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Inspirational, but recipes are disappointing
on June 8, 2011
I admit to being so disappointed by some of these recipes that I came back to look at the reviews here again. As another reviewer says, it is surprising that there aren't more negative reviews, and I second her opinion that the author's enthusiasm is so infectious and inspirational that it's hard to deliver bad news (you almost begin to believe something is wrong with you for not liking her food).
What I DID like about it: I was hesitating to start the paleo because, as a mother of 3 small boys, it seemed overwhelming. Reading this book not only inspired me to start it sooner than I would have otherwise, it gave me 5 day meal-planners that made it seem easy to shop and cook in such a new way.
What I DIDN'T like about it: the shopping lists need to be proofed better--I found myself missing key ingredients that were not listed. Also, the recipes were just not that good, especially for little kids. Mine are adventurous, but even so, her menu is a bit of a stretch (foods are too spicy or not very kid-friendly--the egg cupcakes were green because they were so filled with veggies and, frankly, didn't taste that great (more flavor, less veggies!)). Great ideas for kids are sometimes not that practical. For example, I made the lunchbox rollups with ham and turkey, but how to get them to stay closed and to prevent ingredients from slipping out? I spent 10 minutes cutting thin strips of scallion and painstakingly tying them together, then added some toothpicks for good measure. I imagined the other kids at school asking my son what the heck he was eating!
One hesitates to criticize, but she is clearly not a foodie--she relies on things like garlic powder and calls hollandaise sauce bearnaise sauce. If she were a talented cook and the food tasted great, of course, this would be a minor quibble, but it is indicative of the fact that the author is a mother and enthusiast, not a chef. In the end, I decided I would do better looking through my trusted cookbooks for paleo-compatible recipes that I knew were delicious.
One last note. I admit to being so turned off to the paleo diet after following this for a few weeks that I've decided to switch my family to an SCD diet with more fat for the kids' developing brains. Maybe there are better paleo cookbooks out there, but the fact that so many other reviewers loved this one makes me think perhaps not. I know it's not supposed to be this way, but we were all hungry ALL THE TIME, and my oldest child seemed tired and lost in a fog. It was clear to me very quickly that something was missing from our diet. Yesterday I added 24-hr fermented homemade yogurt (ie. no lactose) ; today a no-grain almond blueberry muffin from "Eat Well, Feel Well." (The SCD diet has less fruit/fructose but includes limited dairy/cheese.) We are all happier for it, and feel better already.
Since I've been so negative, I just want to reiterate that as a role-model she IS inspirational (I would hire her as a trainer in a minute!). I just wish she were a better cook...