Eating a grain-free, paleo, or GAPS lifestyle doesn’t mean you can’t have a treat now and again. This healthy cake recipe is deliciously moist and flavorful, without junky ingredients that may burden your body!When I set out to write a GAPS Diet-friendly holiday cookbook, I knew a healthy carrot cake recipe had to be included. Not only it is a quintessential fall treat, but it is a favorite in my family. I make it for my husband’s birthday in October every year, so creating a recipe our whole family could eat and one we would love was imperative! After experimenting with several types of flours and sweeteners, I’ve found I actually prefer the paleo-style version over ones made with grain-based, gluten-free flours and refined sugars. Not only does the grain-free version leave me feeling better, but I found it to be the best texture and taste-wise to boot! While I love the version that ended up in my cookbook, this updated healthy carrot cake recipe is my favorite yet. I increased and modified measurements and ingredients to create a really special, two layer cake, worthy of your holiday table or any special celebration.
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If you’re going to pumpkin spice all the things, that should include making this pumpkin smoothie recipe! It’s packed full of nourishing ingredients, plus adheres to GAPS, paleo, and AIP diets to boot!
Whether it’s finally feeling like fall in your neck of the woods, or you are still suffering through sweltering heat, this pumpkin smoothie recipe will satisfy your autumnal cravings. It’s refreshing with a nice, spicy flavor that carries you right into hay rides and warm scarves.
Best of all, kids love it! It’s packed full of good-for-you ingredients, but tastes like a treat. It’s even healthy enough for a breakfast on the go.
This pumpkin smoothie recipe is GAPS diet, paleo, and AIP-friendly, meaning it is free from inflammatory ingredients and is allergy-friendly.
So what’s in it this pumpkin smoothie recipe?
We’ll start with a brain-boosting base of coconut milk (you can swap it for another milk if you prefer a different flavor and don’t have allergies to dairy or nuts). Coconut milk is packed full of good fats that feed the brain and help it function well.
Of course, you’ll also find pumpkin, which boasts a whole host of benefits itself.
What is pumpkin good for?
Pumpkins contain vitamins A and C. They are also a good source of potassium. This all adds up to supporting the immune system, reducing cancer risk, and even lowering blood pressure.
What is pumpkin puree? You may be surprised to know that when you buy canned pumpkin puree at the store, it may not just be pumpkin. Pumpkin puree can be a combination of gourds and squash as well, as the sweetest varieties are chosen for ideal flavor. Unless you have a rare allergy, this shouldn’t pose a problem. Just look for pure organic pumpkin puree without added ingredients like this.
Of course, you’ll also find pumpkin spice, because what is a good pumpkin recipe without it? As with all ingredients, quality matters.
What is pumpkin spice made of?
Store-bought pumpkin spice typically contains cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice and ginger. Look for organic versions without added ingredients like sugar, starches, or anti-caking ingredients. We like this bulk Organic Pumpkin Spice.
Other nourishing ingredients
We also added some collagen peptides (aka hydrolyzed collagen) to add some protein to the mix. The added amino acids support neurotransmitters, hormonal health, and improved energy. We like this quality, grassfed Hydrolyzed Collagen. Read more about the benefits of collagen here.
Our pumpkin smoothie is sweetened with raw honey, which is the gentlest sweetener on digestion and also contains other goodies like enzymes and antioxidants. Honey can also help bolster the immune system and fight infections.
We also added a little vanilla for flavor.
Ready for the full pumpkin smoothie recipe? Scroll down!
- 2 cups coconut milk (approximate; or use one can coconut milk or other milk of choice)
- 3 tbsp pumpkin puree
- 2 tbsp collagen peptides
- 2 tbsp raw honey
- 1/2 tsp pumpkin spice
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- Combine in your blender and enjoy!
Holiday treats don’t have to have junkie ingredients to be delicious! This healthy carrot cake recipe works for paleo, primal, and GAPS diets and is both nourishing and delightful. It’s shared from the cookbook Nourishing Holiday.
Several years ago when my family undertook the GAPS diet to heal various issues like PANDAS and lyme disease, we were faced with a conundrum at the holidays: take a break from healing to eat foods that would end up making us feel sick or feel deprived while we watched friends and family eat foods we couldn’t have.
Thankfully, there was a third door, and behind it, the option to feel both satisfied and nourished: re-creating all of our favorite classic holiday recipes with GAPS-compliant ingredients. This led to the release of my holiday cookbook, Nourishing Holiday, which has become a reader favorite for recipes like dinner rolls, stuffing, brown butter turkey, and, of course, all the treats like gingerbread man cookies, coconut kefir cake, and this healthy carrot cake recipe.
Truthfully, holiday baking starts in October, when we make Mr. Incredible’s favorite treat for his birthday. You guessed it: carrot cake! Over the years, we’ve made every iteration: whole wheat carrot cake, gluten-free carrot cake, paleo carrot cake… but this GAPS-friendly carrot cake is by far our favorite, + the most healthy carrot cake recipe I’ve devised to date.
Is carrot cake the healthiest cake?
I mean, it has vegetables in it, so… yes? Truth be told, any recipe is as healthy as you make it. You can make carrot cake with gluten, sugar, and so forth, and it would not be very healthy at all.
In this case, we keep things grain- and sugar-free so that you can stick with your gut-healing protocol during the holidays and still enjoy cake.
Does carrot cake count as a serving of vegetables?
Who am I to tell you no?
If you really want me to justify it, observe:
What vitamins are in carrot cake?
Well, for starters, carrots are high in beta-carotene, an anti-oxidant which is a pre-cursor for vitamin A, good for skin and eye health.
This particular healthy carrot cake recipe also has good fats, fiber, and a fair amount of protein.
For more healthy holiday recipes
If you’re excited to have your (grain-free) cake and eat it too, you’ll love the rest of the recipes in Nourishing Holiday, my GAPS-, paleo-, and primal-friendly holiday cookbook. You’ll find recipes for staples like meat stock and cashew milk, as well as all the holiday favorites you’d expect from sides to the main event (the turkey), and of course, pies, cookies, and even warm drinks.
Without further ado… the Healthy Carrot Cake Recipe you’ve been waiting for!
GAPS Diet Carrot Cake
- 8" Cake Pan
- Unbleached Parchment Paper
- 6 eggs
- 1 cup shredded carrot
- 3/4 cup coconut flour
- 1/2 cup avocado oil
- 1/2 cup honey (may sub maple syrup if desired)
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1 cup walnuts, divided
- 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup cream cheese (homemade strained yogurt or kefir, store bought organic cream cheese, or dairy-free cream cheese options are all fine)
- 1 cup butter, softened but still cold
- 1/2 cup raw honey
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350º.
- Grease an 8 inch cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
MAKE THE CAKE:
- In a large bowl, combine coconut flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, and salt then stir.
- In a separate bowl, mix eggs on high with a hand mixer until they become foamy. Add the honey, avocado oil, and vanilla then mix until combined.
- Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix on high.
- Fold in carrot, raisins and ½ cup walnut pieces.
- Pour into cake pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, until browned on top and spongy.
MAKE THE FROSTING:
- Combine ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix on high with a hand mixer until smooth.
ASSEMBLE THE CAKE:
- Using a long, sharp knife, cut the cake in half horizontally to create two layers.
- Use a frosting spatula to spread a generous layer of frosting on the bottom cake layer, then place the second layer on top of it.
- Frost the rest of the cake then carefully press walnut pieces onto the side of the cake, all the way around.
When you’re on the GAPS intro diet, you’d do just about anything for a treat, so this easy custard recipe couldn’t be more perfect. It’s legal to have from stage two of the diet, and it’s delicious- and incredibly nourishing!
Who knew egg yolks could be so tasty? Our family burned ourselves out on scrambled and fried eggs for breakfast long ago, but whip up some rich, yellow yolks with a little raw honey, and we will devour it, whether we’re adhering to the GAPS intro diet or not!
This easy custard recipe can be whipped up at a moment’s notice, and is the perfect treat for all ages (of course, you shouldn’t give honey to babies under one year of age). I made some for my two-year-old niece recently, who seemed to really enjoy it, and encouraged my sister to continue making it for her because it is so nutrient dense.
Egg yolk nutrition- (why you should make this easy custard recipe daily)
Those little, slimy, yellow nuggets are packed full of nutrition that nourishes you from head to toe! Egg yolks are a good source of:
- Choline- a brain-nourishing compound that also lowers inflammation. Choline improves liver function, memory and mood, and the functioning of every cell in your body. Choline is especially important for pregnant and breastfeeding mamas, and small children with developing brains.
- Carotenoids- the carotenoid lutein protects the eyes and helps to prevent eye disease.
- Essential fatty acids- (EFAs): DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and AA (arachadonic acid), the most bioavailable forms of omega-3 and omega-6 fats, are found in egg yolks, and help to nourish the brain and protect the body from a host of health problems.
- Fat-soluble vitamins- it’s a good thing egg yolks are rich in EFAs, because they’re also full of vitamins that need fat for absorption, including vitamins D, E, A, and K.
- More vitamins & minerals- like calcium, iron, phosphorous, B6, B12, manganese, folate, selenium.
Egg yolks are one of the most nutrient-dense, easiest to prepare foods on the planet! Eating them raw or lightly cooked (still runny) is the best way to absorb the nutrition found in eggs. Besides the easy custard recipe I’ll share below, easy ways to eat raw and lightly cooked egg yolks include:
- Soft-boiled eggs
- Gently scrambled eggs (or just yolks)
- Adding them to smoothies
- Whisking them into freshly-pressed juice (ala the GAPS intro diet- aka the “GAPS shake”)
- Making a frothy tea or coffee with egg yolks
- Adding them to puddings
Egg yolks are easy to hide in lots of foods, and they’re excellent for growing brains, and especially during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Whether you’re on the GAPS intro diet, you’re pregnant, or looking to get some extra nutrition into your toddler (or teenager!), the easy custard recipe below will be the perfect way to get in some egg yolks.
Of course, the recipe also contains raw honey, which boasts its own nutritional benefits like enzymes, trace minerals, and vitamins. You can always cut way down on the honey for less sweetness, or leave it out altogether if you’d like to try this for babies under the age of one.
Easy Custard Recipe (for the GAPS Intro Diet)
- 6 egg yolks
- 1 tbsp raw honey or less, to taste, if you're trying to be conservative on GAPS intro. Keep in mind that you're allowed up to about a tbsp on early intro, and this recipe is to be divided by 4-6 people.
- Place the ingredients in a medium mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer and turn mixer on high.
- Whisk until the yolks are light-colored, foamy, and a little stiff. This should take about five minutes, but may take longer if your mixer isn't very powerful. After 10 minutes, your yolks will probably be about as fluffy as they're going to get.
Homemade popsicles are a favorite around here, so it was only a matter of time before I made this fudgesicle recipe, especially because fudgesicles were one of my favorite treats as a child. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!
By the way, this post is sponsored by Perfect Supplements, but you can bet opinions are all my own!
I can remember sneaking fudgesicles out of the freezer as a kid. I remember their white plastic wrappers, and even the taste of the wooden stick as I would lick every last drop of fudgy goodness from it. They’ve always been a favorite of mine, so I don’t know why it took me so long to recreate a healthy fudgesicle recipe!
I wanted to really capture the creaminess of the original junky version I remember, without a texture that came out too icy or wouldn’t hold up. I’m happy to say these treats are just what I’d imagined, only this time, we can avoid refined sugars, gluten, dairy, preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, and lots of other yucky ingredients.
But you know I don’t just care about avoiding junk food; I’m all about making food nutritious, even if it’s a treat. You’ll find good fats and gut-healing ingredients in my fudgesicles, making them a totally guilt-free treat that I want my kids to eat!
Fats are uber important.
You know my heart for kiddos and behavior, after all, it was my own son’s behavior that led to creating this blog. Because we completely overhauled his diet, he has healed from so many behavioral disorders, and I continue to strive to feed all my kids brain-healthy foods.
Because the brain is made mostly of fat, good fats feed and nourish the brain. The MCT oil and other good fats in these fudge pops are the perfect way to give your kiddos a hit of brain food. And trust me, they won’t complain (or even know brain-healthy ingredients are in this recipe).
Since learning about the benefits of MCT oil, I’ve found lots and lots of ways to get it into mine and my kids’ diet. While it’s pretty easy for Mr. Incredible to squeeze it into his morning Joe, and believe me- he does, because he understands all of the brain-boosting benefits MCT oil offers and loves to start his day off right, I have to find other ways to get it in for us non-coffee-drinkers.
This fudgesicle recipe is one easy way to sneak in the amazingly good fats in MCT oil, but I also have put it in everything from fat bombs to custard to a shot glass (I’m only sort of kidding… only because I don’t own a shot glass).
Why is MCT oil so important, you might ask?
MCT oil: the healthiest fat on the planet?
While you know I’m not afraid of good fats, and promote eating everything from butter to lard to coconut oil, adding MCT oil to the mix just might be a game-changer because of its unique properties, which you cannot easily get from any other source.
Why is MCT oil so unique? Can’t you just get the benefits from coconut oil (after all, MCT oil is derived from coconut oil…)?
I assumed that at first, too. I’m generally a fan of eating whole foods, and look down on processing separated parts. However, MCT oil is special.
MCT stands for medium chain triglycerides or medium chain fatty acids. It’s a type of fat usually derived from coconut oil, but it’s also found in palm oil, butter, and grassfed beef.
The reason separating these medium chain fats from the rest of the coconut oil makes for such a superior food is because it isolates the very best benefits of coconut oil.
While there are lots of fatty acids in coconut oil, there are only a handful of MCTs:
- Caproic acid (C6)
- Caprylic Acid (C8)
- Capric Acid (C10)
- Lauric Acid (C12)
It’s actually debatable whether lauric acid is a true MCT, because it doesn’t behave in the body the way the other MCTs do. The other MCTs (caproic acid, caprylic acid, and capric acid) are rapidly absorbed in your body, having essentially bypassed the digestive tract and gone straight to the bloodstream.
MCTs= brain food
Because MCTs are readily absorbed by the liver and go quickly into the bloodstream, they are able to be converted quickly into ketones, a desired source of energy for the brain.
When your brain is able to start using ketones for fuel instead of glucose (which a sugar and carb-heavy diet will give you), a few things happen.
- GABA (a calming, inhibitory neurotransmitter) is increased in the brain, while aspartate (an excitatory neurotransmitter which can be neurotoxic) is decreased.
- Production of ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate), the main source of energy for most cellular processes, becomes more efficient.
- The brain is able to use this energy more efficiently with less toxic waste that is likely to result in brain inflammation.
Basically, MCT oil is the perfect brain food to help with energy production, improved mood, and sharper, better mental performance.
You can see why I strive to get MCT oil into our daily diet, and why I’d create yumminess like this fudgesicle recipe in order to do so!
I do think it’s important to mention that not all MCT oils are created the same.
Remember how we talked about the different types of MCTs? Many MCT oils on the market are made from lauric acid (which does not bypass the digestive tract or get converted quickly to ketones). Others use c6 (caproic acid), which converts to energy well, but can cause some stomach upset and may taste bad.
Perfect MCT Oil is different. It’s made only from c8 and c10 fatty acids (caprylic and capric).
In addition, Perfect Supplements’ MCT oil:
- is made from 100% organic sustainable coconuts
- is USDA certified organic
- contains 100% MCTs (C8 and C10)
- is vegan, gluten-free, soy-free and non-GMO
- is batch tested (one of my favorite things about Perfect Supplements and their commitment to safe, quality products!)
- uses low heat processing; no chemical extraction
- is more affordable than lesser-quality MCT products
As with all Perfect Supplements products, I’ve been nothing but impressed with the quality of Perfect MCT Oil.
If you’re ready to give it a try, you can get Perfect MCT Oil here. Be sure to use code FAMILYHEALS10 for an extra 10% off your order.
How this fudgesicle recipe feeds your brain (& your tastebuds!)
These fudgesicles were made for nourishing.
I know that it’s got MCT oil, but what else is about it?
If you don’t know what the above heading is referencing, please watch the video below. You’ll thank me.
Now that you’ve had a good chuckle, and hopefully showed the video to your kids so they can have a good chuckle too and see that they aren’t the only ones with a crazy, hippie, health nut mom, let’s talk about what else you’ll find in my fudgesicle recipe.
In addition to MCT oil, I’ve also added gut-healing gelatin (again, Perfect Supplements for the win- they have the highest-quality, most affordable grassfed gelatin, which they even test for contaminants like pesticides). Not only does the gelatin provide additional health benefits, but it is essential for the texture of the fudgesicles. You can get it here.
You can make this recipe with your milk of choice. Coconut milk offers good fats, and is allergen-friendly. I use the “simple” Native Forest brand without added thickeners. Almond milk or another nut milk would also work, but you would lose some creaminess and good fat.
Our family’s favorite type of milk to use is raw, full-fat cow’s milk. It imparts the most neutral flavor and offers lots of health benefits as well.
Our sweetener of choice is raw honey. However, you could also use maple syrup, or to keep it keto, a liquid stevia like this. Start with about 8 drops and taste as you go, adding more until it reaches desired sweetness.
+ A secret ingredient
I also slipped just a little avocado into the mix to add a bit of creaminess. You can’t taste it, but it improves the texture and adds even more good fats + some vitamins and minerals like vitamin C and potassium.
With the above options in mind, this fudgesicle recipe can be strictly GAPS diet-friendly, paleo, or keto. Just choose the combo of ingredients that works best for your needs! Find the measurements in the recipe below.
- Put one cup milk in a small saucepan and sprinkle gelatin over the top. Turn heat on low and whisk until the gelatin is dissolved.
- Put remaining ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
- Add warm milk and gelatin and blend once more until smooth.
- Pour into ice cream bar molds (I used this 10 bar capacity mold, which holds a total of 1 qt. This recipe makes almost exactly 1 qt of fudgesicle liquid, so keep that in mind.)
- Place on a tray in the freezer for 8 hours or over night to freeze solid. Run under warm water briefly to loosen fudgesicles from mold.