Practical Paleo: A Customized Approach to Health and a Whole Foods Lifestyle is one of the most practical books and one of the most beautiful cookbooks on the subject of paleo, primal, and whole foods nutrition, healing, and cooking.
What’s in it for you?
Author and nutritionist Diane Sanfilippo, a graduate of Bauman College, a school of Holistic Nutrition & Culinary Arts, provides in depth (and easy to understand) information about the whats, whys, and hows of whole foods nutrition, how our bodies work, how to support optimal digestion and elimination, heal leaky gut, reduce inflammation, and customize our diets for our particular health and fitness goals.
Whether you have (or cook for someone who has) a particular condition, such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Fibromyalgia, MS, a neurological disorder, a thyroid or autoimmune condition, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease, or you aim to lose weight, or simply improve your athletic performance or overall health, Practical Paleo includes diet and lifestyle suggestions, nutritional supplements and herbs to consider, and menus and user-friendly recipes to fit your needs.
Practical Paleo features more than 120 easy-to-follow recipes free of gluten, grain, beans and legumes, dairy products, and refined sugar. But it doesn’t stop there! To make the book oh-so practical, Ms. Sanfilippo includes something not found in most cookbooks––not one, but twelve, 30-day meal plans with page references. San Filippo includes not one but twelve streamlined very manageable menus for breakfast, lunch, and dinner to fit your particular goals. Don’t have a specific health condition? Practical Paleo’s meal plans also include fat loss, improved athletic performance, and general health––in other words, something for everyone.
I really like the author’s and publisher’s use of text boxes, illustrations, colorful charts, lists, tables, tear out tip sheets (you can take these shopping), distinctive chapter dividers, and bulleted lists. All of these features break up the information into useful bites and make the most salient points stand out. Another benefit of this book is the extensive inclusion of mouthwatering, professional food by Bill Staley and Haley Mason, authors of Make It Paleo, a book I reviewed earlier this year. Their blog is called the The Food Lover’s Primal Palate.
What I tried
I tried nine recipes from Practical Paleo. My favorites, so far, include Mashed Faux-Tatoes, Zucchini Pancakes, Grandma Barbara’s Stuffed Mushrooms, and Creamy Cauliflower Hummus. I love vegetables, including crucifers, so I make a point of finding new ways to prepare them. Sanfilippo’s book offers many options for these and other superfoods.
I’ve made many variations on this simple straightforward recipe over the past few years. I simmered the cauliflower directly in a saucepan in Poultry Bone Broth (see my book, The Garden of Eating, or use Sanfilippo’s Mineral Rich Bone Broth). I added minced garlic one time; garlic and fresh rosemary another time; garlic and dried powdered rosemary after that). This dish goes with almost any kind of fish, poultry, or meat; it’s freezer friendly too.
My friend Anne made these for me twice. I made them once and plan to make them again soon. I like these easy three-ingredient pancakes with Moroccan BBQ Sauce (from my Garden of Eating cookbook) and serve them with herb-roasted fingerling potatoes or root vegetables. I also liked them as a sweet breakfast, lightly spread with 100% pure blueberry preserves (St.Dalfours or Bio Naturae brands).
Grandma Barbara’s Stuffed Mushrooms
By chance, one of the guys at our local Paleo-Primal Meetup prepared this recipe for our holiday potluck. I liked the meaty flavor of the mushrooms paired with ground pork sausage (buy sausage or combine ground pork with one of the author’s spice blend recipes). Apparently others shared my sentiments; they wiped the serving platter clean. Consider your options; use beef, bison, or lamb sausage or try different kinds of mushrooms.
Creamy Cauliflower Hummus
If you enjoy the flavor of hummus but not the after effects, then try this recipe. It makes a lovely appetizer or snack and it’s a great way to re-introduce cauliflower to people who say they don’t like it. It pairs well with blanched asparagus and carrot sticks or raw celery, jicama, and bell pepper sticks.
More to try
I’ve flagged more than a dozen other recipes that I want to try from Practical Paleo.
* Pineapple Teriyaki Sauce
* Nori Salmon Handrolls
* Citrus Macadamia Sole
* Greek Salad with Avo-Ziki Dressing
* Roasted Figs with Rosemary
* Lamb Chops with Olive Tapenade
* Lamb Dolmas
* Balsamic Braised Short Ribs
* Thanksgiving Meatballs (good any time of year, I’m sure!)
* Spiced Lamb Meatballs with Balsamic Fig Compote
* Pumpkin Pancakes (using freshly cooked winter squash; canned pumpkin was bland)
* Sweet Potato Pancakes
And the verdict is…
I highly recommend this book. Whether you’ve been cooking wheat free, gluten free, dairy free, paleo, primal, traditional, or whole foods meals for weeks, months, or years or you’re new to it, Practical Paleo will surely provide new ideas and inspiration to broaden your recipe repertoire.
Diane Sanfilippo’s book is well worth the $39.95 cover price. Like my Garden of Eating Cookbook, it’s like three books in one. This 8 1/2 x 11 (one-inch thick), 416 page book + eight pages of tear out shopping guide promises to keep you coming back to learn and taste more for years to come.