Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Review of "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Eating Paleo"

The first and probably most powerful thing I can say about Neely Quinn and Jason Glaspey’s book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Paleo, is that I wish this book had been around when I started down the Paleo path. The funny thing is, their site, Paleo Plan, was one of my go-to resources when I started researching the Paleo diet. But I am the type of person who still loves a good book. A book I can hold in my hands, relax on the couch with and pull off the shelf for reference anytime I need it (no high-speed Internet connection required!)

There are some great Paleo recipe books out there, a few of which helped me navigate my own transition to Paleo. There are also books on the market that focus on the scientific aspect of the Paleo diet, what our ancestors ate and the benefits we stand to gain by following their lead. What is great about The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Paleo is that it combines all of that information into one book. It has the who, what, when, where, why and how all covered in one place!

Sharing my newfound knowledge with Foster
The book is broken up into four sections. Part 1 explains the history and science behind the diet. This is important information to have on hand because once people find out you  only eat fruits, nuts, meat and vegetables they are going to have A LOT of questions. This section gives you the tools you need to understand and explain to others why eating as our ancestors did can make you healthier and keep ailments such as heart disease and diabetes at bay. This section even digs into the long-perpetuated myth that eating fat makes you fat (will this never go away?)

Part 2 helps you put everything you just learned into practice. This section answers all of your questions regarding which foods to save, which foods to toss, sticking to a Paleo diet while traveling and even how to modify the diet for athletes. There is a Honey Lemon Thirst Quencher recipe (pg. 88) that my soon-to-be Ironman husband is going to test out during his race next week.

What I really liked about this section were the detailed descriptions and nutrition breakdown of some of the foods that may be new to you if you are just getting into Paleo (coconut oil, almond flour, etc). I even learned that almond meal is made from blanched (skinless) almonds and almond flour is made from almonds with skin. Did you know that? I never knew the difference until now.

Part 3, my personal favorite, is filled with tons of delicious recipes. One of the hardest things about committing to a Paleo lifestyle is figuring out what to cook. Like most people, the majority of my pre-Paleo meals were heavy on rice, cheese, pasta and bread. My idea of a healthy meal went right out the window and I would find myself standing in the kitchen scratching my head trying to figure out what to do with all these vegetables.

Luckily, this book is filled with breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks and desserts galore! These recipes have so much variety, there is no reason your tastebuds should ever get bored. I am really looking forward to trying the Sausage Stuffed Tomatoes and the Thai Chicken Wraps.

Part 4 lays out shopping lists, tips for how to modify the diet to fit your lifestyle and a month’s worth of fabulous, Paleo meals. If you are new to Paleo, this section will be a lifesaver.  It is like having your own personal nutrition coach to help get you started!

While this book is especially helpful for those new to Paleo, even long-time veterans can learn a lot from the information packed into these pages. I always love learning more about the health benefits of a Paleo lifestyle and how the nutrient profiles of Paleo foods stack up against typical American fare. And, of course, we can all use a few new recipes to mix up our usual routine. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in learning more about the Paleo way of eating and I plan to keep it close by so I don’t lose that recipe for Paleo Apple Cinnamon Cake!