being criticized for it, you had the courage to say what you believe could really help people for the better. I’m not against treats 100% but I think they’re an area to proceed with caution on!

    26. Thank you!! When looking for Paleo recipes I want real food! A variety of ways and to fix meat and veggies! And 90% of what comes across other paleo pages that I follow are sweets. That’s fine once in a while, but I’m tired of trying to find the special ingredients for paleo baking, let alone pay for them!

      1. It’s definitely not cheap when you consider the costs. Thanks for dropping by Shannon. I’d rather have a beautiful steak than a cake 🙂

    27. I think there is something in keeping things simple, for me the fact I dropped grains and all that jazz means I just do not go for a baked treat that looks like something I just do not eat any more. I have been grain free for about 2 years and am habituated to simply look past these things.. I did a whole30 recently and have to consider dropping dairy too.. Why is that treats invariably include a sugar hit.. and should imitate something the industrial food inc would package and sell. My treat food now is coconut crumbed lambs brains.. but you could hardly convince the general paleo public to make that theirs

      1. Totally with you on that one, Ben! Simple food, cooked with care seems to do it for me. I’m the same way…I barely ever think of baked goods anymore.

    28. as always, AMAZING POST MY LOVE. I agree with every. single. point you made 😀

      Here’s an extra little did bit from me – even if it’s not donuts, but something like pancakes… if i make pancakes instead of eggs/meat/veg/potatoes like my usual breakfasts i feel SO UNSATISFIED! REAL FOOD satisfies me and makes me FEEL SO MUCH BETTER than pancakes, waffles, donuts, bakes, etc.

      🙂 I always seem to regret making waffles even if they do taste amazing I just always feel not as happy as when I have real food like the things I mentioned above!

      1. So true!! I always feel less satisfied, too. I really appreciate your kind words. I know I got some flack elsewhere on the internet for it, but I wanted to provide a counterpoint to all the posts I’ve been seeing lately.

    29. In my Pre-Primal Life, I never liked the light-as-air donuts with a dribbling of icing. I adored cake-style and cruller-style donuts, soaked in rich sweet thick icing. So, almond-flour Paleo donuts suit me just fine. Having said that, I will make a couple of Paleo deserts on a birthday, for Thanksgiving dinner, for Christmas dinner, and when I have guests over for dinner every other month of so. That adds up to about 10 moderate-size servings that I eat of a Paleo desert per year (& I always sweeten them with organic/natural honey only). I’m thrilled to eat & serve those deserts at those times, and feel no guilt whatsoever about it. But the best thing of all, for me, about living the Primal Blueprint is that my body and taste-buds are always satisfied on a daily basis eating reasonable amounts of primarily meat, vegetables, & fats, occasionally having fruits, and rarely (10 times a year is “rarely” by my definition) Paleo deserts. When I go out for meals, I only go to organic restaurants and to dinners at other Primal-households. This Primal lifestyle works for my body.

      1. Hi Glenda…really appreciate your comments and that you’ve found a way to incorporate them in a way that fits your lifestyle and is totally not over the top. I get concerned that folks new to Paleo will think that it’s supposed to be a very regular thing to do. I would say that 10 times a year is certainly the definition of a rarity 🙂

    30. Finally read this post after hearing people talk about it for a few days. Some bloggers that I follow mentioned “another blogger” basically bashing Paleo treats. Without saying a name, it was obvious which blogger/article they were talking about.

      Personally, I used to always feel the need to have a treat of some kind in the house. I loved to bake and always wanted to have something for my husband, kids and I to enjoy. Since going Paleo, I have found that I don’t have that desire any more. I don’t feel the need to have a sweet treat in the house. Once in a while I’ll have a craving. I’ll fulfill that craving. Then I’m done. While some of what I have made has tasted pretty good, I don’t always feel great after having it. I feel so much better just eating the real, whole foods that I know are good for me. Just recenlty, when I’ve found myself needing a snack of some kind, I would open the fridge looking for the easiest veggie for me to attack.

      1. Thank you so much Amy, and I’m glad you stopped by to leave your thoughts. It’s not so much bashing for the sake of just saying bad things about them as it is providing a counterpoint to make folks stop and think about what they’re eating and why. I think some of the treats look stellar, but like you, I know they’ll make me feel like rubbish.

        It’s funny you mention veggies…a nice fresh carrot has so much appeal now 🙂

      2. Me, too, re: veggie snacks! I never cared anything about carrots, but now I do love a small organic raw carrot or radish, maybe a leftover sweet potato chip or frenchfry, and one of any vegetable snack usually satisfies me quite well! Whodahthunk?….

    31. Thanks, Steph! I see so many “paleo” food blogs constantly posting desserts and being defensive about them. Whether honey or maple syrup, sugar is still sugar and is absolutely not good for you. Paleo is not just about being gluten-free, but about making optimal nutrition and lifestyle choices, and donuts are just a bad choice!

      1. Hi Lena…wow, I really appreciate your comments and support. I think for a lot of folks, it becomes a slippery slope indeed, and donuts just aren’t great choices as you mentioned.

    32. Yeah, they probably do. I’ve never actually made them. I can’t bake to save my life. But, I would try them if I was up for a challenge, and even though they aren’t better than regular donuts, I think regular donuts are disgusting.

      1. Gotta say, I’m with you on that one…not a huge fan of donuts to begin with (I used to have to fry them when I worked at a bakery)!

    33. When you first cleaned up your diet on whole 30, did you eat fruit? How long did it take you to kick sugar? I recently finished off 2 lb. of paleo-approved pure maple candy in 2 days. That’s not healthy. I did a whole 30 a while ago, but obviously it didn’t stick after I went back to occasional treats and slipped back into bad habits. I’m trying again starting today.

      1. I’m not a huge fruit lover, to be honest, but I usually have something like 1 or 2 servings a day. I found it took a bit more effort for me in the day to day after I did my whole30 to really kick sugar.

    34. This is a wonderful article. I am new to Paleo. It’s only been 2 1/2 months for me. In my research on Paleo, I have found so many treat recipes. They are very tempting. I battle a sweet tooth, and I find myself being pulled into all the books of goodies. I have only made pumpkin pancakes and a pumpkin pie for the holidays. The pie wasn’t good, so I have been hesitant to make “treats”. It really can be expensive, especially when it tastes bad. 🙂 This is a good reminder that sweet is sweet not matter the form and will cause the same craving for more sweets. Thank you.

    35. Great post!!! I didn’t read ALL 88 replies, but still wanted to mention that I recently read that some of the gluten-free flours and starches used to make these desserts have a higher GI than regular wheat flour. Higher GI, higher blood sugar, more insulin… it’s a vicious cycle.

    36. oh my goOdness, thank you for saying this. Most people fail to recognize that it’s not healthy to regularly eat sweets just because they are ‘paleo’ or ‘clean-eating’. Also i made paleo brownies today, and they were terrible:( nothing like the real thing. While they may not be the yummiest thing in the world, i do appreciate the people who come up with paleo dessert recipes for that every once in a while when you want something sweet, without having the bloating and bubble guts. o.o but thank you for saying this!

    37. Agree! When Paleo blogs are pushing baked goods 75% of the time, are we really making any progress? Yes, sometimes we need a “treat like thing” with ingredients that do less harm to us than white flour and sugar. And people new to this way of eating may need them as a bridge into a grain-free existence. But stuffing ourselves with flour-y, sweet, supposedly paleo treats just keeps the same old psychology going: use that treat to feel better. Paleo chocolate chip pancakes? Really? Paleo cake pops? If it looks like junk food and tastes like junk food, it’s probably junk food.

    38. This is a really good post, and one I definitely needed! My husband and I are addicted to sweets too, and when we started Paleo and I saw all the “Paleo desserts” I felt like, hey, we don’t even have to sacrifice our sweet tooth! But I’ve realized quickly how expensive it is and the fact that if I’m eating sweets all the time I’m eating less nutrient-dense foods. I’ve started making a lot more green smoothies and the fruit in them makes them sweet enough that it feels like I’m having a treat, so that’s my new secret weapon when the sweet tooth attacks! 🙂

      1. Awesome! Thanks for your feedback, Jennifer. I know it’s the side of Paleo that makes it seem fun and for once in a while situations, it’s fine. It’s the regular, daily trap that many fall into. Have a great day!

    39. This was such a good reminder. I’ve found several paleo goodies that I love, but it’s easy to get lost in all of the expensively baked goodness. That particular reason alone is the greatest reminder- if you want to do paleo on a budget, stick to the core and avoid the treats except for every once in a while.

      Because almond flour and paleo-friendly chocolate isn’t getting any cheaper. -____-

    40. So whe paleo donuts might suck for people who don’t have gluten allergies, they are a great way to treat my kids to a yummy breakfast that they wouldn’t otherwise get to eat. They don’t get them once a week. They don’t even get them once a month. But when I make them, I know that we won’t be dealing with. Rashes, diarrhea, and vomiting afterwards. So when I’m looking for a recipe to treat my kids to a donut that is safe for them to consume, the last thing I want to see in my search is an inflammatory, judgmental article that assumes people are only eating Paleo donuts because they are using Paleo as a scapegoat way of life in order to still have their cake and eat it too.

      1. Unfortunately, for beginners to Paleo (which I have the chance to interact with a lot) they are really confused about where desserts and sweets fit in. Many, many of them realize after it’s too late that they thought they could eat the sweet stuff daily because it fit the Paleo rules only to end up in a world of hurt. This article is for them…folks like me who were addicted to sugar and didn’t realize that even a Paleo-fied version of a treat could send them back into the cycle of addiction.

        Your or anyone else’s judgment as a parent was never being called into question here, and I was never disrespectful to anyone. I suggest you read it again because my counterpoints are simply there to help people evaluate if eating lots of Paleo-fied desserts is the best course of action for them. Nothing more. No judgment on anyone who chooses to…or not.

        My points about Paleo baking not being economical and there being issues with the flours used (lots of N6, sometimes crossreactive proteins, etc) are not judgmental, they’re just fact.

    41. A treat is no longer a treat if eaten everyday! They become run of the mill, and lose their excitement!
      Anyway I can’t imagine how sick I’d feel if I tried to eat a deep fried gluten bomb again! (A.k.a. doughnut ). Lol
      Good post!

    42. Paleo donunts help a mom to find something to cook with young child over the holidays that seems appealing to her. So far nothing has tasted good though. So, she does not experience a life filled with glutin-filled grains and sweets like other children but she has other interests.

    43. So right on. I’d rather make a pumpkin pudding than pie because I’ve tried both almond and coconut crust and they make me want to puke. Almonds and coconut, for me, are best in their natural whole form. But that’s just me. Thought provoking and sensible, thanks…

      1. So important to know those things about yourself! Those are the lessons that make this something that can last for the long term. 🙂

    44. Well, I was looking for a nice Paleo recipe for donuts, since I can’t have them with regular flour, and today is Donut Day (Fat Thursday kind of thing) in Poland.
      But I have to say I totally agree with the article. The amount of Paleo desserts aimed for sure at us sugar addicts is crazy. It doesn’t matter if it’s dates or any other ultra sweet fruit, it still gives you cravings afterwards!
      I think I might stick to making flour-free pancakes instead. Not really “the real thing” but since “the real thing” makes me feel really unwell I’ll take the second best 🙂

      1. Hi,

        I’m glad the article resonated with you. I’m all for a sweet here and there as perfection is not the goal, progress is. Most importantly as you’re discovering; it’s important to know what makes you feel good or bad even if it is a Paleo “treat”.

    45. Thank You. When I embarked on my gluten free journey, I decided not to try to replace those foods made with flour. I stick to meat and produce with a very occasional real treat. It is refreshing to see someone who thinks alike.

    46. I have had debilitating struggles with food. I’m a food addict and binge eater. I have been so addicted to sugar and food that it has literally hijacked my life and taken me as a slave. It parallels a drug addict in nearly every way.

      My friend (who also happens to be a Naturopathic doctor) and I were just talking about the number of paleo bloggers that onslaught our news feeds and pinterest pages with dessert after dessert after dessert. We have lost touch with what it even means to live a healthy lifestyle. None of us want to feel deprived, but if the goal is health and freedom from past additions to food – then we as a collective whole are doing a serious disservice to our community by giving the pass on frequent indulgences of sweet treats – with no preface or caution. The bottom line is: I just want to be normal like everyone else. I see all of these yummy treats and everyone is eating them ALL THE TIME it seems. But even if the vast majority of people don’t have addiction tendencies to food, sugar is still highly inflammatory and problematic as a main stay for anyone suffering with an illness, has immune issues or who just wants to feel vibrant and well…So I’m so glad that you were able to address this red-button topic and shed some light on the dangers of excess sugar consumption and what it really looks like to eat a healthy paleo diet. Note to all bloggers: sweets are not on the bottom of the food pyramid!

    47. I love that way you worded this! I’m the only Paleo eater in my family. We have a huge history of diabetes, obesity, heart issues – you name it. The family members that I see more regularly are always talking about wanting to lose weight, but they have been very against hearing my out that restriction isn’t everythinf and that just switching to more nutrient-dense foods would make a huge difference. I make “Paleo” desserts from time to time when I know I’ll see them because they usually like what I make, but this article was a great reminder that since I don’t eat those 99% of the time, I need to remember not to portray that to the people I’m trying to help, either. Sugar addiction is a huge issue for me as well and I don’t like to eat it most of the time, so why do I only contribute desserts around them? Thank you Steph!

    48. It’s not so much that I want something really sweet, but I get really sick of eggs at breakfast. Sometimes I just want something breadlike &/or handheld to go with my smoothie in the morning. Not to mention my daughter is really picky, won’t eat eggs. No egg “muffins” or pumpkin soufflé or egg & sausage & veggie bake with marinara….I’m not sure what she will actually eat for breakfast as I’ve already left for work by the time she gets up….

      1. Hi Faith,

        I hear you. In our house, we eat anything for breakfast: soup, stew, leftover meat, or sometimes I put things in the crock pot. I find, for me, when I eat “sweets” at breakfast, it just doesn’t set me up well for the day because they are often very low in protein.

    49. I’ve never had a major issue with sugar; sweets generally aren’t my thing. However, I’ve just started Paleo (I’ve been gluten-free for nearly a year) and am finding that all of a sudden there isn’t much I wouldn’t do for a brownie, or cake, or cookies, or a donut. Is this normal??

      1. Hi Michelle,

        It can be quite common for your body to adjust in a variety of ways when you eat differently. Wanting and desiring sweets could be a few things; fluctuations in blood sugar, imbalance in macronutrient intake (perhaps too much or too little starchy veggies and not enough protein and fat), and also emotional/mental triggers. This is a time to do some evaluation (which is always fun because you get to learn about you). There are drastic differences in sugar/carbohydrate intake with a Paleo diet vs. just eating gluten free. Gluten free snacks, brownies etc… aren’t really nutrient dense foods. There’s a possibility depending on how dramatic the dietary changes, you could be experiencing some sugar withdrawals making the sugar dragon a little angry right now.
        When sugar cravings kick in, eat fermented foods. I know that sounds counter intuitive but it keeps those cravings at bay while feeding your microbiome the healthy flora/bacteria it needs helping to kill off those pesky sugar deranged bad bacteria that are screaming for a brownie or ten.


        1. Hi Candace,

          Thank you for responding. That makes sense to me. Although I’ve never been big on sweets, I did eat a lot of rice, buckwheat, and other grains; didn’t put the two together but starchy Carbs (in any form) do affect blood sugar. It’s possible that I’m not getting enough protein. Upping my animal protein has been a challenge since I’m not real fond of the texture of meat. I’ll try adding more ground meats and flaky fish since those don’t seem to induce a gag reflex. Thank you so much for the information, I really appreciate it.

          1. Hi Michelle,

            You’re very welcome. And yes, those starchy carbs can spike response in insulin. We need carbs but we need them when our body is most responsive to utilize them. Protein definitely helps stabilize those blood sugar levels. Mahi mahi and cod are two of my favorite. They’re very mild fish and flakey. How do you feel about ground chicken? I like to put that in my fritattas. Pulled pork is easy to hide in dishes too. 🙂

          2. I allow myself a carby breakfast, and then am stricter the rest of the day. I found taking away all carbs at breakfast was a sure way for me to get totally derailed!

            As far as losing weight goes, it’s the protein that is the key, not the lack of carbs. Low carb works because people tend to replace the carbs with protein, not because you need to “control” your blood sugar. Protein dulls your appetite and keeps you satiated for longer. I am not strictly paleo and don’t love meat. I’m more of a whole foods, low carb, flexi-vegetarian. 🙂 Lots of dairy, eggs, and beans to up my protein. Meat once or twice a week.

            1. Protein is key. You have to be SUPER diligent to get enough protein from non-meat sources but it can be done. Glad you’ve found what’s working for you.

    50. I love the message behind this blog post! I see so many “paleo” bars and treats labeled with paleo it feels like it is shadowing the real message of paleo, nutrient dense whole foods. The whole30 sex with your pants on idea comes to mind.



      1. Hi Alex…couldn’t agree more. What started as a real food movement has, to some, become about how to label products that get by on technicalities but in reality, are still processed and lower nutrient value.

    51. This is an old article but ever relevant! I found it whilst I was eating a regular (delicious!) donut with my coffee; I was disappointed in myself since I’m on paleo so looked for a paleo recipe. This was so refreshing! Thanks for being so real – especially about the costs too! Gosh it’s expensive to bake under ‘paleo’ regulations.

      Appreciate this so much. Thank you again! 🙂 x

    52. Wonderful post, and something we really need to be reminded about. I also commend the bakers out there who are using paleo treat recipes for special occasions and to help their gluten-free and paleo kids feel more normal. I recently used a combination of paleo cake and icing recipes to make a beautiful three-layer wedding cake for my paleo son and daughter-in-law! It was delicious and enjoyed by everyone!

      1. Hi Mary! Agree with you about special occasions and of course, the severity of the sensitivity. Sounds like your creation was enjoyed by all!

    53. I’m one of the few that enjoys paleo treats 110% more than the “real thing”. I’m intolerant to wheat and dairy. Plus cane sugar makes my chest hurt. I understand I’m the minority here since I don’t come from a wheat and sugar addiction background but rather I got sick to my stomach. I am liberated now! I can actually enjoy a dessert occasionally, usually on a birthday or special occasion, and everything I’ve come across that I’ve successfully made (white coconut cream cing is my Achilles heal) had tasted amazing.
      But I do agree that it’s not something to have daily and give free reign to indulge in

    54. Preach it! I have found dates and other dry fruit, used as a sweetener, don’t trigger sugar cravings. They are a whole food and are high in fiber. But all other sweeteners are no better than white sugar. Raw sugar and fruit juice have decent nutrition, but other sweeteners are quite nutrient poor.

      I’m currently testing vegan paleo cakes so that i can have a good one in my arsenal that everyone in the family can eat. Fortunately it’s the holidays so i can take them to one of the many parties and just eat one piece myself! I’ve learned to make 1/2 or 1/3 of a recipe because many are not that good and the ingredients are pricey.

      1. I think the dried fruit as a trigger depends on the person. For me, dried fruit triggers sugar cravings because it’s such a concentrated sweetness 😉

      1. Thanks very much Jamey! My aim is to provide thinking points for folks. They may not be opinions everyone agrees on all the time, but I think it’s important to prompt people to really think about their own points of view. I sure will post soon 🙂

    55. And what ad was displayed smack dab in the middle of this post?? High-protein low-carb ice cream! LOL How about not receiving payouts from companies promoting the exact thing you’re preaching against?

      1. Hi Anna,

        Appreciate you writing in to me about ads, and I wanted to explain how that works. I work with an ad company that offers more food and lifestyle ad fill than most other companies. While I am able to turn off certain sensitive categories (ex: gambling, sexual health) I’m not allowed to turn off all the ads, and I can’t control the exact fill.

        Please note that the specific ads that display for each and every person who comes to my site will be different, and much of it is determined off browsing history, cookies, and retargeting…

        For example, I was researching trips to New Zealand on Air New Zealand’s website and for the next two weeks, I was served ads on my own site for a New Zealand vacation. Another example…right now I see an ad for Canon cameras on my homepage. Why? I’m a photographer and frequently search for camera gear, photography sites, etc.

        I’m not saying you searched for high protein ice cream, but something in your browsing history would have fit the demographic / user profile for that particular ad to pop up.

        Trust me when I say that I’d LOVE to do an ad-free website, I really would. I don’t like the look of the ads. But we don’t run a membership or fee-based website, so there aren’t many ways to cover the actual cost of the website hosting and maintenance unless we run the ads. It’s a catch-22…but because there is so much free content, the cost must be covered somehow.

        I hope this gives you a better understanding of how the ads work.



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