What Are Paleo Muffins?

Jeremy Laukkonen

Paleo muffins are a type of baked good that can be consumed by people who follow a paleolithic diet. These muffins are made without wheat flour, or other grain products, so various types of nut meals and flours are typically used instead. Many types of paleo muffins are based on either almonds or pecans, though there are a number of variations that use other nuts. Some recipes call for gluten-free wheat flour, though many people who follow strict paleolithic diets stick to nut-based muffins. Other ingredients can vary depending on the specific recipe, though they must be limited to foods that were eaten by hunter-gatherers during the paleolithic time period.

Paleo muffins can be made with nut flours, like chestnut flour.
Paleo muffins can be made with nut flours, like chestnut flour.

The paleolithic, or caveman, diet is based on the way people probably ate prior to the widespread introduction of agriculture. Hunter-gatherers in the paleolithic period subsisted primarily on meat, nuts, berries, and other whole foods that could be obtained without the need for cultivation or domesticated animals. A very strict interpretation of this type of diet does not allow for paleo muffins, and other foods that are constructed from nut flours, since those products were unlikely to have existed in the paleolithic era. These foods technically conform to the basic idea of the diet though, and many people enjoy them occasionally for the sake of variety.

Pecans may be used as a base for paleo muffins.
Pecans may be used as a base for paleo muffins.

There are a number of different types of paleo muffins, though most recipes call for some type of nut meal or flour. Almond flour is one common base, though pecan meal is also popular. It is also possible to grind up almonds or other nuts at home if nut flour is not available locally. Since nut flour and wheat flour are substantially different substances, paleo muffins typically lack the familiar consistency and texture of regular muffins. Some recipes use butter, oil, and eggs, which can result in muffins that are relatively moist and fluffy, though they typically will not rise the same as products that are made with wheat flour.

In addition to the basic ingredients of nut flour, oil, and eggs, there are many other foods that can be included in paleo muffins. Any type of vegetable or fruit that is acceptable under a paleolithic diet can be included, so the different types of paleo muffins can be quite diverse. Additional nuts that have been crushed or sliced are often added for texture, and various types of berries can provide a little sweetness. Bananas are sometimes added for sweetness as well, though they can also function as a substitute for eggs to create vegan muffins.

Some paleo muffins are made with flour from almonds or another type of nut.
Some paleo muffins are made with flour from almonds or another type of nut.

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Discussion Comments


I am somewhat following a Paleo lifestyle. It is actually a plan for autoimmune disease grounded in the Paleo philosophy. Some refer to this as the Autoimmune Diet or AIP (Autoimmune Protocol). After a year of going gluten, dairy, and soy -free, I decided to try eliminating some additional foods: all grains, legumes, nightshade plants are some of the big ones. Going gluten-free, I spent a year perfecting my muffins and breads using things like quinoa or garbanzo beans and then I needed to start from scratch yet again! I have had success using zucchini, coconut flour, almond flour, bananas, and dates in my baking. Trial and error but largely successful!

Paleo is mistakenly known as the Caveman Diet or the Meat Lovers Diet. This isn’t really correct. It stresses whole, natural food sources like fruits, vegetables, wild caught seafood and grass-fed pastured meat and poultry. I do find that some Paleo folks overcompensate in the meat department for my taste. I generally eat meat only at dinnertime and am pretty much a Vegan for the rest of the day.

It may seem difficult and perhaps completely undoable at first, but if you are motivated, you make the changes. Additionally, your body begins to really crave the nutrients you are providing it in the form of whole, natural foods. With this, your palate changes and you truly begin to enjoy these foods.

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