There has been a lot of debate lately surrounding AIP and Paleo desserts. Some people are saying that these treats, while made with primal ingredients, still don’t have a place in a nourishing diet because they are filled with large amounts of sugar in the form of fruit or natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup. This can in turn stimulate some people to have sugar cravings or trigger flares in autoimmune symptoms.
It is true, that these treats and desserts contain much more natural sugar than any Paleolithic ancestor would have had in any meal or even over the course of many days. It is also true that depending on what gut issues you are facing a large amount of sugar, even as a limited treat, can be a problem. For example, if you are suffering from a small intestinal bacterial overgrowth or yeast overgrowth it is recommended that you keep your fructose intake to under 20g a day, thus if a large amount of sugar is delivered to your gut in the form of an AIP friendly dessert, your symptoms may flare.
It is also important to note that if you struggle with emotional eating habits even natural sugars may be more of a problem than anything else because they can still stimulate your brain, triggering cravings and an emotional response than may make it difficult for you to keep your sweet intake to a minimum.
All of that being said, I am still in favor of paleo and AIP desserts and here is why: AIP and Paleo are not diets in the popular use of the word. I follow the autoimmune protocol but because I am not trying to lose weight and I do not have a small intestinal bacterial over growth or yeast problem I eat more starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes and plantains than someone struggling with different issues might be able to eat. I am also unable to consume canned fish a staple for many people on AIP, even wild caught and organic packaged in nothing but salt makes me very sick and I have no idea why.
Paleo and AIP are not diets meant to be a one size fits all answer, they are individualized nutrition plans built on a set of evidenced based principles. We do not all have the same ancestral background, we do not all have the same level of gut health and we do not all have the exact same set nutritional needs. Therefore, paleo and AIP treats should be understood in this light. If large amounts of natural sugars cause an increase in YOUR symptoms do not eat them. If large amounts of natural sugars give YOU intense sugar cravings that derail your progress and make it hard for you to achieve a balance between nourishing foods and treats do not eat them.
However, if you need a treat every now and again to keep you from feeling deprived and unhappy, than have one so that you can move forward feeling satisfied and continue working towards your goals. If you need a treat because you are surrounded by people eating your old comfort foods and paleo ice cream is still a much better option than a tub of Ben and Jerry’s, please have a treat. If its your birthday and the thought of a birthday without a cake just depresses you, than make a delicious AIP friendly cake. Just remember to get back to your bone broth, liver, and leafy greens the next day and make sure to lay off the sweets for a while before your next celebration.
Don’t get so caught up in the details of what is “good” and what is “bad” that you miss the point, AIP and Paleo are about YOUR healing. If something causes problems for you than it does not have a place in your diet, in my opinion that is what matters the most.
If you are in need of a summer treat that feels gourmet but is simple and subtle I hope you enjoy this Lavender Honey Mint Ice Cream. It is creamy and delicious, has the sweetness of honey and the subtle notes of lavender and mint. It honestly tastes like a beautiful day spent in a summer garden. Enjoy!
- 1 full can of coconut milk
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- 1/3 cup of honey
- 2 TBS lavender buds
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 2 TBS of Fresh Mint leaves
- In a sauce pan combine all of your ingredients
- Bring ingredients to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
- Cover the saucepan and remove from heat for 30 minutes.
- Strain your mixture to remove mint leaves and lavender buds.
- Place ice cream mixture in the fridge until cool.
- When cool, pour into an ice cream maker and follow manufacturer directions.
- If you do not have an ice cream maker, pour your liquid into a dish and put it in the freezer for 45 minutes.
- Remove from the freezer and either mix by hand or with an immersion blender, breaking up any frozen chunks.
- Repeat this every 30 minutes until you desired consistence is reached (approx. 2-3 hours)
Note* If you are looking for a good ice cream maker I recommend this one. I just got it and it works great and has your ice cream or frozen dessert ready in less than 20 minutes. Highly recommend.