Review of Diane Sanfilippos new book Practical Paleo
7/23/2012 2:25 PM
I knew that Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo was a winner the minute I took it out of the box and flipped through it. It's a beautiful book. The photos are professional, the pages are sturdy and it's hefty which means there's a lot of information inside. A slower perusal revealed concise, easy to understand guides and whole sections devoted to different ways to eat for different goals. Including controlling autoimmune issues and a separate section for controlling Multiple Sclerosis which deserves its own section because MS is a disease that is only theorized to be an autoimmune condition. Then there are the recipes, the drool inducing recipes.
The information is thorough and easy to understand. Sanfilippo explains why paleo works. She explains your digestive system and the organs involved. Excellent similes abound throughout the information section like "insulin is like your mother it wants to constantly put stuff away." She discusses the most popular reservations people have when they are thinking about going paleo like 'how are we going to get calcium without dairy?' That kind of detail and patient explaining makes it a great book for beginners. I am not a beginner by any means and I appreciated reading all the info in one place and in a way that made it stick in my brain, making it easier to fully understand and explain to others.
There are various guides that are complete winners. I especially appreciated the classic guide to 'your poop.' Turns out different poop consistencies say a lot about what is going on inside our bodies. The mysteries are revealed in the poop guide! Some of the essential guides, like the guide to fats and oils, I could have really used 2 years ago when I first started eating this way. It could have saved me scads of money I spent on oils I thought were OK but are not, like grapeseed oil. The guides are repeated in the back of the book with perforation so they can be torn out and hung anywhere you might need them. The info in the guides is presented very well and very thoroughly.
The fact that this book has sections for achieving different goals is what really sets it apart from other paleo books. It was hard for me to recommend any other book besides Robb Wolf's 'The Paleo Solution' because I am usually trying to council people with Multiple Sclerosis and there were no books that took the autoimmune protocol into consideration. Practical Paleo not only explains the autoimmune protocol, but PROVIDES 30 DAYS OF MENUS!!! That, my friends, is worth its weight in gold. Sanfilippo provides 30 days of menus for every section from athletic performance to cancer recovery. That's big. And it's what sets this book above the other paleo books.
Another thing this book has that most other paleo books or web sites don't have is a guide to supplements tailored to individual goals. Finding supplement recommendations on the internet is really hard. Even if you do find recommendations it's impossible to tell if they are credible or just someone marketing to you. Each goal section in Practical Paleo has a supplement guide and Sanfilippo tells you where you can find the supplement naturally, in which foods the supplement is abundant. That's so awesome!
Oy vey, I haven't even discussed the recipes. The recipes look fabulous. Baconnaise?!?!? I must make and eat that ASAP. There is a great representation of proteins from fish to bison. And enough vegetable recipes to last a year. I haven't had time to try cooking any of the recipes yet but when I get a minute I will try the Lemon Artichoke Chicken, Duck with Cherry Sauce, Balsamic Braised Short Ribs, Roasted Figs with Rosemany and Thanksgiving Stuffing Meatballs. There is a roasted marrow bone recipe that I opened right up to the first day I was going through the book after eating all the marrow out of my broth bones at lunch and wishing for more marrow in my life. A happy coincidence! Another happy coincidence is the duck with cherry sauce recipe that reminds me of my Dad's recipe he used to make when I was a kid. That dish is one of my fondest childhood eating memories so I was ecstatic to see Sanfilippo's much easier version in the recipe list.
I don't think I am using hyperbole when I say Practical Paleo is the holy grail of paleo books. Between the information, the menus, the goal specific information and the recipes I can't think of anything else you would need to start and maintain a paleo life. Which is a life of optimal health. You can pre order Diane Sanfilippo's new book Practical Paleo HERE.