Story time! A couple of weeks ago, I trekked down to Greenwich Village to see Stacy & Matt (the Paleo Parents) and Sarah Ballantyne (The Paleo Mom) speak about their books and do a cooking demo. That was already my idea of a fabulous Saturday afternoon—get out of the bubble, eat some yummy food, and meet some freakin’ awesome bloggers—but little did I know that I would find myself eating dinner with those same freakin’ awesome bloggers later that night!
A few other real food bloggers and I joined Sarah and Stacy at Hu Kitchen, and talked Paleo over roasted chicken halves, bowls of root vegetable mash & grass-fed ground beef, and grain free Crack Bars. Needless to say, it was a night to remember. I absolutely adore the Paleo community, and there’s nothing like connecting with people who have similar perspectives and experiences to yours. Also, I have a not to secret girl crush on both Stacy and Sarah soooo it was a pretty epic day
Okay so awesome anecdote aside, I’m finally writing a review of the Paleo Parents’ new book, Real Life Paleo. Better late than never! If you want the short version: Real Life Paleo is amazeballs and you NEED it in your arsenal, no matter your experience level. Paleo newbies and veterans alike will benefit tremendously from reading and cooking from this book.
Now for the long version: I’ve now had Real Life Paleo for a little less than a month, and I have cooked from it more times than I have any other cookbook in my entire lifetime. I’m the sort of person who tosses in a dash of this and a handful of that when I’m cooking with very little rhyme or reason, so I’m virtually incapable of following a recipe. However, Real Life Paleo is different… I actually want to follow the recipes! Maybe it’s the stunning food photography, or the genius meal ideas, or the fact that the recipes are designed to be convenient and practical for real life. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but this cookbook is just different (in a good way).
The 3 phase approach that Stacy and Matt created and outlined in RLP—Swap, Remove, Heal—makes adopting a Paleo lifestyle a lot less intimidating and a lot more sustainable. Transitioning to a healthy whole foods, nutrient dense diet is hard enough to do on your own, so I can’t even imagine how difficult it is to transition an entire family to a Paleo lifestyle. The Swap, Remove, Heal approach is really the only approach out there that caters to people of all experience, knowledge, and health levels. Going Paleo cold turkey is not sustainable for the large majority of the population, especially if they don’t have the knowledge to back up their new diet choices—for Paleo to work for you long term, you need to thoroughly understand the rationale of it. Not to mention that those 21 or 30 day programs can feel exceptionally restrictive and lead to feelings of failure if you don’t follow them to a T, which is particularly harmful to people who have histories of yo-yo dieting or disordered eating habits (which is the case for a lot of people, including myself).
I love that Real Life Paleo is all about choosing foods that nourish your body; it emphasizes choosing the good, rather than cutting out the bad. You can look at Paleo in one of two ways: the negative way—no grains, no beans, no legumes, no refined sugar, no dairy, etc.— OR the positive way—choose foods that nourish and heal your body from the inside out. To me, the latter is what Paleo really boils down to, and it’s what Real Life Paleo is all about.
This book is a one stop shop for Paleo resources, no matter your experience level. It includes meal plans, grocery lists, meal ideas, suggested brands, an eating out Paleo guide, and ideas for special occasion and holiday meals! AND 175 practical and delicious recipes. The book is so easy to navigate that a caveman could do it (zing!). At the front there is a picture index (I’m a visual person so the Paleo Parents get extra brownie points here), and each recipe throughout the book has a legend indicating allergens, what special kitchen tools are needed, if the recipe can be made in under 30 minutes or in one pot, if it requires 5 ingredients or less, if it’s good for the holidays and if it’s suitable for an on-the-go meal or snack! Essentially, they laid everything out for you nice and clear so you don’t have to waste any time identifying all the egg free recipes in the book or figuring out if you’ll have time to make some of the chicken fingers before you have to get to that event at your kid’s school. Not to mention, chances are you can make a lot of the recipes with the ingredients you already have in your pantry!
Okay I’ll get off my soapbox now. I just get really excited over Real Life Paleo because I know how much potential it has to really change people’s lives. So all in all, double thumbs up from me, and I suggest you now go find out for yourself just how amazing it is by ordering your own copy here! Oh and make the chicken fingers first! 😀
P.S. You’ll have the chance to win your own copy of Real Life Paleo as a part of an upcoming giveaway in celebration of the holiday season, so be on the lookout for that announcement!