1

votes

What is the least harmful way to cheat?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 19, 2011 at 9:29 PM

I've been VLC paleo for half a year now, but haven't managed 100% compliance for more than a month or so. Some items that I tend to let slip in:

  • Diet soda (artificial sweeteners)
  • Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (pure sugar)
  • A slice of birthday cake (sugar AND gluten)
  • A slice of pizza (gluten AND casein)
  • A glass of Delerium Tremens (gluten AND alcohol)

If you know that you're going to break at some point, what are the least harmful cheats to partake in? Does it take longer for you to recover from a sugar high, a bit of gluten, or some other evil ingredient I've neglected?

Medium avatar

(39821)

on December 08, 2011
at 06:58 PM

...if you're not active, become active, then eat some carbs.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on December 08, 2011
at 06:57 PM

The VLC is likely the reason you're craving that crap. If you're active, eat some carbs.

E242ecf1fecbac866894059f5304b4c6

(318)

on December 08, 2011
at 06:02 AM

and i'm unimpressed by you. go figure.

Dfada6fe4982ab3b7557172f20632da8

(5332)

on December 08, 2011
at 02:48 AM

Bacon is not naughty. Also, why deny yourself condiments? Make your own, they're so much better!

Bcad307b240275ae3f5820ba6eb4a712

(923)

on July 20, 2011
at 09:54 PM

Zevia contains Erythritol which is unique amongst sugar-alcohols for not causing digestive distress. If eat a few pieces of gum in quick succession, I get bloated. But, with Erythritol, nothing. The NSA So Delicious coconut ice cream is also sweetened this way, and its delicious.

Bcad307b240275ae3f5820ba6eb4a712

(923)

on July 20, 2011
at 09:52 PM

Its super easy. http://www.instructables.com/id/Homemade-Magic-Shell-Recipe/

Bee33f6da1beec1cf15e3e7003f0120d

(351)

on July 20, 2011
at 08:14 PM

Sure, I wasn't saying "home made pizza is healthfood, eat it twice a day", just that at least it would actually have some protien and veggies, unlike soda. We're talking the least harmful junk here.

510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20888)

on July 20, 2011
at 04:07 PM

If you care about health, then you won't cheat. Really! But if you want to rank them, then absolutely stay away from gluten, from what I've read it can take up to 6 weeks to have the gut heal from a single exposure, so if you're "cheating" once a month, you're never healing. Then next in the evil are the artificial sweeteners. We know that sugar is evil, but at least we know what kind of evil it is, we don't really know what the artificial sweeteners are doing to us. If your choices are beer, coke, diet coke, and milk. Then by far milk is the best choice.

510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20888)

on July 20, 2011
at 04:05 PM

Just because it's "homemade" doesn't mean is not processed. How much processing is necessary to turn the wheat into flour that you then process into your homemade cookies and pizza.

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on July 20, 2011
at 03:28 PM

Oh yeah, I swear it can satisfy even the most intense sweet cravings!

E7a462d6e99fec7e8f0ddda11b34a770

(1638)

on July 20, 2011
at 02:04 PM

Tried Zevia, but, unfortunately, to me, stevia has the same yucky aftertaste as artificial sweeteners so no go there.

8c5533ffe71bd4262fedc7e898ead1ba

(1724)

on July 20, 2011
at 01:55 PM

Wow I never thought of that. I totally love dates when I want something sweet, but with almond butter. . . wow, gonna have to try that.

5a901eefdef8aa8b9547e4ccb694e2ae

on July 20, 2011
at 12:28 PM

Homemade magic shell? Please share that recipe!

Medium avatar

(1029)

on July 20, 2011
at 11:53 AM

stevia causes an insulin release.

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on July 20, 2011
at 11:39 AM

Thats fairly individual. A friend of mine gets a return of wicked lupus sx with sugar, I feel like ass for 24 hours after eating significant gluten, but small amounts dont bother me. Dairy is a regular part of my diet with no issues. You have to figure for yourself what bothers you or stalls progress on your goals. That said, I think its safe to say that even cheats should be FOOD and soda and candy are not food.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 20, 2011
at 10:56 AM

cheers for delerium tremens!

235259a645be3cac56196e0489dbc8f4

on July 20, 2011
at 07:34 AM

did you know there is actually chocolate coconut butter...its awesome in recipes and as a shell coating for fruit...gets hard in the fridge!

235259a645be3cac56196e0489dbc8f4

on July 20, 2011
at 07:29 AM

I recently tried this....So Delicious mint chip ice cream...coconut and destroyed the whole pint...its wicked awesome!

Cc7381bd787721575ea9198048132adb

(5541)

on July 20, 2011
at 03:47 AM

To put it simply, coke and diet coke = never. Aspartame is poison and the amount of sugar in a single coke is just ridiculous. Beer is pretty rough if you're more sensitive to gluten but will have a lower insulin/inflammatory response than milk depending on the brew. It's tough to actually rank how bad cheats are because everyone is different.

Ed983a42344945b1ff70fd9597a23493

on July 19, 2011
at 10:45 PM

Btw~Zevia also has alcohol sugars, and can really create chaos in the digestive tract of sensitive individuals(such as myself)!

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18 Answers

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4
C857f08dc74f17b453d40c5fc3968bc9

on July 19, 2011
at 11:24 PM

Two things on your cheats: Are you actually allergic to either dairy or gluten? If you have a sensitivity, my naturopath said, the use of these foods differs. If you've got a dairy problem, the more dairy you have, the worse your response will be. With gluten, whether you have a cracker or a loaf of bread, it's all the same b/c gluten "expands" (like dough sitting out to "rise") -- so if you're going to choose a gluten day, enjoy. But if you're choosing a dairy cheat, keep portions small.

With alcohol, I read in a Paleo book (can't remember which one), that the thing to do is have your booze as long before bed as possible. So if you are going to go off-diet w/booze, do it at an afternoon barbecue or a happy hour. Also, to keep alcohol from messing w/blood sugar, you should have protein with it. Even if that's a few nuts. Or a deviled egg. But that will let you enjoy the booze without it mainlining as sugar.

I can second that Zevia Ginger Ale is great. I've made great lemonade with Stevia. If you have a juicer you can also make "natural" drink treats with fruit added to seltzer water.

I am not on the Paleo Diet, but have read up on it and eat a "paleo-leaning" diet that is gluten free, minimizea dairy, and while I do eat carbs I eat fewer servings of them than the recommended typical diet and try to keep them high-fiber. I try to eat only more-complex carbs (or do things like "cut" potatoes with other lower-glycemic or more-nutritious tubers or, say, jerusalem artichokes). I find that because I carefully watch what I eat, though, that sometimes I do need a "naughty ingredient" -- a few pieces of bacon in a salad, or maybe just an ounce of melted cheese with salsa or on a burger -- to make it feel like I'm not "denying myself" things I like. (I already deny myself a universe of carbs and condiments b/c of gluten and soy issues.)

One thing you can do to mimic the effect of having a noodle dish (if you crave Asian sometimes) is to buy kelp noodles or Shiritake noodles. Saute them with vegetables and a protein of your choice, some fish sauce, lime, cilantro, ginger, a few nuts, toss in an egg at the end, and you have a low-carb pad thai. Kelp noodles are quite good for you.

If you're eating a Paleo regime where sweet potatoes/some tubers are occasionally permitted (I know versions and yes/no foods on the paleo diet vary somewhat), consider making hash browns with them, using a little chili oil and olive oil and onions and peppers. In fact, by turning potatoes or tubers (parsnips, turnips) into "hash," you can cut your portion of high-glycemic carbs quite a bit with the other ingredients. Onions and mushrooms and truffle oil, for instance, and just a bit of potato, go great w/a steak.

Good luck navigating your cravings. If you find you consistently crave certain things, there's a book called "The Mood Cure" that discusses supplements for the insufficiencies that cravings sometimes signal.

Dfada6fe4982ab3b7557172f20632da8

(5332)

on December 08, 2011
at 02:48 AM

Bacon is not naughty. Also, why deny yourself condiments? Make your own, they're so much better!

9
D5cde8031564f905260ce9aa7a1f5e2c

on July 19, 2011
at 09:54 PM

Definitely ice cream.

5
Cc7381bd787721575ea9198048132adb

on July 20, 2011
at 03:15 AM

Just please please please stop drinking the aspartame containing diet soda.

5
64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on July 19, 2011
at 11:26 PM

dates! smear some almond butter on them if you really wanna get crazy ;)

8c5533ffe71bd4262fedc7e898ead1ba

(1724)

on July 20, 2011
at 01:55 PM

Wow I never thought of that. I totally love dates when I want something sweet, but with almond butter. . . wow, gonna have to try that.

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on July 20, 2011
at 03:28 PM

Oh yeah, I swear it can satisfy even the most intense sweet cravings!

2
Medium avatar

on December 08, 2011
at 03:51 AM

The whole "how much can I cheat" thing bores me. Way more interested in the most advantageous ways to eat and exercise in ways that enhance my genome's potential. I get the appeal of "what can I get away with," but am less impressed the more I encounter people who are doing well by making choices focused on "optimal."

E242ecf1fecbac866894059f5304b4c6

(318)

on December 08, 2011
at 06:02 AM

and i'm unimpressed by you. go figure.

2
3b0b95dfc6dc5c18e535945f4aab0866

on December 08, 2011
at 03:43 AM

The diet cokes and the wheat based stuff are really blatant, you just can't NOT find out why they are bad for you in just about any quantity.

I looked at the ingredient list of reese's peanut butter cups recently and realized that, for candy, it is the least chemical laden there is just about. The only thing objectionable is peanuts and heck, I will cheat once every 8 weeks or so since I don't obsess about sugars as long as I am not overdoing it for the day.

2
Dfada6fe4982ab3b7557172f20632da8

(5332)

on December 08, 2011
at 02:57 AM

Sugar is not a cheat. We may not have had access to vast amounts of it all the time, but on the occasions we did we would've gone nuts. In a healthily functioning person it is simply a great way to max out your energy reserves, which is critical to survival. Not that a peanut butter cup is actually pure sugar. That, and the other things, contain a load of crap which has lingering and proactively detrimental affects on your health, as well making you more likely to stay off your diet in my opinion. The only item in your list which doesn't have sugar listed is the pizza, but the amylopectin-A in wheat digests almost as fast as sugar, plus the gluten and other anti-nutrients, plus the dodgy fats. I can cheat with nut-based baked goods, using coconut oil and milk, and a small bit of honey etc. It's not the most balanced meal but on occasion there's really nothing wrong with it. Same with dark chocolate. I've plenty of capacity to store the odd glucose rush and burn it off over the next few days.

2
8508fec4bae4a580d1e1b807058fee8e

on December 08, 2011
at 02:15 AM

Homemade ice cream and heavy whipping cream and/or:

Gluten free grains in baked foods such as pizza, cookies, biscuits, etc. - even better if made from coconut or almond flour.

2
8c5533ffe71bd4262fedc7e898ead1ba

on July 20, 2011
at 02:00 PM

Actually, I think if you need a drink, hard liquor would be best (over wine or cider) because of less sugar.

Diet soda is poison, that really needs to just get off the list.

But I agree with akd that it's individual. For me, no dairy or gluten, no cheating. It's just too horrible (and because the gluten thing "sneaks up" on you, you can set off a wicked reaction without knowing it -- it'll hit me days later). If I "cheat" it's more likely a drink (can't really drink wine, so I choose cider but it's similar -- fermented fruit juice) or something sweet. But between dairy, gluten and sugar, I think it is all a matter of how your body deals with those things.

2
Bee33f6da1beec1cf15e3e7003f0120d

(351)

on July 20, 2011
at 10:49 AM

I'd imagine that it's still best to rank things in order of "processedness". That would make soda (diet or not) an absolute no-go. Peanut-butter cups also a no. Home-made cakes and cookies OK-ish, home-made pizza probably the best, as long as you make your own base. In my mind sugar is worst, then grains, then dairy. I have no science to back this up, just a vague notion of how long each ingredient has been part of the human diet. If you need a drink, I'd go with wine above all else. Again, nothing scientific, just thinking of how processed all the choices are, and placing them along the human food and beverage continuum.

Bee33f6da1beec1cf15e3e7003f0120d

(351)

on July 20, 2011
at 08:14 PM

Sure, I wasn't saying "home made pizza is healthfood, eat it twice a day", just that at least it would actually have some protien and veggies, unlike soda. We're talking the least harmful junk here.

510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20888)

on July 20, 2011
at 04:05 PM

Just because it's "homemade" doesn't mean is not processed. How much processing is necessary to turn the wheat into flour that you then process into your homemade cookies and pizza.

2
Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on July 20, 2011
at 03:09 AM

fresh figs stuffed with marscapone, raw unfiltered honey sprinkled with some thyme. hand to god, its most delicious thing on the planet.

1
62f89aa727cf3ce77c36651347cabc14

(884)

on July 20, 2011
at 03:42 AM

I appreciate all the answers detailing your favorite cheats, but I was looking more for scientific answers detailing which cheats would have the most detrimental impact on health, or set me back furthest in paleo progression.

How long does it take to recover from the gluten in a slice of bread? Is a sugar cheat worse than a dairy cheat? Basically, if I have to choose between a beer, a coke, a diet coke, and some milk, which poison should I pick?

510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20888)

on July 20, 2011
at 04:07 PM

If you care about health, then you won't cheat. Really! But if you want to rank them, then absolutely stay away from gluten, from what I've read it can take up to 6 weeks to have the gut heal from a single exposure, so if you're "cheating" once a month, you're never healing. Then next in the evil are the artificial sweeteners. We know that sugar is evil, but at least we know what kind of evil it is, we don't really know what the artificial sweeteners are doing to us. If your choices are beer, coke, diet coke, and milk. Then by far milk is the best choice.

Cc7381bd787721575ea9198048132adb

(5541)

on July 20, 2011
at 03:47 AM

To put it simply, coke and diet coke = never. Aspartame is poison and the amount of sugar in a single coke is just ridiculous. Beer is pretty rough if you're more sensitive to gluten but will have a lower insulin/inflammatory response than milk depending on the brew. It's tough to actually rank how bad cheats are because everyone is different.

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on July 20, 2011
at 11:39 AM

Thats fairly individual. A friend of mine gets a return of wicked lupus sx with sugar, I feel like ass for 24 hours after eating significant gluten, but small amounts dont bother me. Dairy is a regular part of my diet with no issues. You have to figure for yourself what bothers you or stalls progress on your goals. That said, I think its safe to say that even cheats should be FOOD and soda and candy are not food.

1
1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on July 20, 2011
at 03:07 AM

Ice Cream (Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry) But nothing with a swirl etc...

1
345c1755efe005edd162b770dc6fb821

(8767)

on July 19, 2011
at 11:09 PM

when I start craving pizza, I make my own thin nut crust and pile on the toppings I love. Its not quite the same but does the trick.

I bought a ice cream attachment for my kitchen aide mixer and made a 'pumkin pie cheesecake' ice cream. didnt put any sugar, but only a bit of honey and some agave. Its not sweet but I love pumkin pie enough that it does the trick for me.

I've posted my Chococlate nut protein bar receipe a couple times now, I have a slice daily so that hits the spot for something sweet.

Other than that, I really just crave veggies, which don't agree with me much these days.....so eating smaller amounts more often to see if that helps....

I guess you just have to find something that is close enough to replace what you are craving, unless of course you don't mind submitting to the actual food. Its up to you!!!

1
B0ca5de4d56dd095a08acbfb3877cf8f

(70)

on July 19, 2011
at 10:47 PM

My cravings are usually pizza and chocolate. But I've found that meatza and coconut butter tend to quell those cravings for me, so that's been pretty cool.

That said, I love Bun Ga (grilled chicken over veggies and rice vermicelli) so have that every one-two weeks and just chalk it up to enjoying life.

Other than getting temporarily bloated around the middle, I don't find that eating carbs as a cheat affects me too much (it's usually done more out of laziness/convenience, eating food that someone else has prepared, or going to an event with appetizers).

235259a645be3cac56196e0489dbc8f4

on July 20, 2011
at 07:34 AM

did you know there is actually chocolate coconut butter...its awesome in recipes and as a shell coating for fruit...gets hard in the fridge!

1
666de0361be572857ebec0d2ed02674e

on July 19, 2011
at 10:39 PM

Zevia is a soft drink made out of...wait for it...stevia. Most of them don't have artifical coloring and all that other junk either.

I just made a yummy "cheat" out of blended sweet potato, coconut milk, egg, stevia and cinnamon, nuked for a couple of minutes. It's like sweet potato pie.

You can also make some shakes out of coconut milk and frozen fruit with stevia. Total ice cream experience.

I eat 85 percent chocolate every day.

E7a462d6e99fec7e8f0ddda11b34a770

(1638)

on July 20, 2011
at 02:04 PM

Tried Zevia, but, unfortunately, to me, stevia has the same yucky aftertaste as artificial sweeteners so no go there.

Bcad307b240275ae3f5820ba6eb4a712

(923)

on July 20, 2011
at 09:54 PM

Zevia contains Erythritol which is unique amongst sugar-alcohols for not causing digestive distress. If eat a few pieces of gum in quick succession, I get bloated. But, with Erythritol, nothing. The NSA So Delicious coconut ice cream is also sweetened this way, and its delicious.

Medium avatar

(1029)

on July 20, 2011
at 11:53 AM

stevia causes an insulin release.

Ed983a42344945b1ff70fd9597a23493

on July 19, 2011
at 10:45 PM

Btw~Zevia also has alcohol sugars, and can really create chaos in the digestive tract of sensitive individuals(such as myself)!

1
4e41b76ae9c953e3af278ae8a0df65bc

on July 19, 2011
at 10:18 PM

Gelato, there is the kind of gelato I see in the pick'n save's around the midwest that is gluten free and only contains pure sugar. That stuff is crack and is my most likely cheat food.

1
Bcad307b240275ae3f5820ba6eb4a712

(923)

on July 19, 2011
at 10:11 PM

From over here in the land of lactose-intolerance, I'll recommend coconut ice cream with homemade magic shell topping.

235259a645be3cac56196e0489dbc8f4

on July 20, 2011
at 07:29 AM

I recently tried this....So Delicious mint chip ice cream...coconut and destroyed the whole pint...its wicked awesome!

Bcad307b240275ae3f5820ba6eb4a712

(923)

on July 20, 2011
at 09:52 PM

Its super easy. http://www.instructables.com/id/Homemade-Magic-Shell-Recipe/

5a901eefdef8aa8b9547e4ccb694e2ae

on July 20, 2011
at 12:28 PM

Homemade magic shell? Please share that recipe!

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