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I love this book!

For anyone new to the Paleo approach to health and eating, Ms. SanFilippo's Practical Paleo is a perfect starting place. While the market has seen an explosion of books in the Paleo diet world over the last decade, this book is unique in that is combines the wisdom of the Paleo approach to nutrition with the unique insights that are emerging from the "functional medicine" approach to health.

She provides, for instance, 30-day meal plans that are tailored to specific health conditions, such as thyroid health and athletic performance. There's an especially delightful and informative discussion about gastrointestinal health (including a Poop Pageant in which she describes how stool character can be used to discern digestive problems that left me laughing until it hurt!). The book is packed with beautiful illustrations that make the discussions crystal-clear.

There are also a substantial collection of recipes, most of them unique that I have not seen before, consistent with the Paleo approach. Even readers who have read other Paleo cookbooks will discover many new twists on meals and snacks in this book.

All in all, Practical Paleo is a masterful piece of work.
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As someone who's been actively involved in this community for years, as someone who's attended seminars (even the Practical Paleo seminar), someone who wrote a paleo book (Eat Like a Dinosaur) I am LEARNING NEW STUFF in Diane's book. There's SO much information - I've had the book for weeks and am still finding new things.

Diane's poignant and practical definition of complicated concepts, are so very clear to me - a skill she has a knack for unlike anyone I know of in our community. The entire book takes all the ideas you just can't quite figure out, and makes it easily digestible, easy to understand, and absolutely practical to implement.

This book is intended to be used like a reference book, and that's just what it is. From the tailored information on specific conditions (in my case, Autoimmune) to the reference points on leaky gut, carbs and blood sugar regulation, everything you're looking for is here. There's even sections on stress reduction and self care.

I personally followed the Autoimmune protocol defined in the book for 3 weeks. I took seriously Diane's personal challenge to de-stress and followed, exactly, her defined protocol in Practical Paleo.
I added the supplements and nutrient dense foods.
I stuck to the defined foods to avoid and to add.
I left work earlier every day.
I played with electronics less.
I went to bed sooner.

After some serious hair pulling, temper tantrums and screaming about how limited I sometimes felt (thankfully the book has lots of ideas and recipes to make it interesting)... the results are in:

My skin is clearing up! Admittedly, the massive break-outs on the lower half of my face are one of the main contributors for my commitment to eating more cleanly. I found this link which validated for me that it was caused by too much sugar (hormones) and stress. I'm so glad to be getting perfect skin back again!
No longer bloated or retaining water. I lost 7lbs, SEVEN POUNDS, in the first week. Yes, that's water weight; which is just as awful to carry around! My wedding rings went from being tight to loose in 2 weeks.
Joint pain is reduced massively - I used to crack my knuckles, neck and back by the quarter-hour. My knees were a bit crackly - although not nearly as much as before I went paleo 2 years ago. Now, all of that is disappearing (several hours before I want to crack joints).
Painful or loose eliminations after breakfast are gone. Uh.. yeah. Eggs. I'm gonna have to miss them for a while. I'm hopeful that the reintroduction of pastured soy- and wheat-free egg yolks will go well. We'll see.
Sleeping better. Because I'm not consuming caffeine (eliminated coffee and chocolate) my body naturally fell in a rhythm of getting tired around and waking up naturally.

So do I recommend Practical Paleo? Without a doubt. It will now be the #1 book I recommend to anyone. Because whether you have heart problems, diabetes, are recovering for cancer, are an athlete, want to lose weight, have digestive problems or allergies from food - this book has been tailored to you. There's not a single person in the world that wouldn't benefit from reading this fantastic book.

And then on top of all of that, you get 120 amazing and beautifully photographed recipes. That's more than some cookbooks!

This is the most informative and comprehensive nutritional guide we've ever read. Diane has nutritional plans for whatever ails you: from autoimmune, celiac and thyroid conditions, to heart health, athletic performance and cancer survivors. And each one of these plans includes a full thirty day meal plan, nutritional supplements, supportive nutrients (my favorite) as well as diet & lifestyle just for that condition. Honestly, this kind of tailored in-depth nutritional counseling would run you thousands of dollars and Diane is only charging you two Andrew Jacksons (and only one if you order from Amazon).

Not only that, but it's completely accessible for non-paleo types who just want relief for whatever health issue they are dealing with, explaining in easy to understand and scientifically sound terms.
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on September 6, 2012
This is a great book, but it's suffering from some inattention to detail. My husband and I have been following a paleo/primal way of eating for about a year now and after completing a Whole30 program, we discussed having him try an Autoimmune Protocol for the lingering issues he was still dealing with. I was completely overwhelmed at the thought of feeding us without eggs or nightshades so when I heard about the meal plans in this book I was elated! I snapped it up in the Kindle format and started reading. Since I mainly wanted it for the meal plans, I largely skimmed the first half of the book. If you're already familiar with Robb Wolf and other paleo authors, this book will be mostly review. For the uninitiated, the book is easy to read and understandable without needing a degree in biochemistry.

The meal plans themselves have some oversights. In theory, each meal plan will specifically note what, if any changes need to be made to a recipe in order to make it adhere to a specific health condition and, in some cases, it does just that. In others it's completely overlooked. For example, the autoimmune meal plans uses potato pancakes for several meals which, if you look at the recipe, include eggs. Neither the meal plan nor the recipe itself offer suggestions for how to alter the recipe to eliminate the egg, but still end up with something resembling a pancake instead of hashbrowns. It's not necessarily a huge issue if you keep in mind your "avoid" list, but even though I was pretty certain I understood the protocol, I still went back and forth between the meal plan and the avoid list multiple times feeling like I had missed something.

The formatting of the Kindle edition also leaves something to be desired. Some sections of the book I have to read on my laptop because many of the graphs and charts just aren't there on the Kindle. I have pages of nothing but bullet points at the start of each different meal plan. I can still use the meal plans or recipes themselves, but I'm highly disappointed at the quality here and really hope that someone will take the time to look over the ebook and make it more readable and user friendly for the Kindle.
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After years of doing all variety of "diets" or eating lifestyles, from raw vegan to vegan to vegetarian to omnivore with calorie counting to eating-at-home-only to regular juice fasting for quick weight loss, I was so ready for a major change.

I grew up on a Persian diet so lots of meats and vegetables and rice and moderate amounts of bread, cheese, but also a ton of fruits and salads and the usual sweets all cultures adore. So deep inside, I always craved the meats when I was on vegan or vegetarian diets.

I knew that meat wasn't "the problem". I also knew that certain breads and pastas and noodles and foods in general would give me this heavy feeling after eating, and I wanted to get rid of that once and for all. So when a friend talked about her Paleo diet at length, I jumped onboard without hesitation. My husband and I went Paleo late January and we're in week 8 or 9 as I write this review. This was one of the books she recommended and I love the author and follow her on social media. Here's my review of this book.

4-stars. It is the most comprehensive book on Paleo, giving you every reason and logic behind why eating this way is to your ultimate health and longevity. I felt that she spent a long time - about 125 pages - giving you all the health issues you could develop if you eat gluten and processed sugar and how your body reacts to all of that crap and I read them. She lost me when she was talking about all the biology and anatomy but I followed along and appreciated it.

Then between 125-225 are her meal plans but they won't apply to everyone. She addresses major conditions such as high cholesterol, or diabetics or fibromalagia or other conditions before getting to "Squeaky Clean Paleo" which would apply to you if you don't fall under those conditions (I didn't so this section applied). I'm honestly not sure if I'll follow 30-day plans, which naturally refer to a lot of her recipes. And then finally Part 3 - the recipes section starts on page 225 but first a few lessons on chopping and slicing and cooking essential.

The book is about 400 pages, and my favorite recipe so far is the blueberry cobbler (see picture) but these recipes do look slightly complex. She's also huge into bone broth and sauerkraut which I'll have to see if I make - she has recipes. I love her no-nonsense approach with reasoning and science behind it so if you love nutrition and science, you'll LOVE this book. I am giving it a 4 star even though I highly recommend the book because I wish there were less sections on all the human ailment conditions and MORE on just Paleo - how to eat Paleo, how to make quick easy Paleo foods. I hope this helps and happy Paleo eating!
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on July 8, 2013
First, the positives:

The first section of the book, explaining the idea behind paleo (coming not from a "caveman" perspective but from a modern nutrition perspective, which I find more reasonable) and how to incorporate a paleo diet into your life, is very well written, with clear explanations and instructions. The physical book is well put together, suitable for the kind of wear and tear a cookbook gets. And there are lots of colorful pictures and graphics, if that's your thing.

Also, the recipes are clearly written, and not confusing.

And I really like the idea of well laid-out 30-day meal plans.

Ok, now the negatives:

My first problem with the book is that, despite all the talk about eating "real food," most of the meal plans include a dozen supplement recommendations. It seems to me that the most important thing about a diet is that it should provide all of the nutrients you need. Most people switching to paleo (a) want to eat as much natural food as possible, and (b) are already making a fairly substantial change to their diet and lifestyle, so it seems like designing a diet that included more vitamin-rich food would be preferable to telling people to pop a pill.

Second, the meal plans have a few problems. The biggest one is the inconsistent number of servings. It's not really clear from the meal plan how many people the plan should serve. Each recipe indicates the number of servings, but there are also meals based on leftovers, so it's not a direct conversion. Also, despite all of the instructions in the first part of the book about the advantages of eating local/seasonal food, the universal nature of the 30-day plans can render those instructions moot. And some of the instructions are a little odd, like Day 1 of one plan including sauerkraut that takes 2 weeks to make.

Finally, the recipes are just kind of meh. Don't get me wrong, they work, they produce inoffensive food, and they have good variety, but they're not going to make you say, "man, I can't wait to cook dinner tonight." I haven't sat down and compared the recipes in this book to similar recipes, but my bet is that there's some kind of healthy-izing going (possibly a lack of salt) that makes them underwhelming. Which is disappointing, since dissatisfied dieters are more likely to quit dieting/go to a restaurant instead of cooking at home.

Overall, it's not bad, but it leaves a lot to be desired.
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on February 9, 2015
I found it overwhelming and too big and weird ingredients.. very strict. I like the 7-day Paleo diet book much better. This is a great book for hard core Paleo followers. If you are just starting it is a bit overwhelming. Mine is sitting in the closet...
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on August 4, 2013
I consider Paleo a lifestyle not a diet. One year ago I had come back from my doctor's office having been told that in addition to having Celiac Disease, gastritis, esophagitis, hiatal hernia, and high cholesterol I was now becoming pre-diabetic. I went online and searched for a diet for diabetes that was also gluten free. That is when I discovered Paleo. I did a little more searching and found the Balanced Bites web page, podcast, and this book, Practical Paleo. I immediately ordered the book on my iPad and began reading. That is when the light bulb went off. It made so much sense. Why had't any of my Doctors told me about this? I made the decision right then and there to become Paleo and I have loved every minute of it. I will never go back to eating the Standard American Diet (SAD) or fall into the trap of buying 'Gluten Free' packaged food. I also purchased the hard cover book which was easier to use when I was preparing the recipes.

I'm currently 58 years old, 5' 4" and weigh a healthy 130 pounds. I averaged about 1 pound of weight loss per week, losing a total of 20 pounds, and have maintained that weight loss for the past 7 months. I don't count calories I simply eat real food. I no longer have to eat every couple of hours. I eat 2-3 meals per day with very little snacking. I find it amazing that I can go 6-7 hours between meals and not be starving and shaky. It has really changed my life. Acid Reflux disappeared in just a week and I went off that medication. After my first 2 months of Paleo I found a new doctor, on the Paleo Physician's Network, and she did extensive blood work and testing before taking my off the Statin I had been on for almost 20 years for my high cholesterol. I feel so much better! I can't wait to have my blood work done again in a few months to see the changes.

I sent a copy of this book to my son for his 31st birthday. He was amazed by the change he saw in just a week. He has had acid reflux since he was a baby and within 1 week it was gone! No more medication! He also lost weight and feels fantastic. He will never go back to eating the Standard American Diet (SAD) either.
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on November 27, 2012
I really wanted to like this book but it was not quite what I expected. It is huge - like a college textbook - the pictures are lovely, it is truly chock full of information and the book is well organized. That being said, I am a single mom on a very, very limited budget living in a small town. We cannot afford lamb let alone find it around here and Shrimp Ceviche? Really? Shrimp is expensive here in the middle of nowhere. Bison? Duck? Sole? No,no, no. Yes, there are chicken thighs two ways - one of the ways is mustard glazed (which my kids won't eat) the other I already know how to make. Sure, there are meatballs. Do you need a recipe for meatballs? This book is not for someone on a limited budget or living more than a mile from Whole Foods. And no, hunting down a local organic farmer is not practical, especially in the dead of winter. My issue was that the title is not accurate. It's not "practical" to eat this way, it's hard (and expensive) work. Pretty book but misleading title. Instead of Practical Paleo a more accurate title would be "Comprehensive Paleo".
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on September 9, 2012
Diane from Balanced Bites, really hit it out of the park with this book. I wish when I started my Paleo journey that I would have had this book at my disposal.

I think this book will be accessible to everyone from a Paleo veteran to someone who eats cereal all day. You can tell a lot of thought went into the structure and layout of the book. The first part of the book is an intro to Paleo and why we should be eating whole foods. It's very easy to understand. You get some of the science, but it is never overwhelming. Also included are some awesome guides. They are for quick references ranging from leaky gut, a guide to gluten and a guide to cooking fats. These same guides are also in tear out form in the back of the book so you can mount them to your fridge or carry them with you wherever you go.
My Favorite part of this section is about leaky gut and our digestion. I think this is a subject most people don't know anything about, but it is probably the most important part of our health. Our digestion lays the groundwork for the rest of our body and health. In this section I also really liked how each subject was handled. She introduces you to the subject she is going to talk about and why is it important to our health. Then she explains what can go wrong. Finally she lets you know how to fix it.

The second part of the book is where Diane really excelled. If you purchase this book you have no reason not to succeed at bettering your health. This section runs through numerous meal plans from Blood Sugar Regulation to a meal plan for Athletes. After reading the first section you will probably get a few ideas about which meal plans you might be interested in from reading about certain symptoms. Then you can read through the Meal Plans where she explains them through listing concerns, things to avoid or add and list of supplements or herbs you could be taking. Then she lays out Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner for you for 30 days. This is really so easy.

Finally the last part of the book. Time to start drooling. The recipes all look so good. We have already made the Lemon Rosemary Broiled Salmon.
Practical Paleo "Lemon Rosemary Broiled Salmon"

The Chorizo Meatballs served on Faux Mashed Potatoes.
Practical Paleo "Chorizo Meatballs"

and last night I made some of her Salsa nightshade free version with cucumber and pineapple. I added it to my morning eggs and it was wonderful.
Practical Paleo "Salsa"

They were all amazing, and I already have sticky notes on about a dozen other pages. On the recipe pages themselves she lists if the meals contain nuts, eggs, nightshades or FODMAPS. In some recipes she lets you know how you could make it nightshade free along with other ideas for switching up other ingredients.

In conclusion I can't tell you guys enough how great this book is. This book is for anyone from Robb Wolf to Billy Joe Schmoe. If you are already eating Paleo you could still learn a lot from this book, plus get some amazing new recipes. Or you could just leave it on your coffee table and let your friends stumble upon it. I know if they flip through books like me (back to front) they will want to see more and will start asking questions.

I could babble on and on about this book. Not sure if you can tell how excited I am about it. If you don't want to take my word for it go to your big box bookstore or I think even some costco's and thumb through it. I know you will want to take it home.
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on September 24, 2015
This has got to be my most used Paleo cookbook. The first half of the book is information about health and it is laid out so easy to understand even a novice can understand. Then she put together multiple meal plans that cater to specific needs (such as fat loss, digestive health, and heart health). Each plan includes suggested items to add or avoid as well as supplements you may want to add. She answers all the questions you can think of and some you never thought of. The second half is recipes and they are all so easy and quick with no fancy techniques. It starts with basics and spice blends. All the recipes have a full size picture, ideas to modify, prep and cook times, and suggested serving sizes. I have tried about 20 of them and all have been pretty true to the times she says they take. The bison and butternut chili recipe is perfect for fall, but I think the spices need cut in half. I love the broc-cauli chowder, the zucchini pancakes, quick and easy salmon cakes, pumpkin pancakes, balsamic braised short ribs, and bacon-wrapped smokey chicken thighs to name a few favorites. I've only made about 15% of the recipes but every one of them has passed the husband test. The main things is I feel like I'm eating well without the guilt that can sometimes happen with good tasting food. I have recommended this to so many people and can't say enough good things about this book. The only thing I would improve is the index. I was looking for salmon ideas and it isn't listed in the index but it was listed in the table of contents so can't really complain.
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