Whether or not there should be a place in our diets for paleofied baked goods is one of the most contentious issues in the paleo community. Opinions differ from one vehement extreme to the other, some believing strongly that there should be no place for these SAD mimics in our diets while others rely on these types of foods as the only way they can “do paleo”. Families looking to switch to paleo often thrive on paleo-friendly muffin and bread recipes and paleo mimics of pizza (recipe coming soon) and chicken fingers to ease the transition. I have noticed that my paleo baking recipes receive way more pageviews than most of my other recipes, but that’s not why I post them. I believe that making paleo sustainable means making room for treats like these from time to time.
In my family, we only eat them occasionally (and when I’m working on a recipe for the blog, I often halve the recipe, freeze leftovers, and/or share the baking with friends and neighbors). Although, I do have to admit that paleo bread is a staple for my husband and kids (not for me due to the carb content and the ingredients restricted on the Autoimmune Protocol). Since my oldest started kindergarten, I have been letting my kids eat more treat foods like chocolate date squares (which I usually make without the cocoa), granola bars, and my daughter’s new favorite protein bars (recipe coming soon) for afternoon snacks.
How frequently you indulge is an individual choice. Your own health issues, your goals (and how far away from them you are), your personal optimal carbohydrate intake, and what you need to make paleo sustainable for you are all important factors to help you gauge how often is right for you. I would like to see you enjoy the occasional treat (I do believe there is a good quality of life argument to be made here), but I don’t want to give you license to eat as much baking as you want because these treats do tend to be higher in carbohydrates and lower in nutrients than the foods that are displaced by them (although much lower in carbohydrates and higher in nutrients than the SAD equivalents). Make this a conscious choice. If you’re ready for a “cheat”, a paleofied treat will not irritate your gut or cause inflammation. But for most people, these should be enjoyed only on occasion.