Q&A: Cravings, Allergies, Eating Out, and Paleo



We received some great questions recently about lingering cravings, subbing out flours for nut allergies and how to turn down food at friends’ houses. I thought I’d share them here for anyone who has similar concerns.

Q: Curbing Cravings
I am still having cravings and giving into them for bread and sweets. Not huge quantities but a definite “need” to have a piece or two of bread each day. I’ve been sticking to rice based gluten-free bread but would honestly rather get rid of the craving. Can you suggest an approach to this? I wouldn’t have the stuff in the house if it were up to me but my son and husband purchase it.

Often in the beginning of the diet, people don’t eat enough fat, and fat can be incredibly helpful in curbing cravings. It will add a few more calories to your diet, but after a while (when you’re done detoxing and your body is better at using fat as fuel), you’ll be able to taper down the fat and still not have cravings. For a while, use a bit more oil, and eat more avocados, coconut products and fattier cuts of meat.

However, if you’re a serious athlete, you may be having real cravings for carbs because your body actually needs more carbs. Have baked sweet potatoes on hand in the fridge that you can just warm up when you get cravings. Put some coconut milk and cinnamon on it and it’s an awesome treat. Better than bread in my opinion. Or try any of our sweet potato recipes on the site, like the Sweet Potato, Pomegranate and Lime dish. Make some Paleo muffins in our dessert section and individually wrap them and put them in the fridge or freezer. Eat one a day or so and it should curb that craving. I make a triple batch and freeze them individually wrapped, and they last about a month (depending on how many people steal muffins from me :)

Q: Almond Substitute
Hi and thank you for this great resource, I appreciate it. However, I have a question concerning my son who has a nut allergy. What could be substituted for almond flour, as that is a staple in your recipes? He eats his own choosing during the day, but at dinnertime I like to cook for the whole family. Thank you for any help you can offer.

Good question. You can substitute almond flour with a combination of tapioca flour and coconut flour. I’d go half and half or 3/4 tapioca and 1/4 coconut and see how things go. Coconut flour absorbs a LOT of liquid, so you have to either combine it with other flours or use 6 eggs for every 1/2 cup of flour. If you’re going to do 1/2 and 1/2, maybe add an egg or two to the batter, or some other kind of liquid (apple sauce, mushed up banana, coconut milk, etc.). It just depends on the recipe and what you’re trying to do with it. There’s also sweet potato flour now, but it’s very expensive. There are a lot of recipes online for baked goods using just coconut flour, so I’d just experiment with some of them and see what ratios you like. For the best results, however, you can substitute almond flour for cassava flour. They swap out in a 1:1 ratio.

Q: Eating at Friends’ Houses (or Turning Down Food Politely)
My chiropractor recommended Paleo to me because I want to lose weight. I am getting married next August, and my fiance and I just had a baby last December. My pre-pregnency weight was 177 and I wasn’t happy with my weight then. My dream weight would be 140 or so. I started Paleo 5 years ago when I weighed 205 and now I weigh 195. On top of that I just stopped breastfeeding so some weight loss may be attributed to that. It’s been really hard for me to pick out foods at the grocery store because there are isles and isles of strictly grains. Cereal, chips crackers, bread everything. I have never been so motivated and excited about a diet before, I just want to tell everyone about it. The only problem I have is my fiance isn’t interested in this diet at all so when I make dinner I have to cook him a totally different meal, and that has been very hard. He doesn’t take me very seriously and even put a spoonful of cookie dough in my face and begged me to eat it. I said no, and that’s when I realized I can do this. What do you do when you go to someone’s house for a party or dinner? How do you turn down food without sounding rude?

Sounds like you need to have a good long chat with your fiancé about your priorities and his willingness to support you (and perhaps his willingness to make his own dinner). Those are my unsolicited two cents about that. As far as turning down food at people’s houses, you can do a few things. If you have a bad reaction to certain foods (grains, dairy, etc.), you can just tell them you’re allergic or sensitive to the foods they’re serving you. Most people don’t argue with that. Or you can tell them you’re on a low-carb diet to lose weight and most people don’t argue with that, either. It’s when you start telling them that you don’t eat certain foods because we didn’t evolve eating them, etc. etc. that people get up in arms and defensive because they feel judged.

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t ever tell people why you eat the way you do. It’s just that when someone is standing over you trying to serve you their homemade lasagna at a table of 10, it might not be the right time. A “no thank you – I already ate/I’m allergic/I’m on a diet” is just easier at that point.

If you do refuse their food, you’re left with the problem of having nothing to eat. So you can bring your own food to substitute for their non-Paleo foods. Or you can eat before you go to friends’ houses so you can just munch a little on the things you CAN eat at their house. Your friend is probably going to serve salad with that lasagna, or some kind of veggie, so dig into that so you don’t hurt her feelings too much (or look weird with nothing on your plate). Stay strong!