Some long overdue book reviews

Hi all! I’m back from my hiatus, and in the meantime, there have been a ton of new great books showcasing the Paleo lifestyle. If you haven’t seen them yet, check out these quick reviews, and let me know which ones are your favorites!


Paleo Indulgences


I’ll admit, when I first received a copy of this book, I was skeptical. And that’s because I’m not a big fan of “Paleo desserts” and “Paleo-fying” the foods that got folks in trouble in the first place (don’t get me wrong, I love to eat them too, but I don’t think they help establish a healthy relationship with food). But I was instead really pleased to see that Tammy does a great job of balancing occasional baked Paleo “treats” with chilies, egg breakfasts, and Asian inspired stir-frys. But don’t get me wrong, there are some seriously dangerously good looking recipes in here for those of us with a serious sweet tooth; I’m glad I don’t bake regularly! So, if you’re looking for a good book full of treats to bring to parties and the like, pick up a copy!


Everyday Paleo Family Cookbook


Getting your family on board with healthy eating is not a new challenge. Thankfully, Sarah Fragoso has extensive experience with picky kids and putting meals together quickly and on a budget. The Family Cookbook is the companion to her previous book Everyday Paleo, and focuses more on some really tasty recipes. One of my favorites is the Tomato Soup with Chicken, which substitutes coconut milk for the heavy cream you usually find in tomato soup. But perhaps even more useful than the recipes are the extensive weekly meal plans, budget tips, and set of quick recipes, that anyone who has tried to put together a meal for family or friends will appreciate.


Practical Paleo


Diane’s herculean effort with this book is paying off in spades. It’s a gorgeous tome full of much of the information you don’t see in many of the traditional Paleo books (discussions of poop, protocols with specific supplement recommendations, in-depth graphics).

Diane makes the biology and chemistry very accessible for an uninitiated audience, and there’s even plenty for the advanced students of health among us.

And of course, the meal plans and recipes are great (I’ve been using her bone broth recipe for quite a while, yummy!) and the pictures are beautiful (thanks to Bill and Haley of the Primal Palate). I’m confident you’ll enjoy this purchase, and will gain significant improvement in your health through it. It’s quickly become one of my favorite reference tools.



Paleo Slow Cooking

Chrissy Gower is the author over at Growing Up Paleo and the co-host of the PaleoTalk Podcast. She’s been documenting raising two kids on a completely Paleo diet.

As a lazy caveman myself, I enjoy using my slow cooker because I can quickly prep a meal the night before or in the morning before work, and come home to a tasty meal. Additionally, slow cooking is one of the original early cooking methods, and remains an ideal method because it’s low temperature, and greatly increases the digestibility of the meal.

Some of the recipes are pretty solid and straightforward, like the stews and curries. There are also some unusual recipes in this book, where you could use a slow cooker, but probably shouldn’t if you want your meal to taste its best (like chicken wings for example. I’d rather use the technique outlined here). I did appreciate the selection guide on which meats and veggies cook best in the slow cooker; some of the worst meals I’ve made have been because I tried to use the wrong cut, or cooked too long, or didn’t use enough liquid. I would’ve appreciated some more tips from Chrissy on how to avoid or rescue slow cooking mishaps. All in all, it’s a decent book if you’re new to Paleo cooking and have been looking for some new recipes to work into your rotations.


The Paleo Answer


I’ll start by saying that I have a ton of respect for Dr. Cordain, and his book The Paleo Diet gave me the momentum to start making serious changes to improve my health. Yes, there were some issues with the original book that Cordain has since revised his stance on, namely the promotion of canola oil and the demonizing of saturated fat. And The Paleo Answer was purported to be the culmination of Cordain’s new stance on Paleo (2.0). Sadly, this book falls quite short.

Cordain does spend a bit of time on saturated fat and its benefits, based on some of the latest (2010) research, which is quite a departure from his original stance. But then you look at the meal plans in the back of the book, and they still emphasize lean meats steamed veggies, instead of using ghee, coconut oil, and lard and tallow from grass-fed/pastured animals. That fat-phobic dissonance  really hurts the credibility of the book in my nitpicky eyes.

The second problem I had with this book was the severe amount of vegetarian/vegan bashing that Cordain does. Rather than be inclusive and understanding with our vegetarian/vegan friends, like Denise Minger is, he uses study after study to tell you why vegetarianism/veganism is wrong and how many ways you or your friends are killing yourselves if you don’t eat meat. It’s divisive and I didn’t care for it.

The original Paleo Diet book is still a good one, but for people new to Paleo, I’d recommend Practical Paleo, It Starts With Food or The Paleo Solution.


The Lazy Caveman