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VINE VOICEon November 28, 2012
It is refreshing to have a paleo/primal cookbook for adventurous eaters and people who are not afraid to cook since so many primal/paleo cookbooks are aimed at people who do not know how to cook and whose palates are relatively unsophisticated or who simply have little time and need to get food on the table fast.

The author was a professional chef and caterer in Northern California for many years and it shows in her recipes, her food choices and her reliance on wonderful produce and artisanal dairy products. I do not mean that the recipes are difficult or time-consuming. Comfort food is certainly not ignored here. But her emphasis is on fresh, flavorful, eclectic and colorful. And of course healthy and sustainable. I love this cookbook already and I just got it.

After introducing the Paleo Diet and pantry, she offers recipes for the full range of meals and snacks. Chapters include:

A Good Breakfast
Paleo Party
Soulful Soups
Condiments and Sauces
Eat Your Vegetables
Wild-Caught Seafood
Grassfed Meats
Pastured Poultry
Perfect Endings - short but sweet with about a dozen recipes.

Lots of beautiful pictures but still many recipes do not have pictures - I only mention this because some people really like to have a picture for each recipe.

For those who do not eat dairy, be aware that this book does have a fair number of recipes using dairy such as raw milk cheeses. Non-dairy alternatives, frequently coconut-based, are often offered.

By the way, this book is an updated edition of her earlier book Cuisine for Whole Health: Recipes for a Sustainable Life. Many favorite recipes remain - the Thai Salad! - but the recipes involving grains and sweeteners other than stevia have been eliminated and new recipes added.

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Ever since we went on a mostly-Paleo diet last year, I've been checking out Paleo cookbooks. In particular, I've been checking them out of the library since I have a long-standing rule of cookbook triage: If I make three recipes and I want to make more, I give myself permission to buy the book. This has saved me from several regrettable purchases (even though my cookbook collection has still managed to reach 400 titles).

Primal Cuisine is okay, but I'm sending it back to the library without any regrets.

It's not that the book is bad; it's just fine. However, there are a lot of books I like more (as you'll see by perusing my reviews). And this one has a mix of recipes that's just... well, a little odd.

Like a lot of Paleo cookbooks (or any other book for a specific diet), it starts out with a large section explaining why you should turn to Paleo and then going into detail about the ingredients that are acceptable or forbidden. Since Paleo has some "everyone agrees with" guidelines (such as "no grain or white potatoes" -- the part I care about -- and "no legumes"), and then a whole host of "rules" that purists argue about (dairy, sweeteners, etc.) you do need to look over each book's pantry section to see which matches your personal policy and budget. This one is anti-agave, and uses stevia for most sweetening. Ghee and coconut oil for frying. It's also big on olive oil and goat products (e.g. goat yogurt) which we don't eat, but I easily can swap out those items.

Once you've read those 58 pages, though, you'll ignore them. The meat of the book -- so to speak -- is the recipes. The organization is fine, with chapters devoted to breakfast; Paleo parties; soups; salads; condiments and sauces; vegetables; dinner (seafood, meat, poultry); desserts.

But the recipes themselves are a mixed bag.

The entree recipes are really good. I mean REALLY good. I used this recipe for meat loaf and said YUM YUM YUM very loudly. (Instead of bread crumbs, you used chopped almonds or almond meal. And who knew that balsamic vinegar would improve a meat loaf so much?) I also stuck a "Try this!" sticker on "Mardi Gras crab cakes with Creole Remoulade" (again using almond meal instead of bread crumbs, and adding sesame oil, which I expect to be tasty). "Tequila beef stew with lime cream and jalapeño cabbage slaw" also sounds delicious... okay, you had me at "tequila beef stew." Ditto for "pineapple red curry duck."

The other sections, though, are so very unremarkable. Do I need a recipe for a "breakfast fruit compote" (which is [goat] yogurt, fruit, vanilla, 1/2 lime)? vegetable frittata? grilled prawns wrapped in Prosciutto? chicken salad made with leftover roast chicken? Certainly you won't hate any of them, but you can find such things in any cookbook, if you're a timid cook. There's nothing all that Paleo about them, unless it's to include homemade (Paleo) mayonnaise. Maybe all this is to reassure a new Paleo diet adoptee that he won't starve (since it's understandable to think about everything you CANNOT eat) but for me it was really a shrug.

In the end: Primal Cuisine is okay, but it's far from my favorite Paleo cookbook.
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on February 22, 2013
I am not one to leave reviews especially on the Paleo front, however, in searching through many Kindle Paleo offerings I came across this gem. Halstead has summed up most of the food health & organic research in the first 4 Chapters that I have done for several years into a nice easy read. She gives enough references throughout those beginning pages in case one might want to go into more depth.

Having moved from SAD to Vegan to Macro to Semi-Raw to All Raw and back to Vegan to Low Carb to Gluten-Free and now to Paleo, I have seen and read about most "healthy" eating plans/lifestyles that one can think of. But we find our family is happiest, healthiest and now all aligned on Paleo which is why I was in search of Paleo Recipe Inspiration when Paleo Cuisine came up.

If you read and collect cookbooks like most people read fiction, you may have already collected most of the Paleo recipe books out there and found that they are very basic and more geared for a generation of "new to cooking" folks. Read through the entire Table of Contents of Primal Cuisine before purchasing but I think this book would appeal to both those "new to cooking" as well as those like me who have been cooking and uncooking for years. It's heavy on the dairy but you can substitute a great deal with coconut and nut milks.

And downloading the Kindle version keeps the overloaded cook bookshelves a little lighter. These recipes (counted 147) certainly sounded interesting to me. Will update this review after having actually made a few.

The only thing I have to ask is why is "Chapter 11: What's for Dinner?" blank? I am using the Kindle app on my laptop and even checked the Table of Contents on the Amazon offering and that chapter is listed but blank. For this reason I am giving the book a 4 and not a 5 star rating.
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on February 11, 2013
Nora Gedgaudas' book Primal Body, Primal Mind: Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and a Longer Life changed Pauli Halstead's life and her career. Discovering that it was nutrient dense foods like grassfed meats, berries and seeds that helped our ancient ancestors thrive and evolve made her take a look at the kinds of foods she was eating -- and cooking with. Her health improved as her ideas about food changed. With three decades in the food business, she turned her professional attention to making the Paleo diet interesting and fun.

The result is a fabulous book of recipes, based on healthy, primal nutrition, that will have you drooling as you head for the kitchen. From a healthy breakfast of Fried Eggs with Asparagus & Pecorino Romano or Wild Mushroom & Roasted Garlic Frittata, through Smoke Trout Paté, Curried Onion & Ginger Soup, Barbecued Chicken Salad, Mahi-Mahi Fish Tacos with Butter Lettuce Tortillas, and Lamb Shanks Adobo, to Nora's Coconut Bliss Truffles and I Am Bright Avocado-Lime Pie, eating healthy becomes an exciting journey of delights. There's plenty of information about Paleo eating and healthy food in general, but if you're like me, you'll be cooking before you get even half way through this one.

(InannaWorks.com received a free review copy of this book.)
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What is the primal diet? Heck, what is the Paleo diet?

As the author of "Primal Cuisine: Cooking for the Paleo Diet", Pauli Halstead, explains: "It's the diet that humans evolved on, which consists of wild meat and fish, found vegetables and nuts, seeds and berries."

She also tells us that "It's a very good diet if you're diabetic or have weight problems because it has virtually no carbohydrates."

I would go further and say that it's good for anyone with gut dysbiosis and/or autoimmune and/or neurological disorders, such as autism, ADHD, sensory processing disorder, asthma, Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis, etc.I don't have exact statistics on that, but I'd guess that includes a large majority of the population.

It's more than just a low-carb diet; it's about getting the most nutrients into your body as quickly as possible.

Paleo/primal foods have significantly higher amounts of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, polyphenols and other phytonutrients than processed foods because these are foods that were raised/grown as they naturally do.

That means that chickens are eating bugs and cows are eating grass, instead of eating inflammatory corn and soy that they weren't designed to (even if they're raised on organic corn and soy, which is why I don't even recommend organic meats), much as the Weston A. Price Foundation recommends.

Just to prove a point: have you ever eaten an egg from a pasture-raised hen? The yolks are a dark orange instead of the pale yellow that you find in factory-farmed, supermarket eggs. Bright colors like this dark orange in food are a sign of higher amounts of nutrients.

A Paleo/primal diet also means that fruits and vegetables are grown without pesticides.

Speaking of fruit and sweet things, Pauli's book explains that are ancestors had very little to no access to sweet things, which by the way, take a lot more nutrients to process, so eating them, especially processed ones, is like robbing Peter to pay Paul.

That's why I'm always a little confused when I see an abundance of "Paleo dessert" recipes using loads of honey. I think a little honey is OK if you're being a Paleo purist, but not to the amount that I see in most recipes. Pauli uses stevia as a sweetener in her dessert recipes.

That's why I don't claim that the GAPS/SCD dessert recipes that I have on my website are Paleo because they use more than just a little honey.

Pauli's book goes on to say that it's more than just not eating processed foods; it's also about raising our food sustainably and humanely.

Her book does a fine job of explaining how to select quality Paleo foods (which should be in anyone's diet, not just a Paleo-diet follower).

She explains how the right kinds of fats (and, no, I don't mean vegetable oils because, contrary to what we've been told, they are SO not healthy - do your research!) are essential for proper health.

She also writes about many food subjects close to my heart: the health risks of GMO food, antibiotics in the food supply, the evils of gluten and the sanctity of raw milk.

So not only does the book do an excellent and concise job of educating about how to select quality foods (Paleo diet or not), it's also got some great recipes (of course)!

Even if you're not following the Paleo diet, anyone who wants to reduce the amount of grains/carbs in their diets should try these recipes. Here are some of my favorites:

Thai Beef Satay with Thai Spicy Almond Sauce
Cauliflower Rice
Pan-seared Salmon with Avocado Slices & Lime Dressing
Pad Thai
Coconut Milk Panna Cotta with Raspberries & Raspberry Sauce
I Am Bright Avocado-Lime Pie

Many of the recipes have a Thai or Mexican flair. Yum!

Both the book and Pauli's website have lots of great resources for sourcing the kinds of farms and food suppliers of pasture-raised animal products as well as organic fruit and vegetables. The website also has information about growing your own food, whether it's plants, chickens or community gardening.
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on June 1, 2013
This book has good info and the author obviously likes to cook. My problem with it was that many of the recipes contain dairy. John Muir once lamented that modern man couldn't eat their food without first putting it "under the udder of a cow." I feel the same way. If you include dairy in your diet then you will probably like this book a lot. If you are transitioning from the standard American diet to a stricter Paleo diet and wish take a slower route this is a great book. There is wonderful information on the benefits of grass fed animals and other concepts related to the nutrient content of healthy foods. I don't dislike this book but I have other cookbooks that could stand in for it. The Kindle version is well laid out and has good navigation features. Since it is a Kindle book I was able to return it for a full refund as soon as I realized that it was not what I was looking for.
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on September 21, 2013
This cookbook for the paleo enthusiast is fantastic. I have used at least 10 recipes so far and it will be a go to resource for my new lifestyle. I might even use it one day to entertain others who are interested in sampling delicious options to eat healthy.
Great cookbook!
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on August 4, 2013
It's a handy reference for those wishing to eat healthier and has lots of recipes. Like most works along these lines, one has to adapt them to their own preferences and lifestyles. What works for me may not work for you. There's a lot of good technical information in this book as well and is a very good read. While nobody really knows without a doubt what Paleolithic people ate, it's still interesting.
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on June 30, 2013
Pauli does a fantastic job of bringing Paleo into everyday living with recipes that translate into kid's lunch pails and snacking on the go. She stays current with the whole GMO/pasture fed issues of eating animal products and her information on the THE BIG FAT LIE is amazing. She truly is concerned about being healthy - not jumping on the trendy paleo wagon.
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on April 14, 2013
this is not just a recipy book. It explains all you need to know about the Paleo culinary, so you can choose nice ingredients, cook and storage techniques to preserve their nutrients and nice direction to primal eating.
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