Book Review: Practical Paleo

PracticalPaleoFinally!  The book review is here!  I bought this book a few weeks ago with the intention of using it solely as a cookbook.  Boy was I mistaken.  I started to just “peruse” and “skim” it but before I knew it, I was totally engulfed.  I’ve read several Paleo Diet (PD from now on) books before, all different in their own way but this one had its own magic.  It stood apart from all the rest.  It just felt right.

Side note: since I’ve read so many books on the PD, this review will be a little different.  I’m going to compare it to the books I’ve read previously on PD:


The book is half information on the healthy diet, half cookbook.  Audience:

  • If you are curious about the Paleo Diet
  • If you already do PD and want some awesome recipes
  • If you are not interested in PD at all but interested in reaching better health through diet, then this book is definitely for you!

The book is broken down into simple sections:

Part 1:  The Why – Food and Your Body:  The first part is the meat of the book where you learn about how your body reacts to certain foods (grains, legumes, dairy, etc.) and why you should avoid them for optimal health.  It also discusses digestive health and how to repair a damaged gut.  Finally, it talks about how to follow PD in the real world – grocery shopping, eating at restaurants, etc.  It is everything you need to know for the how and why of PD, all written clearly and concisely.

Part 2:  Meal Plans:  The Meal Plans in this book are extensive.  Pretty much every ailment associated with diet is covered – autoimmune diseases, blood sugar regulation, thyroid health, fatigue, cancer recovery, the list goes on…  They even have a basic PD meal plan, one for fat loss, and one for athletes!  Everyone is covered (pretty much).

Part 3:  Recipes:  The recipes are phenomenal.  One thing my mom pointed out when she flipped their her own copy of the book (happy birthday mom!  Now you can’t steal mine!) is that the recipes look “normal”.  Like every day foods.  Things that are familiar to anyone who has bought a cookbook before (expect maybe that one recipe for bone marrow…).  Also, I’m a lazy cook and hate things that are too complicated or have too many ingredients.  I can say that I would definitely make most of these, as they are simple to make and look delicious!

PicMonkey Collage

Now, on to the tidbits… This is by far, my favorite book on eating for health and on the Paleo Diet that I have read so far!

The layout of the book is so easy to follow and the easy reference charts make it even better!  Any time you are wondering what she said in a certain chapter, there is a pretty good chance it is in the reference chart. No need to flip through pages and pages to find one little tip!



So, I’ve already mentioned the plentitude of meal plans and the amazing recipes. Did I also mention how much I loved the “why” part of this book? Every PD book has had me opening my eyes wide thinking “this is me” but many lacked the help I needed other than “eat Paleo”.  A lot of tips and tricks in the book are aimed at really healing your gut in other ways that just “eat Paleo”.  I’ve been doing PD for a while not but still have many digestive distress symptoms.  Follow the advice of this book has helped me kick some of those problems out the door – problems I was having with Paleo-approved foods!  This was a HUGE bonus for the book – serious optimal health for those really suffering the consequences of years of a typical America diet.

Dislikes (gasp!  There are a very few!)

  • The meal plans are missing servings.  I’m a married lady but 50% of my time is spent alone at school.  The meal plans have you make something with 6 servings and you see it once during the entire 30 days.  Uh… Where’d it go?  So good for those with families but not so great for single people.  (Edit: a friend suggested repeating 2-3 days of the meal plan until servings are used up or freezing leftovers for later in the month!)
  • The book is gigantic.  If you have a kindle, it might be a good idea but realize then its harder to flip back and forth to those awesome charts I mentioned (unless you bookmark them I guess?).  But seriously, this thing is heavy and huge and will weigh down your bag if you plan on taking it around with you.  (See my poor little hand!)


Finally, let’s look at a little comparison with the other books:


  • It has a 30 day detox plan to be used for finding food intolerances (like Whole30 in It Starts With Food)
  • It has all of the information on how you (can’t) digest grains – just like all of the other PD books on my list.


  • The helpful tips for healing your digestive system that I have never seen in other books.
  • The symptoms list for certain bodily ailments.  I was able to figure out that I still had low stomach acid after my bought of food poisoning which was why normal paleo foods weren’t going over well (disclaimer: this is similar to using WebMD to diagnose yourself with anything, if you have a real problem, go see your doctor)
  • Finally, the biggest difference in this book: The emphasis on eating for optimal health and doing what is right for your body.  This book is less about “The Caveman Diet” and more about healing your body.  I think a lot of people are turned off to PD because of the caveman mentality, while the benefits of following it might outweigh the negative connotation.

Ok, this was a very long book review but I had so much to say about it!  It might have been a little scattered too but that was how I read the book, jumping around, absorbing everything at once.  This has now become my favorite reference guide for PD and optimal health.  I can’t wait to make all the recipes.  I can’t wait to tell everyone to read this book!  Oh, and I almost forgot, it was a super quick read.  It Starts With Food took me forever to get through but this was done in just a few days (and trust me, its not like I sat around all day reading).  I just love it!!

10 thoughts on “Book Review: Practical Paleo

    1. I’m about 80/20 🙂 There are just some things I can’t part with (cream and sugar for my coffee) and sometimes I just want a slice of pizza!

  1. I’ve not considered going paleo but I have cut a lot of things out of my diet over the years because even though my doctor has ruled out everything under the sun, things were still ‘not right’. This sounds like a good book to look into since it gives you more ideas about how to make yourself better 🙂

  2. The author of this book and Ancestral Health Nutritionist Liz Wolfe co-host the podcast Balanced Bites. Liz is also responsible for the blog Cave Girl Eats…2 more great resources for finding what works for you!

  3. Thank you so much for this in depth review. I’m just starting the Paleo diet and appreciate this information. Terri

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: