Paleo 101 + Coconut Flour Bars with Dark Chocolate {paleo, gluten-free}

I’m not a vegetarian.  But when I eat animal products, I make sure they’re of the organic, grass-fed variety or fresh (never eat farm raised salmon, but that’s a post for another day).  Let’s just say I don’t eat meat often, but I’ve been toying with the idea of trying to incorporate it in my diet a bit more.  I also don’t consume dairy 99% of the time and eat clean whenever possible.  Needless to say I am intrigued by the Paleo lifestyle and figured I’d brush up on it and give you guys a little lesson in the process!

Paleo

So what that heck is the Paleo Diet anyway?  (info cred goes to the Institute for Integrative Nutrition)

What you’ll be eating:

  • meat, including poultry & fish
  • veggies
  • eggs
  • quinoa
  • fruits (limited)
  • nuts
  • healthy fats, like coconut oil and avocado

What you won’t be eating:

  • grains (think: wheat, rye, barley, oats, brown rice)
  • dairy (with the exception of ghee and grass-fed butter)
  • processed foods
  • sugars

I like the whole foods based approach and the focus on eating organic.  I also like the incorporation of healthy fats and avoiding processed foods and sugars.  The low glycemic nature of this way of eating is great for stabilizing blood sugar – say bye to cravings and binges!

What else?  The diet is low-carb, the primary source of which is mainly veggies.  With the Paleo Diet, it’s also important to listen to your body for hunger cues, and only to eat when you’re truly hungry.

I love how Paleo promotes exercise too!  Staying active is key for overall health.

There’s more to it, but that’s it in a nutshell.

Recipe Time

Now I obviously now need to share a Paleo recipe…

Every now and then I want chocolate.  Okay fine, I want chocolate ALL THE TIME.  This can be a bit of a problem so I try to incorporate a moderate amount of chocolate into my life (sometimes daily) with healthy recipes.  I came across this one and added to my “to make” list: “The Best Coconut Flour Chocolate Chunk Bars” from Ambitious Kitchen – click here for full recipe.

I quickly realized I had all the ingredients on hand, however, and got to baking immediately.

Yes, I had coconut flour on hand.  Random, yes, but it’s a great gluten-free flour option.  (Just don’t substitute it for all-purpose or anything crazy like that – find coconut flour specific recipes!)

Did I mention these bars are Paleo and gluten-free?

Coconut Flour Bars with Dark Chocolate

My tweaks:

  • I used agave – while I love honey, and maple syrup is okay, I think agave has the best taste in baked goods; maybe that’s just me.
  • I added a little extra vanilla
  • I got crazy and used pink salt in the recipe, but I sprinkled a couple of pinches of sea salt on top before baking – I highly recommend doing this, especially if you’re a salty/sweet freak like me.
  • Definitely add those unsweetened coconut flakes!
coconut flour goodness

coconut flour goodness

My take:

I  basically devoured the whole pan by myself in the course of three days!  Also to note: the boyfriend vehemently dislikes coconut and most of my “healthy” cooking, but thought these bars were, “actually really good!”  He had no idea these scrumptious bars were laden with coconut…oil, flour & flakes!  I’m so sneaky, what can I say?

Do you follow the Paleo Diet?

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