Book Review: Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo

Posted by on Sep 5, 2012 in Book Reviews, Nutrition | 7 comments



I’m not always the best at explaining stuff. I have a very solid understanding of what makes sense to me, nutritionally speaking- a combination of what I learned at Bauman College, further studies I’ve taken upon myself, and what’s in my gut (no pun intended).

So when I try and explain the Paleo way of life to people who assume the worst, I have the tendency to get emotional, and fail at getting the point across. People launch their “reasons” for not being able to go paleo, most of which sound nothing short of ridiculous to me, and I go on the defensive, to avoid swearing at them. It’s not until later, at home with my boyfriend, that it has all settled in, and I can elequoently state what I was trying to say earlier on. He’s heard it all about a million times, and the poor guy doesn’t even need convincing.

Enter Practical Paleo by Diane San Sanfilippo. This book is a godsend to people like me, who are better off handing someone a book and saying, “HERE. Read this and we can talk about it later.” If I were to rename this book, I would call it “What’s your excuse? NOPE” (Or if there were sound effects, it would be the X buzzer type sound) because Diane essentially takes any excuse you may have and squashes it like a bug. Let me be clear here: Not in a holier-than-thou perfection is the only option kind of way. She simply presents the information, gives you all the tools you could possibly need to succeed, and let’s you decide how far you take it.

Let’s review the excuses us advocates of the Paleo way of life know so well, and how Diane blasts them to heck. Shall we?

1. “I can’t cook”

from Practical Paleo. Photo: Bill Staley (retaken by my phone)

In Practical Paleo, Diane takes the mystery out of cooking by clearly illustrating the basics, right down to how to hold a knife properly. Not knowing how to cook is usually nothing more than a lack of confidence in the kitchen, and once you read the pages of Practical Paleo, your confidence should skyrocket. It’s like learning anything new: Once you’re got the basics under your belt, everything that comes after that is a piece of grain-free honey sweetened cake. And the basics are all in here, along with recipes that you will be able to execute with ease and feel like a pro in no time.

2. (Queue doomsday music) “What will I EAT?!”

Does the mere thought of bread and pasta leaving your life make you feel like you’re suddenly in the middle of a desert, with no food or diet Coke? Is your stomach rumbling in desperation at the idea of no more microwaveable mac n cheese? When thinking of a typical paleo friendly meal is there an empty cartoon thought bubble floating over your head? BOOM. 30 day Meal plans. Lots of them. Meal plans for the Paleo novice, for the over achiever, for specific nutritional concerns. For fat loss. Heart Health. And more. This translates into a whole lotta food to eat. Days and days upon days of food. You will have to give up that Diet Coke. But I promise you’ll be OK. You will probably even find that once you start feeding your body the food that it should be eating, you will crave that junk less and less.

3. “I travel and eat away from home a lot” 

Guess what? So does the author of this book. Inside the pages of Practical Paleo, you will find helpful tips regarding eating at restaurants and how to eat well while travelling.

4. “I just love food too much” (This is my favorite, because going Paleo essentially means that your diet will consist of real food. Soooo you love food too much to give up the crap in boxes that came from a factory and has no actual food in it? Right. Nice try, bucko.)

from Practical Paleo, photo: Bill Staley (retaken by my phone)

Practical Paleo is jam packed with incredible, simple to execute recipes. The recipes are accompanied by gorgeous photography, taken by Bill Staley of The Food Lovers’ Kitchen. This may come as a shock, but the recipes? Food! They’re made of food. Real. Food. I’m not a big cookbook buyer, since I’m not much of a recipe follower. I look at them for inspiration, and then hit the kitchen. But I have to say, there are many recipes in this book that I will most certainly try, and even follow, despite my rebellious nature.  For example, never in my life has it occurred to me to make dolmas with lamb instead of rice, and I can’t wait to try them. I think we can all agree:
Lamb > Rice.

Hey Look! Food! ————————>

Got another excuse? I’d love to hear it.

Practical Paleo is truly a book for anyone who wishes to make positive strides in their health. I know more about nutrition and the Paleo lifestyle than the average person, and I’ve still learned a ton reading this book. I plan on gifting it to many of my friends and family, and look forward to hearing their success stories. It’s far from just a cookbook; it’s the science behind the Paleo way of life, illustrated clearly and concisely. It has about as much information as a text book, but is presented in a beautiful and fun to read way. Any time you attempt to eat within a series of guidelines, it can be scary and difficult. Practical Paleo makes it… practical! And fun, even, and delicious to boot.

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7 Comments

  1. A 30 day meal plan? I’m in. I was just asking the peeps over here if we should try Paleo – which we do already for most of the dinners, but breakfast and lunch seem to elude me. I think I will just do it and not tell them. Mums the word. ;)

    • Your secret’s safe with me! It’s almost completely paleo over here, and no one’s complained yet. Well too much, anyway ;)

  2. Great review. I just received my copy the other day…..LOVE IT!!!

  3. Great book. Interesting read, And then lots of recipes afterwards. Mouthwatering photos too. After Diane has got you convinced by all the science, that this is the best way to eat, she makes it possible with recipes for ordinary people.
    I have severe food intolerances so Paleo is the only way that I can eat. Thanks to this book, I can prepare and enjoy some wonderful meals.

  4. Hi, I heard the the paleo diet is very good,but i wanted to know if there are some good exercises that I could do while trying this diet. Thank you.

    • It depends a lot on what you like as far as exercise. I know a lot of people love CrossFit, and find it complimentary to paleo. But really, it’s about what feels good to you!

  5. I bought this book a month ago and I must say that this is perfect for a traveler like me. I can bring this everywhere I go and cook the food that I want. This is not a waste of money. Keep writing and inspiring people. Thanks!

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