At over 400 pages, this is more than a cookbook. It’s an encyclopedia of health and nutrition information. It’s a resource forÂ everyone with any sort of health concern, big or small. And it’s a damned good endorsement for making your own food – the pictures are just gorgeous. All-in-all, it’s completely inspiring. In case you are not quite ready to run to Amazon and order this masterpiece ( Practical Paleo: A Customized Approach to Health and a Whole-Foods Lifestyle), I will offer five reasons you will love Practical Paleo!
Reason #1: If you were to have only one book on health and nutrition, it should be Practical Paleo.
Why? Well, because Diane’s approach is completely approachable and yet thoroughly scientific at the same time. She starts from the very beginning, answering the foundational questions about the paleo approach to eating (what is it?) and about food and our bodies (how does this whole digestion thing work?) and outlining how “everything we have been taught about nutrition is wrong.” Diane has strong opinions about things, as you can tell; what I love about Diane and her book is that she backs up her perspective with thorough research and easy-to-understand explanations. Even though I am also trained as a health coach, I have a lot to learn from this encyclopedia! At the same time, it’s also perfect for someone who has never before considered the relationship between their health and the food they consume. How so? Diane has consolidated a lifetime of information into a series of one-page guides to the most important topics regarding nutrition and health. These guides are embedded in the body of the book AND repeated at the end as “tear-outs” ideal for posting around the kitchen or carrying with you while you shop. Even if you never read a lick of the prose, you can find everything you need to know in these 11 guides:
- Paleo Foods
- Stocking a Paleo Pantry
- Food Quality
- Fats & Oils
- Cooking Fats
- Your Poop!
- Healing a Leaky Gut
- Dense Sources of Paleo Carbs
Since Diane has been sharing these guides for a while on her website, I have already had the pleasure of sharing them with a few clients, and they are always a big hit! Densely packed with “truth-bombs” (as Sean from Underground Wellness likes to say), nicely laid out, and very colorful, they are the definitive foundation for creating optimal health. Okay, okay, so I can learn a lot of the basics of nutrition and the reasons behind choosing this way of eating. But what about the fun stuff? What about preparing delicious whole foods? What if I don’t know how to cook? Fear not, for you we have…
Reason #2: This book has the most mouth-watering recipes around! They are just gorgeous. And they are clearly written with a ton of step-by-step how-to’s.
Enough said. The photos are beautiful. I want to make every one of these recipes. Even though I hardly ever use a cookbook, I think I will keep this one open in the kitchen for a while. Whether you are an avid or a novice cook, this well-rounded collection will spur you toward the farmer’s market and inspire some quality time in the kitchen. Your palette, your body, and your friends and family will surely appreciate it! This set of recipes will keep your attention for some time: a. there are quite a few of them (over 120!), and b. many of them include variations. Plus, once you get started and get a sense for the principles of this approach, you will most likely come up with your own inventions! Alright, so this book will make me a better cook. So what? What if I am dealing with a chronic illness? Will I be able to eat the foods? How can I know which recipes to make and which ones to skip, depending on my condition? Read on to…
Reason #3: Practical Paleo includes 11, yes 11! not one or two or three, but 11 30-day meal plans for a wide-range of health concerns or goals.
Eating whole foods and eliminating refined foods goes a long way to curing most modern health conditions. Diane takes this wisdom leaps forward by refining the basics into customized guidance for each of 9 common categories of health challenges (and a plan for boosting Athletic Performance and one for people who want to eat “Squeaky Clean Paleo”). Each Meal Plan starts with a description of the set of conditions being addressed and then goes on to detail specific diet and lifestyle recommendations, outline nutritional supplements and herbs to consider, and showcase foods that contain the recommended supportive nutrients. Lastly, there are three pages of plans for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, based on many of the recipes in Part 3 of the book. While the amount of meat suggested (some is included in each meal of the day) seems like a lot to me (I tend to have some veggie meals), I really like the nutrient density, variety and colorful foods suggested by the meal plans. It’s also great that Diane tells the reader how to use left-overs! If I were just starting out in healing my auto-immune condition or needed a reset to my diet, I would start here. Here is a list of the 11 30-day Meal Plan categories: Autoimmune Conditions; Blood Sugar Regulation; Digestive Health; Thyroid Health; Multiple Sclerosis, Fibromyalgia, & Chronic Fatigue; Neurological Health; Heart Health; Cancer Recovery, Athletic Performance, Fat Loss, and Squeaky Clean Paleo. Really, the bottom line is the top line, which leads me to…
Reason #4: It’s no joke – Practical Paleo is, well, practical!
If you have a question, Diane has already thought of it and taken the time to answer it. Worried about eating well out at a party or a restaurant? There is a section for that with suggestions for what to order at an array of restaurant types, including just about any ethnic cuisine you can imagine. Travel a lot? Read the “On-the-Go” section for Diane’s personally tested methods for making the paleo way mobile. Worried about cholesterol from eating eggs and butter or scared you will never eat pasta again? Find your concerns met in the FAQ. Never chopped a veggie? Find your way in Kitchen Basics. Looking for a new way to cook your favorite veggie? There is a Recipe & Ingredient Index, in addition to the topical index. Really, I don’t think this book could be more comprehensive or practical. I will be recommending it where ever I go to Paleo lovers and Paleo skeptics alike.
p.s. Reason #5: You won’t feel deprived. I swear. Need proof? How about some Vanilla Bean Tahini Truffles??
By now you should be jumping at this link! Practical Paleo: A Customized Approach to Health and a Whole-Foods Lifestyle
Thanks to Diane for letting me be one of the reviewers for this excellent publication. I hope you are as proud of yourself as we are of you!!
Eat well. Be well. Thrive. Interested in learning more about quick and creative food preparation? Letâ€™s get in touch! E. ChloÃ© Lauer BA, MUP, AICP, LEED AP, AADP. Certified Health & Lifestyle Coach, Yoga Teacher, and Director at MKThink; specializes in allergies, Crohnâ€™s/Colitis, and Gluten-Free living; serves the San Francisco, the Bay Area, and beyond via phone & Skype consultations.