Paleo Pals Book Review

I was excited to get an advance copy of Sarah Fragoso’s new book, “Paleo Pals: Jimmy and the Carrot Rocket Ship” to review.

It actually came while I wasn’t home and when I got back, I had to wrangle it from my kids to read it and review it.

Just like Sarah’s other book, Everyday Paleo, her children’s book is engaging and conversational. My kids really enjoyed it and were able to understand the message, even at their ages.

As my five year old summarized “Basically (his favorite word) it means that if you eat healthy foods like meat and vegetables that you will be able to play sports better and think better.”

If you’ve been looking for a way to introduce healthy foods to your kids, this book is a great solution. The book follows the Paleo Pals as they help Jimmy learn about real foods and how to make healthy food choices.

Paleo Pals takes kids through a food plant where foods are produced with chemicals and ingredients they can’t read to a farm where they see natural food being produced. They then travel to a farmer’s market where Jimmy gets to pick out healthy vegetables and fruits to eat.

Then, the Paleo Pals take Jimmy to a school yard where he sees how the kids who chose to eat healthier have more energy and can play better. It discusses how food is fuel for the body and why whole foods are a good choice.

The book helps kids understand that healthy foods support their bodies and let them be strong like their favorite super heroes. We already eat the way Sarah recommends in the book, but my kids have asked a few times this week if a certain food would help them be a super hero or not.

I like that this book focuses on the positive side of eating healthy and gives kids practical ways to choose healthy foods. It doesn’t portray foods as “bad” but explains how foods with chemicals aren’t optimal.

At the end of the book, Sarah has some great kid-friendly recipes with kid-friendly instructions so that your kids can get excited and involved in planning and eating healthy foods.

Overall, my kids loved Paleo Pals and I would definitely recommend it! It’s available for pre-order now for 35% off the regular price!

Have you read Paleo Pals to your kids yet? What other health books does your family enjoy?

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Paleo Book Review

I was recently given the opportunity to review The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Paleo by Jason Glaspey and Neely Quinn and it was definitely much more comprehensive than I expected for a “Complete Idiot’s Guide!”

This 300+ page book not only has explans why some modern foods (grains, sugars, vegetable oils, etc.) are not healthy, but also some great recipes and a meal plan.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Paleo is also extremely easy to read and has lots of quick tips and easy reference for the main points. I think this would be especially useful for friends or relatives who don’t understand your way of eating and who could benefit from an easy and concise explanation.

I’ve tried a few of their recipes and especially enjoyed their Salmon Cakes with Mango and Cilantro Salsa and their Sausage Stuffed Tomatoes.

Perhaps my favorite part was at the very end where they compare a paleo diet and a standard American diet side by side for nutrient levels. I often get questions about if we will miss out on nutrients on a real food diet, and this clearly shows the superior nutrient levels in a paleo/real-food diet.

This book isn’t an intensive guide for already experienced grain free and paleo eaters, but it has a great introduction to the paleo lifestyle and reasons for choosing it. It also has some simple and delicious recipes that are great for beginners.

What is your favorite real food book? Have you read this one? Share below!

Practical Paleo Book Review

I was ecstatic to receive an advanced copy of Practical Paleoand was completely unprepared for how HUGE this book was and how much information it contains!

Diane Sanfilippo did an amazing job of organizing all the information in a very easy to read and understand format. This 400+ page book is actually an easy and fun read.

Practical Paleo is a wealth of information and has specific dietary suggestions for various conditions including:

Digestive Issues
Thyroid problems
Autoimmune problems
Neurological health
Blood Sugar Balance
Heart health
Cancer Recovery
Fat Loss
MS, Fm or CFS
The first section of Practical Paleo is an easy to understand guide of the Paleo way of eating and why certain foods can be harmful. Diane breaks the science down into easy to understand sections. This part would be wonderful for any friends or family members who don’t understand or agree with your way of eating to read! It’s also a comprehensive intro for anyone starting the paleo way of eating.

The second section of Practical Paleo has meal suggestions for all of the above conditions in an easy to read and use format.

The final section of Practical Paleo has over 120 paleo recipes. My favorites so far were the cauliflower hummus and the chicken liver pate (which I’ll be posting my review of separately soon). There are also a lot of great salad recipes which are a summer favorite at our house.

At the very end of the book are some great quick reference pull out guides on healthy foods, best choices for fats/oils, stocking the pantry, vegetable sources of healthy carbs and more.

Overall, I’d highly recommend Practical Paleo. As its name suggests, it is a great practical and applied guide to eating and living the healthiest way for your body. It contains a plethora of great information and is more like a Paleo encyclopedia than a regular book!

You can’t actually get a physical copy of Practical Paleo just yet, but it ships on August 7th and it is available for pre-order so you can make sure you get a copy. It also has a special pre-order price of almost half off the cover price… click here to reserve your copy.

Also, check out Diane’s great blog Balanced Bites.

Have you Practical Paleo? What did you think? Share below!

Everyday Paleo Family Cookbook Review

If you haven’t already heard the buzz, Sarah Fragoso from Everyday Paleo recently released her new Everyday Paleo Family Cookbook!

Sarah’s blog is a wealth of information and delicious recipes and it is on my list of daily reads.

I use Sarah’s original book, Everyday Paleo, often as a reference and for recipe ideas, and I think her new book will be just as helpful.

The Everyday Paleo Family Cookbook has over 80 family friendly recipes that are easy to prepare as well as healthy versions of condiments and sauces. It is a great resource for families just starting off on a paleo/real food way of eating as it has a budget guide, list of staples, week long meal plan and shopping list and more.

Even for seasoned real food eaters, her Family Cookbook provides recipe ideas and budget tips that will bring delicious variety to the menu.

I love how Sarah focuses on making meals a family event and encourages ways that the entire family can help prepare, cook and enjoy the meals. She also provides a list of lunch and snack ideas, which is a valuable resource, especially for parents who struggle to find healthy options to send with their children to school.

The Recipes

I’ve had the chance to try a few of the recipes in Everyday Paleo Family Cookbook, and like the recipes on her blog and in the original Everyday Paleo, they are easy to prepare and delicious. Our favorite so far has been the Whole Greek Chicken with Roasted Garlic.

It is incredibly simple to make and can be put in the oven to cook while you clean house, play with the kids, or relax (anyone actually do that?) We had it for lunch today and it was a kid favorite. I was out of lemons so I sliced an orange instead (lemon was great too!) and sprinkled with fresh parsley, salt and pepper. The roasted garlic really adds flavor and I love to add the roasted garlic to some wilted spinach.

Each recipe in Everyday Paleo Family Cookbook is accompanied by a full size color picture, which makes it great when my kids want to help pick out meals for the week (and they are much more likely to be excited about trying new meals when they got to pick them).

The kids favorite recipe was “Rocket Fuel” a grain free healthy treat (check the back of the book!).

The Guides

Everyday Paleo Family Cookbook also provides some very helpful quick reference chapters for making the transition to a healthier lifestyle (or saving time in the kitchen if you’ve already switched). In the first section of the book, Sarah provides guides to:

Basic foods to have on hand
10 steps to help you get started
How to get kids on board
Lunch ideas to pack on the go
Quick and simple meal ideas
Week long meal plan with shopping list
Budget guide
Check it out!

If you haven’t already, I’d encourage you to check out Sarah’s blog and her new book. Everyday Paleo Family Cookbook is a wealth of information in an easy to read package. I can’t wait to try more of the recipes, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy them too!

Have you read Sarah’s blog or previous books? Will you check out this new book? Tell me below!

Paleo Indulgences Cookbook Review

There have been a lot of real food cookbooks released lately, and for any and all things that are baked, Paleo Indulgences tops my list. I’ve tried eight of the recipes so far and they have all been a hit at our house.

Paleo Indulgences has a lot of grain free baked good recipes with full color pictures. My kids loved looking through it and picking out which recipes to try.

Tammy Credicott is also the author of The Healthy Gluten Free Life and her family has now transitioned to a more paleo diet. The recipes use coconut and almond flours and some contain honey and maple syrup as sweeteners, though these can be left out for those who can’t have them.

So far, our two favorite recipes are the Blueberry Crumble Muffins, which are amazing:

and the Super Quick Bread, which I adapted from her recipe (which is made in the microwave) since we don’t have/use a microwave. It is not a sandwich type bread but it is wonderful with some grass fed butter or honey… We also found that adding vanilla gave it some complexity of flavor, or for a dinner side, adding cheese and garlic was great.

The original recipe makes a single serving, but I adapted it to an oven recipe which serves all six of us:

Ingredients:

1 1/3 cups almond flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Dash of sea salt
1/2 cup coconut oil
4 eggs
1/2 to 3/4 cup of water (if needed)
What to do:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the dry ingredients first, making sure all are at room temp (I keep my almond flour in the freezer and learned this the hard way).

Add the wet ingredients and blend with a hand blender or immersion blender. Add the water last and add enough to make it spreadable but not pourable.

Spread into a well-greased 8×8 or larger pan (will actually stretch to fit a 9×13). It won’t bake all the way through as a loaf, but when spread thin it makes a great bread.

Bake for 25-35 minutes or until cooked in the middle and barely starting to brown on top (this varies a lot by oven).

Let cool and enjoy!

We haven’t done much baking since we gave up grains, but Paleo Indulgences has some delicious recipes that I can’t wait to try (and my kids are very willing taste testers!). Tammy even includes recipes for coconut based frostings that are relatively low-sweetener (honey).

The second half of the book also includes restaurant favorites like wings, onion rings, lettuce wraps, etc. that have been adapted to be grain free and healthy. The final section has several recipes for paleo “candies” like coconut based imitation York Peppermint Patties.

If you’ve been working on going grain free/paleo and haven’t been able to because of a favorite grain based treat, Paleo Indulgences might have a recipe that is the best of both worlds.

Do you make any healthy treats? What is your favorite? Share below!

Paleo Slow Cooking Review

I recently got a review copy of the book Paleo Slow Cooking by Chrissy Gower and I”ve thoroughly enjoyed reading through it. Just as the title suggests, this 200+ page cookbook is dedicated to paleo, grain-free recipes that can be easily prepared in a slow-cooker.

I was most surprised to see breakfast slow-cooker recipes since breakfast is typically the toughest meal to prepare ahead. I’m actually planning to use different versions of the slow-cooker fritatta recipe on Sunday mornings so I can prepare it before church and it will be ready when we get home.

Paleo Slow Cooking includes easy to prepare recipes for everything from barbecue, to meatloaf, to chili, to stews and soups. If you’ve switched to a real-food way of eating and had trouble finding recipes for slow-cooking that don’t include canned soups or noodles, Paleo Slow Cooking might be a great solution for you.

Another great thing about slow-cooking in general (especially with real foods) is that it allows you to use less expensive cuts of meat and cook them until tender. With slow-cooking, it is also easy to double the veggies so less meat is needed and the recipe is even more budget friendly.

While Paleo Slow Cooking gives detailed instructions for most recipes, I’ve noticed with the ones that I’ve tried that even if I just add the general proportions of the ingredients and get them all in the slow-cooker, the results will usually be really good. It is tough to mess up slow cooker recipes and since they typically just involve putting foods in the Crock Pot, kids can help.

If you like using a slow-cooker to save time, I’d definitely recommend Paleo Slow Cooking as a great resource to get started. There are a variety of recipes from breakfast to dessert and everything in between and I can think of endless variations fo the recipes.

Do you use a slow-cooker often? What is your go-to recipe? Share below!

The Paleo Coach Book Review

I recently read the book The Paleo Coach: Expert Advice for Extraordinary Health, Sustainable Fat Loss and an Incredible Body by Jason Seib and would recommend it, especially to those searching for motivation in switching to a healthier lifestyle.

Jason is a friend and business partner of Sarah Fragoso (who blogs at Everyday Paleo) as well as a gym owner and trainer.

Think. Eat. Move

The Paleo Coach is divided in to three parts: Thing, Eat and Move.

Seib makes it clear that they are in this order for a reason, as the mental aspect is extremely important to any health change. He talks about how any changes made for strictly aesthetic reasons (wanting to look a certain way, fit in to a dress,etc) may have short term results but will eventually fail. He helps readers learn to make changes for health and wellness reasons and gives many examples of how this will lead to visual results as well.

In the “Eat” section, Seib focuses on a Paleo way of eating, making a case for eating real, whole foods in their natural state. He includes recipes and sample meal plans to help make the transition.

“Move” focuses on incorporating the right kinds of movement to promote health and fitness. He encourages sprinting, short bursts of high intensity, lots of low-level activity like walking, and especially focuses on the need for heavy lifting (yes, even for women).

I should note that the “Coach” in the title refers to the motivational and guiding aspect of the book, which is wonderful, but it doesn’t only focus on athletic coaching, which is what I expected from the title and from Seib’s background. The Paleo Coach is an excellent motivational book for anyone, but not a specific fitness book. If you are looking for a friendly kick in the pants to help you stick to health changes, this book is for you!

You can read other reviews about The Paleo Coach here.

Have you read The Paleo Coach? Think it sounds helpful? Share below!

30 Day Guide to Paleo Cooking Book Review

Bill and Hayley, authors of Gather and Make it Paleo, have come out with yet another great book in their new 30 Day Guide to Paleo Cooking. As someone working on a first book, I really have no idea how they manage to write and beautifully photograph these books so quickly, but they certainly haven’t cut corners with this new guide.

Their 30-Day Guide is divided in to three parts:

An overview of why to eat this way and the basics of paleo eating
A month-long menu plan and shopping list
A compilation of 75 recipes that are easy to prepare and (mostly) budget friendly
The recipes that we tested were great and although the book seemed relatively basic, I think it would be a perfect for someone just starting to eat healthier but overwhelmed by trying to figure out what to actually eat.

This book would also be helpful for someone who knows the basics of healthy eating but who need structure to stick to it.

As someone who takes all the pictures for my blog with an iPhone camera and nada photography skills, the thing that really stood out to me about the 30-Day Guide to Paleo Cooking was the beautiful food photography! Bill and Hayley certainly have a gift for creating delicious recipe but also for making them look incredible!

If you are just venturing in to a paleo/grain free lifestyle or have trouble sticking with it, the structure (and mouth-watering photos) of The 30-Day Guide to Paleo Cooking might be just the book to help.

Have you read it? What did you think?

Everyday Paleo Italian Cuisine Book Review

One of the most popular recipes I’ve created from scratch is my homemade Italian pasta sauce recipe. It took me a long time to get it right, as I married into an Italian family and my husband has pretty high standards when it comes to cuisine from “the boot.” Creating healthy, grain-free options of traditional Italian foods can be a challenge, so I have to admit, of all the cookbooks I’ve ever read over the years, Everyday Paleo Italian Cuisine by Sarah Fragoso is the one I wish I had created!

Sarah has a great blog where she documents her travels through other countries with her family as she learns to cook authentic cuisines from around the world.

I love that Everyday Paleo Italian Cuisine follows Sarah’s family’s trip to Italy (especially since pretty much every city in Italy is on my bucket list!). Not only are there beautiful pictures, stories and travel tips from the trip, but recipes by region as well.

Sarah even has a compilation of grain free pizza recipes, bruschetta sans bread, and 98 other great recipes. My favorite recipes to try so far have been those incorporating artichoke as this is one of my favorite foods but my most challenging to cook well!

After marrying in to an Italian family, I can say that many of the recipes are very authentic and include traditional Italian ingredients that we often miss out on here (like Calimari, which is delicious, inexpensive and easy to cook, but often overlooked in the US).

So far, I’ve tried eight of the recipes in Everyday Paleo Italian Cuisine and they have all been great (especially the sweet potato gnocchi and the risotto).

I’ve been experimenting more with making grain free versions of traditional Italian dishes lately, and hope to have an “Italian month” of recipes sometime soon, but in the meantime, I can’t recommend Sarah’s newest cookbook highly enough. Not only are the recipes amazing, but her incredible personality really shines through and reading it is like taking a trip with her and her family.

If you’ve been missing Italian favorites since going grain-free/paleo, Everyday Paleo Italian Cuisine is an excellent solution!

Do you have any healthy versions of Italian food favorites? Share below!

Paleo Cookbooks Review

I taught myself to speed-read in middle school, and to this day, it is probably the most valuable skill I’ve ever learned.

One of the really fun perks of blogging is that authors occasionally send books for review. This month, I’ve received several great paleo cookbooks (and several others I decided not to review), but the speed reading came in very-handy in having the time to read all of these great new books. The four books below are my favorites this month:

The Modern No-Nonsense Guide to Paleo

Alison Golden is an online friend of mine and she has compiled a very practical and to the point guide. The Modern No-Nonsense Guide to Paleo includes tips/advice on:

Getting started without becoming overwhelmed
Meal Planning and practical tips
How to stay consistent
Organizing a paleo kitchen
Shopping for healthy foods on a budget
The importance of other factors like sleep and stress
How to involve children or other adults without an up-hill battle
What I liked: Alison’s personality really shines through in her writing, and this book is a great read. Having been through it herself, she gives practical tips on changing diet and dealing with a spouse who isn’t on board.

The Paleo Chocolate Lovers’ Cookbook

At first, the title may seem like a paradox – chocolate and Paleo don’t always go hand in hand, but this book is a compilation of 80 mostly-healthy dessert recipes that are grain and dairy free. Certainly, any kind of treat should not be a daily indulgence, but for special occasions and gatherings, the recipe in The Paleo Chocolate Lovers Cookbook look delicious. I made the chocolate cupcakes with cookie dough frosting for a party recently and they were definitely a hit. Other recipes include:

German chocolate cake
chocolate granola
chocolate pancakes
fondue
chocolate swirl cheesecake
Salted Carmel Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream
Homemade truffles
a lot more
What I liked: All of the recipes were coconut/almond flour based and on the healthy end of the treat spectrum. I would feel comfortable letting my kids pick a treat out of that book to make on occasion and the pictures were wonderful!

Make Ahead Paleo

Two trends seem to be very popular (at least on Pinterest) right now: slow cooker/make ahead food and paleo/grain free food. This Make Ahead Paleo is the intersection of those two ideas. The recipes are grain/dairy free but many can be made ahead or are very fast to prepare.

Tammy Credicott (of Paleo Indulgences and The Healthy Gluten Free Life fame) compiles recipes that are easy to prepare, kid-approved and easy to eat on the go. I made her Thai Coconut Meatballs and they were a hit with my family.

What I liked: The pictures were great, the recipes were simple and all were grain/dairy free.

There were also some really creative meat recipes that I am looking forward to trying.

Paleo Happy Hour

This book would be a great gift for college students or single/newly married adults who struggle with making dietary changes because of the social implications. It compiles healthy alternatives to common restaurant and bar favorite foods in easy to prepare recipes.

Paleo Happy Hour also includes recipes for healthier alternatives to common drinks. They still contain alcohol, but remove ingredients like sugar and grain based alcohols and instead use more nutrient dense ingredients. Example: Avocado Rita (just like it sounds, a margarita sans sugar and with avocado).

What I liked: The design of this book was beautiful and there were some really creative alternatives to regular restaurant fare.

Read any good books lately? Read these? Tell me about it below!