My Favorite Paleo Books

I’m often asked to recommend paleo books, so here are my favorites! I’ll keep this post updated as new ones come out, so if you link here, you’ll get the updated list.

It Starts with Food

This is the guide for the Whole30 way of eating. I did my first Whole30 in March 2013, and have now successfully completed six of them. The Whole30 is basically strict paleo, without any “junk” food. The book gives a great explanation of why paleo is good for most of us, and then provides an action plan for eliminating all of the junk that is kicking you in the gut, both physically and emotionally. It includes a set of rules to follow for 30 days of totally clean eating. You can get a lot of the information from the Whole30 web site, but the book goes more in-depth, and I think anybody that wants to do a Whole30 should read it at least once, preferably before starting the Whole30.

Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans

You might have already seen the web site, but did you know there’s also a Nom Nom Paleo book? Now you do! Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans is basically a hardcover version of the web site, complete with many of the amazing recipes in printed format. Plus there are cartoons! The cartoons are pretty awesome. It’s a visually stunning book, but you’ll want it because the recipes are just so good.

Practical Paleo

Practical Paleo is divided into three sections: The Why, Meal Plans, and Recipes. In “The Why” section, Diane Sanfilippo explains the basics of paleo, and why it’s good for you. The Meal Plans include 30-day menus for everyone. Have an autoimmune condition or digestive issues? There’s a meal plan for you! The third part includes all of the recipes that are included in the meal plans. The book is a fabulous resource, and one I always recommend to anybody that is just getting started with paleo.

The 21-Day Sugar Detox

This book, by Diane San Filippo, is a guide for following the 21-Day Sugar Detox (21DSD). Level 3 of the 21DSD is paleo. If you follow my blog, you’ll know that I tend to stick with the 21DSD Level 3 food list much of the time. I love the book because it gives a great explanation of how and why sugar can cause so many problems for people, along with a plan for eliminating it and several other inflammation-causing food items from your diet. The author includes three levels of food lists, ranging from pretty close to a “standard” American diet (SAD) to strict paleo. My husband often does level 1, so he can continue to include dairy, legumes, and rice in his diet, and I usually stick with level 3, which is the strict paleo level. In addition to the food lists, the author provides meal plans, recipes, and modifications for special populations, such as athletes, breastfeeding moms, people with autoimmune issues. You can join monthly Facebook groups for support doing the program, but they do require to you actually read the book to participate. The author also offers an online version of the program, with an active support forum and lots more resources, for an additional cost.

The 21-Day Sugar Detox Cookbook

Diane Sanfilippo’s follow-up to The 21-Day Sugar Detox includes a condensed version of the plan, along with the yes/no food lists and modifications. Best of all, it also contains more than 100 recipes for use during the 21-Day Sugar Detox (21DSD) and beyond.

Well Fed

Well Fed was one of the first paleo cookbooks I purchased, and I ended up also buying the Kindle version of it because my paperback copy got gnarly from using it so much in the kitchen. It is a great book, with some amazingly delicious recipes. My favorites are the carnitas and pad thai! There are also a lot of great tips for doing a weekly cook-up, to help save some time throughout the week by throwing stuff you’ve already prepared together to make a whole meal.

Well Fed 2

This is a follow-up to the popular Well Fed, and has even more fabulous recipes. I will admit that I don’t use this one as much as the first one, but it really is just as good. There are more recipes, as well as many of the tips for meal prep and stocking your kitchen from the first book. My favorite recipe from this book is the Cincinnati Chili.

Meal Time

I’m not doing Whole30 or 21DSD anymore, but after an unsuccessful reintroduction of sugar and dairy, looks like I’m going to stay mostly paleo for the foreseeable future. Tonight’s dinner was from the grill, thanks to the unseasonably warm weather: Burger topped with mayo, grilled asparagus, tomato, avocado, and arugula with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Posted from @twograndapp

View in Instagram ⇒

Reintroduction: Sugar and Dairy

Since I’ve done a few Whole30s and 21-Day Sugar Detoxes before, I have a pretty good idea of what I can and cannot have afterwards. Just to be extra sure, I decided to try reintroducing a few things this time.

Last week I tried added sugar. One of my dear friends made a gluten-free and dairy-free cake and cupcakes for my wedding just over a year ago. We saved the cake for our anniversary, and my husband was kind enough to wait for me to finish these detoxes so we could enjoy it together last week. Boy, was it tasty! But, oh, boy, was that sugar a mistake! I had a migraine the following day, and had to stay home from work.

After recovering from the cake, I decided to try some dairy. I have attempted to reintroduce it in the past, and have usually had issues, so I expected more of the same this time around, and I wasn’t disappointed. Shortly after having some cheesy meatballs and dip, my tummy was grumbling. Before long, I was feeling pretty bloated. So, like an idiot, I had a milkshake. You know, just to be sure. My stomach was yelling at me all night. I’m sure the added sugar in that milkshake didn’t help at all.

So the moral of my story: no added sugar or dairy for the foreseeable future.

Results!

It’s pretty amazing how much of a difference I saw in just the last two weeks of Whole30. On the left is Day 15, and on the right is Day 31. Is that my waist?

View in Instagram ⇒

Here are my 21DSD/Whole30 results:

  • I lost 9.4 pounds.
  • As you can see, much of the weight was lost from around my waist.
  • I’m feeling less bloated.
  • All of my clothes, including undergarments, are loose. You can kind of see the pants are getting baggy in the picture. They used to be tight!
  • My back pain has diminished.
  • I tend to have much more energy during the day, at least when I get a full night’s sleep.

A few things that I want to work on over the upcoming days and months:

  • I’d like to lose more inches and pounds. I’ll try to reintroduce a few things, but plan to go back to mostly paleo for the foreseeable future. Because it really helps with the sugar cravings, I’ll likely stick with the 21DSD Level 3 food list.
  • I’m planning to continue with CrossFit 3-5 times each week, and am considering doing the CrossFit Open.
  • I’m currently doing a 30-day pushup challenge because I really suck at pushups, and I’m hoping this will help.
  • My skin hasn’t been so great lately. I’ve had some itchy, scaly patches on my face. I’m going to try changing my soap, first, and if that doesn’t work I’ll try eliminating a few things from my diet to see if that helps.