Paleo Dessert, the Fun Oxymoron

Chocolate Hazelnutbutter Cups
Chocolate Hazelnutbutter Cups from What the Fork Food Blog might be a cleaner treat option that keeps you from jumping off the paleo wagon head first.

Every time I hear the term “Paleo dessert” it makes me want to laugh. I always picture a caveman with no clothing except a frilly apron, checking a pie in the cave oven.

“Not ready just yet,” he says, pushing the pie back in, sweeping his finger along the bubbly crust. “Mmm. Could have used a little more honey. Too late for that. Just enough time to hunt a mastodon before this bad boy is ready!”

It’s kind of a funny pairing of terms: paleo and dessert. They seem antithetical, incongruent, an oxymoron at best, like unhealthy fitness. But you know what? So what. If someone else wants to create and/or eat Paleo dessert, what does it matter to me? How does that in any way affect what I’m doing or how I’m eating?

It doesn’t. And it doesn’t affect you, either. Maybe we should worry a little more about our choices and those we teach our children, than what anybody is making for dessert.

The fact of the matter is that while we may follow some of the Paleo diet, we are not cavemen and cavewomen. We live in the 21st century. The Paleozoic Era ended some 500,000 years ago and nobody back then had iPhones or Netflix. And get this: they didn’t have CrossFit.

Whoa. We don’t even know who won the Paleolithic Games back then. What the heck? I sure wish those dudes had known how to write so we’d know. And did they have any events beside Max Lift (Stones) and Sprint From Predators? I have so many unanswered questions.

Seriously, the point here is that we humans are a funny bunch. We take our modern viewpoint and apply it to an ancient viewpoint in a modern world … and then we get confused by the differing interpretations and results.

But what if we didn’t? What if we didn’t try to live strictly and obsessively? What if we gave a little here or a little there (maybe had a little dessert or a PaleoKrunch Bar) and then got back on track? What if we didn’t try to beat ourselves up for a slight indulgence? What if we didn’t try to earn our food in the gym? What if we just lived sometimes?

Crazy talk, right? Many of us are way more vested in our nutrition/health/fitness than the average American. We care about what is in our food and what those ingredients do to our bodies. And we should! We take the time to take care of ourselves, to work out, to make smart choices and pass those lessons on to our kids.

But have you considered that maybe it’s good to have a release valve, a moment of indiscretion, an admittance of our humanness, our flawed centers, our inability to be perfect all the time? Maybe that’s even healthier than perfection.

I once said this: “Sometimes, we make our own kind of crazy and it’s counter-productive to our goals.” I still believe that. And if that’s you? Then it’s okay to take the pressure off yourself and have a break or a treat … as long as you get back to your path. Don’t stay off the horse. Climb back on and ride. But if you fall off, don’t stand there berating yourself for falling. Pick a soft spot to land, if you can. Make that treat something sort of healthy instead of a 3-day Nachoathon where your kids find you with glazed eyes and glazed donuts after 34 straight episodes of The Walking Dead and you make them call you “Carol.” Don’t do that.

Now, I’m not saying this is the right decision for everyone. I know some folks can only hew to that straight and narrow. Some folks find if they don’t take the right fork in the road, they end up taking the dessert fork and never putting it back down. Gainz (the good kind) are lost and GAINS (the bad kind) start. So, if you know you’re that kind of person, stick with your meat, vegetables, some fruit, little starch, no sugar. Don’t stress yourself with a little dessert. As always, the answer is to stick to what works for you.

Overall, just remember that we are in this race for the long run called life. A Paleo dessert may sound funny but it’s probably not going to kill you, although 15000 Paleo desserts might. Choose wisely and keep going. We’ve got a Sprint from Predators coming up!

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