Paleo diets are one of the most popular health and lifestyle trends so far this century. Followers believe that modern diets are leaving us more lethargic and less well-nourished than our cavemen ancestors were. As a result, they aim to eat only foods which could have been enjoyed by paleolithic man -- which rules out dairy, grains (and therefore gluten), legumes, refined sugar and processed oils.
Those of you with a sweet-tooth will have spotted that this means cutting out traditional cakes and sweet treats. But going paleo doesn't necessarily mean depriving yourself of desserts! Here are some healthy alternatives to the refined sugar kick.
With the right ingredients a smoothie can not only be a tasty drink but also a nutritious breakfast. Bananas and avocados make a great base that can be mixed with fruits, vegetables and juices. Try banana, pineapple and coconut milk for a saintly take on a pina colada. Avocado, banana, and blueberries (try frozen ones to cut costs) taste great blended together and can be mixed with green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale for an added boost of nutrients. If you are still craving cakes you could try a cake batter smoothie. Just try mixing a little coconut oil, a banana, a few macademia nuts and a cup of almond milk together along with some vanilla extract. You can add maple syrup or honey and a little cocoa if you want a chocolate-y hit.
Although you've gone grain-free it's still possible to enjoy a crunchy cookie. Many recipes substitute coconut or almond flours for regular flour. Be sure to use a specialist recipe as coconut flour can dry out baked goods. But there are even easier recipes that involve no-baking at all. Nuts and dates (both very paleo-friendly) can be blended together to form a thick sticky paste. Add dried fruit, coconut oil, shredded coconut or vanilla stevia to give flavour. Divide into cookie shapes and leave in the fridge to set. You'll have squidgy, healthy desserts!
Cakes can be hard to resist, but if you have cast-iron willpower you can try your hand at paleo versions. Again, coconut and almond flour make good substitutes for usual flours, and refined white sugar can be switched with erythritol and xylitol, found in fruit. Avocados, honey or maple syrup and cocoa can be blended together to make a healthy alternative to butter-laden frosting. Although it might be tricky to find paleo cakes in bakeries, you can very often find gluten-free -- if you don't mind a little dairy in your life.
And of course, if you keep your diet full of healthy snacks and treats then a slice of the real deal won't hurt every now and again. Contact bakeries like Cookies and More to see if they have gluten free or paleo options.