I am so excited to be reviewing Diane Sanfilippo’s new book, Practical Paleo! Diane, who is a Certified Nutritional Consultant, has compiled a really impressive 400+ page book, outlining the health reasons of why a Paleo diet and lifestyle may benefit you. As a disclaimer, I don’t consider myself “Paleo”, but this book has motivated me to give it a shot. I think this book is so cool and would love to share it with you. That’s why I’ve pre-ordered another copy to giveaway to one lucky reader! See info at the bottom of this page to enter.
This past weekend, I went down to Charleston, SC and Asheville, NC. Both are amazing southern cities with, I think, totally different vibes. What they have in common, besides their Southern charm, is amazing, delicious, locally-sourced food and a plethora of restaurants happy to serve you. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love food. I’m passionate about tasty, healthy, and sustainable food…and occasionally I overindulge and blame my quick metabolism and tastebuds. This was definitely and absurdly one of those trips. I knew I wanted to give Paleo a shot, maybe not as a permanent commitment, but certainly as a way to change up how I think about and relate to food. Didn’t happen down South…a brief trip down there and I had lost most of my willpower. After that bender (not joking, it really was a gastronomic bender) I was ready to try anything to feel like a normal human being again.
Practical Paleo arrived in the mail the day before I left for the South. It blew me away – in its length, depth, consideration and really just the way you could tell Diane poured everything into it. She explains the science behind why followers of the Paleo diet do not eat grains or dairy, why grass-fed and pastured-raised meats are better than grain-fed, and why whole-foods rather than processed foods are so important. I don’t personally know her, but you really feel the person at the other end of the book trying to help you navigate eating well. After a section on the whys, hows, and what-ifs, she dives into 11 different 30-day meal plans tailored to different health conditions and statuses. These cleverly are tear-out guides so you don’t have to lug the book around, but can instead later reference it for its many recipes and nutritional tips.
The recipes are broken down into sections: kitchen basics, breakfast, poultry, beef & bison, seafood, lamb, pork, sides and salads, sauces and dips, treats and sweets. They all look so tasty – and the recipes seem manageable! The beauty of it is the utilization of the leftovers in other meals; she even has suggestions for that. I have tried 3 of the recipes so far: mustard-glazed chicken thighs, confit cherry tomatoes, and mashed faux-tatoes (cauliflower!!), as well as adjusting my sauerkraut recipe with some of her suggestions. They all came out great, and I really enjoyed the mashed cauliflower. I used different fats for each: butter with the mustard for the chicken; duckfat for the confit tomatoes; and coconut oil for the cauliflower. So tasty.
I think even if you’re not convinced Paleo is right for you, this book will truly be a good addition. It’s interesting thinking about how grains really are just a “filler”, when you could be instead filling up on more vegetables or a better protein source. She did an excellent job, and I think this book (along with your doctor or nutritionist’s guidance) could be a huge life-changer for many people.
I’m not so crazy about the idea of eating quite as much meat as recommended in the book, but am willing to continue trying this out. Thankfully, I already eat many fresh, local veggies; homemade fermented foods; grass-fed or pasture-raised meat when I can find it; wild seafood, etc. So, focusing on all the delicious foods I can eat, rather than what I can’t, will help me see what this is all about. Trying to not knock it before I try it – it’s only day 3 but it’s been going really well so far.
One thing I did want to mention is that a great resource to learn more about seafood and U.S. fisheries is www.fishwatch.gov. It highlights the science involved, discusses the gear and stock statuses, and really provides much more information than the Monterey Bay seafood guide (mentioned in the book). Many of the seafood guides like that of Monterey Bay that rate on a simple color or similar system, tend to reflect the organization’s stance more than the science, and can also be out of date at times. I always suggest buying seafood locally from a market you can trust, from wild, domestic sources. 86% of the seafood Americans consume is imported, and the regulations in those countries often are nowhere near what American fishermen have to follow. We have the most restrictive fishing regulations, and even if a species is overfished, it is still placed on a strict limit that fishermen must follow. So, that Gulf of Maine cod (which is a stock that has recently crashed) is in my opinion, much more sustainable and nutritious than tilapia from Africa (or here actually, since it’s farmed) or Asian shrimp. But I digress.
If you’ve managed to make it this far, you deserve a gold star! I think this book has something for everyone and is a great supplement to other cookbooks or nutritional guides. I love contrast in my food and life. This book will be happy among its diverse book neighbors (seafood; vegetarian and vegan; Chez Panisse; Moroccan; preservation and canning techniques; and yes, even the James Beard pasta book, among others – shocking!). I love collecting cookbooks and learning about people and cultures, as well as nutrition and health through them. I’ll have a mix of different dishes on this blog, with the focus being happiness, health, and sustainability. Not all will be Paleo, but the majority will be, including the pie I’m adapting for my cousin’s wedding in 2 weeks.
Now to getting you the book!
To enter the contest, all you need to do is either “like” this blog post, sign up to follow the blog via email, or share among your friends and social network! You can use any of the sharing buttons below. Just leave me a comment here to let me know what you did, and you’ll get an entry for each action, including commenting! I’ll choose a winner on August 21st, two weeks after its national release, to give everyone time to enter. Good luck!