After 14 months of paleo, my approach to this lifestyle continues to evolve. My reasons to avoid grain and sugar have certainly changed. What started as a weight loss plan has changed into a fueling strategy. Eat good food, lift heavy weights. Repeat daily.
Yet on occasion, I just need a treat, whether it comes in a 12 ounce brown bottle or hot off a cookie sheet. Not that anyone is asking me to justify my treats, but here it goes: Just because it's not "paleo" doesn't mean I can't have any, and just because it is "paleo" doesn't mean I can have as much as I want.
I prefer not to call my treats cheats, but rather choices. One of the many things I've learned to do in the last 14 months is to think about every food choice I make. For example, walking through Costco, I ask myself, do I really need that sample just because it's there? I figure I spare myself at least 500 calories every time I shop there now. But if they happen to have cubes of horseradish cheddar, I'm gonna eat one, and then have my kids go get me another.
It's a good thing to think about what you put in your mouth. It's also a good thing not to over think it. I don't believe there is strength in denying yourself something you want, but there's absolutely no strength in thoughtless consumption. Both extremes cause stress, and stress is NOT paleo.
So grab yourself a beer, if that's your thing too, and whip up a batch of
Paleo Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cups almond meal
2 tablespoons almond butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 to 2 ounces of dark chocolate, chopped into small bits
Preheat oven to 375. In a food processor, chop dates until they start to form a sticky puree. Add remaining ingredients, except for dark chocolate, and mix well. Add dark chocolate bits and pulse a few times to blend.
Drop spoonfuls of dough onto cookie sheet (I like to use my pizza stones - they're still good for something!). Slightly flatten cookies with palm of hand (this way they look more like cookies and less like "poop", as my children like to call paleo treats). Bake for 15 to 18 minutes.
Makes about 16 cookies.