The three things I find many people are unwilling to give up when they start The Paleo Diet are alcohol, coffee, and chocolate. You know what? That’s fine. You don’t have to go 100% Paleo to get the health benefits of it, or to see results in your weight and overall being. Will you lose more weight and be healthier and sleep better WITHOUT these things? Yes. Do you have an addiction to address if you are so unwilling to give them up? Probably. Does that change people’s minds? Not typically.

However, just because you leave one or more of these things in your diet does not mean you should use that as your way to cram in everything bad for you. BAD DOES NOT HAVE TO BE AWFUL. If you need a reminder on why certain food are so bad for us, visit the Diet main page. Here are ways you can make each of these three “bad things” into not-so-bad things.

ALCOHOL: See the blog, “What’s the Deal with Booze?”

A quick summary: Tequila is the best liquor with regards to Paleo. Wine is ok, beer is not good (gluten). Avoid sugary mixed drinks- the sugar is a huge problem and is at least half of your hangover. Drink earlier rather than later, and drink in moderation.

COFFEE: As far as I know, the type of coffee bean itself doesn’t make any difference. They all have caffeine in them and are all LEGUMES (hence, not Paleo)… But if you want to have your morning cup of coffee without completely halting all the good things happening from your fantastic diet and exercise plan, here are some tips:

Creamer: Use nut milk for a creamer. Nut milk is totally paleo, and totally delicious. You can buy Almond milk and Hazelnut milk at most health food stores, or make your own nut milk at home in a high-powered blender with nuts and water. The artificial, non-dairy creamers are DEATH IN A BOX. Have you seen those commercials for the magnetic bracelets that make you stronger? Have a friend do that test on you (arm straight out, have them push on it and try to resist) normally, then holding the non-dairy creamer container next to your heart. You will go weak. DON’T PUT THAT CRAP IN YOUR COFFEE.

Sugar: Try to stick with something pure and natural. Although cane sugar is not Paleo, it’s tons better than anything artificial (Sweet ‘n’ Low, Splenda, whatever the blue one is…). Honey is also a good sweetener to use. This should go without saying, but use as little as possible.

Divine Dark Chocolate

CHOCOLATE: To avoid dairy, go for something dark. 85% Cocoa tastes like charcoal to me, so that may be “too dark” (if you believe in that).

I found a delicious dark chocolate bar that has mint in it… I’ve always been a milk chocolate person, but this chocolate is AMAZING. Found it at Central Marketing in Dallas, TX. It’s called Divine brand Mint Dark Chocolate.

Ingredients: cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, peppermint crisp, peppermint oil, vanilla.

THAT’S ALL NATURAL, plus it’s Fair Trade!

I hope that helps clarify that just because you’re gonna be a little bad doesn’t mean you have to go off the deep end. Always keep in mind that this isn’t about “eating Paleo,” it’s about eating healthy and treating your body well so it can carry you happily through a joyous and long life.