Chocolate chip cookies are hard to resist. Guess what? You don’t have to resist them anymore. Why? We tell you how to make a truly healthy version of this classic treat, Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies!
Think eating healthy means giving up your favorite comfort foods?
Think health and cookies can’t possibly go hand in hand?
If that’s what you’re thinking, you might have to prepare yourself to think again.
Thanks to a host of clever hacks and tweaks that are making traditionally junky food items healthy.
Though conventional dietary wisdom would have you believe that to get ripped, you have to toss the treats, thankfully, this is not the case. So this year, forget depriving yourself of homemade treats and just use some clever tweaks to lighten them up. You can truly have your cake, or in this case, cookies, and eat them too.
If you’re like most of America, chocolate chip cookies are a comfort food staple. The good news is that just because you’re committing to healthy habits in 2017 that doesn’t mean you have to keep yourself out of the cookie jar for life.
One of the most popular and fastest-growing dietary trends is the Paleo diet. Heard of it? It is nearly impossible to avoid, with dietitians, celebs and everyone in between swearing by its benefits. Eating a Paleo diet opens up the doors to enjoying many of your favorite treats, sans guilt.
Resolving to slash some pounds in 2017?
Wanting to finally kick unhealthy, processed options to the curb in the coming year?
Us too. But even so, life and food should be enjoyed. If this has been your dilemma, look no further. Paleo can easily be your solution. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits, how to follow a Paleo diet and how Paleo chocolate chip cookies can still be a part of a healthy lifestyle.
What Is Paleo?
You’ve no doubt heard of Paleo, but do you know what it truly means?
In many ways, it’s like some other dietary terms such as natural or gluten-free. We throw it around, oftentimes without truly understanding the benefits or even how to follow it. If you have felt that you’ve been in the dark about the paleo diet plan, let us help you clear it up and understand the benefits.
The basic idea of Paleo is simple enough. It preaches a return to the ancient ways of eating. No one can deny that humans have strayed from the way our ancestors once ate. Just look around a grocery store or note the food offerings along the highway.
What do you find?
You’ll see all sorts of fast food, processed snacks, man-made ingredients, genetically modified items and the list goes on. A host of unnatural foods means our diet today would be unrecognizable to ancient man, that why products like paleo protein powders are so popular.
Paleo proposes a simple idea. It tells us that instead of our modern day diet, we should return to the way of yesteryear with our eating. The term Paleo itself refers to the Paleolithic era, which spanned from 2.5 million BC to 10,000 BC. The phase is, according to the Paleo diet, the golden standard for eating.
Why should we step back in time?
While human beings have changed very little over the years, our health and diseases certainly have. Supporters of the Paleo diet point out that human DNA has barely changed at all over the course of thousands of years.
Our health data shows a different story. While we may be genetically the same people as our ancient ancestors, our health woes, such as cancer, heart attacks, and obesity, are on a steep climb.
What’s the one glaring reason for this discrepancy?
It’s likely the foods on our plates.
Still not convinced that the foods we eat today are that different from ancient mans’?
Today, a whopping 31% of our calories come from cereals. Meanwhile, 14% comes from dairy. We drink our calories nowadays too, with 8% coming from sugar-laden juices and sodas. A small percentage is from dressings, oils and junky sweets.
Taken as a whole, this shows that a large slice of our diets come from foods that were not even an option to ancient people. While the rest of our food is mostly animal protein, even our meat is far different. Most of our meat is heavily processed and raised differently than in the ancient days.
How does this stack up against our ancient predecessors’ diets?
They ate what they could find. Most of their diet would be nuts, berries, veggies and meat. This is exactly what the Paleo diet tells modern day eaters to pile their plates with.
What Can You Eat?
Instead of processed foods and packaged meals, Paleo tells us to load up on wild game, berries and nuts. Grains are out. Carbs, added sugars, salt and other foods that we often load up on, are also kicked out of the pantry. Alcohol and anything processed that your ancestors wouldn’t recognize is off limits as well. The same could be said for dairy, grains, tuber, legumes and more.
In other words, anything an ancient hunter-gatherer wouldn’t have had is off limits. Sounds simple enough, right? Fans of the Paleo diet point out that many of the health woes and deaths in this country are due to diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart disease and obesity. Of course, these are largely linked to the foods we eat. Paleo can give us a path to return to simpler ways and avoid many of these health concerns.
These Are The Pros And Cons Of Paleo?
Followers of the Paleo diet point out that quite literally, the diet has stood the test of time. Health problems are on the rise in recent years and that is largely due to the food we consume.
Until the rise of modern agriculture thousands of years ago, food options were far scarcer. And the foods we eat nowadays, such as grain-fed beef and wild game are wildly different from what our ancestors ate. By cutting out modern meats, grains, legumes and dairy, we cut out many of the offenders that cause our modern day disease.
Can Paleo Save Your Life?
Some proponents would say that Paleo could save your life. Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in America today, yet during ancient times, heart attacks and strokes were hardly ever an issue.
By eating more veggies, wild game and seeds, we get far more of the good stuff.
What does that include?
Simple. It includes mostly healthy omega-3 fats, vitamins, antioxidants, minerals and more.
What Do The Paleo Haters Say?
While Paleo has been widely praised and lauded for its supposed benefits, the critics have had plenty to say as well.
Namely, it’s worth noting that while Paleo prides itself on a return to ancient eating habits, we can’t forget one important detail: Our ancient ancestors weren’t always the healthiest. Do we really want to eat like them? This is the main complaint against the Paleo diet. Critics have pointed out that ancient people’s life expectancies were very brief compared to ours. Most of them didn’t live past 30 years of age.
Also, thanks to the foods they ate, or lack of foods, many ancient people were low on calcium and vitamin D. By following a Paleo diet, you might also be as well. And ancient people certainly didn’t escape the health woes that we suffer from today. In fact, there are many parallels.
Paleolithic humans oftentimes had fatal infectious disease, parasites and even hardening of the arteries. Perhaps their food had something to do with this?
While the jury is still out, and Paleo haters and lovers will continue to debate its merits, by even selectively following a Paleo diet, there are many undeniable perks. No one denies that by going Paleo you’ll be cutting out many unearthly foods from your diet. There’s something to be said for any diet that promotes whole foods and even makes typically unhealthy treats less guilt-ridden.
How To Make Healthy Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies
Even if you’re not eating strictly Paleo, going Paleo can certainly help you to stock your pantry with much healthier treats. Going lighter on white carbs and less sugar is always a good thing. For example, whipping up a batch of Paleo chocolate chip cookies means you can still have your treats and not have to worry about your waistline just like with paleo protein balls. By subbing out traditional flour and sugar, you can still have all the taste at a fraction of the calories.
And, if you’re trying to stick to a gluten-free diet or just want to avoid grains for any reason, these are a go for you as well. Vegans will also be happy, as these cookies are dairy, gluten and grain free.
Next time you get a hankering for treats, no need to resist. These are true crowd pleasers too, so whip up a batch for a party, get-together or potluck. We guarantee even the hardest-to-please eaters won’t even know how healthy they are. They’re a true win-win for all parties.
Here’s how to make your own batch.
Ingredients Of Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 slightly beaten egg, or 1 chia egg, which you can make by combining 1 tablespoon of ground chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water. Let this sit until it clumps together and forms a gel-like mix.
1/4 cup of melted and cooled coconut oil. You’ll want your coconut oil room temperature and melted, so stick it in the microwave if it’s too hard, or in the fridge if it’s melted. Why? Using coconut oil that’s too melted will make your cookies greasy.
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
3/4 cup of coconut sugar
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of almond flour, we recommend Bob’s Red Mill brand
1/4 cup of coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
3 oz of coarsely chopped 80% dark chocolate. Be sure to use Paleo-friendly chips.
1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla
Sprinkle on some coarse sea salt.
Instructions On Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a cookie sheet or line with parchment paper. In a large bowl, first mix up your dry ingredients. Combine the coconut flour, almond flour and salt. Then, in another bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together the coconut oil and egg or chia egg. Once combined, mix in vanilla extract.
Add this liquid mix once thoroughly combined to the flours. Mix your dry and wet together well until it forms a dough. Fold in your chocolate chunks. If necessary, use your hands to get the dough moistened. It needs to stick together well. Use your hands, if needed, to thoroughly combine all the ingredients.
Once mixed, use a large tablespoon or a cookie scoop to drop dough onto a baking sheet. Make sure these dough balls are placed about 4 inches apart. Using your hands, you need to be sure to gently flatten your dough. Bake for 12 minutes or until the edges appear to be just a little golden brown and the center no longer looks wet.
Don’t overcook, as they’ll continue to cook on the baking sheet once out of the oven. Sprinkle the cookies with coarse sea salt. Allow them to cool on a cookie sheet for 10 minutes before moving them to a wire rack to finish cooling. Store for up to three days in an airtight container.
Whether or not you decide Paleo is for you as a full time diet and lifestyle, it can certainly help you get healthier and more creative in the kitchen. As is the case when deciding to start any new diet, you should consult your doctor. You should also take into consideration your health and lifestyle before deciding to follow Paleo to a T.
It really doesn’t matter whether you take the plunge or just dabble, by using Paleo-approved tweaks in your cooking, you’ll be able to visit old comfort food favorites, treat yourself to delicious chocolate chip cookies and enjoy them knowing you are not sacrificing your health.
By Emmy Schneider-Green
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