Most desserts – like much of mainstream food – are empty calories that harm us and add nothing to our nutrition, energy, and health. In fact, every bite is dangerous. That’s why I’ve been challenged to make every bite of Paleo Desserts so nutritious, that it can be considered the nucleus of your healthy approach to eating.
Explore the core ingredients of Paleo Desserts! They are:
- Shredded Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
- Coconut oil
- Pure cacao powder
- Chicory root sweetener
- Raw yacon syrup
Just as central are the fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, superfoods.
Empty ingredients? Look elsewhere.
Paleo desserts are made with:
Tart fruits: Tart apples (such as Granny Smith, Fuji, and Pink Lady), blueberries, cranberries, a.a. berries, sour cherries, avocados, limes, and lemons—especially Meyer lemons. Tip: Meyer lemons are not always available; however, they freeze beautifully. You can even zest a frozen Meyer lemon, and juice it later.
A few sweet fruits: Oranges, pears, kumquats, raspberries, strawberries, goji berries, acai berry puree, elderberries, black currants, and chokeberries, all unsweetened. I use these only occasionally because of their higher sugar content.
Leafy green vegetables: Kale, chard, spinach, and so on.
Squash: Summer and winter varieties include zucchini, butternut squash, and pumpkin.
Root vegetables: Root vegetables and their derivatives include carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, fresh ginger, carob (powdered), maca root (powdered), chicory root (roasted granules), and dandelion root (roasted granules). Since coffee is not permitted on the Paleo diet, I use this last as a coffee substitute. If you can’t find dandelion root granules already roasted, roast them yourself. Bake the raw granules on a baking sheet at 300 F., stirring every 5 minutes, for 20 minutes, or until they turn a slightly golden color.
Seaweed/sea vegetables: Hijiki, wakame, and chlorella powder
Thickeners: Eggs, agar flakes, arrowroot powder, and flaxseeds—both dark and golden (the only difference is that dark flaxseeds make your baked goods a dark color). Grind flaxseeds easily in a home coffee grinder and refrigerate.
Salt, herbs, and spices: All should be 100 percent pure and unrefined. Use unprocessed salt, such as Himalayan salt, Celtic salt, or unprocessed sea salt. Unprocessed sea salt is more flavorful than processed table salt. It contains trace minerals that are essential for health, and is free of chemical additives and ant caking agents. It is never perfectly white, and may have colored specs of minerals in it. I use finely ground Himalayan salt as it dissolves more easily. Or you can grind it finely yourself. Herbs include mint and parsley
Spices: Cinnamon, cloves, fresh or ground ginger, and nutmeg.
Other ingredients and flavorings: Use pure vanilla extract, almond extract, maple flavoring, and Bragg’s Raw Organic Apple Cider Vinegar or any live vinegar. Nutritional yeast adds a buttery flavor to baked goods; however, you may omit it and the recipe will be fine.
Tea and coffee: I use Tulsi tea, also called Holy Basil tea, which tastes a lot like black tea, and contains no caffeine. Some of my recipes use instant decaffeinated coffee crystals. Some people don’t like decaf powder because of the chemicals used in the decaffeinating process. Look for naturally decaffeinated coffee. Mount Hagen sells coffee made by a 100% natural CO2 decaffeination process that I consider safe. I buy Mount Hagen coffee crystals and grind the whole contents of the jar, so they dissolve instantly in recipes.
Seeds and nuts: Buy them whole, fresh, and raw: almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pistachios, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, hemp seeds, poppy seeds, or buckwheat pure, unsweetened nut butters, such as almond butter and hazelnut butter. Nuts are a true Paleo food, rich in proteins, healthy fats and enzymes.
What’s Not in These Recipes?
Well, frankly, a lot:
These recipes do not use grains (wheat, spelt, barley, rye, oats, rice, etc.), corn (cornstarch, corn syrup, etc.), beans or legumes (fava beans, chickpeas, etc.), soy (tofu, soy milk), dairy (milk, cream, yogurt, cheese, butter), peanuts (or peanut butter), or potatoes (potato starch / flour).
They contain no processed or prepared foods, and no sugars or artificial sweeteners. There are no refined or extracted sweeteners, such as agave nectar, maple syrup, coconut palm sugar, brown rice syrup, stevia, or stevioside. Not even honey, which is loaded in carbs. And no dried fruits, such as raisins, dates.
My recipes do not use commercial coconut flour, which is a by-product of the oil extraction process. It has been processed, defatted and pulverized with the fibrous hull and brown husk. It’s great for flouring pans, however!
Paleo Desserts contain no empty calories, no processed ingredients, no toxins that are in so many refined foods. They contain only pure, nutritious natural foods that give us energy and health.
So have a healthy, luscious dessert!