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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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August 21, 2009

Primal Substitutes for Non-Primal Foods

By Mark Sisson
73 Comments

It’s perhaps the most commonly asked question, both here in the forums and around the Primal/paleo blogosphere: what about bread/rice/grains/mashed potatoes/fish-and-chips/sweets? That is, what Primal foods can I eat that will satisfy my nascent urges for conventional “comfort foods”? In a perfect fat-adapted world, these urges would be non-existent. We would all be sated on nothing but meat, fat, vegetables, and a bit of fruit, and on a normal day I would stress the importance of desiring truly Primal foods rather than Primal approximations of high-carb, conventional fare.

Today isn’t a normal day, though. We’re in the middle of a particularly intensive Health Challenge, one that centers around making small (but doable) positive changes. For all our new members, finding alternate low-carb versions of the classic high-carb foods can be just the ticket to maintaining their personal health commitments under duress – and for that reason, I rounded up every low-carb food alternative source I could find. Strict PB pros and Primal stalwarts, forgive me, but I’m doing it for everyone’s collective good. Consider this my 80/20 moment. (wink)

Breads/Muffins/Cakes

Primal Spinach Bread

Carrot Walnut Bread

Coconut Flour Rolls (Thanks, Tim!)

Medicine Woman’s Roots: Golden Flax Bread

Gluten-Free Bread

Focaccia-Style Flax Bread

Oopsie Rolls (Gluten-Free Buns)

Low-Carb Meatloaf (Hey, it’s technically in loaf form. Thanks, Richard!)

Chips and Crackers

Primal Nut Crackers

Grain Free Almond Crackers

Primal Sweet Potato Chips

Sweet Potato Chips with Cinnamon

Pizza

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Son of Grok’s Famous Pizza Crust

Eggplant Pizza (scroll down a bit)

Paleo Pizza (Thanks, Scott!)

Sunflower Seed Pizza Crust

Zucchini Pizza Crust

Rice

Cauliflower Rice Pilaf (Thanks, maba!)

Cauliflower Fried Rice

Cauliflower Pesto Rice (Thanks, Elizabeth!)

Pasta

Summer Squash Noodles

Spaghetti Squash and Meat Sauce

Low-Carb “Lasagna”

Noodleless Lasagna

“Spaghetti” with Meat Sauce

Eggplant Lasagna

Mashed Potatoes

Broccoli-Carrot Mash

Mashed Cauliflower (Steam, then into the food processor with salt, butter, and pepper – super easy)

Mashed Butternut Squash

Dairy

Coconut milk (Smoothie)

Almond milk

Flours

Almond Meal

Coconut Flour

Breaded Fried Stuff

Coconut Chicken Fingers with Spicy Fruit Chutney

Coconut Encrusted Chicken Salad

Almond and Parmesan Baked Tilapia

Thickeners

Low-Carb Thickener

Pancakes

Almond Pancakes

Coconut Pancakes

Rick’s Primal Pancakes

Paleo Pancakes

Low-Carb Almond Meal Pancakes

New Almond Meal Pancake Variant

Snacks

Primal Alternatives to Non-Primal Snacks

Primal Energy Bar

Make Your Own Jerky

Make Your Own Dried Fruit

Spicy Almonds

SoG’s Primal Poppers

SoG’s Dinosaur Droppings

Desserts

Low-Carb Dessert Recipes (Almond Macaroons, Fruit and Nut Crumble etc.)

Primal Pie Filling

Flourless Pie Crust

SoG’s Gorilla Cake

Raw Walnut Cupcakes

Dairy-Free Custard

Whew. That should about do it. Thanks to everyone who graciously made their recipes available online, and thanks to the entire Primal community. We’re well over half way through the challenge – no more faltering! If you need it, consider this low-carb roundup an instant support system for those times of weakness. Oh, and let me know if I missed anything.

Grok on!

TAGS:  cooking tips

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46 Comments on "Primal Substitutes for Non-Primal Foods"

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Vin - NaturalBias
7 years 3 months ago

The Son of Grok’s pizza recipe sounds great!

Here’s an interesting recipe for Grain Free Blueberry Muffins from Organic & Thrifty.

Rob
7 years 3 months ago

Wow! This post is awesome!

Thanks Mark!

Shelley
7 years 3 months ago

What a nice collection! It’s great to have all these links on one page.

Dave, RN
Dave, RN
7 years 3 months ago

I still think that raw, unpastuized goat milk is primal, and incredible good for you, being that it does not have much casein in it. It’s as close to human monthers milk as you can get. I love it!
It’s great with flax muffins mixed with 100% cacao and sweetened with Stevia. Almost like a brownie!

fritchbeetle
7 years 3 months ago

Do you have a recipe for those flax muffins?

Henry Miller
Henry Miller
7 years 3 months ago

If I’m going to cheat I’m going to cheat, not half way cheat. Half ways always seem to promote more because “it isn’t that bad”, while the real thing doesn’t hide how bad it is.

Now excuse me, I need a nap off all the carbs I had at lunch.

Grok
7 years 3 months ago

I have a pizza version too http://castlegrok.com/tag/pizza/ but that zucchini version has my name all over it!

PrimalGoddess
PrimalGoddess
7 years 3 months ago

wow these are fantastic recipes!
thank you so much! shows we can be Primal and not feel deprived!
Darlene

James17
James17
7 years 3 months ago

Some of the pancake recipes suggest adding some baking soda. Is that okay?

Barbara(Blood, Sweat and Heels)

I love all these options. I keep looking hard at Primal/Paleo liftstyles and having more options makes it VERY tempting.

frogfarm
7 years 3 months ago
“If I’m going to cheat I’m going to cheat, not half way cheat.” I have to clarify first that if I eat something off plan, whatever my current plan might be, I don’t call it a “cheat”. To me, that way lies bad mental mojo. But more importantly, I just know there are some things I’ll never eat again, because I no longer consider them food — Ho Ho’s are my favorite example, I used to scarf those by the case! Likewise anything grain-based — it’s just not on the menu ever again, period, and it’s not a question of… Read more »
SerialSinner
SerialSinner
7 years 3 months ago

Absolutely brilliant post, thanks a lot.

lbd
lbd
7 years 3 months ago

Almond flour makes a good sub for many items baked with traditional flours. And I was just looking for a jerky recipe!

Aimee
Aimee
7 years 3 months ago

this site:

http://healthyindulgences.blogspot.com/

is a beautiful dream…

this woman has TALENT.

Methuselah - Pay Now Live Later

This is a great resource Mark.

I find that when I am really dailled into the Primal diet, I don’t even crave the things that would require substitutes. For me personally, having the substitutes actually weakens the purity of my Primal mindset. I often use the substitutes to transition from a period of ‘lapsing’ back into pure primal but after a month or so, I lose interest in the substitutes and just buzz off the basics.

Shaun
7 years 3 months ago

Mar Mar Mark

Shaun here!

I am happy I’ve found your site and the first post is a great food post! Thank you. You see i am a food monster and know the basics of good foods to eat, which is good. But that gets boring, i need variations. My main focus has been on how to build a great body around common life styles and the hurdles we face.

any how, great post!

Shaun
SFB

Jocelyn R
7 years 3 months ago
Richard Nikoley
7 years 3 months ago

Wow Mark. What a great resource.

It’s tantamount to a cookbook and I’m happy to have contributed.

WildAngel6
7 years 3 months ago

Perhaps someone could give Jamie Van Eaton, aka Cleochatra, some credit for using her Cauliflower Pizza Crust recipe, since everyone seems to be making their own variations on the theme she originated.

I Can’t Believe It’s Cauliflower Pizza Crust!

She’s got some really great recipes on her blog, so do check them out!

Thank you, Cleo!

redforevergone
redforevergone
7 years 3 months ago

I made all of these for dinner today. Just kidding, but one might be good.

Piper
7 years 3 months ago

Wow. *__*

There is a lot here I hadn’t even heard of. I’m definitely bookmarking this post. But especially for the coconut pancakes. Coconut is my favourite primal food.

Bianca
7 years 3 months ago

Nice.. so when’s the cookbook coming up ? 😛

Lori Leduc
Lori Leduc
7 years 3 months ago

I was wondering if natural honey is ok to eat if you are eating Primal?

Laurel
Laurel
7 years 3 months ago

Beet chips are also really easy to make. Slice really thin, toss with salt and oil, bake in the oven until crisp.

It is really that simple, but you can google for a recipe if you need one, for example:

http://heart-healthy-cooking.suite101.com/article.cfm/beet_chips

http://lemonbasil.blogspot.com/2009/03/baked-chioggia-beet-chips.html

Seth
Seth
6 years 9 months ago

Mark,

I saw that there were some substitutes for mashed potatoes… Why aren’t they primal?

Betterways
Betterways
6 years 9 months ago

This is a nice list, but there’s been more added since. I wish you would use tagging and make ‘primal substitutes’ at tag so such recipes could easily be found. I just spent nearly 20 minutes looking for the almond banana pancake recipe. Of course, that’s because I keep getting distracted by other recipes.

Kimberley
Kimberley
6 years 7 months ago

Just curious as to whether anyone has come up with a way to make a primal tortilla? I imagine it shouldn’t be that hard for someone who understands how ingredients work together. I can follow a recipe but inventing on my own is still a work in progress. Thank you. 🙂

Jody
Jody
11 months 1 day ago

Fried cheese makes great tortilla shells. ????

Deborah
Deborah
6 years 3 months ago

Hi Mark,
I am presently moving through Phase 2 of whats called the “HCG Diet” In phase 3, I am to eat NO Starch and NO Sugar for 3 weeks and then slowly reintroduce them into my regular eating habits.
I have been researching to find a healthy way of eating for a lifestyle after I have completed my last phase of this diet….this is how I came across your website! I googled ‘STARCH Free pizza crust’ and you were there in the mix. I

Deborah
Deborah
6 years 3 months ago

OPPS! I would like to know if you have any insight into how I might eat during this transitioning period between ending this diet and begining to eat a heathly lifestyle.
Thank you,
Deborah

cynthia
cynthia
5 years 2 months ago

Hi there, I was wondering how the HCG diet is working for you and how much weight you have lost, maybe you can shared your experience with me as I am very interested…thank you kindly

Cindy

Bob Deprez
Bob Deprez
4 years 8 months ago

I lost 23 pounds in 19 days on the HCG diet. At 54 I am under 200 lbs for first time in 20 years and am following a primal diet (for most part and am keeping it off) I did HCG under a doctors care. I think the HCG diet is genius and works.

low carb meals
6 years 21 hours ago

Thanks for this! I am excited to try out these recipes! Actually alternative to my low carb meals I got!

Bill

FarmerB
FarmerB
5 years 10 months ago

There are grain-free tortilla recipes out there if you look. This morning, I had a burr-omelet :)- a regular old burrito, but I replaced the tortilla with a thin omelet. I had to eat it with a fork, but it was still delicious!
FarmerB

Hannah
Hannah
5 years 9 months ago

The link for the Oopsie Rolls doesn’t work. I searched around the site and the page seems to be located here now:

http://www.examiner.com/low-carb-in-national/want-supple-low-carb-buns-oopsie-rolls-are-induction-friendly-and-gluten-free?cid=parsely#parsely

You probably want to update the link in this post.

Helena
5 years 9 months ago

I had a look at the “Spaghetti” with meat sauce – yummy. I haven’t been able to find spaghetti marrow here in Australia in recent years. My Mum used to use it twenty plus years ago but for some reason it just faded away.
Finely julienned zucchini sauteed with garlic and olive oil works well as a tasty spaghetti substitute.

See my recipe here – http://www.slimhealthymama.com/healthy-eating/easing-your-way-into-low-carb-living

Helena
5 years 9 months ago
Allie
Allie
5 years 5 months ago

Hey Mark, some of these links don’t work anymore due to site deletions. 🙁

I want Pumpkin Loaf!

Joe
Joe
4 years 6 months ago

I have been on a primal diet for 3-4 weeks.
Lost weight, feel better, etc.
My favorite appliance is a food dehydrator.
From making jerky to drying fruit and veggies, this is a must!
I am looking for a good reliable source of goats or mother milk as well.

marita64
marita64
4 years 4 months ago

What about quinoa? I’ve heard it’s a seed then I’ve heard it’s a grain. Is it primal? If so, any good recipes out there?

marita64
marita64
4 years 4 months ago

What about quinoa?

Joni
Joni
4 years 2 months ago

My question is not about comfort foods; but if you’re making a spicy, saucy dish, what do you eat it with? Indian food, for example. Peruvian food is very similar. They usually serve their spicy meat-and-vegetables with BOTH rice and potatoes. Help?

Foncine
Foncine
4 years 2 months ago

Go with the cauliflower! You can rice it, or mash it, depending on whether you’re going for the rice or the potato texture! I go through a couple heads a week now, it goes with everything!

Shiva Jones
Shiva Jones
3 years 2 months ago

I thought cheese was not allowed? Is that right?

wildgrok
wildgrok
3 years 2 months ago

Why would anybody eat quinoa when bacon is available?

wildgrok
wildgrok
3 years 2 months ago

This is from low carb Sheila’s site, one of my favorites:
I

Sheila’s Delicious Low-Carb Pancakes
(6 total carbs)
3 oz cream cheese, softened in microwave
2 eggs
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 T flavored sugar-free syrup (I like vanilla)
Butter to taste
Beat together thoroughly – no lumps allowed! Pour on buttered skillet on Low-Medium heat for 4 minutes. Flip & let fry for another 1-2 minutes. Also, try these wrapped around sausage for a “pig-in-blanket” effect.
Note: Check out how Low-Carb Pinay whips these up.

wpDiscuz