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Practical Paleo: A Customized Approach to Health and a Whole-Foods Lifestyle Paperback – August 7, 2012
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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.
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.
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.