Gateway Foods: The Slippery Slope of “Just a Bite”

The holidays are coming and with them the food. Maybe with Halloween come and gone, the season is already upon you in your social/work/family circles. Beyond the actual meals themselves, there are the umpteen parties, open houses, potlucks, lunches, brunches, happy hours, coffee hours, bake sales, soup suppers, and bazaars – as well as the continual conveyer belt of office/shop/home display of every sweet and savory (mostly sweet) treat known to humankind. As fun as it all is, the holidays can be a seasonal equivalent of the Bermuda Triangle – a festively decorated abyss where good intentions get swallowed along with the latest Martha Stewart recipe.

We Primal types bring both common sense and the reasonable 80/20 Principle to the holiday season (as any other occasion). We partake moderately and selectively. We use ingenuity and well cultivated Primal taste to create (or adapt) our own choice holiday delicacies. In short, we have no problem enjoying the party. We’re just rarely the ones with the proverbial lampshade on our heads at the end of the buffet table, so to speak. We can enjoy our favorite dishes without chucking every goal and standard we have for our health. Nonetheless, even those of us with the most stalwart wills and number of years under our Primal belts wisely steer clear of a few foods out of sheer sensibility.

Most of us have at least one. I’m talking about those foods you know in your heart of hearts (and maybe hard experience) can send you down a slippery slope. Maybe it’s the taste, the plain sugar rush, or the emotional association. Whatever the source of temptation, it’s a Pandora’s Box better left undisturbed.

I’ve been Primal so long that I don’t get conventional cravings much. Even when I indulge and have a few bites of really good pie or bread once in a while, I’m no worse for the wear. When I’m done with the piece, I’m done. That was delicious. Case closed. Some foods, however, are more problematic. For me, it’s Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia ice cream. (Yes, there it is.) Ice cream was a relic of my extreme training days, and there’s just something about Cherry Garcia. A little too easily turns into a lot. I find it’s just better to stay away.

Is your mind wandering to any particular foods now? It seems the holidays are a common time for their appearance – or maybe omnipresence. They’re the foods that once tasted, beckon you to keep coming back. (You can just hear that apple strudel calling you….) More than just good, more than just run of the mill tempting, they’re downright precipitous.

True gateway foods can wreak havoc with more than just your intended portion size, however. Suddenly, other things start looking good that you’ve had no taste for in a long time. This particular surrender to temptation can become a catalyst for a broader descent like a gateway drug leading you to something bigger and badder. You’re one brownie away from inhaling half the dessert buffet. (Or half those leftover Halloween candies taking up space in the cupboard still?)

Histrionics aside, these are foods I suggest leaving out of the 80/20 picture because they’re just too complicated to be worth it. As much sentimental value as they might have or as good as they might be, if they can’t be a moderate end in themselves, it’s just better to bench ‘em.

All this said, it’s illuminating to see how much power we often assign to food. It’s an inanimate object. It’s one among a bazillion choices we have for things to eat. Yet, we can feel certain foods have a hold on us. We consider them a nemesis, their presence on this earth a continual threat to our well-being like some kind of personal kryptonite. It’s a power relationship, of course, entirely constructed in our heads. By all means, avoid a specific food if it imposes more complication than it’s worth. If it’s a presence in itself even when you don’t eat it, that one likely calls for some deeper examination.

With the holidays coming, I always suggest folks think about how they’re going to enjoy it Primally – especially if this is your first holiday season since going Primal. Think about each event and how you’ll handle it – what you’ll eat and what you won’t. Being honest about any gateway – or otherwise thorny – food items is a big part of this. It’s usually easier to control our environments at less social times of the year. What will it mean to stay Primal within a fully conscious 80/20 framework this holiday season – in the midst, for example, of a big family Thanksgiving dinner and the other upcoming celebrations? Sometimes the best strategy is knowing where, when and how you’ll graciously say “no thanks.”

Now I’ll turn it over to you. Do you have a “gateway” food that you steer clear of for the greater good of your Primal self? Share you tips and stories, and thanks for reading today.

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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380 thoughts on “Gateway Foods: The Slippery Slope of “Just a Bite””

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  1. So well put Mark… Also I hear you on the Ben and Jerry’s thing.

    Good ice cream is the only craving I still get. The good news is I can have a nice “bowl” two or three times a year and be done and get right back on the waggon as soon as I lick my spoon.


    1. Ice cream is dangerous stuff. You can make your own *somewhat* primal ice-cream if you substitute a bit of stevia or xylitol for sugar. Alyson and I made some coconut ice cream a few weeks ago and it was amazing.

      When it’s made with real whipping cream, it’s tough to eat more than a few bites…

      1. Hi I feel so great without grains legumes sugar and I don’t crave them since I have eliminated them for 1yr this month . So not one bite for me thanks. I have also lost 13 lbs so why cheat. And I am not even hungry. So much is legal during the holidays anyway like cranberry sweet potato butter meat veggies. So with all this what is the point of falling off the wagon when it is easy for me to stay on it?

    2. I’ve been basically “primal”, as far as I can tell from the loose definitions here, since Barry Sears “The Zone” originally came out [10 years ago?]. After that I remember the Eades book and others, so the “primal solution” etc. is nothing new to me personally.

      My solution to the “ice cream problem” [my weakness is Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie or similar], has always been to eat a whole can of tuna, preferably with olive oil, or sardines, before consuming the ice cream. Seems to work just fine. Regards, onebornfree

  2. These foods you direct your post to are “gateway” but I prefer “trigger foods” since it is like pulling the trigger to a gun. For me it’s donuts. I can’t eat just one. Stick a donut gun to my head and I’m dead meat.

    1. I’m the same way. Before going primal I would eat a donut for breakfeast every day on the way to work. I’ve had to change the route to work just to avoid the thought of those tasty sugar bombs.

    2. I have my fair share of foods that once I take a bite or 2 of it… well… may not turn out so good but I’ve never been a huge fan of donuts or bagels. Not sure what it is especially since I worked at a bagel and coffee shop for 3 years pre primal!

      As an assistant manager for a year, I could enjoy all the food I wanted without any risk of being in “trouble” by doing so.

      Bagels all around me but I never indulged. I just never ate them or donuts.

      But, those dark chocolate chips (60% cacao) that my dear mother buys at Costco… watch out!! She places them in a candy dish and so they are sitting out on the counter… ah… headed to Chicago in just a few hours!

      1. Chocolate, yesss! Wayy too addicting, and way too easy to keep putting handful after handful of delicious chips into my mouth!! I find that eating chocolate opens up the floodgates for other cravings too, so I steer clear. I have to mix it with other things (like almond butter) for it to not become an issue. I prefer 70% cocoa though 🙂

    3. I’m like a chips and salsa fiend. Literally cannot stop eating them until they get taken away from in front of me. I can’t really go to Mexican restaurants w/ big groups anymore b/c that means longer wait for entre = way too much chips and salsa

      1. Chips for me, too. Tortilla chips though, not potato. I’m in trouble at the restaurants, too. It’s the corn, I guess, cause I use to consume entire bags of Fritos. 🙁

      2. I made that mistake last week, had a margherita with salt which caused a big chips and salsa cascade. Felt like crud for days.

        Here’s a solution, as Mexican restaurants tend to have it: Ask for Jicama sticks. Dip those in Salsa or Guac.

      3. I seriously think it’s the incomplete protein. I’ve never overeaten corn+peas (complete protein, also: bland). I really just want the guacamole or the salsa, but yeah, if there are no refried beans I will eat corn chips until I have acid reflux. And that is crazy. I think it’s those amino acids… feel hungry yet never satisfied.

  3. I noticed B&J’s ice cream in a teeny tiny container the other day which is a good thing because my only portion size happens to be the whole container. As for the other stuff, I hold out for homemade which limits the opportunities right there.

  4. Man, Cherry Garcia was like crack. I used to finish off a pint at a time a few times a week back in the college days.

    1. A pint is child’s play…I have spoons
      that hold a pint…we’re talking a gallon in one sitting…

      1. I used to do a gallon of Blue Bell Moolinium Crunch. A gallon a day or more. At one sitting. It got so bad I would throw-up (not my choice, but my bodys reaction) after eating so much at one time.

        Now I do a pint of B&J Peanut Brittle, one of the few flavors that do not have wheat in it. I usually share with my dog, so I need one that doesn’t have chocolate.

    2. Ditto here. Cherry Garcia pint-at-a-time was one of my mainstays in college. All the more dangerous because the damage wasn’t showing in my early 20’s. Another hit was the Haagen Daaz Coffee flavor.

  5. My gateway item is Coca Cola.

    I still crave coke with certain meals, especially when being lazy and eating out once a month. I used to gulp down a 8 pack of coke cans in a day sometimes.

    Now if it wouldn’t stain my teeth like mad, and knowing the HFCS kills my pancreas, I’d still make an excuse once in awhile to have a coke, but I know it would lead to a binge…and more coke the following day so I steer clear of it.

    My grassfed beef supplier is also a baker and makes THE best breads I’ve ever tasted, being the bread hater that I am that means a lot. I do at times try a piece of his new breads, even though he knows I’m a carnivorous primal being.
    I just don’t want to be that freak that has an ‘eating disorder’ in their opinion, like many of the vegans *cough*.

    1. The only thing I use Coca Cola for(someone’s leftover)is to clean the toilet at the office where I am the cleaning lady.

      Maybe that visual will keep you away from the stuff.

      1. But that toilet cleaner tastes so good! Seriously, I could probably give up all the others, but the occasional Coke is hard to pass up.

        1. Have you tried Fritz-Kola? I don’t know if you can get it in the US, but it’s an organic cola with a sugar-free variety (and lots of caffeine). It’s my cheat item when I’m craving coke every now and then, and it doesn’t seem to be nearly as bad as the normal stuff.

        1. You can use cola to clean a lot of things – it’s mostly acid.

        2. As a teenager, I worked at McDonald’s. We used coke and ice cubes to clean the bottom of the coffee pots. Gets them sparkling clean.

        3. to that coke and ice cubes thing, soda water works just as well as coke so im guessing its just the bubbles that helps clean.

  6. Sugar is on my cheat list.
    Too much lately and I don’t like it! Amazing how easy it is to fall on the bad side. Carbs are addicting!

    1. I’m all cracked up on sugar right now, and it has to stop. It’s a tough one.

      1. Argh… same here, not primal at ALL right now. Wife and I tried to do the 21 day challenge, but decided to put it off until January.

        I’m thinking of going back to semi-Primal, though, because I feel like crap, am gaining weight fast, and my stomach frequently hurts.

        Gateways for me? Key lime pie.. can’t resist it. Baklava – greek dessert made with phyllo dough. Hot dogs – on a bun. Probably many others.

        1. Don’t put it off! Just challenge to transition to primal gradually and be 100% by January.
          The 21 day challenge came at a time when I had slipped so far from primal it was ridiculous. Even though I knew I wouldn’t go the whole hog in 21 days, I posted it on my wall at work and on the fridge and took baby steps that I could manage at this time. Starting with getting more sleep and cutting down on the coffee!

      2. i was seriously addicted for years! but the christmas divinity still gets me every year. i eat it til i am sick and then not again til next year.

    2. Sugar here too. All of a sudden it hit me when the weather started getting colder. I indulged it for a week or two foolishly thinking it was just a passing thing – now many weeks later it is still an issue that I am having trouble shaking off.

      1. Me, too. I had 2.5 months primal, then started a little bread, then slid back into the sugar. It’s been 3 weeks and I’m struggling to start back on my primal journey.

  7. Candy corn. Its a helluva drug. Ive been dodging brightly colored bullets of it all Halloween and I thought I was clear until coworkers brought in THREE BAGS of it after halloween. I almost cried.

    1. Candy corn!!! Me too! I will literally make myself sick on the stuff, yet I keep going back. The street name for that stuff should be tri-colored heroin. A co-worker brought me a 2 lb bag, so I sent it with my husband to his workplace last week so I couldn’t get to it.

      1. Yup. I OD on candy corn once a year. polish off the bag so I can be done with it. I feel so sick and disgusting afterward that it’s easy to go cold turkey til the next year. Same thing with good fruit-flavored pectin jelly beans – don’t waste my time with those 99 cent bags or ‘gourmet’ popcorn and butter flavors. Yuck – OD and done for the next 12 months.

    2. Oh, I hear ya, there! The only candy I allowed myself this Halloween was a single candy corn. (I’m pretty much a 99/1 kinda guy, though.) There was a whole bowl at the party rental place, and eating just one was like a test for myself: I’m going to taste this, and that’s all.

    3. Me three. Just ate about 20 of them at Mom’s house a little bit ago. Just keep going back and back (and back) to the bowl. Tri colored heroin it is! Ugh.

    4. Candy corn is what pushed me from “pre-diabetic” to a BS level even the doctor raised his eyebrow at. It was this time of year, bowls of it in the office, and FAT FREE! I’ve learned a lot since then.

      1. I thought I was a nut for liking candy corn, since I usually go for chocolate candy, and no one else I know admits to liking it..but it seems I am not alone! Fortunately, I am not exposed to it and I dont buy it. Phew….

  8. Ice cream seems to be a common theme. Mine is Coldstone – I like just Sweet Cream with Butterfinger. And I’ve gotta have the “Gotta Have It.” I used to justify it, because I could walk there – it all balanced out, right?

    1. Hahaha back when I was a distance runner, before I went paleo, I “justified” eating tons of deserts with the amount of exercise I got. Kinda sneaky isn’t it? 🙂

    2. I hear you!!! Cold Stone is TOTALLY my kryptonite! I also can’t have any kind of ice cream in the house otherwise I’ll have just that for dinner! Luckily, there isn’t a Cold Stone too easily accessible along my route from my Crossfit gym or work. 🙂

      P.S. I DO treat myself to it once in a while after completing a half or a full marathon.

    3. Coldstone, I could never have just one bite. Any other candy or sweet doesn’t stand a chance, but this almost magical mixture of cheesecake flavoured ice cream and Reese Peanut Butter Cups. A “Gotta Have It” at least.

    4. I like the Sweet Cream with berries. One thing about ice cream though is when the weather gets cold I loose my desire for it, because I have to wrap myself up in a blanket when I eat it in winter. I also like eggnog flavor.

  9. Good Argentine dulce de leche! Pure delicious sugar. A tub and a spoon, and I´m done 🙁

  10. I just take one day per week to eat as much crap as I want (ice cream and chocolate-covered peanut butter crispy bars). Eating crap until I feel a little sick helps me eat healthy for the next six days. What do you think, are there negative health implications to doing this?

    1. Tuesdays.

      I’m fine as long as I am aware that it can be hard to come back. And to and to ignore the cravings for the next day or so.

      1. Oh, and I have also discovered I don’t really enjoy it when I eat it. This makes me want the junk less and less, causing the feasting to become more moderate.

        I still avoid wheat foods though as the consequences for those can last a couple of days.

        1. +1

          I started out taking a day off per week to eat whatever I wanted, and found that after about 2-3 weeks I no longer wanted to.

          The more sensible 80/20 approach, rather than a structured day a week (or however often) “cheat day,” is more sustainable and pleasant for me.

    2. Once a week is pretty frequent, IMO. Depending on how sensitive you are to the bad foods you are eating, it may take you a few days to recover from the binge, which means you are really only benefiting (feeling completely healthy & body is functioning at its prime) for a few days a week.

      1. I followed Ferris’s 4 hour body plan prior to becoming primal. The cheat day ended up turning into a cheat weekend. Bad news. For me, at any rate.

      2. yeah, i first learned about this strategy in 4-hour body. it was absolutely fun in the beginning and really helped me transition to a healthier way of eating. but like others have said, my cravings are becoming less and less as my body starts to realize the value of healthy food.

        1. I read about dozens of people following this same path. So, in the end, we must all thank Tim Ferriss for the knowledge he puts out there. I’m a big fan of the guy at least.

    3. yes…eating like crap until you are sick once a week has plenty of negative health implications. And your genes will never reprogram if you confuse them like that once a week. Have a treat once and a while, but the cheat day is yet another CW excuse.

      1. Ooh, I actually find that a cheat day makes it a thousand times harder for me to control my eating on the next days. Once the barrier has been broken in such a big way, I’m done for. They always turn into a cheat week!

        1. My thoughts exactly. If I have a cheat day on Saturday, Sunday and Monday are pretty much a wash too.

    4. I have a hard time recovering from a binge like that. I try to stick to a one cheat meal a week instead of a whole day. I still try to stay as primal friendly as possible and at least keep my indulgence gluten free. So I might get a baked potato with my steak instead of salad and flourless chocolate cake for dessert. The less non-PB I eat the less I crave non-PB foods.

    5. I’m new to the whole Primal thing, and have a hard time sticking to it completely. (especially with a boyfriend in the house that is not following it at all). So, for now, I have one day a week where I can eat whatever. This week is girl’s night out at a local brewery’s restaurant. I’m finding that some things make me feel awful now (ex: macaroni and cheese – my all time favorite comfort food). And I’ve lost my taste for some things. So, for this week’s meal, I’ll have a few beers (after all, we’re eating at a brewery), a sensible dinner, and share dessert with a friend. So I’m cheating, but it’s not awful. Then, when I wake up Saturday morning, I’ll have my bacon and eggs for breakfast and be back on track.

    6. This is where Tim Ferris diet makes sense. Although I’m not a big indulger and can take or leave most sweet things, sometimes if I am hormonal I can eat a whole 6 pack of cheese and onion square crisps!

    7. Cherry Garcia should be a controlled substance. Guilty. Aso, french bread and baked potatoes, dripping with butter.

      I take one meal a week off the blueprint, but on vacation I just give up. And I don’t know either, how damaging this might be.

    8. That used to be my approach, too. Until I read that I was not giving my body enough time to convert from burning sugar to fat/protein & was keeping myself in craving mode. I charted my craving curve – peeked every Wednesday. I usually managed to stay strong until Friday night or Saturday. I stayed off sugar/gluten for about 6 weeks & now can indulge every so often & can let it go easily/no cravings afterwards. I do spike my morning cuppa with whipped cream every day. That does take the edge off!

    9. Haha! Exactly what I do (though less frequently). If I eat a little, I will continue to eat a little more, and a little more, and… However, if I very occasionally gorge myself until the mere thought of sugary crap, makes me feel…. well, like crap, then I am good for a long while!

    10. I’m a T2 diabetic and test my bg when I “cheat”. IME, it takes 2-3 days to get back to normal after a cheat day. That basically means that cheating once a week has me “off” half of the time.

      So for me, it’s a monthly cheat instead of weekly. I usually pick a holiday, or if I’ll be eating elsewhere a particular day, I choose that day.

      IMO, cheating is very important – a lot easier than thinking you can never have X again. Postponing is easier than forbidding.

  11. Yes, several I’ve discovered and I’m pretty sure it’s all to do with the insulin response and the dopamine pleasure pathways.

    If I allow myself a creme brulee there’s a good chance I’ll be prowling for more sugar within the hour.

    Alcohol – as much as I adored a good red, half a glass fine, but almost impossible to stop at a half and before you know it 2 – 3 glasses later, and it meddles with my sleep and my appetite … so gave up completely in June, much easier.

    I do have to stay very low carb for mental wellbeing, well below 100 g daily which in turn probably makes me more sensitive to carbohydrate intake.

    Had huge problems the day after a several ‘haribo’ moments on an epic day of cycling which culminated in the ascent of the Tourmalet with the temperatures in the early 30s.

    However, the cure I find is a good IF.

    1. Same here. A piece of occasional cheesecake has me eying other super-dense, hyper-caloric sweets soon thereafter, but no matter the damage, a solid 20-24 fast the next day seems to reset my primal cravings back to the damn-those-sardines-in-water-look-amazing setting.

      1. I just did this today. Cheesecake led to tiffin, led to tartlet. Then I got fries on the way home. . .I always have this delusion sugar’s going to help me focus my mind better on what I’m working on. Actually, it’s a distraction and scatters my mind. Does anyone else trick themselves that way, or is it just a weird thing I do?

  12. My gateway was birthday/wedding style cake from a bakery (actually, the frosting.) I had a large piece at my great-nieces birthday party several months ago and today — not so gateway? I get a bit nauseous instead. Now, about those wedding mints…

    Also guys — try making your own ice cream! Ice cream base is just a rich custard — use half and half or full cream and egg yolks and some great tahitian vanilla extract and some stevia (maybe a bit of honey) for sweetening. Voila! You can even add some dark chocolate bits and dark pie cherries. Decadent.

    1. Diane, do you have a recipe for the homemade ice cream? It does sound decadent. Thanks!

  13. When the snow comes down (not often here) the Hot Buttered Rum comes out. The recipe I have calls for ice cream melted with butter and brown sugar add that to hot water and rum, mmmmm. That will be hard this year!

    1. Can you fake that with some full-fat coconut milk, vanilla extract and some coconut sugar (it works like brown sugar for me)? I live in a place that rarely gets cold weather too, and I LOVE eating/drinking things that weather keeps me from enjoying for most of the year.

  14. PIZZA – I used to eat whole large pizzas to myself and love them. I can’t just have a few bites or even a slice. Keep them away from me!

    1. That’s mine, too, and I was going to type it in all caps as well. 🙂

      I can’t eat just one piece, and if I do indulge, I want it again the next day and the next day and the next day…

    2. Yep!! Pizza is the only thing that I really miss from the old days. I can correction, could finish a whole pie by myself. Just thinking about that now, makes my joints hurt and stomach feel like there’s a rock in there.

    3. Yeah, I hear you on the pizza! A good burger can do me in, too.
      But, those two aren’t really gateway foods. For me, anything with peanut butter and chocolate makes me question my Paleo morals. Keep those Reeses away from me!

    4. I would have to say GOOD pizza is my downfall, I’ll eat at least half a pizza with my hub… but we’ve been going to the place I crave it from less often (and all they have is thin crust!) so when we do go have it, it’s more a of treat and I eat some wings before the pizza comes out to help me eat less of it

    5. Oh my gosh, I just relapsed the past two nights with pizza…and have been feeling horrible since! I love it so much I would cuddle it and take it to bed if I could. I need to eat some cold turkey instead.

    6. There it is… PIZZA!

      My favorite?


      No other pizza joint is comparable. It’s no longer here in GR and I’ve never seen it elsewhere. Not sure why… everyone else I talked to said they loved it. If it was here I would still eat it… so damn amazing. The rest is literally shit compared to Donato’s!

      1. I LOVE Donatos pizza. Unfortunately since I have Celiac disease I can’t eat it any longer.

    7. Ever since I’ve started making the eggplant/almond crust pizza from food lover’s primal palate, I haven’t missed grainy pizza one bit—the eggplant crust is *FAR* superior. Made one last night!

      1. Nah, my pizza stuffed zucchini recipe very effectively kills all pizza craving around here. Why? Because it’s better than any pizza we’ve ever had. My big thing is tacos. I love, love, love them and a taco salad sans the crunchy shell just doesn’t get it for me. We have one major cheat day a week and use it for Mexican food, though more often than not we indulge in chips and salsa and margaritas and then follow that with a big ass salad we’ve taught the restaurant to make for us.

      2. I made one on Monday as well…wasn’t sure how it would be leftover but…I ate it right out of the fridge off the foil it was wrapped in…reminded me of college days, cold pizza for breakfast…AWESOME! I LOVE that eggplant crust!

  15. Mark, you said you’ve been Primal for so long you don’t have issues with eating just a bite anymore? How long is a long time? I’ve been Primal for 6 years and I know there are foods I simply can’t touch. Now, I’d say I’ve been Primal long enough to have the discipline to stay away but there are many foods that if I were to eat a bit I’d be in trouble. Some of us are more susceptible to addictive behaviors. We’re the ones that need to avoid a bite at all costs. But it’s easy once you’ve learned what works for you.

  16. My gateway is nuts.

    They may be primal, but they have a weird effect on me. Even after eating a huge amount, I still feel hungry and want more.

    I enjoy bacon, sausage, and eggs just as much, with the crucial difference that I feel satisfied after eating them.

    So I’ve learned to avoid any food I can’t stop eating, and that an easy way to defeat cravings is to eat something satisfying.

    1. I second the nuts. pepitas, almonds, and especially cashews! I think I could eat a pound of cashews in a sitting. Or more.

        1. Yes! Pistachios! It’s tough to grab a handful and eat just that handful. If I’m only going to eat a handful then I’ll have to be inside the Hancock building in Chicago… I’ll have to take a handful at the bottom, take the elevator upstairs to the restaurant area and have someone shut down the elevator so I have to walk down 100 flights of stairs to get more.

          Otherwise… I’ll chow for a while! I buy the ones that still have shells… its too easy to de shell them!

    2. Nuts are my gateway too! I always find myself justifying eating more and more. I think it’s because it takes a feel hours for them to have the “satisfied” feeling for me.

      1. +4 on the nuts issue! The weight gain starts when I give myself permission to eat them as snacks!

        1. I have to jump on the band wagon here. I thought I was good with nuts…until last night. I was going to have just a few, ended up finishing the container.

          On the other hand, I had an excellent chocolate mousse last week. By the time I finished it, I was well satisfied. I think it was the high fat level.

    3. My wife brought home a huge thing of sugar coated almonds. Talk about heart issues.

      Tasty though.

      1. Chocolate covered almonds are like crack to me. Used to be peanut-butter M&Ms before I went primal, but now they sound disgusting.

        1. yes… there are these cinnamon sugar almonds that make me go crazy… one of the few things I “just can’t stop eating!”

    4. this is interesting – I have been noticing how ‘unsatisfied’ I feel after eating nuts, in spite of being high-protein and high-fat – they just don’t do it for me

  17. For the first six months or so, I would get an ice cream every couple of weeks. For some reason, I’d get an ice cream craving. But I don’t get those any more. Every now and then I’ll split a piece of pie with my girlfriend. Every now and then I’ll eat one donut. But I never get follow-on cravings.

  18. I used to be “the guy who would eat anything,” but i have gotten used to saying, “no thanks” these days and nobody it surprised or offended anymore.

    That said, I still find it hard to visit my parents during the holidays. My mother is very supportive even though she thinks I am crazy. My Dad, on the other hand, thinks the primal blue print is great, but his wife does all the cooking and she is a carb-aholic….

  19. I agree on the pizza!!!
    Anything “desserty” is my biggest downfall…
    Once a month I have to go to a board meeting & dinner is provided. I knew it wouldn’t be good for me to eat it, so I brought my own last month (good thing! lots of potatoes & beans 🙁 ). but I still cheated with a piece of cheese cake! (oh well, I’ve done worse)
    I think desserts will always be my nemesis. I will strive for stronger will-power, and try to limit my exposure even more…

    1. Cheesecake is my favorite non-primal food. Once in a while, I indulge in Cheesecake Factory low carb cheesecake. It has lots of eggs and is very satisfying, and I can go quite a while without having it again.

  20. Really good pizza. I once beat a guy at a pizza eating contest. Gotta stay away.

  21. Tortilla chips. They can take me out quicker than anything, totally a comfort food so I avoid them like the plague. I just remind myself that “nothing tastes as good as being HEALTHY feels!”
    And, oh man…Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia definitely follows with a close second. Geez…with as many comments that includes this one makes you wonder what kind of drugs they are putting in there…channeling Jerry for sure!

    1. Tortilla chips!! Me too. One of my favorite pre-primal snacks was chips and salsa. I’ve indulged a couple of times since changing the way I eat, and each time was ridiculous…suddenly more than half the bag would be gone in one sitting. I definitely have waaaayyy more of a salty tooth than a sweet tooth.

  22. I don’t really have any urges to indulge in bready treats, however I know I’m going to make Santa some cookies this year. I will no doubt eat more than I should, so the batch will be REALLY small to avoid any possible binge. Perhaps I’ll make the reindeer bacon wrapped carrots to keep me away from the sweets!

      1. Ahh, so yummy, and simple. Peel a medium carrot, wrap some raw bacon around it (depending on the sizes of carrot/pork you may need 2 slices per carrot). Stick ’em in the oven on a rack until the bacon gets crispy, or to your desired doneness. My hubby dislikes crunchy carrots so I keep them in until they’re soft, bacon gets nice and crispy 🙂

  23. Still thinking about this 🙂 and realized that I am no longer tempted by foods that make me feel bad.

    Getting to the bottom of your stomach aches and other ills probably plays a big role in self control. If you already feel bad or you don’t know what makes you feel bad, it’s going to be a lot harder to stay away from bad foods.

    1. This is so true, Peggy. If you’re used to eating junk food, you can bounce back from a binge. But when you lose your tolerance for it, cheating leads to lessons you don’t forget.

      Even when I walk by Cinnabon, an old weakness, I’m not tempted. In my mind it is as though the dough had been mixed with ground glass and cocaine. Because I know that is how it feels after I eat it.

      Much more dangerous to me are foods that cause no side effects, but aren’t very nutritious, because I’m tempted to eat them instead of more nourishing things.

      1. That’s a great mental picture! My brother got me addicted to Cinnabons years ago (thanks for nothing). Haven’t had one in years, but still sometimes get those cravings. You’re right though; the suffering is just not worth it. Painful & addicting.

      2. Yes, the bad feeling after (physical, mental and perhaps emotional) is what is keeping me on the straight and narrow too. And I think for a lot of us fuels what from the outside looks like huge will power. I actually think it’s just self preservation power!

        The ‘haribo’ moments (to get me up the final mountain of the day on my bike) left me with blood sugar all over the place the following day and hints of the old depression and mania … I couldn’t fast it out as I was on a cycling tour so it took several days to sort through.

        Having regained mental health sufficiently to now be able to see my life more objectively, and finding a happy way of being, isn’t worth risking the progress for those momentary seconds of ‘pleasure’ as that trigger food passes through your mouth, and then hits the blood stream.

      3. Timothy, this is true! It’s the foods that doesn’t cause any side effects that we sneakily think we can get away with.

      4. Interesting the way that Cinnabons feel like ground glass and cocaine to you now. I feel similarly about bread, especially wheat. Sugar I still crave, but bread is now SO unappealing I think of it more as sawdust than real food. I ate some bran muffin a few months back and had to spit it out. Sawdust.

    2. Well said and I could not agree more! When I do binge today I am way more aware of what I just did. I can feel it because I have such a better relationship with food. I let it go and move on but the feeling and understanding of what I just did is HUGE in preventing me from doing it over and over again like the olden days.

  24. Mark, I thing that would be a great phychological profiling question: What is your favorite Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor? You seem like a Cherry Garcia. But seriously, once you really cut grains and sugars, it’s hard to eat ice cream unless its real because so much of it is laden with xantham gum and corn syrup, and it just doesn’t taste that good. I feel, apart from my health and energy level improving using many of your primal principles, my sense of taste is much more keen. Do you have people saying this to you?

    1. My sense of taste has become quite sensitive too…Also my sense of smell since going primal has hightened as well….anyone else experienced this?

    2. I taste bad oils more easily. Can’t stand canola oil in things anymore and can usually tell when it’s present. yuck. I stick to my coconut oil, butter and occasional olive oil ; ). And bacon fat! Those taste good.

  25. Candy corn, also known as the devil’s corn in my family, and those damned mellocreme pumpkins. I just can’t have them anywhere around me. Even typing these words is having a bad effect. I must go find some bacon!

    1. I ate myself sick on those silly little pumpkins before Halloween- now they sound disgusting. But my real downfall is an ice cold 20 oz Mountain Dew, preferably purchased from my local 7eleven at midnight…..

  26. If you ever decide to stop this whole primal thing, and get a job at Ben and Jerry’s; they give employess 2 or 3 pints a day.

  27. Chips and dip — any kind of combination of salty crunchy fried chips with just about any kind of dairy-laden creamy dip. Very easy for me to polish off at least a half family sized bag of potato chips with a full big container of french onion dip. That always turns into “I need something sweet to counterbalance”. Then it’s all downhill from there.

    Now that I found out I’m dairy intolerant, I can have a few chips off of my hubby’s plate when I’m out, and I can be fine.

    1. OMG yes! I used to absolutely destroy a whole bag of ruffles with a giant tub of french onion dip. It made me feel sick then, I can’t imagine what it would do to me now.

      1. RUFFLES and french onion or ranch dip. Definitely my favorite! I feel your pain 🙂

    2. The salty sweet thing is my gateway… Chips with chocolate together, ie: handful of chips and a brownie, shoving it into my pie hole! Ugh! Tastes so good, although I do feel terrible afterwards. It’s been months since I’ve done it, and after reading this post, probably will stay away for good!

      1. I love the salty/sweet combo, too! Fortunately these days I feel satisfied with some salted almonds and sweet, dried cranberries instead of Wendy’s frosty and french fries!

        1. I totally agree with this… Last week I had this really brilliant idea to stuff dates with pecans, wrap them in bacon and them dipping then in a bourbon, cream cheese, and cream dip. It was heavenly… Not to far from the Primal way… until I literally ate 40 of them. It was over 600 carbs in less than 24 hours. I had had no sugar for about 5 months beforehand. I made myself sick. I have been fighting craving ever since. I think it would be wise for me to just say no.

    3. Cut up some leeks, mix them up in some sea salt, pepper, and a little bit of coconut oil and then fry them in the oven for 20-25 minutes.

      DELICIOUS, crunchy, salty, and fantastic.

      WHen Im tempted this has replaced my desire for potato chips…and believe me I was obsessed with potato chips.

      1. Drew thanks for the leeks tip. Question:
        Do you fry the leeks in coconut oil before you bake them and at what temperature do you bake the leeks? Would love to bring these to the holiday dinners.

  28. Peanut butter is a rough one for me. About 2 weeks ago I finished off a 16oz container in less than 24 hours.

    Also… too much sugar without enough physical activity to downplay the effects will just make me crave more and more sugar.

    Now though, I get stomach aches if I eat candy so I am able to resist without effort 90% of the time.
    LOVE pumpkin pie though and it’s coming…very soon…

    1. +1 peanut butter!
      Haven’t had it in months but just recently got a craving, used to be one of my favorites. Nervous that I might go for the Skippy in the cabinet, I picked up a jar from a local health food store (thought I could justify the purchase by buying a peanut butter/flax seed blend to balance out the omega 3:6 ratio. I know, I know… anti-nutrients, aflatoxins, etc) Needless to say, its half gone. Considering just dumping the rest..

      1. Try making your own pecan/cashew butter. Equal amounts, put into your food processor for 10 minutes. Creamy, heavenly, and primal. I’m the same way with PB, and this satisfies my craving. Next batch, think I’m gonna add in some cinnamen.

  29. Ice cream substitute:
    1. Take some full fat, unsweetened yogurt.
    2. Add stevia drops to taste. Leave plain or add some vanilla.
    3. Put in the freezer until it starts to get really thick.
    4. Eat. Slightly frozen and sweet.

    1. I tried this last week – it was terrible! I can eat almost anything, but I’m sorry, it tastes NOTHING like ice cream or frozen yogurt, not even close!

      1. I do frozen bananas buzzed up in the blender with a little milk and a sprinkling of dark chocolate chips over it…best thing I’ve found when I NEEEEEED ice cream.

        1. That sounds fabulous! My husband is just starting to go primal and ice cream is his pitfall, so I will make sure he tries this! Me too! Thanks!

        2. This is the best ice cream substitute I’ve found so far. Next batch, think I’m going to try adding some frozen strawberries. I usually do it in the food processor with only the bananas – gives it a thicker texture. Mmmmm, must make this soon!

    2. Sounds like my “healthier banana split”
      Split banana, add scoops of full fat Greek yogurt, top with shredded coconut, nuts, occasionally a few chopped dates or a drizzle of honey. Not completely primal but a heck of a lot better for you than the full sugar alternative.

    3. I’ve been doing something similar: Plain Greek Yogurt, Protein Powder (mine is whey-based), Cocoa Powder, Stevia Drops, Vanilla…..mix it up until blended well, refrigerate, and it comes out almost like a mousse! …and the protein punch, between the yogurt and the powder is big!

    4. we put kefir on frozen blueberries and raspberries, your body loves the kefir and it replaces the ice cream craving OR a smoothie with 1 c. kefir, 1/2 banana, 1/2 c. frozen raspberries = yum!

  30. I love desserts in general and I usually can’t moderate. However, I’ve gotten REALLY good at having to discipline to stop at the end of my cheat meal or day. Take Thanksgiving for instance – I can tell you that my wife’s family makes killer meals and desserts are a big part of that. I’ve been eating totally clean for almost 5 weeks and will be at 7 weeks before Thanksgiving arrives. At that meal I plan to eat anything and everything to my hearts content. I know from experience that come the next day I’m back to being Primal (albeit a little uncomfortable – worth it, trust me) and even though there may be some lingering temptations I’ve learned to ignore them. It’s almost a relief to get back to being Primal. So here’s the question: is that approach detrimental if I know I can get back on the wagon the next day/meal? Are the these “triggers” or “gateway” foods a problem if you can successfully make then an isolated (even if excessive) incident? It probably depends on the will power of the person. I’ve had years of practice (only the last 1.5 of which has been primal – before it was the abs diet). Just some thoughts.

    1. Let me add to my own post and say that I’m not advocating my approach if you still have a good amount of weight to lose or do have will power issues (I don’t cause I’m super anal retentive about my health and weight – some might even use the word vain to describe me. I’m working on it). If a meal turns into several or a day turns into a week than steer clear of my approach. I’m also not trying to be “holier than thou” or anything. Maybe I’m just trying to justify it to myself. 🙂

      1. My thoughts – if this is a once in a blue moon type of thing and it works for you, then keep at it. Since you’ve been “clean” for 5 weeks, you’ll be well past the 80/20 rule. I think of it this way. If our ancestors came upon a large stash of fruit or honey, they probably had several pieces, knowing that the next day or two they would not have the opportunity. They took their rare opportunity and probably feasted. So, have your feast and enjoy. Then back on board the next day.

  31. I used to make great homemade biscotti and old-fashioned crispy ginger snaps to send off to family members for Christmas. However, they only got what I didn’t eat (I could down approximately 30 cookies in an hour – ugh! sad and kinda creepy!) Not this year! I will buy non-food gifts this year. I really liked baking, but I just can’t risk it anymore. It is almost as if I have lost a bit of my soul by not being able to participate in that part of the holidays, but I have decided that I would rather live, so no baking “goodies” anymore. I cannot even bake paleo goodies because I will overeat them as well. Maybe I can get addicted to decorating instead!

  32. Pretty much anything with gluten or hfcs invokes my rendition of ‘the thing that ate Norway.’ At first I tried the will power route, but I found much better success by saying to myself, ‘I can have it on Friday.’ Then by thebtike Friday rolls around I’ve been good all week and don’t want to wreck my progress. So I put off the cheat until ‘next Friday.’

  33. Roasted nuts – especially the sweet kind (like the ones you can get from a Boston street vendor), or the really spicy kind, like the Blue Diamond “Bold” line – “Habanero BBQ” being the most adictive almonds I’ve ever tasted.

    I can’t stop myself. If I open a tin of Habanero BBQ almonds, I can all too easily wind up eating the whole thing without feeling the slightest bit full. But the whole tin amounts to over 1000 calories!!!

    I still get them on occasion, and every time I do I’m reminded of why I shouldn’t get them again…

    1. Oh geez….I JUST BOUGHT bbq almonds for playing cards Saturday night with friends so I’d have a primal option instead of chips, dip and sweets. Aren’t nuts okay? I guess in moderation only due to high fat content?!

      I’ve been primal for 4 months and find social gatherings -especially with alcohol — challenging. 80/20 has worked so far… 10lbs lost since 7/4/11.

      1. Nuts are great as a snack, and definitely better than chips, dip and sweets.

        Almonds are nutritious and pretty low carb, but still high in calories. And the Blue Diamond “Bold” brand are especially salty/spicey/sweet, which makes them really hard to stop eating (for me, anyway, especially when I’m already hungry). Eat a whole 6 oz tin of those – easy to do if you’re casually munching away throughout the night – and you that’s a 1,020 calorie snack!

        Generally speaking, going primal is not about counting calories. But they do matter at some point. I’ve seen my own weight loss stall from overindulging in these almonds, which is why I can’t buy them very often anymore.

        I still get them on occasion. But I don’t keep a constant supply of them in the house like I used to. They were way too tempting and convenient if I had them lying around.

      2. The problem with nuts is that it’s easy to overeat and for good reason: it stimulates appetite. What a sad picture when you take into account of not tipping, but spinning the omega 3:6 ratio into a substantial difference. I get a shitload of acne when I indulge in nuts.

  34. Apparently I have lots of gateway foods… I’m one month into being primal and reading all of the responses made me very hungry! 🙂 My way of coping for the holidays this year is hosting Thanksgiving so that I can make sure there are plenty of “safe” foods without offending the host. Christmas will be at my parents’ house and since both sisters and their husbands and my mom have all gone primal since I did… That one should be good! Now if I could just convince my husband!

  35. I always use Peeps as my trigger food example. My problems run so deep I don’t even pretend the food needs flavor. I just want to liquify the glucose and shoot it into my veins… Ahhhhh….

  36. M&Ms. I don’t know why. I can have the occasional good quality dark chocolate, no problem. But M&Ms are my weakness. If I had the support of my husband there wouldn’t ever be M&Ms in the house, or any junk for that matter. But there they are, on a counter or in the pantry, just staring me down. I usually win but sometimes I just can’t resist. Oh, and pistachios, but those are relatively Primal and they don’t lead me on the path to CW. Actually, M&Ms don’t either, I just have a hard time avoiding or eating “just a few.”

    1. Wow, that feels better. It’s like Primal Confessional. 🙂 Now for penance: Grab a small handful of macadamias and a glass of water and be on my way. Oh, and some bacon! 😉

    2. My theory on that is what I call the quality/quantity divide. A small amount of high-quality chocolate (and for me that means Cluizel or Pralus) will satisfy, but lower-quality will not, so you keep eating more in an attempt to satisfy.

  37. For me, it’s homemade Chex Mix. Every New Year’s Eve, my mom would make a big batch. The smell of butter, Worstcheshire sauce simmering in the oven with all those cereal squares, crackers & peanuts will forever make me think of the holidays.
    She passed away a few years ago, and I’ve kept the tradition up, until last year (I went Primal in November 2010), and aside from the butter, Chex Mix is about the most un-Primal snack you can have – it’s all carbs & peanuts. But I know if I make it, I’ll justify indulging, and I can’t stop once I start. I trust my mom would understand & would applaud my efforts to be healthy – and to remember her in other ways.

  38. for me its candy. anything other than super dark chocolate, which I can have one square of and be done. candy I would eat by the bag….for weeks and weeks after Halloween every year. it would send me on a binge until all the Christmas cookies were gone. no more. I have to be super clean during the holidays, no 20% for me. after January 1, maybe I will allow a safe treat, but my gift to myself this year is staying clean.

  39. Oh my. . . so many but chocolate desserts are my gateway. Doesn’t even matter if it’s good quality chocolate.

    In fact, a new molten middle, chocolate chip dessert cookie is now available at one of our local grocery stores. It looks so flippin’ good. But I know I will eat all 4 in the box, feel like crap for having caved and then go searching for more as my sugar-cravings kick in.

    I am going to opt for something I can make a home which is a “primal dessert” (Is there really such a thing? Using primal ingredients, yes, but dessert would never have been something Grok created, just found on a tree or bush.)

    Nevertheless, I am really learning through my many falls off the wagon. 🙂

  40. I have been mentally preparing to face my seasonal enemy – egg nog. Fortunately this one isn’t around all year or I’d already be dead.

    Year-round, it’s tortilla chips. I grew up in south TX and crunching tortilla chips was part of nearly every happy social occasion.

    1. Egg nog is really easy to primalize, in fact, I think there is a recipe on MDA. You can even take it one step further and make primal egg nog ice cream!

  41. Seconded, Kris, on the M&Ms… my mother buys one or two gigantic 16oz bags per WEEK and devours them. She leaves the open bag sitting around the house… sometimes it’s like it’s calling to me. I swear it’s out to get me.

    Also, my Western Civ teacher keeps two communal pots of animal crackers and candy in his classroom, and they’ve derailed an IF or two before, his class being around 11AM: the only point of the day I get -hungry- during a full fast.

    That teacher also broke out the Halloween candy on us last week… that one was rough. I told myself I’d have one piece; that piece became a handful, which became a smorgasbord of caramel-animal-cracker sandwiches and shame. I was sick the rest of the day.

    Ah, well – we live and learn. I know I have. Candy’s lost its luster, for the most part… give me some bacon instead any day.

  42. Sugar is my downfall, in any form :< I love love love dark chocolate, but one square of the bar becomes the whole dang bar. Every time!!!

    1. This is me exactly lately! One square of chocolate, and then 15 minutes later another, and pretty soon the whole bar’s gone.

  43. No-bake cookies. The kind with peanut butter, cocoa and oatmeal, that you drop onto waxed paper. I LOVE THOSE and cannot eat them at a normal pace. I also have a problem with nearly any kind of chip…especially the cheezy poof variety.
    I did find a decent trick with the no-bakes though, I made up a WAY lower sugar version and subbed coconut flakes for the oatmeal. They’re close enough that I’m happy, but I also make them in teeny batches, so I don’t go horribly overboard.

    1. Oh lordy those are my favorite! Just so tasty… I allow myself to make one batch a year since I gave up oatmeal scotchies

  44. Slurpees (Coke in particular)are my Gateway! I haven’t had one since going Primal and I know better than to try.

    I just don’t buy them anymore. Mrs. Griffin is usually with me when I’m around them and she helps too.

    1. Actually, I think cheesecake is primal; I’m sure there must have been some source for it, a cheesecake bush or something… Are you sure there wasn’t?

      1. LOL yes I think I read about this cheesecake bush… it must have been a very spiritual moment. 😉

  45. Chips and Salsa. OMG. Definitely my personal kryptonite. I literally cannot stop.

    Damn modern foods.

    On a personal note, I went completely primal twice this calendar year already. Huge success both times, but an unforeseen event derailed me both times. First was the birth of my daughter. In the hospital, didn’t plan for the trip and I ended up eating whatever people brought to the room. FAIL. Second time was an illness that led me to comfort carbs. FAIL. I restarted Primal today. I’m determined this never be the 3rd failure. I’ll be 30 in 2 months and want to enter my 30’s healthier than ever. Wish me luck! Grok on everyone!

  46. New York Super Fudge Chunk (Yum!!!)is my “emotional” craving. Going into the B&J’s shop and ordering a mini, helps limit the portion problem. Can’t have ice cream in the house (a spoon here and there is too tempting) And I love popcorn. We stove pop it with coconut oil and there are so many of us I only get a little:)

  47. I make Primal cheesecakes in muffin tin-size…but I still want to eat 3-4 at a time. Freezing them helps to limit my consumption. I just make them 1-2 times per year, for holidays.

  48. Oh Yeah, used to have a problem with refridgerated cookie dough, but I’ve made a hard and fast “no gluten” grain type baked goods.

    1. In mark’s quick and easy meals there is a recipe for nut balls in the breakfast section that you could add chocolate chips to and it would be darn close.

  49. Can we have a gateway “food situation”? I avoid potlucks – I don’t go to them – period. Always full of “feel full”, carb laden casserole dishes that never get put away after the crowd has eaten…and a dessert table creaking with heaviness of squares and tarts and cookies.

    What makes it even worse – nobody cooks anymore so most of the stuff people bring is pre made grocery store stuff.

    My good friends know better than to invite me to that sort of thing and are happy to see me after dinner, for a glass of wine – they know I don’t want to miss the socializing, just the “bad for me” food. Now thats true friendship!

  50. Dressing is my downfall at Thanksgiving and Christmas. A few months ago, I found out I have celiac, so the choice not to eat it will be pretty easy this year. Gluten-free foods just don’t appeal, so I guess I’m off the hook until something else pulls me down the hill…maybe ice cream?? 🙂

  51. I knew there would be plenty of responses to this post. And I laughed out loud at the word gateway. Sugar in almost every form is a problem for me — I have a real sensitivity to it, and just a f–ed up enough childhood to abuse it. If I can stay on track, I don’t have cravings at all. In fact, chocolate often smells disgusting. Amazing! And I never throw in the towel anymore if I do eat those foods, but it can take 3 to 7 days to get back to my normal. It’s definitely a good topic with the big daddy holidays upon us. I made it through Halloween pretty well. A lot of mass market candy tastes bad to me now.

  52. I’m looking forward to Primalizing some baked goods this holiday season, especially as a way to show others how sustainable and fun this lifestyle is. But I’ve noticed that the combo of gluten and sugar is killer for me. I’m almost to the point of not touching the stuff anymore because several days of headaches, moodiness, and joint pain just ain’t a treat anymore.

  53. French fries, especially from In n Out Burger. I used to eat mine, then my son’s … and it was still never enough. *sigh* Potatoes are evil.

  54. This is absolutely amazing. I have been dealing with the sugar monster for a while now -Primal helped but have had some bad issues lately. For me – it is sugary sweetness in any way, shape or form (excluding fruit for some reason…). It’s nice to know there isn’t something wrong with me because I can’t stop once I start and that there are others out there with these issues, too.

  55. Egg nog, i drink it by the carton.. but i saw a primal egg nog recipe so if i end up making it i might be saved! 🙂

  56. i’ve totally been dreading christmas. halloween was no sweat. i didn’t eat a single piece of candy. i don’t like it enough for it to be worth it. thanksgiving won’t be much of an issue either. i don’t care for pumpkin pie, i don’t like stuffing, i’ll having my turkey without the gravy, make some sweet potato oven fries instead of the usual, and make sure there is a side of veggies. christmas scares me though. it’s the only time of year i bake, and HOLY COW, do i bake! every year i bake at least 5 different kinds of cookies, all my grandma’s recipes, none primal friendly… the kids help me with them and it’s one of the official signs that “christmas is coming!” i did it with my mom, she did it with hers… my kids look forward to them, my husband looks forward to them, my mom looks forward to them, my cousins look forward to them… and yes, i look forward to them. do i still make them? do i eat one and call it good? do i try to ‘primal’ them up and essentually ruin the tradition? ::sigh:: i have about a month to figure this out.

      1. Relating and empathizing with Rachel and Roxanne in a huge way…I have donned, somewhat proudly, the Official Yuletide Baker Toque/Crown for as long as I can remember…but since going primal a few months ago…the looming pastry preparations and firing up the ovens has me terrified! I’ve considered “primaling” my tried and true (and expected by all)recipes as well…yet am afraid to ruin them in the process..

        Also…speaking of “gateways”…has anyone out there noticed how partaking in aperitifs…alcohol-accompagnied pre-dinner libations…leads to all sorts of gates being mowed down? I know that for myself…if I have a glass too much of anything…the tortilla chips, or crunchy,salty nibbles of any kind, suddenly take on magnetic capabilities..inevitably leading to a “What the Heck Effect”.

  57. Crackers are my biggest trigger! Sometimes on the weekends when my family is snacking around the house I’ll try and just have one or two, but that usually leads to my eating the entire box. So I try my best to stay far away because I have no self control when it comes to salty, crunchy, crackers! Oops!

  58. Mauna Loa Chocolate Mac nuts. Its literally impossible to just eat one.

  59. Sweet 8lb baby Jesus, Pecan Pie with home-made whipped cream. Especially with local (Central Texas) Pecans. I guess I could use grass-fed whipping cream…

  60. My mom and I have a bunch of sweet things we bake every year for the holidays. I got her turned onto raw sugar, so if I can get her to use agave instead of white sugar in some baked goods and maybe introduce some non-wheat flour… I think we can have quite an excellent time of it this year.

  61. if i were to list my trigger foods i would probably sit in front of this laptop all day
    -tres leches cake
    -alfajores (pervian cookie with dulche de leche in between)
    -pumpkin pie
    -chips and dip
    -cinnamon raisin bagels
    -ice cream cake

    i need to stop myself… >_< !

  62. It’s not a food in the sense of what others are mentioning, but has been called bread in a glass:


    I love a great hand crafted beer (or 6)

    1. I was wondering when I was going to run into someone else that suffers from the same ailment as me.

      Oh beer, how I love thee!

  63. Once I got “good and Primal”, I lost the cravings for most everything, but I very miss sugar or honey in my coffee/tea. I like a cup of sweet, milky earl grey and if I let myself go there, it’s very hard to stop doing it daily. (Hate non-sugar sweetners of all kind, so it’s not an option.) Ditto on coconut milk as a sub for milk, even though I find dairy slows my weight loss. Just don’t like it.

  64. Sugar is a terrible trigger food for me. Other than really dark chocolate, which I do well in moderation, I just don’t eat sugar. For holiday events I like to make a Primal dessert sweetened with raw organic honey or dates or dark chocolate and bring it to share. Then I only have one dessert option to choose from instead of mounds, and it doesn’t ‘trigger’ me. I can eat a modest amount and move on, instead of overeating then experiencing terrible cravings for the next week like I would if I ate sugar.

  65. No can do Mark. I am closer to 99/1 than 80/20 363 days a year and when Thanksgiving and Xmas dinner roll around I will be having third-helpings of my bête noire, Yorkshire Pudding (sweet, sweet Yorkshire- besides, it is mostly eggs.)

  66. Great post!
    For me it is mainly chocolate and baguette. Since I used to be a binge eater I always had a hate-love relationship with food.

    For me, I found, the easiest way to control the urge to binge on those foods is to not eat the at all. Period. Close ‘the valve’ if you want. That worked very well for a long time. I ignored these foods completely and had absolutely no cravings.

    What brought me back to craving these foods on a regular basis was trying to follow Tim Ferris’ 4 hour-body program (before I discovered the Primal Blueprint) where you ‘have to’ binge once a week. Although I switched to being primal now I still have slip ups every couple of weeks and go nuts on chocolate and cookies. I haven’t made it 3 weeks without yet. I am still trying to bring myself back to the state of ‘not eating chocolate at all’.

    I’ll be starting the 21 day program on Sunday. The book arrives Saturday. I am looking forward to it. I’ve been kind of primal for a while now and (except for binge days/nights) I feel great.

  67. I don’t have a problem with too much, but it seems I get bored when I eat out because everything I can eat is near the same everywhere I go.

    I guess I would have to go with crackers, bread, and salty snacks. I don’t keep much of that around anymore & just haven’t had the chance to make any of my own salty snacks yet. It’s not a problem unless I’m have a few drinks at a party where there is only this stuff.

    My fiance has an issue with once he eats bad during the day, he feels he’s already messed up the day so he can eat whatever else he wants for the rest of the day. I’m breaking him of that mindset, though. 🙂

  68. My weakness my whole life has been Pizza. I decide never to treat myself when I became Paleo. Then I discovered gluten free pizza and I thought this was an okay “treat”. I began to “treat” at least once a week this past month. Let’s just say this is the first cold I have had since being paleo and I am glad I learned my lesson before the holidays. I will be staying away. Thanks for the words…great reinforcement to what I have recently learned.

  69. My cravings are usually for something deliciously primal (like nice a nice cheesy omelette cooked up in bacon grease), but if I lower my guard around ice cream (Ben & Jerry’s or gelato are the worst culprits), I will eat the whole pint in one go, no matter how much my stomach hurts just a few spoonfuls in. Pizza is the other problem. It’s very hard for me to say no to that, but knowing that I could have a big steak and a sweet potato makes it easier to resist.

  70. Krispy Kreme raspberry-filled. I think that might be the only thing left that I have no defense for.

  71. Really crunchy, really corn-y tortilla chips with just the right amount of salt.
    Nothing out of a plastic bag, but direct from the fryer at my local Mexican burrito place.
    I can eat ’em plain or with salsa.
    Dangerous because they are in paper bags all ready for you to take as many bag-fulls as you want.

  72. Definitely corn chips. They are a huge weakness for me! But if I have a craving I’ll make crackers (primal-style!) so I can still get that salty/crunchy goodness but stay within primal limits. (I posted the recipe on my blog the other day – trust me – they are amazing!!)

  73. Many things are trigger or gateway food for me. I just don’t have them in the house. It is the only way. I long for the day when I can moderate my eating but for now, nuts, sugar, cake, fluffy white bread, chocolate are all banned except for special occasions and then bought specifically for purpose.

  74. For me it’s Anything with WHEAT in it. During the Holidays, mom’s homemade bread stuffing is the one childhood food I must avoid or I am toast for weeks until I feel so crummy that I’m finally ready to give it up again. And getting back on the No Wheat Wagon is HARD to do. So I have learned I am just better off to stay away from it.

    The longer I am primal (this will be my 3rd Holiday Season) the easier it is to say No to the Wheat poison in particular and sugary stuff in general. I find my emotional connection to stuffing and rolls (and sugary junk in general) is weaker than it used to be. Not so many years ago, it just wasn’t Thanksgiving without stuffing. It wasn’t rational at all — just pure Gut Wrenching Emotional Addiction. Now, I can talk myself out of it because I know what the price will be if I give in. And it’s just not worth it anymore.

    That’s my most favorite thing about Primal living: I am finally free of the impossible to resist cravings that were ruining my health. So glad I found Mark’s Daily Apple!

  75. Homemade pecan pie dark chocolate chip bars with crust made from a whole cup of butter. Don’t dare take even one bite.

  76. I have a few foods…

    1) Homemade 7 cheese Mac and Cheese

    2) Popcorn Palace’s Macadamia Butter Crunch

    3)Häagen-Dazs Pineapple Coconut ice cream

    I avoid all of these fods like the plague.

  77. Bwahaha! I gave out candy for Halloween…and had some left over. Not much of sweet tooth here…threw what was left in the trash…except for Almond Joy….yup…had some left over…put them in an emergency kit in my car trunk. They are now gone…thank God. Yup…ya got it. ALL…GONE.

  78. pasta. oh god. pasta. i have a history of binge-eating (which is how you wind up being 270 pounds at age 15). i once ate two pounds of spaghetti in one sitting (while trying to hide it). i just can’t have pasta. can’t handle it.

  79. Reeses Pieces…a massive quantity please. Sometimes I throw that in a bag of trail mix with another half a bag of chocolate chips, MMMMMMM. So I have to avoid these things, except for the rare occasion. Nothing else really tempts me.

  80. Soft fresh baked chocolate chip cookies…..I always think I can have one and be satisfied but it “Triggers” a crazy addiction and I cannot stop eating them. Being Primal for 3 years has sure helped me pass on many other addictive foods that I used to love. But damn, it is like these cookies are a powerful drug!

  81. Around the holidays my mother used to bake molasses cookies. The original recipe called for dark molasses and lard. It’s an emotional flashback that I can’t resist. With cream cheese frosting . . Oh . . Gaaawd.

  82. Candy, or pizza…i still love me some thin crust pizza every few months. I try to stick to one slice or i just scrape the topping off and eat that, lol!

  83. Chocolate chip cookies, brownies; pizza to some extent. Mmmmmmm. :9

  84. Thanks for going into this, Mark!

    For me it’s not so much that one bite of a ‘trigger food’ lands me digging into the whole jar or dish, but that one sweet treat will have me craving sweet treats for days on end afterward, making sticking to the right foods very difficult. If I stay completely away from them, however, then I have NO PROBLEM avoiding them altogether!

  85. Just knowing there are spicy Doritos or jalapeno cheese curls in the pantry is enough to give me the munchies. I can think of nothing else and if I do eat one it turns into ‘one for the other side of my mouth, too’ or ‘9 isn’t a good number – 12 (or whatever higher number) is better’ and then they are gone. Then shame gets in…

    Not having a problem with sugar/chocolate because the vast majority of it gives me stomach cramps. Ouch.

    1. or rather, sets in. These items are in my house because my father loves them and asks for them when we go grocery shopping.

  86. Nope. No ‘gateway to binge’ food for me. I eat non primal stuff occasionally; I’m going to have a couple of pieces of white potato roasted in beef dripping with my slow cooked lamb in about 30 mins, but my plate will be piled so high with tender meat and colourful veggies I won’t have room for more and I won’t want it either. I had a piece of homemade birthday cake last week. I knew it wasn’t full of weird crap, just recognisable crap. I ate a piece and it was really lovely. Probably won’t be eating anymore cake until the next important birthday which is probably next spring. I enjoy primal recipes so much I don’t really miss crappy stuff, and if I do I’ll either have a little bit and get over it, or most likely have a teaspoon of coconut oil mixed with dried coconut, a banana with raw cream or some organic 80% cocoa chocolate if I want something sweet, or some good raw milk Brie de Meaux or camembert for something savory. It’s a bit easier for me I think because I eat raw local dairy. The key is self forgiveness, common sense and plenty of primal food on hand.

  87. Schneken (sp?) buttery, sugary, doughy goodness straight from Hades. Resistance is futile.

  88. Whipped Cream, both emotional and texture taste…add a touch of pumpkin pie and the Holidays are just getting started:)
    Today it is easy to for go the Reddi Whip, the label has changed drastically. Creme yes, but plus tons of chemicals.
    Only way to have great whip creme is to make it myself, which leaves lots of room for thinking before plunging.
    Reading the labels on the foods will stop me everytime. Ben & Jerry’s ? Last time I looked HFC…ick. Same even with Godiva chocolate and Cheese Cake Factory Cheese cakes. High priced chemicals that in the beginning were real food and at that time to me tempting. So do I say thank you to chemicals? just kidding…

  89. Health means changing your thinking. Never ever eat the poison that kills you- as a principle. And look at all the nice, tasty, good stuff you can eat! You have to unlearn that you like icecream. You can never undo the cumulative damage of eating the wrong stuff.

    Am I too harsh?

    1. You are not too harsh.I agree with you totally, but putting it into practice can be another story.

      1. I know; I’m human like most of you. But the more I learn about what food does in your body, the easier it becomes to eat healthy (low carb paleo for me). So knowledge is the solution for me.

  90. Like many here ice cream can be my downfall, but really ANY sugar gets me on a roll for more. Even eating a cough drop can get me gobbling sugary bits without end. 🙁 I hope that one day I’ll get beyond it.

  91. Maybe I am blessed, but since I changed, I have no extreme carving for anything not primal.


  92. I seem to have lots! Brownies for sure, anything cakey really, one bite and that’s it i need more.
    I need a primal friend in my life to talk primal foods and stuff with or something! 🙂
    I’m fine when I’m off it, but when every friend I have eats it all the time it gets hard…

    As for ice cream, i have heard good things about using coconut milk to make icecream.

    1. MDA is here for you- think of this community as friends. this is what I do, since I dont think any of my friends is interested in this type of lifestyle. so here is where I relate to like-minded people.

  93. Halloween candy kills me this time of year. Almond Joys. Damn I love them. And those little Hershey’s Bites with the almonds. I limit myself to 4 a day in season!

  94. I still do eat about half of a pint of Ben & Jerry’s every weekend. I have a fair amount of control over it, I like Ben & Jerry’s as a company, I love cows, and it delights me. I probably get enough activity and rushed of good hormones and stuff to make up for any potential sugar damage. I don’t know if that is true, but I’d be willing to say that E L Rossi would back me up!

  95. Plain vanilla soft serve ice cream. Something about the cold creamy smoothness is very appealing. Does anyone have a primal alternative?

    1. I hear you! I would also love to hear from anyone out there with a primal alternative to that creamy dreamy bliss…I still have a hard time when I see a Dairy Queen sign when visiting the States…Thank goodness there are none here in this part of France!

    2. As an altrnative try clemmy’s ice cream tastes great and sweetened with xylitol. I use that as an occasional ‘cheat’ treat

  96. It’s like you are in my head! I’m coming off of a small sugar binge, went over to my neighbors on Halloween, ate 3 full size candy bars (somehow tried to rationalize that a Mounds bar is kind of primal…), been had pop last week, a bunch of mini chocolate bars, etc. I’m trying to get back on the wagon, but damn it’s hard sometimes!

    1. I agree that its hard, but we need to stay with it, you are not alone 🙂

  97. After being Paleo for 11 months and being pretty much Crohn’s free and free from gastroparesis pain, the sugar/bread stuff really grosses me out. I just graduated college and there were two occasions where someone made me a special dessert. Instead of trying to explain the whole paleo thing, I often just tell people I’m gluten free because of my Crohns. My relatives and my parents friends often try and make special desserts for me that are made out of other things that are equally as bad, like sugar-laden meringues, but I feel so bad they went through all the trouble I’ll have a bit. This has happened twice, both nights up all night puking my brains out. The kind of puking you when your stomach is empty and your just dry heaving. I am surprised everyone can cheat and just get cravings… does this toxic type sugar reaction happen to anyone else?

    1. I can relate Candice, I also have Crohns and get nauseous after I eat sugary foods. Not to the point of puking but definitely very uncomfortable.

        1. I have Chron’s, too. I’m recovered enough now that I’m (sometimes) grateful for it because the fear of pain keeps me on the straight and narrow.

  98. Salty is totally my weakness- chips, nachos, cheese… but always back to those chips. If there’s a bowl sitting out I’m doomed. Because I DO just try to take one. Maybe I should take something from this post and try not even going down that road! I know I would feel better the next day, I always get a food hangover after a chip binge.

  99. TOTALLY feelin the Cherry Garcia! i used to eat the whole pint to my head while watching chick flicks… @[email protected]

    this is my first holiday season since going Primal, so i can’t say for certain what my “gateway” food will be, but my dollar is on my Aunt Linda’s cream cheese pie. holy goodness… it’s sin in a pie plate. seriously. either that or Dad’s ambrosia. maybe Nana’s pumpkin pie. or Uncle Bob’s fudge… oh dear lord, how am i gonna survive???!!

  100. Salt and vinegar potato chips, tortilla chips with salsa, shortbread cookies, sour dough bread, movie popcorn, stuffing, gravy, and Sour Patch Kids. Most other things I can now moderate or make a primal version of or don’t care about anymore.

  101. Pizza is probably the only thing I still crave after over three years of making my own meals.

    I still like to read reviews of pizza restaurants, even though I’m not eating it I enjoy reading about how delicious it is. Haven’t had any in several months.

  102. I am a dressing/stuffing guy. I can deal without sweets but fighting the stuffing is going to be tough. I have tried a few primal versions but they just aren’t the same. So I am going to save my bites for thanksgiving day and move on. I figure I can have the stuffing made with organic cornmeal, grass feed sausage, homemade stock and actually not be too bad.

  103. Actually, alcohol and white Basmati rice are my gateway food. I cannot eat just one bite of rice and alcohol leads to carb cravings. So I stay away as much as I can.

  104. Lately I’ve been fantasizing about fine Italian food!! I don’t dare enter an Italian restaurant because I could devour a man-sized platter of fine cooking.

    Normally I would be craving B&J, nuts and other sweet/savory combinations. I’ve been very strict lately, and have lost my cravings for them.

    Turn on the TV however, and all bets are off! TV is my trigger/gateway. Once it’s on, I cannot stop eating.

  105. Holiday meals: my family is really great, in that they completely accomodate my dietary restrictions (gluten) and they also don’t have much in the way of sweets – holiday dessert is generally berries with ice cream, or I make a flourless chocolate cake. I can eat small portions of all of this stuff, no probs.

    My gateway food? CHIPS. Plain, Ruffles chips. Though I’m better than I used to be, I can (and have) curled up in a family-sized bag all by myself 🙂 Crunchy and salty… that’s my thing.

  106. I have to agree re: the icecream. I have no cravings at all for bread. I can get by with a few pieces of dark chocolate, put the rest away, & be happy for the rest of the night.

    But ice cream… no such luck! I can’t just have one spoon full… or one bowl full. Especially if it’s the really good locally-made gelato. Yum!

    Hence it is banned from the house… it works best this way!

  107. Peanut butter and grape jelly, on white bread, with a big glass of milk.

    It’s got everything… White bread, peanuts, purple colored sugar goo, and cow juice. What could be better?

    I can’t help myself. I can go without a lot of things, but one look at a piece of bread, and my mind immediately goes to PBJ.

  108. I believe that a big part of getting out of control is believing that you will. Foods only have the power you give them.
    I really like certain things like tortilla chips, ice cream and chocolate candy. I can eat a small portion on a special occasion and be satisfied with that. I’ve been on various types of restricted diets since I’ve been 14, so I guess I’ve gotten enough practice.

  109. The box of cheap Christmas Jingle sugar type cookies that are out at the grocery store now. I could eat the entire box.

    Now that I have Celiac disease I can’t even cheat with them.

    TMI but I have actually chewed up a couple and then spit them out just to get the taste. I’m that addicted to them.

  110. Sorbet substitute:
    1 cup frozen berries
    1 Tbs coconut oil
    1/4 cup coconut milk (a bit more if needed)

    Mix thoroughly in food processor or blender. Absolutely TO DIE OVER.

    As for “gateway” foods, I use the word “trigger.” To me, it sounds worse, implies danger, conjures notions of shooting yourself.

    My trigger food is chocolate. I’ve commented about it before here. I’m simply not happy with a few squares. It’s not a discipline thing – I’m quite sure there’s some neurological pleasure phenomenon that gets triggered when I have some. It sets up what amounts to a doorbell in my brain that keeps ringing. When I answer it, it’s the same voice, over and over again, saying “Hey Susan, can we have some more of that yummy chocolate?”

    I’ve read that’s exactly how heroin works. It installs a doorbell in your brain. I’m just not going to take part in the installation of a chocolate one.

    As for the holidays and all the food around, I look at it this way. Food does two main things: nourishes us and gives us pleasure. We readers of this blog are interested in learning how to best nourish ourselves. We want to get good at it, and over time, we do. Awesome.

    Pleasure is a factor for sure. But to a point.
    We can decide for ourselves what that point is.
    I think a worthy question to ask is, “How much pleasure do I want/need to get from food?” From that, other questions can follow, like:

    “If I eat some of that [whatever], will I have a better time at this party?”

    “What did I really come here for – to connect with people I love and enjoy, and to have a good meal that makes sense – or did I come here mainly to get pleasure from eating?”

    “How am I going to feel tomorrow if I eat that?”

    I’m all for mindfulness. Thinking this way helps, I think.

    A good tip: I’ve found that eating a grapefruit before a party can be good idea. It makes me feel nice and full and hydrated. So when I get to the party, I’m not distracted by the spread. I’m ready to enjoy the other aspects of it – the people, the feel, the vibe, the music – and other things like that.

    If you’re not into grapefruit, try this:

    Veggie Smoothie
    One15 oz can whole tomatoes w/ juice
    5 oz spinach (fresh or frozen)
    1 Tbs olive oil

    Mix thoroughly in food processor or blender. A total hunger killer.


    1. i’m glad you mentioned the addiction-connection. i read somewhere (probably here!) that wheat has opium-like chemicals that addict you! so its not only will-power: its overcoming an actual addiction to whatever you are hooked on.

  111. Caramel praline ice cream/frozen yoghurt for me. I can handle most other flavours in small doses (took me a year and a half to finish a pint tub of Haagen Daaz green tea ice cream) but the caramel ones are bad and caramel praline the worst. I can finish a gallon of that in a week and it absolutely kills me.

  112. 1. Extra butter popcorn, hot, with a bag of m&ms poured in. Melts in your mouth, not in your hand.

    2. Those damn chocolate hazlenut candy bars at Ikea.

    I haven’t had either in a very long time, but these things still tempt me.

  113. Last year for thanksgiving dinner I made a lot of primal food for us that are primal in my family, out of the 23 of us there are 6 of us that are primal, and everyone elese seemed to enjoy my primal versions as well as the regular thanksgiving dishes,I will do the same this year,that way we all can enjoy the dinner without any guilt.

  114. My “crack” was popcorn, man, I think I was eating it 3-4 times a week. Whole bags of Erin’s popcorn. Everyone said popcorn was a healthy snack. I still hear folks say that. It about made me diabetic and I haven’t touched the stuff for over a year. When I crave it, I buy myself a steak.

  115. Mark I’m just like you when it comes to temptation. I have been primal/paleo for quite sometime and I am not tempted by many non-primal foods. If there is any weakness I have when it comes to food it would be macadamia nuts. I could eat 5 lbs.

  116. It isn’t dessert for me; even when I want something sweet, I can take a couple of bites and be done with it. But put me anywhere near a plate of fries and I’m … toast.

  117. @GWEN! LOL! That is sinful! My big downfall for some reason is popcorn and cheetos. I am not attracted to sweets. I am a salty snack food person.

    1. X2

      One big bag of Cheetos is 2 servings only because 3/4 a bag is enough. And I’m still eating popcorn because it seems the best solution to my evening hand-to-mouth disease. At least I’m now putting real butter on it.

  118. This post has obviously hit a nerve. Having moved to Australia about 15 years ago, all of life has been rearranged, so eating well is fairly easy. I’ll be in the US for 6 weeks around Christmas however, and that will be a challenge. Things that don’t tempt me here like pizza will no doubt be hard to resist when I’m in Chicago. Furthermore, all those things that I grew up with but can’t easily buy here–root beer, Butterfingers, Reeses PBC–will be all around me at a low price. My biggest fear though is the ubiquitous packaged and processed food that relatives will try to feed us when we’re staying with them. It is, from a social perspective, easier to say no to a chocolate bar than to the alfredo noodles from a box that someone has made for dinner.

  119. wondering….
    after reading many of the posts it seems that food sources are not being taken into account.
    I began my primal path before I knew what primal was in summer 2009, so a little over 2 years.
    Starting with elimination of all processed and gmo foods.
    After 30 days of this fairly strict practice, I tried a piece of bread and it literally tasted like a mouth full of flour, ick and it was artisan, organic bread.
    After that it was easy to eat well because my body was telling me what it wanted.
    Organic veggies and greens, meats grass fed only, fish wild caught, no soy- just non-gmo organic oils grapeseed, olive etc. Sugars were out at first, now I use organic maple syrup or raw honey in small amounts. I did eventually add dairy back, but again only raw or organic from grass fed cows, goats or sheep. And more as a treat not a major component of a meal.
    I wonder when you speak of cravings after eating non-primal foods if it is more their ingredients than the food???
    I enjoy “desserts” occasionally, like raw 85% chocolate, or creme brulee with organic ingredients.
    And I don’t Crave more.
    But, I can tell immediately if I’ve eaten something with HFC or other chemically concocted sweetener, it makes me want more.
    Another person posted that if you get cravings after eating something, then don’t eat it…makes sense to me.

      1. Agree, there are lots of hidden ingredients that can cause problems even when you don’t “cheat.” Cheeses can have starch or fillers; fresh meat can have sugar in it; cream can have chemicals and thickeners.

        All that stuff can trigger cravings and you don’t even know what happened.

        If I slip up or the cravings come, I’ve learned that it’s not too hard to ride them out or distract yourself; it’s like a skill you learn that gets easier over time.

        One thing that helps me is a form of aromatherapy: a few drops of lavender, clary sage, geranium, or other sweet or fragrant oil seems satisfying somehow and can get me off the cravings train. A few drops on sea salt in a small jar, sort of like smelling salts, works well.

  120. Wow this is a popular topic! Honestly, I’ve spend ten (10) years trying to give up sugar, I thought I was just addicted to it. I could go days, weeks, even months at a time without it but I’d always fall off the wagon and eat crap (cookies, ice cream, soda, etc.. ) until I made myself sick from it. About two years ago I started to suspect wheat as causing some of my long-term ills and had narrowed it down to where I knew it was wheat making me sick but I couldn’t think about giving up bread, pasta, pizza etc… forever. Anyway, back in January of this year I gave up all grain and sugar. Within the first week, I realized since I wasn’t eating grain – I no longer cared about any sugar at all. I have narrowed it down to wheat specifically. I’ve eaten corn and rice periodically since then but they definitely do not have the same effect as wheat. Once I realized how it felt to not have an upset stomach/heartburn/IBS symptoms every single day I don’t have a problem not eating wheat foods. As a result, I’ve lost other cravings, seriously, I’m with Mark now if I see something that looks really, really good I’ll have one bite and be neither here nor there, I don’t get the “I must eat more or all” which used to be common place for me. So I’m really not worried about this holiday season – I went last year Thanksgiving through New Years with no pie, cake, cookies, etc.. and it wasn’t difficult.

  121. Because I’m so insulin-resistant, I have terrible symptoms when I eat grains, sugars, or starches, so my motto is “just say not.” I find it easier to never eat “unclean” foods, so I don’t subscribe to 80/20. I see no reason to ever eat unhealthy foods that make me feel awful.

  122. Another vote for Cherry Garcia – open up a container and it’s gone! Lately though, I fell from primal grace through the power of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups via Halloween. Made the initial mistake of buying a bag to hand out – didn’t even make it to Halloween. Then, finding every last one in the Halloween stash. They did lead to other sugar and carb cravings which has resulted in additional weight and a few nights of acid reflux. Thankfully, for the past few days I have felt like I am regaining primal control. Just don’t want to slip again with Thanksgiving, Birthday, Christmas and New Year’s breathing down my neck.

    1. Same exact thing happened to me! I was doing fab on Primal. And then said I’d have one bite of the Reese’s PB cups I planned on handing out. And almost finished the bag. And then onto the bag of 3 Musketeers. Which led to ice cream cravings.

      And w/in 1 week my husband and cousin told me (on separate occasions w/o having talked to the other) that I looked like I’d gained a gut in a short period of time.

      YIKES! This post is very helpful. I won’t mess with the edge anymore.

  123. Cheetos. The forbidden fruit. I don’t even start. If I did it would be to the bottom of the bag. As Jerry Seinfeld might say: “I get a mental essence of cheetos, and then just look away.”

  124. Whitman’s sampler – all to myself, every Christmas. And maybe throw in an entire box of chocolate covered cherries just to really make sure my pants didn’t fit in January. 🙁 That was after cobbler and mash potatoes at Thanksgiving and those wrapped peanut butter chews at Halloween. The ones with the actual peanut butter in the middle. Usually an entire bag…..sigh……

  125. Krispy Kreme donuts. I could polish a dozen in a day. Rats! Now I want some.

  126. My trigger is baked goods. Any of them. I have been a pastry chef for over 20 years. I was diagnosed as celiac almost 2 years ago. I could not only eat what I used to anymore, I couldn’t work either. Bummer. So instead of throwing a pity party or going back to school I started a Gluten free baking company. Lucky for the business I created some amazing brownies, cookies, etc. Unlucky for me. For two months I did great almost 100% primal. I felt healthy & amazing for the first time in my life. People started noticing a difference too. Now after. A bite (which turned Into a whole brownie, slice of cheesecake, and two cookies) I’m back on the sugartrain. No wheat & my meals are primal, its the damn snacking that’s my weak point.

  127. Just got back from visiting my parents. Mom’s chocolate chip cookies were my gateway food. I held off eating one for one whole day then gave into the temptation and just couldn’t stop. I was on the sugar wagon for 2 weeks after I got home. Been off the wagon for a week now. I find that doing some IF really helps reset and get on the right path again.

  128. Mine is pastry, cinnamon buns, baklava, donuts, eat one and my self control runs away.

  129. really don’t have much of a sweet tooth…but I do spend an inordinate amount of time hovering over the meat platters…love that ham fat, and the skin on the turkey, and there is always a lot of sea foods around here (pass on the farmed shrimp, local is in season here at holiday time)…the veggies get attacked also with maybe a little dip, and cheese if it’s decent? I don’t drink so I’m a cheap date.

  130. Good grief, the foods available in America are unbelievably unhealthy. No wonder it’s hard to stay clear. Even in the UK, it’s not easy to stay healthy. I have the most painful set of allergies, I can’t eat any processed food, and that leads to my top tip. If you didn’t make it, don’t eat it. You don’t know where it came from.

  131. I will empty one of those bags of “fun-size” Kit-Kats that are prominently displayed during the run-up to Halloween before I even get home from the grocery store. Mmmmmmmmm- ok, I need to stop thinking about Kit-Kats now…Bacon bacon bacon bacon bacon bacon bacon bacon bacon bacon…

  132. Well, I make this stuff every Christmas call Puppy Chow. I can pretty much stay away from everything else! I’ve already made a mental note about it for this holiday season! I’m in the best shape of my life and don’t want to put that garbage into me!

  133. I seem to ‘need’ a hit of milk and cookies every now and then, often later in the evening when I’m feeling a bit peckish. I’ve found some raw milk locally that is so good. And it can be any sort of ‘cookie’, from ginger snaps to brownies. My wife made a batch of gluten-free brownies over the weekend and I have been sampling them for the past few days. I think there is a real comfort food element to the sweet and the dairy, sort of hardwired in me.

  134. It’s easier to avoid triggers when I think about all the times I’ve fallen into a binging cycle. I swear there is crack in processed food! Once I get started, no matter how bad I know it tastes and makes me feel, I can’t seem to stop. Added to the knowledge that all my old favorite foods are mostly comprised of artificial additives and anti nutrients, I think that it’s enough of a psychological block to deter me from tasting it. It also helps knowing that real food satisfies, whereas the junk won’t.

  135. Donuts, especially maple donuts. Creme Brulee is also another thing I can almost never pass up. Out of the upcoming holiday dinner, I will miss stuffing the most. I’m hoping to find a good substitute to squash that craving though.

  136. For me it has more to do with a timing issue that a particular treat in general. One cookie on one day I can handle. No cravings will ensue, and I’ll enjoy the taste…well, if it’s homemade. 🙂 On the other hand, if I have a cookie or something similar each day for several days, THEN it becomes a gateway or trigger food. I start craving junk and wanting to snack a lot.

    And for some reason trail mix is bad no matter what. I’ve been known to wolf down a pound in one sitting, and I will want more the next day. And it doesn’t even taste good!

  137. This is such an interesting post as it touches on food/sugar addiction which remains an idea that is largely scoffed at and ignored by the medical establishment. Everyday I meet with overweight/obese patients in my work (I’m a Clinical Psychologist) and there is clearly a deeply pathological relationship with food happening that is mediated by the mechanisms of addiction that are accepted in alcoholism and drug misuse. Few in the healthcare field have ever given serious thought to this. Reading this thread is in itself a really useful qualitative study of the effects of high sugar foods on human health and well-being and the manner in which these modern substances (table sugar and HFCS) derail our appetite biochemistry in favour of insatiable cravings and excessive caloric intake….

    1. I take it you read “Potatoes Not Prozac” right? It’s all about sugar addiction. (I believe the author may also be a psychologist but it’s been a while and I can’t remember).

      I have a close family member who is a doc and used to laugh when I’d tell him I was addicted to sugar as if it was the dumbest thing ever. But after years of watching me struggling with sugar and my yo-yo’g weight, he now firmly believes in the notion of sugar addiction…

    2. Many people with food addictions and eating disorders know they have a problem (though some may not). But it helps sometimes to separate out the addictive behaviors from the addictive foods.

      It took me a while to get the “abstain” part of this and stop thinking only in terms of not cheating, being good on your diet, eating small portions, etc.

      There may be other underlying issues, eating disorders, etc. — people are complex. But it can also be miraculous how those who maybe seem the most pathological can be transformed once they abstain from the addicting foods.

      Just saying — I know a lot of people who will freely admit they are food addicts or have eating disorders. But they still walk the slippery slope until they realize that they need to abstain from trigger foods.

  138. For me at Christmas it’s the alcoholic truffle chocolates. I’ve found if I eat as many as I can ’til I feel sick then IF for 24 hours that kind of breaks the addiction feedback loop.
    I do allow my self some ice-cream but I make sure I only buy the small one-portion tubs otherwise I can down a pint or more easily. Home-made ice-cream with double cream, coconut milk and 85% cocoa chocolate fills you up really conclusively.

  139. I’m relieved to know that I’m not the only one that indulges and then sometimes can’t get back on the bandwagon. I wish it weren’t that way…I wish I could have a little and be satisfied but I just find it easier to avoid it altogether for the most part. I indulged in some Halloween candy for about three days and on the 3rd day finally felt like I was over it and was able to recover and get back on track. I guess if I can continue to do that I’ll be OK…and even that is still SO much better than what I used to do. Foods don’t make me feel badly which is a problem…in some ways I wish the bad stuff did but, alas, I have a metal gut and nothing bothers it. I don’t think I will ever strive for perfection but I will continue to strive to avoid as much of the bad stuff as I can. If I cheat it’s going to be on something homemade with as few of the nasties as possible. I bought a gelato maker for the kids for xmas…I’ll get some raw whole milk and make my own. It’s a cheat…but I know where the ingredients came from and can moderate the amounts. I think out of everything ice cream is probably my downfall and I look forward to a small ball of high quality homemade stuff once in a while. I also enjoy warm flourless chocolate cake….a few bites will do me on that stuff…very rich and satisfying. I really try to avoid the gluten at all cost. Strangely enough, I don’t miss bread and even pizza…which is shocking to me. I am so worried that if I eat pizza my taste buds will be on fire and it will be a slow decline back into the abyss.

  140. Hands down cupcakes with buttercream icing. I can not stop at one. Eveything else I do not miss

  141. For my birthday my husband gave me Poppycock, with pecans. Before I read the card, before I opened another gift, I tore thecan open and started eating it, finished a couple of days later. I took myself by surprise by the intensity and no-holds-barred feeling.

  142. Since any non-primal food will put me into 3 days of discomfort, I stay clear of them. But, start me on 90% dark chocolate and I can easily spiral into a primal/paleo food overload.

  143. I’m fairly new to the primal way of life. I started the first day of the 30 day challenge. I have never commented, but I’m finding myself in need of support. A brownie started my slide down the slippery slope right into Alice’s rabbit hole! I really believe in this just needing to pick myself up and dust myself off. Perfect timing for this post.

  144. I must be odd. I have no cravings for anything. I can have dinner with friends and I have no issues having whatever I want. I can have a slice of garlic toast, or chips n salsa, or a slice of cheesecake, a serving of ice cream, a Dr. Pepper – really, any darn thing I want – and nothing causes me to crave more more more. I eat it, I enjoy it and the next day I’m back to my usual primal WOE. I don’t know why I seem to have no issues with craving … but hey, I don’t mind!

  145. AWESOME post Mark! So many people have the “all or none” mentality and if something is going to put you over the edge – avoid the edge all together! Um, ice cream… Definitely, ice cream! 🙂

  146. I have an icecream maker, and I make “icecream” that’s 100% fruit. The machine’s churning (& freezing at the same time) produces a very smooth, creamy, icecream texture, without any of the conventional icecream ingredients. It’s mango season here now, and mango icecream is delicious. So is banana. Or strawberries. Or any or all fruit!

  147. Mark you are a talented writer. That first paragraph is so unbelievably hilarious, I almost spat my eggnog all over myself. (Eggnog is one hell of a sensible indulgence…)

  148. Every year my mother (in her late 60’s) buys my brother and I a small Christmas cake with the thick white icing.

    I allow myself that indulgence as its about more than food. Pretty much everything else is easily ignored as I’ve convinced myself that sugar and grains are about as good for me as salt, tobacco or sniffing asbestos.

    I like not being on the hunger rollercoaster, and I can always have some turkey etc and one or two low carb beers.


  149. I am too new to this to cheat…It would be cheating myself. I am down 34 pounds and have 25 more to go.I began on Memorial day. The end of July I made a homemade apple pie for a friends going away party. I had a two inch slice. I woke up the next day with swollen knees. I had a headache and was miserable the the rest of the week. I will modify some things to make them paleo. I can bake pecan, pumpkin, and apple pies now with out a thought or craving. I think I will hang a pair of my old baggy size 14 jeans next to my new size 8’s and put the size 4 that I bought for inspiration next to them both… It feels so good to no longer have a muffin top. Thank you so much for the heads up on the holidays. It is good to have a plan.

    1. Oh my! My knees swell up when I eat certain foods too (tree nuts, wheat and grains)! Everyone looks at me weird when I say that- but it is true. Nice to know I am not alone in my weirdness. = )

  150. sqt… cook pizza sausage in a pan, drain it, pour pizza sauce ( frsh diced tomatoes on top of that, add mushrooms, and what ever toppings you like. Sprinkle mozz or Parmesan on top of that, Simmer till the cheese melts..mmm, who needs crust??

  151. Potato chips. Ugh. Been primal for 1.8 years but this fall I cannot stop eating potato chips. This was never a trigger food before — I am confused at this sudden urge. Never been into sweets. Any thoughts?

  152. CHEETOS!! It has been over a year and feel like I should have coin in my pocket. Talk about “food reward”!

  153. I was doing great on this when I was vegetarian, but I was so damn hungry, and I thought that if I had to eat one more damn carrot I was going to kill someone. So after much soul searching, I went back to meat (after 8 years of being vegatarian). The problem for me is that I LOVE bread. And I haven’t eaten meat for so long that now I want to eat the food that I was eating before – liked fried chicken and hamburgers and rubens. But – I also noticed that once I have my ‘taste’ I’m good – I hope. I’m just going to have to stay the course and stay away from bakerys – and ice cream. And chocolate. I have alot to avoid I guess!

  154. Movie popcorn…can’t not mindlessly eat it…seriously slippery slope…

  155. Food in China. Baozi (steamed buns, especially the meat-filled ones), homemade dumplings and bing (fried pancake or ?) especially.

    Good thing I can only get it in China. 🙂

    Too bad I always feel crappy while I’m in China.

  156. Scotch!!

    I know it’s not a food, but my old Army buddy whom I’ve not seen for four years brought over a bottle of good scotch and we DECIMATED it… So, I fell hard off the wagon there, but got right back on the next day. Dinner and snacks were still 100% legit though.

    Easy to overdo something, especially when its social (Thanksgiving) or emotional.

  157. I’m not much of a sweets person at all (I can always resist cookies and cakes and the like), but I always feel the compulsive need of eating raw cheese and very dark (>85%) chocolate because I really like both, although I never really crave them. Both foods trigger me to go down that slippery slope, however, which I believe entirely to be psychological. Should I just avoid both foods altogether?

  158. Whilst moderately paleo, dates have a powerful control over me. They should be the perfect occassional indulgence, but if available I will eat them until no longer available.

  159. Nuts are a big trigger…

    I keep gaining weight when I eat nuts.

    Granola (home made and even primal but still a trigger)

    I feel ill and lack energy but I still can’t stop.

    It’s over a month since I keep trying to get back to being primal and everyday in the evening I can’t stick to the plan.

  160. Im not sure if you can buy it in America but in england the company Booja Booja do an ice cream in different flavours,Ingrediants as follows:

    Hunky Punky Chocolate: Water, Agave Syrup, Cashew Nuts, Cocoa Powder.

    Keep Smiling Vanilla M’Gorilla: Water, Agave Syrup, Cashew Nuts, Vanilla Oil.

    Coconut Hullabaloo: Water, Agave Syrup, Cashew Nuts, Coconut.

    Feisty Winjin Ginger: Water, Agave Syrup, Cashew Nuts, Ginger Root.

    Pompompous Maple Pecan: Water, Agave Syrup, Cashew Nuts, Maple Syrup, Pecan Nuts.

    All soya, dairy and gluten free!

  161. Nobody mentioned coffee! My favourite is espresso with a heap of sugar, 4 cups in the morning. It completely changes my metabolism as it starts the insulin rollercoaster, and it ends the calm of the fat burner. And then come the cravings for chocolate and candy. So after 10 days I was out of coffee and I haven’t bought any new. Luckily baked goods give me a stomach ache, and dairy leaves me bloated, so they are easier to avoid.

  162. My gateway is cookies and biscuits, I genuinely can’t stop until the packet/box is finished. But luckily for me I find dark chocolate helps me. If I have a real carb craving coming on, or there is a stack of cookies at work I allow myself a couple of squares of dark choc and I’m done. Phew.

  163. Hehe.

    I was just thinking about apple strudel when you mentioned it.
    One serving of apple strudel is equal to how much of it there is.

  164. Popcorn. I can eat my weight in popcorn. It was the one “junk food” my parents would let us eat as kids (homemade, cheap) so it carries all kinds of emotional ties.

  165. wish I read this before I got into the kids Halloween candy last night.

  166. What are your thoughts on flaxseed meal? I make a ‘muffin’ with a recipe borrowed from the low-carb world…
    1/4 c flaxseed meal, 1 egg, 1 tsp butter, 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp cinnamon (2 drops stevia optional for a sweeter muffin) – microwave for 1 minute, 10 sec. Is this a primal recipe? I sometimes leave out the cinnamon and add a small amt (1/8 c?) of shredded cheddar cheese for a ‘cheesy muffin’. Delicious and takes care of my bread cravings, which I still have after being on the primal journey for awhile! Thoughts on this flaxseed meal ‘muffin’? Primal or not?

  167. Honey Roasted Cashews do it for me. its very hard to put away an unfinished packet….luckily I dont buy them very often.

  168. For me its not so much specific food(s) as an event that throws me out of my normal rhythm. Holidays do that, but more dangerously the travel and preparations for them. I struggle more with the weeks around “the big days” than I do with the holidays themselves.

  169. For me Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Last year at this time, it started with the stuffing that knocked my off the proverbial wagon for about 7 months. I have since come back with a vengeance and have lost almost 30 lbs since July. This holiday season I have a plan in place. I am not even trying to go down the path beginning with my “gateway foods” ever again. Plus, I just plain feel like crap afterwards! Good luck to all, PB rules!

  170. Have been primal since Jan and thankfully I don’t miss the sugar or grains. Primal eating has helped me overcome the hypoglycemia that has plagued me since childhood. I have lost the taste for sweets and the resultant headache brought on by eating them is a great motivator. My favorite indulgence now is some fresh fruit topped with honey sweetened fresh whipped cream and sprinkled with a bit of dark cocoa.

  171. My gateway/trigger foods are coming up for me for Thanksgiving…mom’s rolls and dad’s stuffing. I am pretty sure I can avoid the rolls, but the stuffing is so flavorful and delicious. Argh! My family is so NOT into making changes that would be healthy, so I’ll be bringing several veggie dishes and hoping for the best.

  172. Mine was popcorn. I couldn’t resist it when we went to the movies. But the last time we went I felt so horrible afterwards (and the popcorn didn’t even taste very good) that I’ll never never eat it ever again.

  173. Thanksgiving. hmmm. I won’t be eating bread stuffing, nor potatoes. Will have a small piece of Grandmother’s Pumpkin Pie (I make the crust with leaf lard-yum) So a little bit and will be thankful for PB, and normal blood sugar, and lost weight!

  174. I have primalized all my favourite foods, and its possible to primalize anything. When I see something tempting, I tell myself I’ll make a Primal version later to feast on to stay away from it. Though for me it’d be something like sausage rolls (in puff pastry). I used to eat them as a schoolgirl, they made them in the school canteen…man, I just stay awaay. Its so much easier.

    But that said, I have this “cant stop” problem with primal foods…especially COCONUT BUTTER! Or creamed coconut, or coconut cream concentrate, whatever you like to call it. But if I do succumb to a binge, its relieving to know that all that lovely saturated fat won’t do any harm. Though eating too much coconut makes me feel like I’ve swallowed a brick. All the fibre…

  175. Chocolate Chip Cookies! Warm…homemade, chocolate chip cookies. Can’t even look at them. I’d eat an entire batch.

  176. My kryptonite is candy – especially chocolate truffles (real ones made with butter and cream) and chocolate covered sea salt caramels and baked goods made with real butter. Oh crap – anything sweet.

  177. For me it was staying home to pass out Halloween candy- there’s something about those little candy bars that makes it feel like you’re not overindulging. Of course 2 or 3 of the small bars equals a full size bar… and I had way more than 2 or 3!

    Devil’s advocate for a moment: I believe primal is the way to go, and I believe it works. I’ve seen great results simply from going primal sporadically.

    But surely Grok adapted well to changes in his environment and available food choices. Even though a primal-curious individual is probably more fitness conscious than average folks, we still live in a modern society full of non-primal foods. To give up hot dogs at the ballpark, pizza, mashed potatoes, ice cream, beer(!) etc. FOREVER is going to be pretty daunting for most. What would Grok do (WWGD) if presented with the dizzying array of modern food choices, albeit choices full of non-primal ingredients and chemicals? Would he adapt, or would he stay primal despite the work it takes to do so today?

    To go primal is to reject whole cultures of cuisine- think bread, pasta, rice. To go primal is to step totally outside modern society when it comes to eating. To go primal is essentially to give up restaurants; to limit oneself dramatically when traveling; to give up dinner parties with non-primal friends; to greatly diminish holiday festivities; and generally to alter one’s life in profound ways. At the end of the day, most folks will find it damn hard to stay below 150 (much less 100) grams of carbs per day.

    I’m not knocking primal at all– given the physical state of most Americans at least, radical changes in diet and lifestyle are called for. But people should understand that going primal is indeed a radical change– and a daunting one given the foods that surround us.

    1. Spot-on…brilliant analysis of a genuine primal predicament. I live in France now..and since going primal, I feel a true struggle in this regard. Whilst visiting my mother-in-law here, I felt as though if I rejected offers of traditional French cuisine and pastry savoir-faire (she is positively the best domestic chef I know)..I was rejecting not only her efforts and kindness..HER…but family and FRANCE as well!…Very difficult to navigate these murky waters.

      And my “gateway foods”?..Her superlative tarte and quiche crusts…croissants à la pâte d’amandes…brioches..pain au seigle..baguette au levain “tradi”…on and on…all involving grain.

  178. It would probably knock me off my Primal balance if I tried to drink a glass of true southern sweet tea & any form of white potatoe. But I did alot of mental positive affirmations before I started the 21 day challenge & the transition was alot easier than I anticipated. I am Not dieting I have changed my lifestyle. I ate some brownies & choc chip cookies at the school carnival, but thats been it since 9/12/11 & it did not faze me. I try not to indulge in anything to sweet like my choc of choice is 85% cacao, sweet enough,melts slow & does not make me crave. My Aunt refuses to give up her diet Coke & constantly tells me she’s wanting something sweet or the few treats I do make r not sweet enough. I have had zero cravings using a little stevia to sweeten my coffee ect.

  179. I can pass up candy, desserts, ice cream and baked goods no sweat. Salty, crunchy combination is my downfall. No such thing as a few potato or tortilla chips. Once I start eating, my husband has to wrest the bag away from me. Best that I have none at all.

  180. My gateway drug is cookies. And chips. Anything with a crunch or bite hits the spot… which is why I fair better than ice creamholics. C’mon! How can you get satiated with liquid! If I start on a box of cookies, you better believe no cookie is left behind.

    I have made natural ice cream from a blend of coconut milk and bananas as the base (just add any cocoa powder or any fruit you’d like after). Ripe bananas give it the sweetness without actually using a sweetner.

  181. Bread for me is a big deal. That, and beer. Those things just make my skin break out, and I feel like crap for days afterwards. In saying that though, there’s nothing like a cool beer on a hot day! But, do I take the risk and feel like crap, or just harden up and have an orange juice??


  182. Double vanilla ice cream cone at Dairy Queen! Although I can eat just one per day, the problem comes from wanting to go back the next day, and the day after that, and the next day after that…

  183. For ice cream try clemmy’s it is great I learned about it on mda. It is sweetened with xylitol

    1. Christmas isn’t really all that hard for the average Aussie. The sun is out, the fruit and veg and bbq meats are out and so is the volleyball at the beach.
      My problem is the bbbeeeeerrrr. I can transition to wine if it’s better, but I’m guessing the excess amount of booze (regardless of which type) are detrimental!

  184. Fresh-baked bread. Or cake. Especially my Mum’s christmas cake. Or my partner’s sultana cake. Double-danger if it gets left in plain view instead of being hidden away in a tin.

  185. See I really do not get cravings what so ever. I really just try to not eat gluten when I do cheat. Last weekend I made gluten free brownies, not perfect but woke up the next day leaner than the day before. Thank you Leptin!

  186. The beauty of this primal lifestyle among many is that with elimination of grains, legumes, sugar .. my cravings for them have ceased as well :), Granted it is much easier for me since i live alone and rarely have company. Therefore I have 100% control over what is in my house. However if i still had cravings for these things i would just go out and get them!
    This week is a perfect example, I am visiting my father out of town. I know he loves sweet potato pie. I baked one for him on teusday night made the crust and filling with flour, sugar , the whole works. And I did not WANT it . I tasted a tiny bit of the batter to see if it was flavored right but that was IT. I baked it and brought it to my Father’rs home and ir ia now almost all eaten. And NOT ONE piece eaten by me! That would not have happened 2 years ago.
    It did not take much will power at all because my craving for this is not there.
    Also for the holidays I am going to make primalized sweet potato desert with butter and sweetened with xylitol (it bakes very well)

  187. My gateway food is Tostitos chips. I cannot stop eating them. Can eat a whole bag in one sitting. It’s disgusting really. I can say no to any other food or eat just one serving but I cannot do it with these. Must get rid of them all now!!!

  188. G’day, Never thought I’d feel lucky BUT
    I just can’t get off the straight and narrow (okay primal isn’t that narrow a health path to tread) and I never thought I’d feel lucky I am GLUTEN LACTOSE SOY intolerant and SALT sensitive – so I cannot cheat (without nasty consequences that is..LOL)
    And I don’t really like real sweet stuff I either – I find it much too sickly – even a little bit (gluten/soy/lactose free of course) and I wish I hadn’t indulged! So there’s no getting away from it – and to top it off – my stomach doesn’t like big meals either so I don’t get away with a big Chrissie dinner (primal and gluten/soy/lactosefree).
    Reading all your posts, how lucky am I with- a built in controller LOL!

    All the best for Christmas and the festive season – may you enjoy Primal feasts. Cheers Peggy

  189. I am also thankful that I came across your great website and grateful that you share all your Primal principles.
    I learn so much and it is all so very good – it cheers me on.

    The only things I am not able to do in the exercises are the chin-ups (I admit it I am carrying extra luggage about 24 lbs) and the jumps (dodgy knee from a sporting injury) and the running is just in short burst (even the slow moving ones because of my dodgy knee
    but I am working on strengthening it – my theory is some is better than none!)
    So cheers everyone Be Happy! Peggy in South East Queensland Australia
    PS I’m 60+ not ready to be a couch potato.

  190. Ice cream is dangerous for me, too – especially Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Fudge. The ingredients aren’t that bad compared to most ice creams besides the whole sugar load so I will use it as a rare treat when craving sugary food. If you won’t eat the whole package at once it shouldn’t be much of a problem. Just skip the products like “Fairly Nuts” which have glucose syrup listed as ingredient…

  191. My trigger foods are pizza, ice cream, and cake. After over 3 weeks of being 100% primal I decided to indulge in a weak moment. I thought I could have just a little bit but instead went nuts on all three of those foods. I felt so sick that night, almost flu-like. All I could think was “THIS is what I thought I was missing out on?!” I was so excited the next day when I actually CRAVED the mahi mahi I had in my fridge. Even after eating some of the worst “anti-food” available, my body was telling me to get back on track. I’m hoping this slip-up taught me a very important lesson and will make me think twice about straying from primal foods next time…especially with the holidays approaching!!

  192. My gateway food is Pepsi. Yes, I know about all the speeches that it is basically good for nothing but battery terminal cleaner and leading us all into being overweight and diabetic. But it is my gateway food to eating badly. I have successfully managed to stay away from dairy since 2001 (when I discovered I was allergic) and gluten since August 2010. But Pepsi seems to be a weakness for me. I have been eating mostly paleo for a couple of weeks now and am finding I have less cravings for it and I feel less groggy and foggy headed between meals. Maybe paleo is answer to it after all.

  193. Oh god… sweet stuff, overall, all kinds.
    There are plenty I don’t care about and I’m fine without but there are others that I’d just love to munch right now were it not for all their problems.

    Donuts, marzipan, Ben&Jerry’s , cakes, cookies …
    I rarely eat any of that anymore, e.g. 1 small B&J in the last few months, 1 donut but everytime I see a moist chocolate cake I just wanna bite into it.
    Really hope those cravings go away someday.

  194. mine would have to be a good ol southern pecan pie, i can pass up most any other sweet treat, but you put one of those in front of me im like a pig in mud!!!!! lol

  195. One of my clients has recently seen Dr. Daniel Amen (The Amen Solution) speak on the local PBS station and in person at an event. He warns against sugar not just for its effect on the body, but also the mind . . .

  196. Few bites of pie and bread? According to Dr. Thomas O’Brien (gluten and celiac expert) says just like you can’t be a little bit pregnant, you can’t be a little bit gluten free. You’re either gluten free or not.

    That’s why the life of a celiac can be so grim and obsessive. A crumb of bread in the peanut butter jar from someone spreading it on their wheat toast can make you sick and you probably won’t fully recover from such an exposure for 6 months. He also says your body may react to milk protein as if it were gluten. The exception is camel and ass milk, they are the closest thing to human milk.

  197. Antipasto (cured meats, roasted peppers, provolone, olives and assorted pickled vegetables) is my gateway to crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside italian bread.

  198. Know what’s killing me right now?? The big long list of “foods” everyone’s talking about! Maybe we need a post (or several) on how to primalize this stuff! Sprouted wheat for the apple pie crust? Frozen bananas in a blender to replace ice cream? Call the post/ebook something like “Primal Hacks”. Make some YouTube videos to promote it. What do you guys think? We can all pitch in recipes/ hacks for the content.

  199. cookies [really any baked good] and peanut butter and chocolate are my down falls/”gateway” 🙁
    I have note found a system yet that works for me. I swear this article was directed toward me.

  200. I have been able to give up a LONG list of bad for me stuff, 2L/day of MtDew being the worst if it. But my Kryptonite is Fritos Corn Chips. I don’t even shop the “chips” aisle, but yesterday they ambushed me with a 10′ tall endcap of Fritos. (Sad confession… 2 large bags of Fritos in my pantry right now).

  201. The best way to make temptation go away is to give in to it! Pass the apple pie!

    Since there was no such thing as cavemen, how do we know what they ate or didn’t eat? Grok is a krok.

  202. Challah bread. Oh my goodness, challah bread. Rich and sweet and eggy, with just a bit of salted butter on it. Drool…

    But of course I’ve found it’s not worth it, because I’m in the bathroom for the rest of the night with intense stomach pain, gas, and other incredibly nasty symptoms. I try to avoid anything with even the texture of bread.

    I can pretty easily avoid most baked desserts, but bread is still hard. Oh, and Peach Snapple. Used to inhale that stuff by the case.

  203. Medjool Dates — and we aren’t talking the dried kind in the red bag — i mean the big, fresh ones from whole foods — I can never just eat one… it turns into 6 🙁

  204. Funny, I haven’t had a dessert in about 2 decades, and I don’t miss it.

    I did eat a donut about 9 months ago and was stunned at the reaction. I think it was the reaction to grease they deep fry those things. I had to go to the bathroom within 15 minutes.

    As to the holidays? Check this out, I make every Xmas/NY:

    Quiche Lorraine & spinach salad. Bacon, eggs, GOOD gruyere cheese, carmelized onions (in the bacon grease), and creme. In the salad, 1 lb of bacon, tomatos, more onions, mushrooms.

    Then cheese & beef fondu w/ New England style clam chowder.

    Trust me, after pounding this down, there is no room for dessert (LOL)!

    My sweet tooth left me long ago – don’t miss it.

  205. I have a huge weakness for Coldstone icecream. I usually spoil myself once a month, and just induldge in a “cookie dont you want some” love it serving size.

    I usually just have homemade dark chocolate in the freezer to taste every once in a while to keep my sweet tooth under control.