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There are lots of paleo books out there. I have checked out most of them from the library, including Practical Paleo, by Diane Sanfilippo. However, when I got home from the library and started going through the book, I realized that this was one that I needed to own. I received a copy to review here on my site from Diane’s team and I am super excited to bring this review and giveaway to you!

Practical Paleo: A Customized Approach to Health and a Whole Foods Lifestyle

I love this book. It is full of great, easy-to-understand information about health and wellness, over 120 easy and delicious recipes, tear-out guides, and 30-day meal plans designed to support whatever health issue you may be facing. The book is designed to be a customized approach to health and a whole-foods lifestyle. It is jam-packed with awesome photos and fun graphics and charts. I am a very visual person and if you’re like me, you’ll love all the visual detail in this book. The image below is just a few of the charts that she includes in the book.


I have read a lot of books recently and what really impacted me with this book was how it was laid out and structured. All of the information in here is easy to read and understand, no matter your level of knowledge. There’s nothing complicated and overwhelming about this book. If you’re new to a real foods diet, then this is the perfect book to get you started. If you’re already an experienced “real foodie”, then there is still TONS of information to keep your interest piqued.

Diane kicks off the book with a long section on the the role of foods in creating wellness or disease. You’ll get a primer on the paleo style of eating. In order to obtain optimal wellness, we need to toss everything we have been taught by mainstream medicine out the window. She teaches us how to shop for groceries, how to adhere to a paleo style of eating when in social settings like restaurants and parties, and how to customize the paleo diet for various health concerns.

Then she gets into the nitty gritty — gut health. As many of you know, I always say that health begins in the gut. Taking that train of thought, disease begins in the gut, so if we want optimum health, we need to heal our gut first and foremost. You’ll learn about your digestive system (she even includes a fun chart all about poop!), leaky gut, and blood sugar regulation. All of those components feed off of one another and if one is out of whack, everything else will be too.

From there she moves into the customized meal plans. If you are suffering from any sort of illness or health condition, there is a plan in here for you. The book is designed to guide you towards a whole foods diet that will help you gain control of your health. There are meal plans and information on how to handle illnesses like:

  • Autoimmune Conditions
  • Blood Sugar Regulation
  • Digestive Health
  • Thyroid Health
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Fibromyalgia, and Chronic Fatigue
  • Neurological Health
  • Heart Health
  • Cancer Recovery

Seeing that I suffer from and autoimmune condition called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, I was especially interested to read her section on autoimmune conditions, though, I ended up reading everything else too. The autoimmune protocol is pretty strict and limiting. You must give up grains, legumes, eggs, and dairy, which I have done and I’m fine with. However, it is also recommended that you avoid nightshades, nuts, and seeds. Yeah. That’s a lot of food groups. Considering that I love tomatoes and peppers and I already avoid goitrogenic veggies, I honestly feel like there’s nothing I can eat. I’m working on it, but I’m just not there yet. However, her autoimmune meal plan has given me lots of inspiration for tasty dishes. I plan on removing those remaining food groups in the next couple weeks, as I move into a strict gut healing and detox protocol with my new doctor.

Feed Me!

After we learn about the body and the role food plays in wellness, Diane leads us to her recipes. She kicks off that section with a review of the basics, including great color photos of things like how to chop veggies, how to make your own spice blends, how to create nourishing bone broth, how to clarify butter and make ghee, and more. All sorts of great tips for newbies and experienced cooks alike.

Moving into the recipes, she has taken special care to list allergens for each recipe. Avoiding nightshades? Just look at the handy chart to the left of the page and you can quickly see if this recipe includes them. Have no fear though, as she often includes simple substitution ideas if you are looking to leave out a specific ingredient. The recipes are not complicated, yet they are delicious. Even if you’re new to the real food kitchen, you will be able to create amazing meals without slaving away for hours. Diane understands that many of us are short on time and can’t afford to spend hours slaving away in the kitchen. We need simple, real food recipes that will make our taste buds happy and nourish our bodies. I have long been a fan of keeping food simple. There’s no need to be a gourmet chef and create complicated Le Cordon Bleu quality dishes in order to eat delicious food. Like my mom always says, if you start with good ingredients, most likely you’ll end up with something delicious!

A few of my favorite recipes from the book are the Crispy Curried Sweet Potato Coins, Mom’s Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with Tomato Cranberry Sauce (great to make a large batch and freeze for quick meals), the Zucchini Pancakes (another great one to make ahead, though since I’m now egg-free, I can’t make this one anymore), and the Mooless Pistachio Mousse (YUM!). Now, if you need something a little fancier, say to impress some dinner guests, why not try Roasted Duck with Cherry Sauce or Spiced Lamb Meatballs with Balsamic Fig Compote (but don’t worry — you still won’t be slaving away for hours in the kitchen!).

All in all, this has quickly become one of my favorite books. I rarely buy books anymore, especially cookbooks, since you can find so many great recipes on the Web. But, because of the extensiveness of this book, the great layout, charts, graphics, etc., and the simple recipes that can be tailored to my strict eating style, I knew I had to have this one. Thank you so much to Diane and her Communications Coordinator, Charissa, for sending me a copy of this book to review! I LOVE it!

Win It!

And now, for the fun stuff! Diane and Charissa also sent me an extra copy of Practical Paleo to give away to one lucky reader! Want a chance to win it? Use the Rafflecopter widget below Diane’s bio!

Diane_HeadshotZ-261x300A little about Diane: Diane Sanfilippo is the founder of the Balanced Bites website. She is a certified holistic nutritional consultant and she specializes in Paleo nutrition, blood sugar regulation, food allergies/intolerances and digestive health. She works with clients who need additional assistance with making the switch to a Paleo, Primal or Ancestral/Weston A. Price-style diet. She also helps those who have already made this change but who are struggling to make progress with weight loss, digestive distress, low energy, autoimmunity or other health-related conditions. You can learn more about her on her website, follow her on Facebook or Twitter, or buy a copy of Practical Paleo on Amazon.com.

Fine print: No purchase necessary. This giveaway is open to US residents only. The giveaway begins February 11 at 12:00am EST and ends February 18th at 12:00am EST. The winner will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to respond to claim their prize or else a new winner will be chosen. I was provided a free copy of Practical Paleo to review on this site. I received no monetary compensation for my review and all opinions expressed in this review are my own.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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