Paleo alternatives - Why do you lie to me?!

by (1878) Updated August 10, 2012 at 7:52 PM Created July 30, 2012 at 12:31 PM

I'm so tired of trying out paleo alternatives to making things that resemble SAD food. It's all so disgusting, and I'm beginning to wonder if you guys are lying to other people to convince them it's good or just lying to yourself. So tell me: Why are you guys trying to create terrible alternatives and then pretend like they're good?

Disgusting Alternatives:

Cauliflower rice. NO NO NO this does NOT taste like rice. It tastes like disgusting cauliflower hacked into pieces. It's just not right.

Larabars. I seriously believed you guys that these were amazing. No. They are absolutely disgusting. I had to spit out three flavors that I tasted and now I get to throw away 14 Larabars that I stocked up on yesterday having bought EVERY flavor I could. Absolutely disgusting like a mixture of rotten fruit and some awful vinegar taste.

Meatza. WTF? Are you serious? Hardened meat as your crust?! :/ no.

Coconut flour. Have you seriously tried using a significant amount of coconut fluor in anything and had it come out good? I've had ONE recipe come out good and it seemed because I used shortening and tons of other crap to cover it up. Coconut flour crepes are disgusting. Coconut flour pancakes disgusting. Coconut flour biscuits disgusting. Nothing even comes out as a good texture!!

I don't even want to go into coconut aminos or any other paleofied crap.

I absolutely give up on any of this garbage, and I'll stick to my original paleo foods.

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6045 · July 30, 2012 at 1:21 PM

At first I objected to the tone of this, but when I got to the line about the Larabars, I realized you were joking around--no rational person would stock up on every flavor of something they never tried!

Having said that, I mostly agree with your rant. Coconut aminos made me wretch. I liked cauli-rice, but only because it was cauliflower, which I love, and not because it was a suitable rice substitute. I haven't tried meatza, but no less a pizza maker than the famous Lou Malnati's offers one here in Chicago, and I find it hard to imagine it's all that bad. Too rich, perhaps, but it's essentially just a baked casserole of meat, vegetables, and cheese (so, not strictly paleo)--what could be bad? I bought some coconut flour but haven't tried it yet; I imagine it working best in something like crepes.

I think it's best to think about these foods in terms of what they do best. Cauli-rice doesn't behave like rice in cooking, so you can't really use it for, say, jambalaya or paella, or risotto. But used for "fried rice," it's nothing more than stir-fried vegetables. And of course, if one truly doesn't like a food, one probably won't like it cooked in most any way. Don't like cailuliflower? You're not going to like cauliflower mashed.

In the end you come around to what I consider the best solution: adapt to living without old favorites rather than trying so hard to find substitutes. I'm learning that the approach I used for sweeteners might work best for most foods: quit eating refined sugars, and don't use artificial sweeteners, and eventually one loses one's taste for (addiction to) sweetened foods. Over time, the natural sweetness of fruit seems magnified. I find the amount of artificial sweeteners used by many (non-paleo) low-carbers shocking--all those dreadful syrups!

Using substitutes seems to keep hope alive that we can continue to eat the way we always have. And when I want pizza or rice, I just eat them as a treat. (I realize that's not an option for everyone.)

24012 · July 30, 2012 at 2:17 PM

Yeah well goodie for you! I'm happy you found what works best for you but why do you find the need to belittle other people's creative ideas to help them stay compliant? What is the point? First of all if larabars are disgusting to you I have to say you are warped in the most serious way. Secondly I live on cauliflower rice and there is NOTHING un-paleo about it. No one ever said it tastes like rice. It is cauliflower. You thought it would taste like rice? Hmmm.

I've not time to go through you list items one by one. Overall I think the judgmental tone of this post is a sad representation of a faction of the paleo community who think their way is the only way and that anyone who cannot comply with their supposed "pure" version is not doing it right. Compliance is the major obstacle to this diet (and most diets) Anything that helps someone be compliant while maintaining the basic integrity of the diet is fine by me. It should be fine by everyone. If it doesn't work for you that's fine. You try it and then you move on. But this ridiculous berating of those who do use certain products, cooking techniques, recipes, etc to stay on the path are doing just fine and don't deserve any criticism from anyone. Finely chopped cauliflower is some sort of dietary abomination? Nuts and fruit mixed together is un-paleo? Oh please! And I make a damn-fine coconut flour pancake if I do say so myself. Apparently some of us just don't know how to bake or cook???

1977 · July 30, 2012 at 1:03 PM

Stop trying to make imitation food and just eat real food! People twist paleo so they can keep their addictions alive, and it's not healthy even if the ingredients are. Eat meat and plants, drink water. It's simple and people need to stop making things complicated.

20222 · July 30, 2012 at 1:54 PM

Dr. Harris suggests that paleo- in front of neolithic foods, such as pancakes, is a bit like smoking candy cigarettes:


"Do you train yourself to crave the manufactured food of the dominant paradigm?
"I am on record as saying that sweets should be mostly avoided if you do not want to have difficulty avoiding sweets.

"It’s easy to make fun of commercial junk in a box like “low carb” pasta, zone and atkins bars, etc. All stuff that may be gluten free or have sawdust in place of high glycemic-index starch, but whose real reason for existence is just to appropriate what should properly be freestanding, honest, real food back into the maw of corporate big-agra commercial interests."

"I cannot prove it, but it also seems plausible that eating and drinking artificial sweeteners is a physiologic version of “smoking candy cigarettes”. There is likely to be some neuro-hormonal conditioning along with three diet sodas a day. Is there any way a diet soda habit makes it easier to avoid the hyper-ubiquitous sweets we are surrounded by?

"And planning for “cheat days” makes just as much sense as a weekly Marlboro red for ex-smokers or the odd line of coke once in a while after you have left Hazelden." .
(Good god, I love his writing style! That last line makes me laugh every time I read it.)

1179 · July 30, 2012 at 3:11 PM

Looks like someone is having a Monday... Geez.

Lighten up a bit. Just because you don't like something, doesn't mean you need to go off on some pissy rant about it. I hate ham and the thought of any mayonnaise, let alone a Paleo one made with olive oil sounds vile but I'm not fresking out about it or calling people liars when they think those things are delightful...

I personally like Larabars, not every flavor. I use coconut aminos because I'm highly allergic to soy, and finding it has been great for certain recipes. As for the rest, I've not tried them nor do they seem that interesting to me. I'm not looking for fill in foods, just a way to eat that keeps me pain free.

370 · July 30, 2012 at 1:38 PM

Since I have the culinary skills of a dead cat, I've never toyed with any 'Paleofied' SAD foods; I just stick to meats, veggies, fruit, nuts, and other Paleo foods that don't require baking/kitchen fanciness. I might be tempted to get more creative in the kitchen if it wasn't for the fact that 'cauliflower rice' just sounds like it's going to taste like a pile of asses.

3029 · July 30, 2012 at 8:52 PM

How is this even a question? Its just a rant.

590 · July 30, 2012 at 2:19 PM

I'm married to a chef by trade (no longer practicing but does all the cooking) and he's hated almost all the recipes we've tried from various blogs/websites. He now requires previewing all recipes for balance and measurement accuracy. We have found one favorite brownie recipe, one chocolate chip cookie, one pie filling (no crust found yet), etc. So we have as a family decided to not waste money trying too many other recipes since we love the Paleo keepers. Even the regular meals are way off most of the time. So we are using traditional methods and keeping it Paleo. I will not be buying cookbooks like I did when I went Raw. Just donated all those to the library Saturday!

5323 · July 30, 2012 at 2:13 PM

"NO NO NO this does NOT taste like rice." - IDK, rice tastes like crap to me. Gloggy gut bloating starch with a hint of iron fillings flavour.

"Meatza. WTF? Are you serious? Hardened meat as your crust?! :/ no." - Great things about pizza, is its the cheese, meat, pineapple, capsicum, tomato, olives etc that tastes good. Even though its not stricky paleo, ive just been using ham steaks with loads of yummy toppings. Had some tonight.

"Coconut flour. Have you seriously tried using a significant amount of coconut fluor in anything and had it come out good?"

This is probably true. I made one thing with coconut flour once, and while it didnt taste all that bad actually (might have used a 50/50 blend with almond flour), it was so full of fiber it did a number on me. Plus, I actually dislike that carby bloated feeling post dinner now. Coconut flour baking, just reminded me of how bad eating used to feel.

People are like "ohh, I am so satisfied my digestive organs are in pain and stretched to capacity!"

Lol, no thanks.

"I don't even want to go into coconut aminos or any other paleofied crap."

What do coconut aminos taste like? I am curious, ill probably never eat them because they use coconut sugar, but curious....

One thing I enjoy about paleo is trying new things.

My body seems to prefer when those things are simple actual foods with actual nutritional value, rather than empty flavour manipulations (ie lime and coconut or salt, cheese and tomato, versus tumeric and cinnomon) but its still interesting to learn about new foods, and new flavour combinations.

308 · July 30, 2012 at 9:32 PM

Okay, I've always railed against fakery. When a real spinach and flank steak salad is so GOOD, why try to turn it into something completely different and fake?

And I agree that most of the ... um... "inventions" leave a lot to be desired. But not all!

Meatzah, for example- If the "crust" is a bit thin and you cook it right (cast iron, frying pan to broiler) it works out well as a finger-edible meat dish. is it going to "fake" bread? oh, hades, no! But it can be good.

Riced cauli- I happen to like this. I never really got into rice, so I'm not sure what's up here. A few tips- 1: season it better/more and add garlic and onion and kale. 2: don't overcook it. It's one of those veggies best eaten close to raw.

No clue about larabars, that's too into the realm of fakery instead of food prep and I won't touch it :)

1142 · July 30, 2012 at 9:10 PM

I have never understood why people do this and I suspec tin the UK we just tend to eat meat, veg and carb as a standard meal often without any fasle modern food so it is much much easier here to be paleo than in countries like the US where so many people seem to eat processed food only. It is still very common in the UK to have chicken broccoli and potato (so easy just to havei t without the potato).

Also I have always preferred plain foods. My mother could never put a sauce on what I ate. I seemed to like the natural foods as they were - why ruin good meat with XYZ sauce I would say.

7362 · July 30, 2012 at 6:54 PM

Once in a very blue moon, I'll make coconut flour pancakes. Other than that, I don't do bread or other thing alternatives. Part of that is that I like the simplicity of eating paleo. Meat, veggies, butter, eggs. It's all good. I'm a trained baker, so it may also be that I'm a bit of a snob when it comes to baked goods.

But I also don't understand WHY I would eat mockups of foods I wish to avoid. Like vegetarians or vegans that eat veggie burgers, hot dogs, or bacon. The bacon and dogs taste like bandaids to me. Disgusting.

164 · July 30, 2012 at 5:23 PM

Then don't eat those things. Are you telling us the things we like and suggest aren't good? Then that's subjective. Eat the things you like.

There are also other things to take into account - you don't like cauliflower, but you tried it anyway? Good job for taking the plunge.

Not all Larabars are equal, maybe you chose all the flavors no one likes.

Coconut flour good, but it's very temperamental. It's a very thirsty flour and hard to work with.

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3023 · July 30, 2012 at 1:28 PM

Agreed! Like if you can't afford real flowers, don't buy plastic ones. Buy an ornament that isn't pretending to be something else.

I'd rather have a non-apologetic roast with vegetables on the side that is what it is, rather than a concoction pretending to be a pizza or pretending to be a granola bar. I'd rather have a piece of pizza once in a blue moon and stick to traditional foods the other time.

And yes, tried a Larabar a few months ago and it was icky.

2369 · July 30, 2012 at 1:10 PM

I agree totally about the coconut flour. Yuck. If I make an occasional baked good, I use almond flour and suck up the extra omega 6s. Meatza is not pizza for sure. I eat the occasional gluten-free pizza if I feel the need. Basically, I usually eat real food and don't try to make it look like something else, and if I want the "something else" I'll go for the real thing. The exception is gluten which I just can't tolerate.

410 · July 30, 2012 at 1:04 PM

Meatza (avec toppings) never sounded as good to me as meatballs made with pork loin and sirloin steak (admittedly with homemade tomato sauce, but no cheese/ mushrooms etc.). OM NOM.

2797 · July 30, 2012 at 12:52 PM

All the other stuff you mentioned sounds iffy, but I like Cashew Cookie Lara bars. I haven't tried any other flavors.

2227 · July 30, 2012 at 2:29 PM

You know what they say, "to each his (her) own."

I would eat cauliflower rice over normal rice any day. I've got a recipe for pumpkin pancakes that uses a significant amount of coconut flour and they taste amazing (I've fed them to non-paleo's many times.)

And although I don't eat Larabars day-to-day they are going to be a great dense source of carbs for me in an upcoming adventure race.

40 · July 30, 2012 at 2:04 PM

I love cauliflower rice, I have a great Curried Cauliflower recipe that is to die for, in my opinion, we like it better than regular rice. Especially when eaten with an Indian curry. I also really enjoy making delicious food with coconut flour, but then I love to cook and bake and don't like to eat the same thing over and over again. So I think it's up to the individual, if your perfectly happy eating meat and veggies and nothing else, more power to you! I wish I could be happy living like that, it would sure make life easier. But when I can find the time, I love to make a delicious meal out of all different kind of things. And I only make delicious food :) Food that doesn't taste good is such a waste of time and energy.

4113 · July 30, 2012 at 2:02 PM

Replace rice with aloo gobi. Although rice itself isn't that bad.

4234 · July 30, 2012 at 1:52 PM

I agree with you about the Lara bars and everything else except the cauliflower. I like the cauliflower a lot. Makes the meal lighter. The only good flavor of Lara bar is cherry or cashew. Otherwise you are right, they taste like vinegar and are horrible. Next time you want figs or dates and nuts just go get figs and dates and nuts.

11036 · July 30, 2012 at 1:33 PM

I like meatza. Is it pizza? No. Does it have all of the flavors of pizza? Yes. I never ate pizza for the bread.

I rice cauliflower and it tastes fine. If you have "cauliflower water" squirting out when you take a bite, you are using too much water. Grate the cauliflower with a box grater or in the food processor, then put in the microwave for 6-7 minutes. Requires no extra water and steams beautifully. I use it to soak up the sauce of whatever dish I make.

I also make cauliflower mash by steaming it with garlic cloves, then running it in the food processor with heavy cream, Kerrygold butter, salt, and pepper. YUM!

Baking is a science. Coconut flour does not behave like wheat flour does. My hubby and son love these lemon poppy seed muffins: http://preppypaleo.blogspot.com/2012/03/paleo-lemon-poppy-seed-muffins.html I double the recipe and make 12 regular sized muffins.

I also use coconut aminos in place of soy sauce. It doesn't taste EXACTLY like soy, but is pretty darn close.

40662 · July 30, 2012 at 1:23 PM

Coconut flour is a unique beast, and I haven't mastered its use yet. I've run out and am not planning on buying more. I've got coconut manna which is essentially coconut flour in coconut oil and it's pretty useful for paleo cookies.

No experience with Lara bars myself, but I've made my own paleo bars in the past and have enjoyed them.

Meatza? No thanks. I don't do cauliflower crust either. I'll make sweet potato or corn meal crusts and enjoy those.

Caulirice? It does take some getting used to and you have to cook it correctly. It doesn't work well as a steamed white rice substitute. It's however absolutely rockin' if you stir-fry it with an egg and some spices.

7249 · July 30, 2012 at 12:38 PM

I have to mostly agree with you in that paleo alternatives to SAD food tastes different and usually worse, but cauliflour rice or cauliflour mashed potatoes is just as good in my opinion. I have always considered rice or potatoes as filler, or something to soak up the flavor of other things, as neither tastes good on their own. Cauliflour rice does that quite well in my opinion.

1878 · August 10, 2012 at 7:52 PM

Oh yeah, spaghetti squash is disgusting. The texture is so off... not a good spaghetti substitute at all. I don't know what everybody is thinking.

222 · July 30, 2012 at 8:39 PM

I've had good success with coconut flour but I've never done a recipe that ONLY called for coconut flour. It was always that AND almond flour or that AND tapioca starch. That said, I've devoured all of those recipes, so I'd say they were successful.

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