In recent times, I came across pretty damning reported news on the Paleo diet. Some articles like this and this. While I’m not 100% paleo all the time, I find myself a little upset as I scroll through these stories.
Upon reflection, I realised why.
1) For many, the word diet is prescribed. Almost like a manual of this is what you SHOULD eat and it fits EVERYONE. Honestly, I disagree with that. Everyone is different. You got to find what works for you. It’s like finding a good pair of jeans. There are many kind of jeans, but not every design will suit you. Keep trying and eventually you will find it (I hope. I’m still searching).
Personally, I have went off grains, dairy and gluten before. I wanted to know how my body react without and with it. I found that I can tolerate some grains like rice and legumes, and full fat yogurt, some cheeses and sometimes even milk. Gluten is a hit and miss so I tend to avoid it but I do have it from time to time as well with little impact. I believe that my gut is getting better and can tolerate more things. I like this article by Chris Kresser and agree with his conclusion on legumes. I identify myself more with eating clean because I do not follow every single exact “shoulds” as some paleo police have indicated. I prefer to follow and listen to my own body. Having said that, the framework of paleo provided a guideline and direction which I certainly appreciate it when I first started on my journey of eating clean.
2) The fundamentals of the paleo diet is this- clean, natural, as close to the source as possible and as less processed as we can. Let’s be realistic here, life has revolved. We do not hunt and gather. I’m not a believer of evolution either, but do believe that as humans we have adapt and change over the years. However, I think we over complicate things as technology takes over. Sometimes, it’s just makes sense to go back down to basics and enjoy food the way it could be enjoyed.
2) The jokes about how our ancestors do not have “paleo desserts” -like treats made out of almond meal and dates blended together. Again, I think it comes down to common sense. I can see why the jokes like that appear, but to me, life is to be enjoyed and should be filled with “yeses’ instead of “nos”. Yup, they do not fit into the “evolutionary picture perhaps but we have evolved and have grown to know about treats. So treat them as such (ha ha, pun intended). If I feel like something sweet, why not choose something that is nutrient dense rather than something that has empty nutrients? Mind you though, I had some delicious non paleo brownie and muffin over the weekend and totally enjoyed every bite in conscious awareness that they probably do not fuel my body the best way possible. It was purely for taste. The other point was that I was able to put my fork down after having a few tastes of it. I tasted it, it was good, that was enough.
The same principle though lies with clean desserts. I bake and make heaps at home. I taste some and I eat some. But do I eat everything? Nope. I give some away, freeze some and pack some for hubby’s work or my work to share. I think people forget that dates do contain sugar. And so does sweet potato and pumpkin. Nuts is another one that I think is over eaten. They are good for you but they do not have to be in everything.
While I bake and make treats with nut butter, I actually prefer having them in its form itself. Same with dark chocolate. As a working mum, I prefer having a stash in the fridge, pantry and freezer because I know my husband and son, will be more likely to have them and less likely to have packaged muffins and biscuits when they are hungry. I try to vary it and play around with coconut flour or just plain coconut. Hubby’s snack box is a mix of vege sticks, maybe dip, perhaps a fruit based muffin or even an egg, perhaps some cheeses and rice crackers or nuts. It varies.
3) The “its a fad thing”. It’s a concern that living healthy and eating clean is considered as a fad. Again, I think it comes down to many individuals strictly following every rule in the “paleo rule book”. Just because I eat legumes and dairy doesn’t mean I do not believe the benefits for the other individual who have decided NOT to eat those same food. My body is mine, their body is theirs. I do understand that legumes and dairy can be inflammatory and less is more but everyone reacts differently.
Now that my rant is over, I was experimenting with some matcha powder (again). I know green tea and chocolate seems to contradict each other but they are really a good match! They are pretty rich with the use of nut and coconut butter, but I cut them into truffle bite size pieces. It makes around 20 tiny pieces but it does pair well with a hot drink (like coffee- which again, isn’t paleo but I love it and have found a happy medium of how much is ok and how much is too much). Because of the richness of cacao, and slight bitterness of matcha, I found that I needed a little more sweetness and added in some honey. Feel free to play around with the amount of honey or dates.
Matcha Fudge Brownie Bites (Makes 20 bite size pieces)
2/3 cups almond meal
1/2 cup almond butter
1/4 cup coconut butter
3 dates soaked in water and then pitted and chopped
reserved 1/4 cup of the water
2 tsp of cacao powder
3 tsp of matcha powder
1/2 tablespoon of honey
1/4 cup of coconut oil
1/2 cup of coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla paste.
Preheat Oven to 160C
Whisk wet ingredients like eggs, honey, oil, milk and vanilla up. In another bigger bowl, add all dry ingredients. Spoon into a small baking tin (say around 6by6 inch or use slice tray but only filled half of it. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Once cooled, dust with matcha powder.