Paleo junkfood is still junkfood (and why I eat it anyway)

paleo junk food is still junk food
There are no shortage of paleo dessert cookbooks, fancy bars and paleo cookies. Us paleo folk are really, really good at finding replacements for every standard junk food item out there. Paleo donuts? We’ve got em. Paleo doritos… Siete nacho flavor fits the bill.

The heart of the paleo diet is all about eating nutrient dense food. Paleo junk food.. Eh not so much.

So do I think we should all be eating strictly perfect paleo all day long, all year long, for the rest of our lives? Of course not.

Paleo junk food is still junk food but why I eat it anyway

I’m going to eat “junk food” for the rest of my life.

I enjoy food far too much to never have a cookie or potato chip ever again. But here’s the thing. Will I eat a dorito ever again? Probably not. I don’t need to. Why? Because I have alternatives made from real food with real ingredients. They may not be the most nutrient dense foods out there, and sure, maybe I’m replacing a meal of vegetables to splurge on a paleo treat every once in a while… but ya know what? I’m still “paleo” and I don’t care.

Would I maintain a paleo lifestyle year after year if I didn’t allow myself to eat “junk food.” No, I’d go insane. There is absolutely no way I would maintain a healthy long term paleo lifestyle sticking to the best of the best, day in and day out.

I’m still going to occasionally use food to self medicate. I don’t think I need a therapist. I think I’m normal. But I don’t have to eat crap, even if I’m in one of those moods. I can find a clean, reasonably healthy alternative to almost anything. So I will.

It may not have been nutrient dense or amazing for my health but it doesn’t wreck havoc on my body like processed food. It’s been at least 4 years since I’ve had a dorito or a real, gluten filled, sugary-frosted donut.

I lead a paleo lifestyle now. I don’t eat crap.


And I do stay sane.

Paleo junk food should be treated just like normal junk food was once treated in your life. It’s an occasional treat that keeps you from feeling deprived and helps you get through those tough times when it’s easy to “cheat” and reach for some processed poison.

I don’t need to eat poison because ingenuity is one of the paleo community’s best traits.


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By |2018-01-25T17:56:42+00:00September 10th, 2017|Nourish|7 Comments

About the Author:

Hi, I'm Ania. I'm a natural living, primal advocating mom of a crazy toddler.


  1. Mary Blackburn September 11, 2017 at 6:46 pm - Reply

    Great points, Ania! The very same could be said for gluten-free living as well. Although I would say that Paleo junk food is probably a lot more healthy than it’s gluten-free cousin.

    I agree that eating junk food for comfort, or as you say, to self medicate, is normal. Even health coaches fall off the wagon, so to speak, every once in a while. Enjoy it, without regrets, and then climb back up on there and start over again.

  2. Cheryl September 11, 2017 at 8:11 pm - Reply

    I always say 90/10 is a good thing! IfI nevet ate “junk food”…a great chocolate chip cookie warm from the oven…I would be crazy!

  3. Shellie Bolyard September 12, 2017 at 3:12 pm - Reply

    I think balance and awareness are really important. Learning how to decode nutrition labels and ingredient lists will go a long way in creating health. Although nothing is impossible, it is really hard to eat clean, fresh, whole foods 100% of the time in this modern age. If we can train ourselves to pick the best option for us in each given moment, we will all be healthier and happier. I completely agree, eat without guilt! Enjoy your food and your treats. Guilt has no place in our diets (or our lives).

  4. Kelly (Kitchen Gone Rogue) September 15, 2017 at 3:40 pm - Reply

    Thanks for keepin’ it real (in more ways than 1)! 🙂

  5. Elly McGuinness September 16, 2017 at 1:06 am - Reply

    There’s definitely a scale of choices we can make and its hugely important to be able to enjoy food. Deprivation is what will be more likely to cause problems down the track. Enjoy your paleo cookies as part of your overall plan – I will be too!

  6. Anon October 20, 2017 at 5:18 pm - Reply

    A Paleo lifestyle isn’t about replacing junk ingredients with other junk ingredients. It’s about changing one’s dietary habits–eating fresh whole foods that are close to nature, in other words, versus merely switching to “Paleo-ized” but equally unhealthful comfort foods. People who eat like this often complain that Paleo didn’t work for them, neither health-wise nor weight-wise. Wow, I wonder why!! You might consider yourself to be Paleo, but are you really? Seems to me that you miss the intent entirely.

    • livecleannourish October 20, 2017 at 5:58 pm - Reply

      First of all, I welcome healthy debate. Second of all, I state clearly in my title that paleo junkfood IS STILL JUNKFOOD and do not claim otherwise. My point, is that very few people (apparently you), are capable of living the rest of their lives without ever having a treat again. The diet that works is the diet that people will do. I advocate strongly for nutrient dense food, always have, always will. My point is that instead of giving up on the paleo diet because it’s too difficult, instead of eating processed poison, instead of going back down the path of the standard american diet.. you can find CLEANER, more healthful options using ingredients you can pronounce. Yeah, honey isn’t perfect, but it’s no high fructose corn syrup. Paleo treats are still junkfood and should be treated as such (which I also state in the article). But you have to be realistic and practical, people are going to occasionally eat a treat. And many people don’t even start the paleo diet because they think they can’t do it, it’s too hard, how could they live the rest of their lives without a brownie? I think it’s better to eat 80-90% healthy nutrient dense food and an occasional treat then continue down a standard american diet because you were told you couldn’t be paleo if you ate paleo junkfood.

      I AM paleo, I don’t lose my paleo card because I occasionally have a paleo treat to stay sane. My days are filled with pasture raised animals, vegetables and eggs.. everything else is an extra.

      Mark Sisson, Chris Kresser, Diane Sanfilippo, Robb Wolf, they all advocate, to some extent, an 80/20 style diet that occasionally allows for indulgences. There’s more to life than diet, you have to enjoy life and if that means occasionally having a paleo brownie… so be it.

      I don’t see any reason to be on a high horse judging people for doing the best they can and telling them they are not paleo.

      I do not miss the intent entirely, I devote all my free time to the paleo lifestyle, to helping people get off the standard american diet and making their lives better through cleaner food, less toxins, proper exerice, reduced stress, taking into account circadian rhythm, getting in touch with nature, and much much more.

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